m i c h a e l . n e t z e r ' s

... building a home for The Creators.


Sunday, January 08, 2006


For proponents within the comics community who've believed that Neal Adams' science project is... shall we say, a trifle eccentric - please click the image below.

Dennis McCarthy, the man behind The 4th Revolt website, is one of many others now coming forward, after years of difficult research.

Their conclusion is unanimous.

Almost everything that our science has theorized about our world is wrong.

Neal Adams has led this charge for more than 30 years now - but he is not alone.

Much like the characters in Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind, who were all given a vision of a mountain without realizing the destiny which awaited them - likewise many scientists, philosophers and researchers are now coming forward and disseminating a shared vision which is about to explode into our social consciousness.

In times past, such revolutions have traditionally taken several generations to bear fruit.

Now, however, with the global internet communications network in place, the upheaval is at our very doorsteps.

We stand on the brink of a design-science revolution and all the science we once held as true is about to change entirely.

Welcome to a glimpse of the new world coming.

Permalink Posted: 8:44 AM EST 1 comments 

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


It was a damn good year, 2005. A couple of major interviews at Silver Bullet and countless mentions in the comics media and blogosphere making the effort well worthwhile. The Beat, The Pulse, Past Masters, The Great Curve, Fanboy Rampage, Newsarama, Scream if You Want It, Lying in the Gutters, Pen-Elayne, All the Rage, Millarword, Adelaide, Mighty Mini-Con and Neilalien were a few that helped spread the word and keep the spark alive in 2005.

Flaming Sword, The Comic Book Creators' Guild, The Comic Book Creator's Party and The New Comic Book of Life have become familiar ideas to many industry pros and fans. From the buzz they helped generate, you'd think I'm sitting on a high profile project coming to a comics shop near you. Except for some sketches, however, a Superhero poster and a couple of ideas for sketchbooks, it was all as virtual as the CGI spaceships in Babylon 5. The big projects at Flaming Sword come to a halt but the comics community gets a fair helping of an ambitious vision for a new kingdom coming. No complaints. That's all I really wanted from the effort, at this stage anyway.

It all comes down on my 50th birthday in early October. Elana presses me to start looking for a job that can generate some income for the family now that the unemployment benefits have ended. She knows I have plans to be on the road by the spring of 2006 and we have a Bar-Mitzvah celebration to prepare for our son Daniel in mid January. I tell her I need to be out in the desert again to think things through and she agrees to a 40 day period which would still give us enough time to prepare the Bar-Mitzvah. Last time I did this I promised myself not make such 40 day plans again because I always miss by a day or two.

"What the hell" I think to myself. "I'll try counting more dilligently this time."


I pack a carrying bag with some basic necessities for the trip - rice, beans, coffee, tea, sugar, cakes, canned goods and a carton of cigarettes. They're not for me, I can make this trip without them. I'm heading to a desert area by the Dead Sea, populated by a community that prefers I don't come empty handed. Haven't visited my friends there for almost a year and I'm anxious to be out in the open spaces again.

I'm Hitchhiking there. An hour ride from Jerusalem takes about 25 hours to traverse. Thumbing a ride has become a nightmare in this country, everyone's afraid of everyone - especially if you're a long haired freak that looks too old for the Rainbow movement youth that frequent this road. Somewhere along the way I spend the night on the desert dunes off the side of the road and finally reach my destination by the next morning.

The area is called Metzukei Dargot, "The Stepped Cliffs" in English. About 10 kilometers south of the northern tip of the Dead Sea. There's a new army checkpoint at the spot that leads down to the beach area about 300 meters below, a few kilometers away from Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The terrain is characterized by steep cliffs all the way down to the beach. The cliffs look like a giant staircase sculpted into the rocks and sand, most likely created by the dropping water levels over thousands of years. Looking at the forested beach area from above, it's impossible to see the thriving community of nature dwellers that have lived there for years.

Modern day Esseans is what they really are. The area is under the army's jurisdiction, so the Parks Authority stays off their backs. The army turns a blind eye to the community's presence and even helps by bringing water and provisions from time to time. I make my way down the winding stepped path and arrive, 25 minutes later, at the forest area off the beach.

My first stop is at Shalom's Zoola. Shalom is about my age, a disgruntled escapee from the industrialized madness he once lived in. In his youth he traveled through Africa and studied tribal drumming techniques there. He later became a thriving cartoonist and illustrator in Tel-Aviv until Yitzhak Rabin was murdered there in 1995, after which he decided to put his life on the line in protest of where the country was heading. He left everything and began living on the Tel-Aviv beach, drumming the days and nights away and gathering crowds that sympathized with his message. Several months later, the local authorities forbade him to stay on the beach so he headed out to the Dead Sea and built a Zoola at the feet of the Stepped Cliffs. There are more than 30 such Zoolas here with semi-permanent dwellers today, all following in the footsteps of Shalom, the artist-drummer from Tel-Aviv.

A Zoola is Hebrew slang for the improvised living quarters of the nature dwellers. It's usually built within a cleared area of the forest, about the size of a living room, covered by a sheet of plastic that keeps the rain away. Somewhat unnecessary because it only sprinkles once or twice a year by the Dead Sea. Something about the Dead Sea keeps the area warm and rain free throughout the Winter. The Summer is usually too hot here, so the nature dwellers move up north to their Zoolas by the Sea of Galilee. When it begins to get cold there, they come back to the Dead Sea.

Within the living quarters of a Zoola, there are usually a few boxes hanging from the trees which contain whaterver food provisions the dwellers have. They hang from the trees to keep them away from the mongeese that prowl the area looking for food. Fascinating cat-size animals that live in harmony with the nature dwellers who feed them with whatever scraps and leftovers they have. Each Zoola has a few sheet covered sponge mattresses placed around a central camp fire that keeps everyone warm at night - and where all the cooking is done. Aside from that, one might find some bed sheets or blankets pretending to be living room walls, giving the Zoola a more intimate home environment. No elecricity, no radios, televisions, computers or internet can be found in a Zoola. Just the bare necessities of a trouble free life in nature's bosom. That's all there is to a Zoola.

I first met Shalom there 3 years ago on my first excursion into the Judea Desert. We cultivated a special friendship, being the oldest among a more youthful community. I helped out by cutting down dead dried trees for the camp fire wood he used - and washing some plates and pots after the dinners he cooked for the community. He invited me to room with him in his Zoola for the week I spent there and we passed some time talking about the state of affairs in Israel and the world.

"So, you want to do a Jesus thing in Israel" he'd say to me. "You can get a lot of support in the country today, but the religious communities will crucify you."

"Not if I can get the Pope to do it first." I'd answer.

I've since visited Shalom from time to time, bringing whatever provisions I could. Small payback for the hospitality and friendship. The last time I saw him was when I returned from New York last year, short haired and clean shaven.

"What happened to you?" He said upon seeing me. "Funny looking Jesus, you are."

I told him about The Comic Book Creator's Party and reveal my mad plan to set America on fire through the comics industry.

"That's an interesting plan," he said. "but you still have a lot of groundwork to do from here."

"All in due time." I answered.


Now, a year later, I'm at Shalom's Zoola again. He expanded and spread out in all directions to accomodate the growing activity he hosts there, namely being the hub of the beach area where most of the community spends its afternoons and evenings. Camp fire songs to the background of guitars, drums and flutes over the hot dinners he serves everyone, just like he's done every day since he's been here.

"Hey Michael, just in time." Shalom says upon seeing me. "We're out of everything. Whaddaya got?"

I lay the carrying bag next to him and he wastes no time pulling out the cakes, tea and sugar. He then breaks off some branches and twigs from his wood supply and throws them into the coals of the camp fire, fills a pot with water and drops a couple of Lipton tea bags into it from the box I brought him.

"How's The Comic Book Creators' Party coming along?" He asks, handing me a cup of hot tea.

"It's been a busy year. I've done as much as I can over the internet." I answer him. "It's time to get down to the groundwork we need to do from here."

"So that means you'll stick around this time?"

"Not yet." I tell him. "I'll be here for a few weeks, but I have to help out with my son's Bar-Mitzvah. I'll try to come back soon afterwards."

"You can stay here for a while but maybe you should build a Zoola for yourself."

"I'd rather just float around actually, I'm not here to settle down you know." I take a sip of tea. "I'm thinking of walking from here to the Sea of Galilee in the Spring - picking up anyone on the way who wants to come along."

"I've had similar thoughts." Shalom tells me. "Things are pretty tough in Israel now. A lot of people will come along if they'd feel it was a worthwhile movement."

"All we need is one CNN or BBC report and we'll have a lot of comics creators supporting us" I promise him. "From there, It'll only be a matter of time till it reaches Hollywood. A pop-culture revolution in America."

"Have a piece of cake." Shalom says.

I spend the next 6 weeks floating around the Zoolas by the Dead Sea, talking it up about walking to the Sea of Galilee in the Spring. There's some scoffing and snickering but I fend it all off with some background about the 25 year investment I've made into this project through the comics industry. The comics add an unexpected light-heartedness to an otherwise serious and intense proposition.

Natan, Ittamar, Ittai and Urik become enthused supporters of the idea and help spread the word, convincing others that it's a worthwhile notion. When the time comes, I bid everyone farewell and head back home.

"You're a day late." Elana says when I return. "You left 41 days ago."

"You're not supposed to count the first day." I tell her. "That's a traveling day..."

"...I counted very dilligently this time."

Channukah/Christmas-2005, Jerusalem

Permalink Posted: 6:35 PM EST 6 comments 

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Flaming Sword Productions is suspending its web site operations and taking its message into the streets of Israel, intending to land at the Sea of Galilee with a multitude in the Spring of 2006. When you hear about this movement from the Land of the Prophets, know that a new kingdom of The Creators is coming into the world.

I look forward to seeing the comics creators community drawing inspiration from the coming events and giving wings to the rise of this movement through the comics - taking the queue from the likes of Neal Adams' Growing Universe Science Project, his new graphic novel Blood and Mark Millar's Chosen, for a collective thrust of subject matter which will blossom like a mighty oak in the entertainment world. To this end, Neal Adams began forming The Comic Book Creator's Guild more than a quarter of a century ago.

The time is drawing near for the creators to begin making their move.

The rebirth of Biblical Prophecy from the Land of Israel - and the roots it has in the comic book industry - will not only inspire the coalescence of the creators' community and the forming of its first union - but it will also give rise to a new socio-political-economic leadership in America. The Comic Book Creators' Party.

The collective infrastructure and roadmap for this movement began more than a quarter of a century ago in the comic book industry of the mid-1970's. Its goals and aspirations are detailed in The New Comic Book of Life web site.

A well done goes out to Neal Adams, Clifford Meth, Mark Millar, Alan Weiss and host of comics community creators and professionals who've accompanied Flaming Sword. The list is too long to contain here but a few names bear special mention: Rich Johnston, Graeme McMillan, Heidi MacDonald, Matt Brady, Elayne Riggs, Jennifer Contino, Daniel Best, Rick Offenberger, Thom Young, Alex Segura, Mike Pascale, Peter David, Mark Badger, Blaire Marnell, Chris Bunting, Richard Emms, Ed Tegler and Millarworld's Free Sketch Thread community, Beau Smith, Jim Reeber, Steven Bové, Martin Oakley, Rick Olney, Doc, Kurt Buziek, Norm Breyfogle, Steven Grant, Bryan Talbot, Tom Spurgeon, Warren Ellis, the web communities at Talk@Newsarama; Joe Quesada Forums; Millarworld; Captain Comics Roundtable, Comic Book Resources; Comicon; The Pulse; The Beat; The Great Curve; Neilalien; the well remembered Fanboy Rampage crew, the Amritas and my high-school years friend Tim Gasco. A special thanks to everyone who participated in the comment threads and forum discussions, as well as to Jason Brice for the continued professional hosting services at Silver Bullet.

Far from this being the end of Flaming Sword Productions, it's merely a temporary suspension of web site activity which holds a promise of bringing us closer to realizing our goals by breathing new life into the comics industry through the rise of a popular movement from the Land of Promises, where great social, spiritual, political and economic upheavals were born in times past.

To all who yearn for The New Kingdom, an open invitation is extended to come and take part in the glorious events about to unfold, by plannig a visit to Israel in the coming year. An open invitation to join the multitude who'll raise the Son of Man into the Clouds of Heaven.

No need to pack a lunch - we have some fishes and a few loaves of bread in the baskets.


This homepage has been restructured with choice highlights from previous Flaming Sword articles. A complete archive remains accessible in the right-side menu, as well as the extensive comics community links menu it accompanies. Our web site complex will remain accessible for the duration of the rEvolution.

Permalink Posted: 4:51 PM EST 8 comments 

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Silver Bullet Shining

Amongst all the great reading material presently at Silver Bullet Comic Books' web site, two Flaming Sword items bear noting.

First, as can be seen in the left side highlight, an A-Z Superhero Poster banner-button (an animated GIF provided by Flaming Sword) has been running at Silver Bullet for the second consecutive month.

Jason Brice, SBC Chief, contacted me today with very good news about the number of click-throughs the banner-button is getting at SBC. I keep track of the numbers through his tracking facilities but Jason's news concerned the amount of people clicking on this banner-button as compared to other similar advertisements:

I was just looking through the statistics of our ad serving software, and your little button ad has BY FAR the highest percentage of click-throughs of any ad on our site (taking into account relative size).

I'm going to refer some of my advertisers to you to get ad graphics made.

Interesting thought, actually. Producing animated advertisements for comics related websites.

The other highlighted item from Silver Bullet's homepage is an interview I gave to Thom Young which has just been posted. It's quite an extensive interview that Thom did a marvelous job of guiding and nurturing - It can be seen directly at this link.

About half of the interview discusses Flaming Sword, its aspiration and projects, within the current state of affairs in the comics. The other half discusses the comics creators having powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men - bringing thoughts about science, religion, philosophy and the state of our world to the doorstep of the comics community.

A big thanks goes out to Thom and Jason for facilitating the interview and for the incomparable professionalism in which it was done.

Worthwhile reading. Go Look.

Permalink Posted: 11:31 PM EST 3 comments 

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Continuity News - From Superman to Planetary Genetics

Neal Adams announced on his web site over the weekend that he's back in the saddle producing an alternate cover for the long awaited All-Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. The announcement was accompanied by Neal's first sketches for the cover, now in production.

The announcement noted that "this alternate cover will be harder to find as only one of nine issues to press will feature Neal’s cover." That means that it's not a 50/50 split between the first and alternate covers, rather ONLY ONE OUT OF EVERY NINE COMICS PRINTED WILL FEATURE THE ALTERNATE COVER!!??

Wow! That's really clever marketing from DC Comics. It's hard to believe that we're talking about the artist who raised DC out of the ashes of mediocrity since the late Sixties with his fabulous covers. The same covers that so many of us remember as the pivotal events of an era that kept DC apace with the explosion and rise of Marvel Comics.

ONE OUT OF NINE. Brilliant!

And it's not like we're talking about an artist whose work stagnated in it's ripe age. Just the opposite, actually. Anyone looking at Neal's new work on his web site can see that he's remained as vibrant and innovative as he was when he first walked into DC's offices. Perhaps even more so. And it's not like we don't know what Neal Adams art does to the sales and collectability of a comic book. The announcement itself also notes that "Alternate covers over at Marvel have driven just released books to $20 to $26 per copy with his [Neal's] alternate covers."

I wonder what the story is. C'mon Dan, I know you must have some brilliant explanation for this fiasco. Hey Paul, I'm waiting for the punch line. I find it hard to believe that you guys couldn't be a little funnier than this.

ONE OUT OF NINE. Tell us it ain't so, guys!

Maybe it's just politics. Or maybe it's the tunnel vision corporate confusion that doesn't dare take a chance with anything not considered HOT by the consumer buzz which the corporate confusion creates. It's actually par for the course for DC Comics, if you think about it. I mean, this is the same corporate enterprise that tells us they're helpless to do anything effectual about the dismal sales figures of the last two decades in the comics industry. The same corporate enterprise that's trying to woo comics fandom with smoke screens of increased sales on infinite countdowns and new universes.

Time/Warner/DC Comics... yeah, right. Tell us another one guys. We're splitting a gut here.

I guess DC Comics doesn't give a damn about comics anymore. Why should they? They make their bounty from Hollywood and the licensing operations. They'll continue to sit pretty so long as the comics are barely surviving. They'll benefit more this way, on the backs of the creators who made DC what it is, because creators are disparaged at the dismal state of comics sales. They'll laugh at the comics makers and lovers - all the way to the bank.

Quite brilliant, actually.

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Anyway, the next item in the news at Continuity, right under the Superman item on the web site, is a story - written and drawn by Neal - that was published in Warren Publishing's Creepy magazine in the mid-1970's. Thrilkill.

When one thinks of Neal Adams being ahead of his time (and I'm not talking about his science project, which we'll discuss right after this), Thrillkill perhaps exemplifies more of what this means than much of Neal's Superhero work.

Hey, Warren Ellis! Chew on this for a moment as you scoff at the Superhero creators. Look at what the Daddy of Superhero artists produced in 1975, when you were still in diapers. Comics wise, that is.

Talk about real-life stories with an Indy feel. Talk about a story to get the wheels of the human - and humane - soul churning. 1975. C'mon Warren, take a close look. Have a good read and get to know what the Superhero makers have done and can still do. Take a good close look, Warren. Just click the numbers below and read this story to discover the glorious yesterday of your tomorrow.


Eight pages of story and art that foretold so much of what the Indies have become.

Neal is hinting he may be offering these pages for sale soon. A thrillkill in the making for original art collectors.

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This brings us to a truly delicious item presented on Neal's Science Project Homepage. It presents a few new videos which talk about - and show - some new aspects of how the Earth and other planets and moons have grown. The videos are most likely excerpts from Neal's science video project now in production. I know this has taken some time in the making, but anyone who's seen a preview of this project can understand why. This video production of A New Model of a Growing Universe is going to be very very big news when it's released.

Remember, you read it here first.

The new videos are listed and linked below with a subject heading. Well worth watching for all you science geeks who are also amused at the fictitious malarkey that the scientific community has been peddling for decades now.

Mars Valles Marinaras Spread

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How the Great Lakes were Made

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What Really Happened to India and the Himalayas

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How the Mediterranean Sea was Made

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Tectonic Spreads on the Earth and Other Planets and Moons

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Ganymede, Moon of Jupiter

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and now, introducing (drum roll, please) . . .


Brilliant as these videos are, however, they're not the luscious gem I was referring to. On that same Science Project Homepage, Neal drops a bomb, of the Enriched Uranium variety, then turns around whistling to the birds, as if he had nothing to do with it.

The above image file is named EarthMarsCompare.jpg. As you look and wonder what the hell we're supposed to be comparing, seeing how Neal offers no explanation except for the image itself - and as you wonder why the Earth map is upside down... Oh... Holy crap! there is something familiar and common to these two images.

There's an Africa on Mars! An Australia too! Even the lines and angles of South America are there! Damn. The shape of our entire continental crust is there in the Martian tectonic plate-scape!

But it can't be! It must be a coincidence, right? It can't be that the lower tectonic plates on Mars resemble our continental crust on the Earth... upside down!

I mean, sometimes we see elephants in the clouds, right? But these aren't clouds, folks. This is the topography of Mars, for Christ's sake!

Hey Neal, are you saying that the planets have some type of genetic code which makes their topography look alike? The way two faces of brothers look alike?

And everyone says I'm crazy. Jeez.

It's not so far fetched, actually. Neal has likened the planets to being the children of the sun. Coalesced from the matter and anti-matter the sun puts out. The mother sun and its children planets. Brothers and sisters can look alike, we all agree, don't we?

This is really big news. That's why Neal is so quiet about it. He knows how big it is.

Jesus Christ Almighty.

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Now, I know that you're all thinking I have this inexplicable fixation on Neal. Well, you're right. But it's for a good reason. Not just because of everything you've read here.

It's because it's a reciprocal fixation, you see. That's right. Neal has the same problem with me. What's that you say? You haven't noticed? Well, let's consider the following.

Remember how I talked about our long relationship, last year, in the comic book narrative, Blood Which Flows from the Heart? Remember how I talked about Neal's new graphic novel, Blood?

Well, here's a recent promotional image from Neal's new graphic novel, Blood.


I know, I know, It's just another one of those coincidences, right? How about this one?

Now, why do you think it is that I remind Neal of crosses and crucifixions?

What? What do you mean that I'm being presumptuous?

Alright. I didn't want to do this but you've forced my hand. I know you didn't look at this last year when I told you to, so take a look now and read it carefully. It's one of the pages from Blood.

Ok. You've read it, right? Now, where from do you believe Neal draws his inspiration for such an idea - in a story about aliens? Where does Neal get an idea for a good hearted guy who blows his mind out on Anemae in the desert, or LSD, or whatever hallucinogenic you want to think it is - and then goes out to a place full of Arabs and Jews to warn the world about an impending doom and nobody listens - as if he's some kind of savior or something? Look at the long haired guy with a beard in the middle of the last panel. Look familiar?

Hell, it's all probably just my imagination.

But it's also in Neal's stories and art. He knows the real score and he's putting it down in his comics. I'd have to be one cold-hearted bastard not to have a fixation on a guy like that.

Neal Adams is back in the saddle, showing the way. That's what a lot of comics creators should begin doing more of.

There's a big story coming our way here.

Time to help make it happen - and start cashing in on it.

All images used in this article are copyright © 2005, Neal Adams.

Permalink Posted: 3:26 PM EST 1 comments 

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Mystery Photograph Corroborates Galilee Sightings

CAPERNAUM - Toursists are flooding this northern Sea of Galilee town in wake of the mysterious photo taken by Hollywood film director, Jerry Lensman, who came here with a camera crew looking to document the mysterious sightings of a man resembling the Biblical Jesus Christ, reportedly seen at the shores of Lake Kineret in Israel - traditionally known as the Sea of Galilee.

Lensman released the photograph on Sunday in a press conference from the Tiberias Hilton as he told of his encounter with the mysterious figure that's brought millions of tourists to the region amidst growing speculation that the escalating phenomenon heralds the Christian Messiah's return to his homeland and his imminent revelation to the world.

"We were driving by Capernaum when Johnny, our technical assistant, noticed someone crossing an open area between the synagogue and church ruins of the landmark site," Lensman said, "at a few hundred yards from him, we couldn't stop the car in time to get a clear shot. Our photographer, Bobby, was barely able to zoom in on him before he disapeared into the ruins." Lensman then told of how him and his crew spent the next few hours combing the Capernaum site looking for more traces of their quarry. "By sundown," he added, "we realized that the reports of his mysterious disappearances are also true. This photograph is all we have to show for what we all saw with our very own eyes."

The photograph appears to match descriptions from previous sightings in the region. Aside from the striking resemblance to the Biblical Jesus Christ, the figure is seen to be wearing a suit jacket and leaning on a walking cane or staff, as has been previously reported. "As he walked away," Lensman told at the press conference, "He seemed to have a slight limp which might explain his need for that staff he uses."

Chief detective Shimon Barak, commander of the Tiberias Police investigative unit, released a statement today saying his forensics team examined the photograph and concluded it to be an authentic image of what the camera recorded at the site. "This is the first corroboration we have of the hundreds of sightings that have been reported here," he added, "but we still have no solid evidence that the man in the photograph is who people here are claiming him to be." Barak's investigative unit sealed off Capernaum after the incident but found no other evidence for the mysterious presence.

The Christian world has become sharply divided by the phenomenon in Israel and the mass rush of millions of believers from around the world to the Sea of Galilee, hoping to get a glimpse of what many believe to be the beginning of a miraculous revival of prophecy in the Holy Land .

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Rick E. Myerson, leader of the Liberal Religious Coalition, exhanged a heated debate on the Oprah Winfrey show last night when the Archbishop scoffed at what he termed as "The obvious deception behind a man sporting a limp and alluding to his role as the returned Christ to the world."

"He was stabbed in the side by a damned Roman sword, for Christ's sake!" Meyerson reprised. "What the hell is so deceptive about that?"

The Vatican released a statement today warning Catholics not to be tempted by the events in Israel. "Our Lord will return in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory, as he told us in the Gospels." The statement said. "Anything less is clearly the work of a deceiver and a false prophet."

More to come as events unfold from the Sea of Galilee - Israel.

Permalink Posted: 8:55 AM EST 1 comments 

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Millions Flood the Sea of Galilee

Millions of tourists and pilgrims are flooding the beaches of Lake Kineret, traditionally known as the Sea of Galilee, in wake of stories coming out of the region about the mysterious presence of a figure resembling the Biblical Jesus Christ who lived in the area some 2000 years ago.

Reports have increased in the last several weeks about the mysterious appearance of what some pilgrims are saying may well be the Return of the Christian Messiah to his homeland. "Look at all these people coming here on pure faith alone," said Jerry Crossman from Pittsburg, who organized a group of 300 worshippers from the Calvary Church in the city. "These numbers don't lie. We're sure that the time has come and the Advent of The Lord is here."

Some Christian authorities are showing skepticism, however, and even hinting that this is a hoax meant to bolster the ailing local tourist industry. "Everyone knows Jesus will not return until the Anti-Christ makes his appearance," said father Duane McCartney, head of the Cleveland Conference of Catholic Bishops. "If anything, this is a sign of the work of Satan meant to encourage the non-believers of the world," he added.

With the surge of tourists coming here in hopes of getting a glimpse of the phenomenon, the number of sightings increased sharply over the last week. John Artman from New York, here with his family in wake of the news reports, had this story for our reporters. "It was him, make no mistake of it. I was standing by the edge of the beach area and noticed someone walking through the thick marsh leading up into the mountains. I tried to get near him and got a close look before he suddenly disappeared into the thick greens." When asked to describe what he saw, Artman said: "Strangest thing, he was wearing a suit and seemed to be injured in his left side and walked with a cane that looked like a staff. Before he disappeared he turned towards me and extended his left palm in my direction. It was him, no doubt about it. He had that face and look that you very rarely find - and his palm had a mark in it that looked like it was bleeding."

The local authorities have been attempting to downplay the events but have found themselves helpless against the tens of thousands arriving here each day from all over the globe. Detective Shimon Barak, commander of the Tiberias Police investigative unit, spoke with reporters today in a press conference and had this to say. "We have no solid evidence for all the stories being told here about the mysterious sightings. But we will get down to the bottom of this once we have the security situation under control." The Israeli Government has dispatched 15,000 border guard troops into the area in order to ensure the visitors' security.

Stay tuned to Flaming Sword News, reporting live on the unfolding drama here at the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

Permalink Posted: 1:53 AM EST 1 comments 

Saturday, September 10, 2005

CNN Special Report

Lake Kineret.

Vacationers across the beaches of Lake Kineret, traditionally known as the Sea of Galilee, are reporting a mysterious phenomenon - the appearance and sudden disappearance of a man resembling the Biblical Jesus Christ, known to have lived in the same area 2000 years ago.

Eye witnesses say the man's been seen at the beaches for fleeting moments, after which he suddenly disappeared, leaving no trace of his presence.

"I looked up and there he was," said Emily Kruger, a Utah resident vacationing in Israel. "As he walked by, he turned to look at me and I swear to you, he had the face of The Lord."

"He just appears out of nowhere and suddenly disappears again," said Eric Meyer, a Tiberias resident. "We haven't seen anything like this around here in a long time."

One eye witness described the man as, "Somewhat short, wearing a 3 piece suit and sporting a walking cane that looks like the staff of Moses."

Local police have no corroboration of the story and are asking vacationers to report all sightings. "It may just be the hot summer sun having its effect on people," said detective Shimon Barak, commander of the Tiberias Police investigative unit. "But we don't take any chances with security here. If it is him, he's accountable to the law just like anybody else - and he'll have to deal with us also."

More to come as events unfold.

Permalink Posted: 7:29 PM EST 2 comments 

Thursday, September 01, 2005






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Permalink Posted: 10:58 AM EST 1 comments 

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Justice! Justice!

With these words, Clifford Meth commented on the settlement reached with Richard Emms over the inking on Mr. T #3. Clifford kept an eye on the incident, in spite of being heavily pre-occupied with his new baby boy and a recovering Mom - and offered to intermediate if necessary. It wouldn't be the first time Clifford would do so for a just cause in the comics community - but fortunately, this was one case he could take a well deserved rest from.

Blair Marnell wrote a detailed summation of the Newsarama thread in his column, All the Rage at Silver Bullet Comics and Books, concluding that "cooler heads" had prevailed to reach a settlement.

Rich Johnston also covered the incident in his column, Lying in the Gutters at Comic Book Resources:

To be honest, I think that's the happiest one of these forum back-and-forths has ever concluded.
Rich's comment reminded me of a Biblical narrative in the book of Exodus telling of the meeting between Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro, upon the latter seeing the Israelites freed from Egypt. Jewish commentaries say that what moved Jethro to join the Jewish people afterwards was that he had seen, for the first time in his life, how a God had helped the oppressed and disenfranchised. Until then, Jethro was known as a master idol worshipper, bowing to every false god he'd come across.

For those who wonder what it is about Rich Johnston that evokes such thoughts, perhaps this will help.

Permalink Posted: 12:47 AM EST 3 comments 

Monday, August 29, 2005

DC Goes to Washington

DC Comics and Flaming Sword Productions have announced a new crossover series starring the two publishers' best selling characters, Batman and Michael Netzer. Slated for release beginning later this year, Washington DC is a four issue mini series, written, penciled, inked, colored and lettered by The Crusty Bunkers - famed creative team from the 1970's.

Dan Didio and Michael Netzer stopped by to interview each other at the unveiling of the first cover for the series in Madison Square Garden, to the cheers of 75,000 comic book fans waiting anxiously for the news. Comics reporter Tom Spurgeon, who hasn't been too hot on the Superheroes lately, was there to give a glimpse of the event and said that a new era has begun again for the spandex-clad warriors. The interview was transmitted by Tom, live from the Garden:

Michael Netzer: Hello Dan. It's great to work with you on this project. Can you tell us what compelled DC to do such an off-beat series?

Dan Didio: Well, Mike, let's face it. You're the hottest property in comics right now. When I saw the mock-up you did at Flaming Sword, I knew this series would sell. But I have to ask you, was that Time cover for real? I mean, are you serious about this Anti-Christ thing?

MN: Dead serious, Dan. Now, can you tell us something about Washington DC?

DD: It's an epic undertaking that introduces 3 major villains to the DC Universe. They'll sell a lot of comic books and change the way we look at the world. There's The Legislator and The Crucifier, who both work for the arch villain, Top Dollar, who makes Darkseid look like Winnie the Pooh. Anyway, the trio brainwashed everyone in Washington and plans on enslaving all of civilization. Batman gets a whiff of the dastardly plot from you - and that's when the action begins. So tell me, does that staff you use for a walking cane really have special powers? I mean, like it does in the comic book?

MN: Absolutely. It brings down lightning from the sky and can split the earth in half. I really have to be careful with it. But let's get back to Washington DC. This is the first time that a comics creator stars in the DCU. Is this something DC plans on doing more of?

DD: Looking at the advance orders on the book, I have no doubt. We are the most creator friendly company out there, after all. Don't let Uncle Joe fool you. Just ask any creator working for us and they'll say it's true. We're trying to convince Neal Adams to do a team-up appearance with Deadman and intend to announce that series as soon as we work out a deal. There's a rich reservoir of creators we can exploit for this line and we intend to do so with every one of them. By the way, do you think there'll be room for me too on that spaceship to Titan that Paul is going on?

MN: It'll be a big spaceship, Dan. I'm sure there'll be a lot of room on it for everybody. Our readers are really curious, though. DC Comics killed Superman, broke Batman's back, killed off long loved characters and even killed its own universe several times in recent history. How do you intend to top all that?

DD: We're going to kill you, Mike. That's what you get for being in one of our comic books. Then we'll wait to see if you come back to life after 3 issues. I hope you know what you're doing.

MN: Piece of cake, Dan. Thanks for the interview and the great project.

DD: Thank you, Mike.

Permalink Posted: 10:21 PM EST 2 comments 

Monday, August 08, 2005


Remember the Collector Society Forum where Neal Adams popped in and raised a call to arms for Justice for Jack Kirby? Well that thread developed into an intensive debate about Neal's Science Project. A few forum members with background in the sciences helped extend the discussion to more than 17 forum pages - highly recommended for those interested in the subject.

Summing up, Neal called everyone in for a fireside chat.


Tell you a story, come in around the fire.

You sorta know my age. I was a science geek when the Pangea thing showed up.

Now, I was like everyone else, told since birth that there was all this stuff floating around and along came gravity and gathered it all together into clumps and we have a solar system. True, I was like we all are, taught not to question. So I swallowed my questions (wasn't gravity there all along? It suddenly showed up and it all happened? FWOOMP? Or FWWWOOOOOOOMP? Not evolutionary? Don’t things happen slowly? Just FWWWOOOOOOMP?) Then I was told the planet was molten from all the FWOOMPING. Then it differentiated and began to cool, so granitic rock ON TOP, then BASALTS and on down to heavier silicates. Iron at the core.

SSSo I thought, "Melted, molten" How come we find iron at the surface? And in silicates? Then the questions multiplied. IF it cooled for 5 BILLION years, how come it’s so hot down there? Unless...something is still REALLLLY going on??

Then came the Pangea theory. God, it made so much sense, in so many ways, in tectonics, distribution of animals, dinosaurs and plants, etc.

Then, doubts crept in.

Did geology do tectonic matching in the Pacific as well as the Atlantic? No, No? Why? What, what? Wasn’t necessary? If I were Chinese, wouldn't I think the Pacific was opening and the Atlantic closing? Why was one hemisphere spreading apart and the other hemisphere's continents moving together? Preposterous. What about the Antarctic Ocean, all spreading apart? IT ALL made no sense.

To my relief a group of geologists stepped forward and said, "No, we think the earth grew and the crust simply spread."

"Thank God." I thought, "a sensible answer."

I had gotten to the point of total frustration, All the continents had, what, gotten together on one big continent on one side of the earth and the remaining three quarters of it was water, five miles deep, no islands, nothing. This boggled my mind; we haven't evolved but a handful of real fish that live at that depth, compared to upper ocean fish. I visualized this Earth in my mind. It was almost funny.

Truly the oddest planet in a Jack Kirby universe." Like an eye, "I thought," an iris, the land, the rest of the eyeball, the ocean. My-o-my-o-my, it was so unnatural.

And these geologists came and saved my sanity. The earth simply grew. Huzzah. [One of these, I found much later was Professor Sam Carey, a brilliant and awarded geologist.


My happiness was however, short-lived. The "community" required that they show HOW the Earth grew, or expanded, or that they must withdraw.

They were Geologists, right or wrong, they weren't Physicists. They withdrew, in derision.

Now rifts were being discovered all over the ocean floor supporting Carey and his "nuts."

Someone, no name, came up with the theory of subduction, I hit the books. Denseness? No! Direction up? No! Down? Impossible. Equal and opposite? No. Anything? No!

Yet it caught on, anything it seemed was preferable to the unthinkable.

If anyone said growth or expansion, someone said, "Big Bang," and that was it. In my head I was confused (why? I'll never know, but then, yes, authority, you know, is a strong force.)

Yet those questions kept popping up. If rifts pull apart, how do landmasses come together? If subduction slides oceanic plate under continental plate, how come the "subduction zones are out in the ocean? Land could never meet land this way. If rifts pull apart, how does together ever happen?

In the beginning they said continents would slide under continents, now they say, "no, never." Continents never slide under anything. But if the Earth was molten and cooled, it was 100% covered with granitic rock, what happened to all that other granitic rest of Earth's surface. I checked the continental thing, no, no subduction of the continental plates that they said was a silly old idea. Impossible!

But three quarters of the Earth's surface is missing. Where did it go? Three quarters of the one billion to five billion year old continental plate is gone. But granitic rock can't subduct!

So, so, so how old is the ocean floor? They measured it. No older than 180 million years old. NO! Yes! 70% of it is only 60 million years old. NO! Yes! If there was no water would the same thing happen? They say yes! Does it happen on Mars? What? Subduction? On Mars?

No, no sign of subduction on Mars. Is there tectonic movement on Mars?

First "they" said NO definitely and unequivocally. Now they say, "well yes, and quite a bit." (Heh.)

Still no subduction?

Absolutely not! They say. They're probably right about that, but how can you have one without the other? Ah, well. Then things became appalling. Near the subduction zones there are high ridges and mountainous granitic formations like in Arizona and such. At the "zones" the trenches, these bluffs. Projections, mountains, and such must be sheered off and piled up at the trench area! No, actually not at all. It is a big wide-open trench. That's impossible, nothing about all of this computes in any way. Thank God for Geology, it is covered with water.

So, the Earth is growing, like Carey said, and someone's going to have to prove it.

But you know, there's a lot of contradictions lying around all the fields of science. What if one theory covers it all? One must. There must be only one. It must be simple and it is probably right in front of us, but we can't see it.

The End

Neal Adams

Drawing some inspiration from Neal's storytelling savvy, I followed him with my own summation of the exchange.

I'll take a cue from the Master Creator and greatest mentor the world has ever known and tell y'all a story. Pull up your chairs again, get close to the fire and start roasting the marshmallows.

I was never a science geek as a kid. Oh, I like to try to figure out how everything works but science seemed to complicate things too much for me. It all seemed a lot simpler to me. So instead of being a geek about how the universe was made, I was a geek about how civilization got to where it is. That seemed a lot simpler to me than how science was explaining how everything works.

The way it looked to me was that the world revolved around The Creators. The Creators made everything happen in civilization. They'd come and go from age to age, from time to time, in different guises, depending on the time and needs of civilization.

It's a very simple model for how the universe works. The first Creators, at the dawn of human intelligence, started scribbling things in the ground with twigs and branches (because they didn't yet know how to talk) and that's how they started teaching everybody that the sun and moon looked like they were spinning around the Earth. They knew the Earth was also spinning but they began with the simple, understandable concepts first. Those first Creators knew they were gonna die, so they scribbled down some stories that they could later hear when they'd come back again a few generations down the line, so they'd remember where they'd left off and keep teaching about how our universe works.

Later, a new set of Creators came and they started drawing pictures on the cave walls. They told stories which made people think about how the universe works. They too knew they were gonna die so they left their cave drawings in order to remember where they left off when they'd come back later.

The next time The Creators came they were writers. They wrote epic stories about how the universe works and why people die. They also knew they were gonna die, so they wrote the stories down in a way that people would never forget them, so the stories would still be there when they come back again. People were really impressed with their stories and made religions out of them. The Creators were just writers, though.

The Creators, in these stories, told about how the universe works and how people are gonna conquer death one day. They said that one day a Creator would come and remind the other Creators that it's time to conquer death. That way The Creators wouldn't have to keep dying and coming back again all the time.

Then one day, a Creator came by and said he's the one the other Creators told everyone about. People didn't believe him so they killed him. Well, he was the one, you know. So he came back to life and became a Master Creator. He told everybody that there was one more that would come in the end who'd conquer death for everyone and then everyone would know what The Creators are all about - mainly that everybody's a Creator, they simply forgot.

Then, in the end, The Creators all came back and waited for the Master Creator so they could all get together and fix everything and conquer death and go to Titan.

That's when the Master Creator came and Neal Adams began telling everybody how the universe works.

And that explains how the creation of matter is an ongoing process and why everything in the universe is so simple.

Michael Netzer

Permalink Posted: 5:34 PM EST 1 comments 

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Neal Adams stopped by the Collectors Society forum, discussing a recent radio talk show he participated in. His opening post ended with the following:
If any of y’all think Jack Kirby and his family should be treated exactly the same as Stan Lee and his family, by Marvel Comics, it would be a simple righteous thing if you would write a straight-forward letter to the publishers of Marvel Comics saying that is what you believe as a fan of their comic books. Say it any way you please, and know that many others will and I will do my very best to settle this issue in a positive way.
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. -- 417 5th. Avenue -- New York, NY 10016.

Permalink Posted: 8:29 AM EST 5 comments 

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Time Special Feature

This Man from Lebanon

Pope Benedict XVI declares: Netzer is the Anti-Christ!

In a fiery sermon addressing Christians of all denominations, from St Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI accused comics activist Michael Netzer of spreading deceptive commentaries on the Gospels and declared him to be the Anti-Christ, awaited by believing Christians prior to the return of Christ to the world. The sermon came on the heels of Netzer's strong criticism of the Christian Coalition's efforts to pass a new anti-abortion bill in Washington and the Pope's support of Bible-thumping candidates for the upcoming elections in the United States.

The dramatic declaration was apparently intended to curb growing support for Netzer's Creator's Party, which recent polls indicate has risen to 27%. Experts indicate, however, that the Pope's message may actually tip the scales in favor of The Creators and pave the way for a major political upset later this year, heralding the end of the 2 party system in American politics. While both Republican and Democratic spokesmen welcomed the Pope's speech, Rick E. Myerson, a leader of the Liberal Religious Coalition, had this to say about the declaration:

The dilemma which the Christian Coalition faces today is two-fold. First, the advent of the Anti-Christ is a cornerstone of Christianity and deeply rooted in the prophecies of the Bible, which tell of his rise on the world stage, bringing an age of peace and prosperity to the world. Only when he finishes his mission, will he "come to his end" - or be killed - as the prophecies say, paving the way for Christ's return. Christians will now be torn between their inbred fear of this phenomenon and their commitment to fulfilling Biblical prophecy. This means that for the first time in American politics, we may witness a major shift in the way the Christian Coalition votes - and a turnover to supporting The Creators in order to help make the prophecies come true. Secondly, Netzer himself has challenged the Christian world by claiming that he'll give himself in to a public execution and will rise from the dead after 3 days. This challenge is dividing the Christian world and rallying many of its proponents to support The Creators in order to prepare the way for this event, which they believe is in accordance with the prophecies about the Anti-Christ.

The Liberal Religious Coalition has repeatedly denounced the conservative leanings in Christianity, pointing to Jesus himself as being the first liberal and ultimate humanist in history. Michael Netzer and The Creators exemplify this same spirit and have our full support in the upcoming elections.

Presidential candidate for The Creators' Party, Neal Adams, commented on the Pope's declaration, in a press conference from the party's headquarters in Manhattan:

Netzer's personal religious views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the platform of The Creators' Party. In that sense, the Pope's declaration in irrelevant to us. We've made it clear, however, that we believe religious leaders should stay away from the legislative halls in Washington. The Church has no business trying to dictate its moral code on our society and bring this oppression upon the secular world. We look for truth and justice for all people when dealing with our social issues and reject the sectarian manipulations by the Christian Coalition in congress.

Other representatives of The Creator' Party also commented on the recent events:

Frank Miller: If Netzer is The Anti-Christ, then this would be a good death for him. I said this several times in the Dark Knight stories - and now everyone knows what I was talking about.

Denny O'Neil: I foretold all this in Green Lantern/Green Arrow's "And Through Him, Save a World". I just hope they can find an airplane to strap him up to when the time comes.

Mark Millar: It's like "Ultimate Chosen". With his declaration, the Pope has paved the way to the Grand Finale which I predicted in that series.

Jim Starlin: That's what happens when you have 50,000 religious fanatics trying to run the world. I've been warning about this ever since the Warlock series 30 years ago.

Rich Johnston: Netzer has survived his share of lying in the gutters, so you can bet we'll all be there with the cameras when the time comes. Death will not hold down our Michael.

Paul Levitz: When Netzer told me we were going to Titan in a spaceship one day, I thought he was joking.

John Byrne: Anti-Christ is spelled with a hyphen. Every time I see Netzer writing it as one word, I wonder about his sanity.

Beau Smith: I thought I was the symbol of manliness till Netzer came around. I'll gladly move down a notch for him though, even if he is a vegetarian.

The whimsical reactions of Netzer's colleagues should not be taken lightly. The Creators' Party, originally established by The Comic Book Creators' Guild, has attracted the support of a large number or artists, writers, musicians and actors from many areas of American and world cultures. The gains which The Creators are making in the polls can be attributed directly to having tapped the pulse of the people through the comic books, movies, books and music which they're producing - using the entertainment medium in order to spread their message. The Creators are succeeding in convincing growing segments of voters that they have a grasp of the issues pertinent to the people. Their strategy appears to echo that of Ronald Reagan back in the 1960's, who used his career as a movie actor and television talk show host to bolster his candidacy for governor of California.

The Creators' Party rose into prominence last year when the comic book creators made a dramatic announcement about its formation at the highly publicized San-Diego comic book convention, Comicon International. Although political pundits initially scoffed at the idea, the tragic events in Paris and Los Angeles earlier this year, have brought their movement to the forefront again. A pivotal issue of The Creators' Party platform is Netzer's Mid-East peace initiative, which has been welcomed by both Israeli and Arab leaders - and is undercutting the present administration's claims about the futility of diplomatic efforts at this time in the Middle-East. Growing voices in both the American and European communities, disheartened at the escalation of Islamic terrorism in their homelands, are showing support for Netzer's peace initiative. This revived awareness of the situation in the Middle-East is beginning to show positive results at the polls for The Creators.

Netzer's peace initiative calls for a backtracking process in bringing about co-existence for the Arab world with Israel and the Western democracies. It puts aside any decisions for demographic and territorial changes while focusing on the overall relationship between East and West. The initiative calls for a debate intensive 12 month conference where the issues that divide both cultures can be resolved between them, by their representatives. Netzer, who visited several Arab leaders before presenting his initiative, has gained an official endorsement from Jordan's King Abdullah, Egypt's President Mubarak, as well as Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. Syria's President Assad had this to say about Netzer's visit in Damascus last month:

Never has a Western leader shown such understanding of the Arab world and the issues which concern us. Syria will do everything in its power to curtail Islamic military resistance if The Creators' Party is elected and Netzer's peace initiative becomes official government policy in the United States.

Netzer, a Detroit born American of Lebanese origin, emerged on the comics scene in 1975 but left the United States abruptly in 1981, in pursuit of a messianic vision for the role he believed comics creators were to play in world events. He settled in Israel and remained in relative anonymity for nearly 25 years. Several years ago, he began cultivating a presence on the internet, which was initially scoffed at by many of his colleagues. Netzer remained persistent, however and has since produced a few projects, under his Flaming Sword imprint, that have caused many comics creators to join him in establishing The Comic Book Creators' Guild. Flaming Sword has since emerged as the definitive new publisher in the comics world and has attracted some of the major talents of the industry to it. Alongside the publishing and merchandising activities, Netzer inspired a core group of creators to establish The Creators' Party, which was initially believed to be a promotional gimmick for the sales of Flaming Sword publications. In wake of escalated global Islamic terrorism, Netzer launched his Mid-East peace initiative which has helped establish the Creators' Party as a viable contender in American politics.

Along with its Mid-East policy and a strong stand for separation of church and state, The Creator's party is forging a new model for economic prosperity within the comics industry and wider entertainment worlds. Flaming Sword has prospered by offering joint ventures for its projects with other publishers in the comics. This has injected new life into an industry suffering from a two-decade sales slump. DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and Aardwolf have all produced joint ventures with Flaming Sword, which have become amongst the biggest sellers in recent history. With other publishers joining in, they've formed a coalition of comics publishers and have re-directed the comic book sales to newsstands and grocery stores that haven't carried comics for the last 25 years. All this has catapulted comics sales to unprecedented numbers and inspired a new era of Hollywood entrepreneurs, looking to capitalize on the revival of this pop culture phenomenon. Paul Levitz, head of the coalition, responded to the re-emergence of the comic book as a popular item amongst kids and teenagers:

It's a simple principle of strength in numbers and prosperity for all. Once the comics publishers came together for the collective good, including that of our traditional competitors, we saw the market respond with unprecedented support. I suppose that time has passed on the old ways of devouring the competition. We're finding much more profits and prosperity by helping them instead. It's an exciting time for the comics industry and only good things await us. We hope to inspire such a change in the global economic markets and we're trying to get this message across to some of the big money wielders in Hollywood.

Netzer's life-long dreams for change in the world are all coming true today in a big way. He's inspiring political and social reform in American and global politics. He's helped bring about changes in the battered comics industry that have elevated the form to new heights. With all this going so well for him, what is it about this man from Lebanon that prompts a death wish at the hands of the religious establishment? Michelle Camilleri, Netzer's daughter and general director of The Creators' Party, offered some insight as to what feuls her father's ambition:

Mike can tolerate people lying and pretending about any issue except for religion. That's where he draws the line. The way he sees it, the only way he knows to show everyone how much God loves this world, and how much the religious institutions have strayed from this love, is to give his life for this cause. I wouldn't worry too much about it though, Mike's a survivor.

Michael Netzer is truly a survivor. But can even he survive the assault that the Vatican is planning for him by declaring he's the Anti-Christ? Oprah Winfrey was caught in the crossfire between Netzer and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on her talk show discussing the proposed new anti-abortion bill. The incident which prompted the Vatican's wrath and the Pope's dramatic declaration began when Netzer attempted to explain that an unborn fetus is not a human being until it is born - and thus a woman has the right to abort it, especially in the early stages of the pregnancy. "This freedom of choice," he said "is anchored in The Bible and was instilled in the first human beings at the onset of the species' creation."

"What makes you such an authority on the Bible?" The archbishop replied "you're not a practicing man of the cloth, of any denomination!"

"Kill me," Netzer replied softly. "After 3 days, I'll rise again. Then you'll know what makes me such an authority."

"How dare you invoke such a statement?" the archbishop exploded. "Have you no fear of God?"

"Do you know with whom you're speaking, Desmond?" Netzer answered, standing up from his chair and extending his birthmarked palm to the archbishop while pointing to his left hip, scarred from childhood surgery.

"Look at my hand, I have the mark. Look at my side, I've been pierced."

The archbishop then stormed off the set in a fury.

The following morning, Pope Benedict XVI made his dramatic declaration at the Vatican.

Netzer shows the birthmark in his palm on the set of Oprah Winfrey.

Permalink Posted: 11:23 PM EST 9 comments 

Monday, July 04, 2005

A Freedom Wish on this Independence Day

I've cited, over the last several years, how shallow the Israel Independence Day celebrations appear to me under the conditions prevailing here. A virtual police state where every citizen is suspect, both in security issues and in government/citizen relationships. True independence for the people appears to have slipped away from the great democracies of the world - and in their place, systemic quagmires of conflict, which manage their populace with an iron fist, in their all-prevalent worship of the new economic gods of our troubled world.

On this 4th day of July, the 229th year of independence for America, I raise a hope for the conscience of the people to rise from the quagmire and voice its dissention with the state of affairs in the world's number one super power. The struggle for freedom and independence remains an issue of great concern for the common people today and casts a sombering shadow on the party atmosphere, laden with proud symbols but also with little true depth of meaning and content.

A day is coming when America and the world will celebrate freedom in its truer form. Till then, we call on the people to look deeply at the calamities of our times and muster the courage to demand a change which holds a promise of a better tomorrow.

Happy Birthday America.

Permalink Posted: 10:30 AM EST 1 comments 

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Dr. Jung-Fu Lin of The Carnegie Institution has published the results of new research in the June 24 issue of Science magazine, which indicates the Earth's inner core may not be as dense as previously speculated.

It's been widely believed in the scientific community that our planet's inner core is made of solid iron with a minimal amount of light elements. Unable to sample the core directly, Dr. Lin headed a research team that sought to more accurately understand the Earth's center, through traditional seismic wave measurement. Their research led to the discovery that the speculated high density of the Earth's core is not the only mitigating factor in assessing the results of seismic wave measurements - but that the high pressure and scorching temperatures also have a significant effect on the measurement results. The effects of the high pressure and heat on the measurements now leads to new theory that the Earth's core is not at all as dense as previously believed.

Neal Adams sites the discovery in an article on his website, linked to the source material at scienceforums.com and shows that it supports his theory of a growing Earth model. Neal points to his claims that what scientists previously speculated as being a molten iron core is indeed a dense plasma with a Hydrogen inner core while the molten iron remains at the outer mantle. The discovery appears to support Neal's theory that it is this far less dense core at the center of the Earth that facilitates the propagation of new matter which pushes out through the rifts in the ocean floor causing the Earth to grow.

As I mentioned earlier in the discussion with Tim Gasko, the scientific community is truly in dire need of exercising its imagination in order to break the stagnation it's now in. Neal Adams continues to record victory after victory in his research and the Carnegie Institution now has more evidence showing how the scientific community has long been misled by its own dogmatic theory.

Permalink Posted: 12:13 AM EST 0 comments 

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

More Mid-East Meets West

Tim continues with pertinent comments on the Mid-East situation.

You help us to understand this dynamic. I think Americans are trying to understand. What we don't understand is why America is the object of hatred when it is the despotic leaderships of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Libya, and Iran that are keeping down their people. They are the ones who use the oil revenue to buy arms and develop nuclear technology instead of letting this money flow to their population.

America is the object of hatred because the despotic leaders of the Arab world are considered heroes there. Their values are different than ours and they're seen as heroes for confronting Western attempts at economic, cultural, political and military supremacy. It's not a matter of who's right or wrong. They believe that America is attempting to colonize their world and as long as America deals with them confrontationally, instead of diplomaticly, they will continue to hate America.

If we emerge from this quagmire in Iraq, maybe for the first time there will be a government there that is elected by, and servants of the people. I feel that as long as we remain there though, we just inflame the situation. Lebanon is looking promising now that Syria has been shamed into leaving these people to find their own voice.

America withdrew from Lebanon in 1985. Israel has been out of there since 1999. Lebanese leaders who support Western influence continue to be targets of brutal assassinations by Syrian dictates and the Lebanese people remain under the thumbs of Islamic oppression. Until there is a change in the relationship and Western leaders learn to speak to the Arab world in their language and address their concerns, all of our military efforts there are doomed to escalate the violence and hostility.

On the subject of energy independence, I feel that we MUST find an alternative to oil. Hybrid vehicles, hydrogen, fuel cells, these are where we should be looking to wean ourselves off of oil. Clinton had tax breaks and grants to fund the research but of course Bush (being an oilman)cut these programs.

Agreed. I believe, however, that our next significant energy source will be in tapping into the magnetic field which is mistakenly perceived as the source of the Earth's gravity. This magnetic field exists in the centerline of Earth's orbit around the sun. The moon also spins through a similar field surrounding the Earth. We need a switch of thinking processes in the scientific community in order to discover and tap into these forces. When this happens, our energy resources will become exceedingly abundant.

And finally, on the Comic Book Creators Party. In my humble opinion, I think that you should change the name to The Creators Party and open it up to all Creators. Actors, Musicians, Comics, Poets. You can get more people in if you make the tent bigger.

Agreed again, Tim. But we have to begin at home. Once we have growing support from the comics community for The Comic Book Creator's Party, The Creators themselves will step forth to make the tent bigger.

Mike, dialog with you is always stimulating and never boring.

You're the one making this discussion worthwhile, Tim, with your thoughtful comments. Stick with us, my friend, we're only at the beginning.

Permalink Posted: 7:54 PM EST 1 comments 

Saturday, June 18, 2005

One More Story for the Creators

It was a cool day in the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th. The premiere season of the comic book creators' volleyball games in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park. Years before the fences and "Keep Off The Grass" signs dominated the scenery. Amongst the regulars at the games were Berni Wrightson, Jim Starlin, Alan Weiss, Mike Kaluta, Walter Simonson, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Jim Salicrup, Roger Stern and Jim Shooter. All players in an all-star cast of the comic book makers, in their heyday of professional brotherhood, enjoying a little weekend fun in the park.

Jim Shooter stood two inches taller than the top of the volleyball net. He was a serious player, as he was a serious editor with eyes fixed on the cockpit at Marvel Comics. Jim Shooter was a serious player who came to help his team win the games. His height and determination dominated the game segments when the player rotation brought him into the front line by the net. On this cool summer day, he'd already spiked a few rocket volleyballs at the opposing team and had rotated again to the front line. Walter asked Jim to moderate his blows - concerned that someone might get hurt. Len agreed and Berni backed them up. Jim insisted that this couldn't happen and even if it did, anyone playing volleyball should be prepared for such a possibility. The rotation had also brought me to the front line of the opposing team, across from Jim, as the ball was served.

The ball volleyed back and forth several times and finally found its way to Jim, who was adamant about his playing method and intended to demonstrate his persistence. He positioned himself to take the pass, cocked his arm in anticipation and spiked a bullet straight into my forehead.

It was a tough hit but not fatal. Still, I couldn't help demonstrate the possible consequences of such aggressive play. Not having much time, I took a queue from a Chaplain routine and allowed myself to go limp, fell straight back on the grass and laid still for several moments without the slightest motion.

"My God, Mike! Are you alright?" Walter screamed from the other side of the court as everyone began converging around me.

"We warned you, dammit!" Len shouted at Jim, who stood frozen and perplexed at the bad turn of events.

Not wishing to overdo it, I opened my eyes and raised my head slightly to see Jim's face redden with the realization that I'd staged the fall. He then quickly turned around and walked off the court in a huff, not to return to the game. It was the last time Jim Shooter played volleyball with us during the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park.

Two years later in the summer of 1979, I was penciling a Spider-Man/Nightcrawler team-up for Jim Shooter, by then captain in the cockpit at Marvel comics. Jim offered this story to me, in his unique graceful style, in spite of my two year departure from regular art assignments and eccentric reputation for pursuing an effort to bring an age of peace to the world through the comics. With only three pages left to pencil, Jim asked me to also produce the cover for the first issue of a new Marvel comic book, Rom the Robot.

"Rom is a fierce and scary robot" Jim said as he explained what he wanted on the cover. "He should be front and center, big and threatening as the villagers cower in fear all around him with lightning flashing in the ominous skies."

I had been back in New York from California for several months during that summer of '79, gravitating back to my mission in the comics. I had just finished penciling Shout of the Archangel, a revision of Whole Parts, which I made many copies of and distributed to churches and synagogues around the city. I was also spending time producing random drawings with no apparent purpose other than to draw things that came to me at a whim. That night, I sat to draw the Rom cover at Continuity. Feeling a need to change the tides of violent images which characterized most of the comics work I'd done, I explored an alternative to Jim's request. By the morning I had an inspiring depiction of Rom standing magnificently on a hilltop, glowing with goodness, as the villagers gazed in awe and reverence at their mechanical savior.

"That's not what I wanted" Jim said when he saw the cover art later that day. "It's not what the story's about. I can't use this, you have to re-draw it."

Although I didn't know what the story was about because there wasn't yet a story, Jim was right. It wasn't what he asked for and my attempt to explain that this cover would serve Marvel's new book well, fell on rejecting ears. I agreed to take it back and try to do what he asked for. That night at Continuity, I drew a Christopher Reeve-like Superman with a horse looming overhead, 15 years before the beloved actor fell off a horse in a tragic accident. Try as I may, though, I couldn't bring myself to draw Rom as Jim had wanted. I put the cover aside, intending to return it to him in the morning, as is.

At 8:00 in the morning, I made my way to Marvel and arrived there before Jim Shooter. Realizing there was no bridging the gap between us on this cover, I ripped the art into four pieces, placed it in the envelope and included the following note:

This was a worthy cover and shouldn't be changed for another depiction of senseless chaos and violence. You've rejected my good efforts for the last time and from me, you'll get no more work!

I slid the envelope under Jim's office door and spent that day in Central Park trying to unwind. By evening time I made my way back to Continuity where Neal and the crew were finishing a rushed storyboard commission.

"Did you rip up your cover art for Marvel?" Neal asked in astonishment as I walked into the studio. I could always count on such news getting around fast in the comics.

"It was a good cover" I said. "They didn't want to use it."

"Everybody here is tired and we need a few more storyboard frames by the morning" Neal offered. "Here, try to do these tonight and we'll talk about this later."

Neal was the last to leave the studio that night. Making sure everyone had left, he stopped by my desk on his way out.

"Listen Mike," Neal said sternly as he towered over me. "I allowed you to come back to Continuity this time on condition that you'll accept regular art assignments and make a living, like everyone else. I also made it clear that you can't work on your religion from the studio." He then leaned into me and raised his voice in anger.

"I've made you what you are today, Mike." He shouted. "Everything you dream of and aspire to do have been influenced by me. I've been your guide at every major step you've taken in your life and I expect you to consider what I'm saying about the situation you're getting yourself into."

"How do you expect anyone to give you any more work when you rip up the art they asked you to correct? Why do I see all of these drawings lying around the studio which no one is paying you to do? Why did you make hundreds of copies of your religion artwork, using the studio Xerox machine, when we agreed that you're not to work on it from here?"

"Listen to me, Michael" Neal suddenly softened. "I'm bending over backwards to help you but you have to listen to me. You have to get back on track with paying projects and you have to stop working on your religion. If not, I'll have to ask you to leave and you can't come back." Neal then turned around and left the studio.

It wasn't the first time I'd leave Continuity not to come back. The same thing had happened a year before and I was all too aware that my time there was running out now as well. I'd already invested two long years pursuing a vision for the comics industry and left behind many stories of rugged individualism in the face of overwhelming pressure to conform to my environment. As I drew the few storyboard frames Neal had asked for that evening, I pondered how I could leave behind one more grand tale for the comics community before moving on. One more story to inspire the comics creators with an adventure that would help break the illusion with which the chains of conformity had bound our thoughts, actions and yes...even many of the comics we produced.

At 3:30 am I locked the studio and headed out to the relative silence of the late night streets of New York. On Fifth Avenue, I hailed a cab and asked the driver to take me to La Guardia Airport. Upon arriving I stepped out of the cab and headed for the terminal. The driver burst out of the cab.

"Hey! Aren't you gonna pay for the ride?" He shouted.

"I don't have any money." I said, walking back towards him.

"You asked me to bring you here and you don't have any money?"

"You didn't ask for money when I asked you to bring me here." I explained.

It was late and he couldn't argue with the logic or the situation. The cab driver then calmed down and pulled out a business card.

"Here's my phone number" he said. "Call me when you have $12 to pay for the ride." I took the card, thanked the driver and entered the airport.

The terminal was silent and empty. Straight ahead was a hallway that led to the administrative offices. A rubber covered chain, such as the ones used in banks, hung between two chrome poles and blocked the entrance. The sign above said: "Authorized Personnel Only". Considering myself authorized, I stepped over the rope and made my way into a maze of administrative cubicles, closed offices and criss-crossed corridors. Several minutes later a light appeared at the end of a hall from one of the open doors in the distance and voices could be heard emanating from the lighted room. I made my way there and found the airport personnel cafeteria with a few night workers sipping coffee and discussing another Yankee defeat in a not too particularly good season.

Across the cafeteria was a door with an "Exit" sign above it. I crossed the cafeteria, straight for the door. No one said a word or appeared to notice the stranger prowling the airport hallways at 4:00 in the morning. Past the door, I found myself at the top of a metal staircase overlooking a hanger housing a parked airplane, several floors below. I walked down the stairway and headed for the giant open doors of the hanger, leading to the airport runways. Arriving at the door, I saw an airplane in a distant runway with its lights on and its tail service door down, forming a staircase leading into the plane from the rear. Heading straight for the airplane, I ascended the stairs and walked in.

The plane was being cleaned by a night worker who vacuumed the carpet midway through the isle. I headed straight towards him and climbed around his industrial vacuum cleaner, continuing to the front of the plane. The night worker didn't say a word and continued vacuuming. Arriving at the front of the plane, I thought about Jim Shooter for a moment, walked straight into the cockpit and sat in the pilot's seat. Half an hour later a man in a suit laid his hand on my shoulder.

"Would you like to come with me and have a couple of words with the airport manager?" He asked.

"Of course." I answered.

We stepped out of the plane and back into the airport and the corridor maze. Arriving at an open door guarded by two uniformed policemen, my escort ushered me into the office. Inside, the manager sat at his desk with a few assistants seated beside him in a tribunal formation. The manager greeted me and asked me to take the empty seat across from him in the center of the office. My escort stood by the door and listened to the deliberations.

"Why did you board the airplane?" The manager asked.

"I wanted to fly to Detroit." I answered.

"Why didn't you simply buy a ticket?"

"I don't have the funds right now."

"Did you think we'd fly you to Detroit free of charge?"

"You might have."

It was late and difficult to argue with the logic or the situation. The airport manager composed himself and continued his questioning.

"Why do you want to fly to Detroit?"

"I intend to gather together some friends who are comic book fans, build a camper bus and travel the comic book convention circuit across the country, raising the awareness of a new leadership coming to America from the comic book creators."

It took the airport manager a few more seconds to compose himself this time. His assistants looked on in bewilderment and waited for the questioning to continue.

"Why did you sit in the cockpit?"

"To study the cockpit controls in case something were to go wrong during the flight. I believed I could be of some help by doing so in such a situation."

You could hear a pin drop in the manager's office as eyes gazed in disbelief at what their ears had just heard. Suddenly the door opened and a man in a pilot's uniform burst in.

"Did you think I'd let YOU fly my plane?" He exploded with dismissing laughter. "You? Flying MY airplane?"

"You might have." I answered softly.

The interrogation was over and the airport manager had but one recourse.

"Would you mind accompanying the uniformed gentlemen outside? They'd like to ask you a few more questions."

"Not at all." I answered.

The manager handed one of the policemen the report that his assistant had written while he questioned me. The policemen then escorted me to the underground parking lot where an ambulance waited. We climbed into the back and arrived, twenty minutes later, at a large complex bearing a sign: "Elmhurst General Hospital". The ambulance deployed at the emergency dock and the two uniformed policemen escorted me inside. We made our way to the elevator and up to the 5th floor where the signage revealed that we were entering the psychiatric ward. Once inside, the uniformed policemen handed the airport manager's report to the head nurse and left the ward. The head nurse asked me to wait with the other patients until a doctor would become available to examine me.

For the next several hours, I mingled with the patients. It was a quiet morning but the ward was beginning to come to life as more patients were awakening and joining the group in the open area. Aside from some small talk about why everyone was there, I spent considerable time standing by a patient lying on a wheeled stretcher bed. Another patient had said that this one was a vegetable who wasn't aware of and didn't interact with anyone in the ward. I stood by him for more than half an hour gazing into his open eyes. At one point he began uttering voices and trying to move his hand in my direction. I took the patient's hand and held it firmly. He raised his voice and began to show strength and excitement at the stranger who stood by him. Other patients gathered around in wonder at how a vegetable had suddenly come to life. The head nurse broke it up as she called me to be examined by a doctor who'd just become available.

Her name was Dr. Seinfeld. A psychiatrist in mid-life who had an easy routine examination to evaluate a patient's level of cognizance.

"What day is it today?" She asked.

"People call it Wednesday."

"Do you know what city you're in?"



"New York."

"Who's the mayor?"

"Ed Koch."

"Alright." she said, looking over the report that the uniformed policemen brought.

"Where do you work?"

"Neal Adams' Continuity Studios."

"What's the phone number?"

"869-4170. Manhattan."

Dr. Seinfeld picked up the phone, called Continuity and asked for Neal Adams. After explaining to Neal what I'd done that night in the airport, she listened to him explain something about me. Dr. Seinfeld nodded and hummed as Neal went on for several minutes. She then thanked him and ended the call.

"You're free to go." She said. "I'm releasing you this time, but if you're brought here again, it may not be so easy for you."

"Thanks." I said, as I got up from my chair.

"One more thing, Michael." Dr. Seinfeld said as we stepped out of her office. "Forget this prophet messiah thing. It'll only get you in trouble."

By the early afternoon I walked into Continuity. Neal looked at me smiling in disbelief at the story he'd heard from Dr. Seinfeld.

"Everybody's talking about how you tried to hi-jack an airplane last night." He said.

"One more story can't do much harm." I answered.

"You know." Neal said. "There's this guy I know who has a great life story."

"He should only live to tell it one day." He added.

I nodded to Neal with a smile.

"I called your mother and told her what happened. She has a bus ticket to Detroit waiting for you at Greyhound. Take some time off and come back when you feel up to it."

"Fine." I said.

"Oh, by the way, Jim Shooter sent you a letter. I've put it up on the bulletin board."

I stood by the bulletin board for long moments pondering the letter.

Dear Michael,

I'm sorry about the misunderstanding and had no intention of belittling the great cover you drew for Rom the Robot #1.

You're always welcome to work with us again and you'll receive a $25/page rate increase for all future work you produce for Marvel.

Good luck with all your endeavors and please keep in touch.

Jim Shooter,

Editor in Chief, Marvel Comics

True grace in the unique Jim Shooter style.

Jim Shooter. Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Permalink Posted: 9:49 PM EST 7 comments 

Saturday, June 11, 2005

How Mountains are Made

Neal Adams has an excellent new video short on his Continuity Studios web site simulating how mountain ranges came into being.

Geologists have long speculated that Earth's mountain ranges are the result of the continents crashing into each other in what they theorized to be part of the process of the Pangea continent formation breaking up into the present one we now have. Neal's science project calls the Pangea model into question, noting the improbability of the continents being able to plow through the ocean floor and lack of evidence for subduction in all the places we'd need to see it.

Neal Adams' new model for the phenomenon we see on the planet today suggests that the Earth has grown in size since it came into being, and continues to do so. The overwhelming evidence he notes for this is the age of the ocean floor, which is 2-4 billion years younger than the continental crust. As geologists continue to struggle with the house of cards they've built most of their theories on, Neal is pushing ahead with his science project and presenting compelling and sound answers to many of the questions about the Earth's origins, still puzzling the scientific community.

Mountain ranges, Neal notes in the new video, came into being as the planet grew and the curvature of the continental crust became more straight. This caused the "bunching up" of land masses at the edges of the continents while leaving open flatlands in the middle areas, as is evident today.

I was fortunate to have viewed a screening of Neal's science project video in production, during a Big Apple convention last fall. An awe inspiring project with much thought and effort behind the conceptual and technical breakthroughs it makes. Difficult as it is to sway public perception of this subject and to compel an acceptance of it in the scientific community, this video is destined to become a landmark achievement in our collective knowledge and understanding of our universe. Go have a look and witness a revolutionary discovery in the making.

This is a good opportunity to pass on a congratulations to Neal and Continuity Studios for the recent news concerning Continuity Comics properties coming to the big screen. Marilyn Adams is no stranger to the TV and Film industries and this good news can undoubtedly be credited to her vast experience and determination to elevate Continuity as a viable contender in the entertainment world. Congratulations, well done and best of fortune on the road ahead to Neal Adams' Continuity Associates enterprise.

Permalink Posted: 6:48 PM EST 1 comments 

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Aardwolf Pioneers New Publishing Model

From Clifford Meth in the comments thread:

If you frequent this site and enjoy Michael's art, I urge you to support these [Flaming Sword] projects. Michael has been more than generous in lending his time to any & all of the projects put forth to benefit his fellow comics creators; he works selflessly to better the state of the industry. Please show your appreciation for Michael, his fine work, and his unique artistic gift with your purchase of these beautiful books and posters. I am personally down for the whole collection.

Clifford has indeed made an advance purchase of each offering in our store. As inquiries come in from site visitors, a promising prognosis shapes up for Flaming Sword, thanks in good measure to Clifford's continued tracking and support of the activities here. By commissioning the A-Z Superhero Poster, he set the wheels in motion which helped quicken the emergence of Flaming Sword from the back end of our site complex - and the opening of our on-line store.

The thrust of an endeavor such as this is nothing new to Clifford and Jim Reeber, founders of the industry's benevolent Aardwolf Publishing. Aardwolf has led the way for some time, inviting industry professionals for ventures that hold the creators' concern at heart, both in creative freedom and logistics support for professionals enduring sometimes difficult times. Aardwolf's path has been a primary beacon for Flaming Sword, leading the struggle for the plight of Dave Cockrum and Bill Messner-Loebs, while championing Harlan Ellison's confrontation with AOL over the internet's role in the intellectual property rights arena. Aardwolf has also donated the proceeds from sales of its entire line of products, for an extended period, to the Tsunami relief efforts in wake of the disaster in Asia. Its growing list of affiliate creators includes: Harlan Ellison, Stan Lee, Gene Colan, Gray Morrow, Al Feldstein, Bill Messner-Loebs, Joe Kubert, Joe Sinnot, Mike Ploog, Herb Trimpe, Dave Cockrum, George Perez, Neil Gaiman, Marie Severin, Roy Thomas, Clifford Lawrence Meth, Joseph Michael Linsner, Peter David, David Boswell, and Alex Toth.

We can perhaps look forward to more such initiatives from the comics publishing world in the future. The goal is always to give back to the readers the best that the creators have to offer. The means to achieving it is by recognizing the primary role comics creators play in this process, and expressing this in goodwill towards the writers and artists, providing them with a more just recompense as the force which truly shapes the face of the industry.

Aardwolf Publishing is a pioneer breathing new life to an industry sometimes drunken with its scramble to keep up with the Joneses of the entertainment world. Without Jim Reeber and Clifford Meth, the comics enterprise would be a more lacking community today, showing less of the hope they've helped bring to it with Aardwolf.

Permalink Posted: 7:32 PM EST 2 comments 

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Crazy about Comics

I had barely been at Continuity for a month or so when Howard Chaykin stopped by for a visit and spent some time in the room I shared with Jack Abel. Howard and Jack, both Jewish, drifted into a conversation about the Jews in the comics since Siegel and Shuster, Lee and Kirby and everyone in between. Jack Abel explained the phenomenon by telling how the early Jewish emigrates to America couldn't get work in the mainstream industries and thus turned to the budding communications and entertainment mediums, which nobody else wanted to work in then, because they offered little promise of a good livelihood. The comics were the more obscure black sheep of the entertainment world, Jack said, but succeeded in attracting talented Jewish creators who've sat at its helm since its inception.

Howard Chaykin, whose nickname then was "Howie", had heard that the new rookie drawing comics for DC, and sharing Jack's room at Continuity, was Lebanese. He waited for Jack to finish his dissertation, then turned to me and asked:

"Are you a Semite?"

Although it's commonly understood in the world that both the Jews and Arabs are of Semitic origins, my understanding of it was a little different. I knew about Jewish roots in my family, for example, but this wasn't common knowledge at Continuity then. I had my own understanding of the Biblical stories telling about the lineage of Shem, the son of Noah, father of the Semitic people. I also understood why the Moslem world chose to claim Semitic origins at the time of the advent of Mohammad in the year 660 AD. All these thoughts crossed my mind as I thought of an answer to Howard's question.

"That depends on what you mean by Semite." I answered.

"You know, it helps to be a little crazy if you want to draw comic books" Howard said. "But try not to get too crazy about simple things. I only asked if you were a Semite."

A year later I drew a Wonder Woman comic book for DC. On the cover, the villain Osira was inciting a war in the Middle East as war planes and tanks blasted the Egyptian Sphinx and pyramids, destroying them in battle. The signature on the cover read: "Nasser & Rubinstein" giving an impression of an Arab/Jewish collaboration to tell comics stories. Howard Chaykin came into Continuity and saw the published comic book on my desk, picked it up and looked at it for a moment.

"This is a crazy cover." He said. "I like it."

Another year went by and all hell broke loose at Continuity as the comics world was buzzing with stories about how I'd become crazy and was trying to bring peace to the world through the comics. Some of the stories going around then are chronicled at the following links, in that order:

The Summer of 77 on 45th and 9th.

The Martian who Went to Titan.

The San Francisco Treat.

Playing the World Game.

The Peacemaker.

Keeper of the Kingdom.

The Great Storyteller.

My hair and beard had grown then to give the appropriate impression I wanted to make. Howard Chaykin came into Continuity, took one look at me and said:

"You know you look crazy."

"I know everything." I said.

He then saw the issue of Star*Reach #12 on my desk with its first color story which I produced with Steve Leialoha "The Old, New and Final Testaments". After flipping through it, he pulled out some Cody Starbuck pages he'd brought with him.

"This is really crazy. You're doing testaments in space and I'm doing priests and nuns in space." He said. "I like that."

Years later, I emigrated to Israel, settled down and married. When I returned to New York in the early 1990's, I ran into Howard Chaykin at a New York comic book convention.

"Hey, it's the crazy Lebanese." He said, greeting me.

"Aw, c'mon Howie. I've been in Israel for more that 10 years now." I answered.

"I can't remember the last time someone called me Howie" He said.

"Must have been around the last time someone called me a crazy Lebanese." I answered.

"I heard you're married." He said.

"Three kids." I added.

"Isn't that dangerous?" Howard said, "Making more crazy Lebanese Jews?"

"Very dangerous." I answered. "You should get a bullet proof vest."

"You're still crazy." He said. "I like that."

A decade later, I ran into Howard at the 2004 Baltimore comics convention. Seeing my long hair and beard, he said:

"I heard you're still crazy."

"Incurable." I answered.

"How's the family?" He asked.

"Great." I said. "6 children, all crazy as ever."

"Good." Howard said. "I'll start looking for a bullet proof vest."

Two months later, I removed the long hair and beard I'd sported, produced The Comic Book Creator's Party web site and went to the Big Apple comics convention in New York. I ran into Howard Chaykin who took one look at me, clean shaven and wearing a suit and tie.

"Hey, you look good." He said.

"So do you." I answered.

"You don't look crazy anymore." He added.

"Don't stop looking for a bullet proof vest." I said.

"That's what I thought." Howard answered.

"You're putting us on."

Howard Chaykin.

Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Permalink Posted: 8:50 AM EST 2 comments 

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Great Storyteller

It was a hot and busy summer day at Continuity. A tall and lean aspiring comic book artist visited the studio in order to show his artwork to Neal Adams. Neal flipped through the sample pages, handed them back to the artist and told him he was wasting his time trying to draw comic books. The young lad from Vermont took it in stride, returned his artwork into the envelope, thanked Neal for his time and left the studio.

Several months later Frank Miller returned to Continuity to show Neal new sample pages he'd drawn. Neal flipped through the pages, laid them on his table and told Frank that he was still wasting his time trying to become a comic book artist. He then placed a sheet of tracing paper over one of the pages.

"If you begin to fix things like this, however." Neal said, as he drew over Frank's art on the tracing paper, "You might have a chance at becoming a good artist one day."

Frank took it in stride and put up with Neal's direct manner as he listened to a few things about what makes a composition effective and how the body behaves in motion. Frank Miller had more than good comics art on his mind, however. He wanted to tell great stories and he was willing to put up with anything in order to learn how to do it.

Seeing such talent in the making, Neal was compelled to inspire Frank Miller to write great stories. That's when all hell broke loose at Continuity in the fall of the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th as the Martian went to Titan, found the San Francisco treat, played the world game, took advice from the peacemaker and negotiated with the keeper of the kingdom. Neal was fueling a big vision for the comics industry in order to inspire Frank to tell great stories about it one day. Frank, in turn, had succeeded in becoming a comic book artist and was drawing Daredevil for Marvel, with his eyes ahead to telling great stories. That's when my life and career fell apart in the hub of the comic book industry at the turn of the decade. Frank then went on to write the classic tale of how the life and career of Matt Murdock fell apart in Daredevil: Born Again. The wheels were now churning but Frank had big aspirations and needed new fodder for the great stories he wanted to tell.

So, I left America and emigrated into comics retirement in Israel for more than a decade until the creature began to writhe within me again, trying to burst loose to save a world that was giving up on itself as Frank told the classic tale of Batman's return from retirement in The Dark Knight Returns. Neal and I duked it out in Federal Court while Batman and Superman went at it in Crime Alley. Frank Miller criticized the litigation action and the Huntress drawing style but we all took it in stride and put up with his direct manner because he told such great comic book stories from all the inspiration that Neal gave him.

After another short retirement from comics, we returned again to inspire more great stories with The New Comic Book of Life, which called to raise The Comic Book Creator's Party in America in order to topple the corrupt leadership enslaving our civilization. Frank Miller went on to write about it in yet another classic tale about a world corrupted by corrupt leaders and how the Superheroes rise to save it in DK2.

At the Big Apple comic book convention in November, 2004, Frank Miller interviewed Neal Adams and told of his first encounter with him where Neal told him he was wasting his time in comics. Frank said that Neal, more than anyone else in his life, inspired him to tell great stories. They went on to talk about the need to form The Comic Book Creator's Guild and the great future which awaits the comic book industry.

Neal closed the interview saying that not everyone can appreciate his direct manner and that Frank's greatness lies in that he took his criticism in stride and was able to put up with him.

After the interview, I approached Frank Miller and complimented him on the interview and the great stories he told.

"You and me both", he said. "We have a great teacher."

Frank Miller. Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Permalink Posted: 11:55 PM EST 0 comments 

Friday, May 06, 2005

Saturn's Titan: Mystery, Discovery or Cover Up?

The day after the landing of the Huygens module on Titan, January 14th, 2005, I heard one of the coordinators of the Cassini-Huygens mission attempt to explain how it is that the photos coming in from the probe indicate the presence of an ocean, rivers and clouds on a moon previously believed to be mostly composed of frozen gases incapable of having such topographical features. The immediate postulation which this representative of the mission gave was that a giant meteor must have crashed into Titan and un-froze it at some previous point in time.

I'm continually amused by the scientific community having to wriggle out of uncomfortable situations when confronted with compelling evidence which negates its previously postulated theories. The question I ask is why must scientists present their theories with such resolute assuredness so as to make it difficult for them to accept compelling evidence to the contrary when it arises? Such is the case with the most basic scientific theorems coming into question today, including The Big Bang, Relativity, Pangea, Subduction, Gravity and many more.

The disservice this brings to our collective discovery process lies in that the scientific community is trusted with the role of the discoverers in civilization. It appears, however, that it has transformed this role into a sacrilege of science worship where those who attempt to point out the problematics arising from their theorems are relegated to ridicule and ex-communication, much with the same zeal which the Vatican relates to those whom it considers to be non-believers. This unfortunate situation is making the road to discovery and advancement very difficult for discoverers who have touched on basic sound principles and observations that the scientific community continues to reject, in light of the overwhelming evidence for it.

The Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan is unfolding to be a good example of this characteristic of the scientific community, which previously postulated, with intense vigor, that there could be little or no chance for life on Titan. Below is a photographic review of some of the issues in question today as to why the mission center has removed all of the photographs which indicate a rich topography from their web site and why it must now become incumbent upon renegade amateurs to challenge the obstinate indifference of the scientific world to the marvelous discovery which the photos of Titan prove it to be.

The first three images are what the mission center has available to view on its website today from the Huygens probe. They indicate a vague gaseous entity with little reason for any special interest.

So what is it that the mission center for the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan is not showing us on their web site anymore? Below are a few images from IRC Channel, an organization of amateur space lovers moved by the first images published by the mission center. Note the apologetic tone the good people there employ in their humble approach to these breathtaking photos and incredible discovery they represent:

Since the images of the Cassini-Huygens probe -- descending to Titan (moon of Saturn) -- have been published on the net, the people in IRC channel #space on irc.freenode.net have processed these raw images into amateur compositions and mosaics, rendering an image of Titan. Note that, since we are enthusiasts and not professionals, we are not responsible for the correctness of these images.

Aside from the rich topography, resolute with an ocean, rivers, clouds and multi-layered terrain, the last 3 colored images are computer generated simulations based on the information in the topography photos which the Huygens module relayed to the mission center soon after it landed.

The question now is why is such a discovery not being discussed by the scientific community and the space associations? Why is the extent of its wonder relegated to apologetic amateurs who stand in awe at this new information available to us about Titan, long held to be a holder of many mysteries by cultures spanning many millennia?

Are we witness to a mystery here? A discovery? Or perhaps even the beginning of a cover up?

Permalink Posted: 8:00 AM EST 0 comments 

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Rik Offenberger's Silver Bullet Comic Books Interview

The interview I recently brought excerpts from, conducted by Rik Offenberger, has been published at the Silver Bullet Comic Books web site. Rik operates the Super Hero News list serve email news service for several years now and is considered one the more expansive such news sources in the comics web enterprise today. This in addition to the headquarters web site Super Hero News and The Mighty Crusaders Network web sites he maintains.

Along with other outstanding interviews he conducts at Silver Bullet Comic Books, Rik has been published both online and in print. His work has appeared in The Comics Buyers Guide, Comic Retailer, Borderline Magazine, and more.

My gratitude and admiration to Rik for the concise and direct effort he exerted into this successful meeting between us and for the effective interview which resulted from it. Click on the image below to see it in its entirety.

Permalink Posted: 2:27 PM EST 3 comments 

Friday, April 29, 2005

Keeper of the Kingdom

It was around Christmas time of 1975 when I began to frequent the DC Comics offices in Rockefeller Center, as I delivered the artwork for "Tales of the Great Disaster" back-up for Kamandi which I illustrated at the onset of my career in comics. The atmosphere at DC was joyous and filled with chatter. Jack Adler advised me to leave a little more room for the lettering on the art and Paul Levitz asked me to join him as he recorded the details of the artwork I'd delivered. Paul was an assistant editor who coordinated the orderly conduct of the flow of work at DC. He exhuded serious intent, as a bookkeeper who recorded the chronicles of the kingdom would.

Upon recording the details of the work, Paul quickly looked at the pages and extended his hand with a smile.

"Welcome to DC", he said. "I hope it'll be a long and good relationship. Nice work."

Paul was being kind. It really wasn't nice work at all, my first professional comic book story. I had drawn it twice because back at Continuity, Neal had looked at the first version and said: "Do you really intend to submit this?"

"Thank you" I answered Paul, realizing that we both understood there was a great deal for me yet to learn about drawing comic books. "I'm just warming up and hope to give DC everything I've got."

Paul Levitz was an assistant editor at DC then, but in every encounter I'd ever had with him, he gave me the impression that he was the one who was minding the store. He had no power plays and employed no inter-departmental intrigues to do this. He simply conducted himself with the authority and concern for the company as if it was his very own - not as if he was merely employed by it.

About a year later, Paul was writing a series of Legion of Super Heroes stories and asked me to illustrate a few. We sat in his office discussing the plots he had in mind for the main stories, after which he asked me if I had any ideas for backup features. He particularly wanted to write such a story with Princess Projectra and was willing to share in the conceptual chores. Until that time I'd had no involvement at all with the writing of any of the books I'd drawn. I appreciated the confidence Paul had extended with his request and thought about it for a moment.

"I'd like to see a story where the hero's own inner conflicts and their own super powers turn on them and become the villain they need to contend with." I suggested.

"That's an interesting idea." Paul said, "Let me see what I can do with it."

A week later, Paul handed me a script for the Princess Projectra back up feature. It was very well plotted and I was duly inspired with how he brought such a rough concept to life - and by being credited with having provided the concept for it. As I began to pencil the work, it took upon a life of its own. The script was written in plot outline form, what we called "Marvel Style" in the creator's community. Out of the 7 story pages, 4 of them were layed out as splash pages. I knew Paul would not be happy with this. I attempted to change a couple of the pages but came to a decision that this would be the best way to tell this story and I resolved to try to convince him of it.

"How can I write something like this?" Paul said as he looked at the pencils. "I need more detail to tell the story."

"Look Paul," I pleaded. "I tried to break it down a little more but it just works better this way. The concept carries it through and any more detail would only weaken it."

"Let me see what I can do with it." He said.

A week later, Paul told me that the script worked out very well and that he was very happy with what I'd done with the layouts. The Final Illusion soon became a fan favorite amongst the Legion work I'd done.

Skip forward to around Christmas time of 1977. The day after the the night of the peacemaker, following the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th when I spoke on the radio in Larry Hama's room. Continuity was buzzing and it seemed that everyone in the industry had come into the studio to see if the rumors were true that Mike Nasser said he was the Second Coming of Christ on the radio. I sat in the back in my room most of the day. Someone, not from the studio, came in and said loudly: "This story in Star*Reach. It's not funny!" I wasn't laughing either, I thought to myself. By evening time, Neal came back and saw that I'd spent the day not doing anything at all. Marshall Rogers and Mike Hinge were in the room and Larry Hama was in his room next to ours. Neal hovered over me:

"Listen Mike, you might have something to say but you have to use your wheels to say it. The comics are your wheels. You have to use your wheels, Mike."

Larry burst out of his room: "Why are you encouraging him like this?"

"Because" Neal answered him. "One day Mike's trip to California will become the basis for a religion."

"I can't believe you just said that", Larry said in a huff and went back to his room.

I had no intention of making a religion, just the opposite actually. But Neal was right, I had to use my wheels. Some time later Sal Quartuccio came into the room and asked me to produce an 8 page black and white story for his Hot Stuff publication. Anything I wanted to do, he said. I spent the next two days producing the work which appeared in issue # 6. 12 Parts: A Story of the Revelation. Almost finished with the story, Neal appeared in my room again.

"Is this a paying job?" he asked.

"You know Sal doesn't have much of a budget for Hot Stuff." I answered.

"Don't you think you should be making a living, like everybody else?" Neal said. "Why don't you call Paul and see if he has a paying job for you at DC?"

I wasn't sure then if I needed to make a living like everybody else - but I trusted Neal. He understood more than anyone else what was on my mind. He even seemed to understand it more than I did. I called Paul and he invited me over to DC. As I walked into the offices with my long hair and beard and black British civil defense coat, I saw the looks of everyone in the offices and the hallways. News gets around fast in the comics. Marty Pasko cracked a forced smile and said "Hi Mike". I walked by feeling like an Alien who'd walked onto the wrong movie set.

Paul was straight as an arrow. Unshaken by my appearance, he handed me a 30 page script for a Batman Special.

"It's a giant size book" he said "Marshall's also doing a story for it, along with a very good new artist who just started working with us, Michael Golden. Look it over and let me know if you like it."

Hang the Batman became my wheels for the next two months. Julie Shwartz was editor of the book and every time I'd bring him new pages, he found something funny to say so I wouldn't look so serious. It didn't work. I found myself drawing Batman like I'd never drawn Batman before. Everybody was happy. Paul Levitz recorded the details of the pages I brought into the chronicles of DC Comics.

Skip forward about 8 months in the summer of 1978. I'd just come back from another trip to California with more wheels. An 11 page story titled Whole Parts which I produced in Santa Barbara. After stopping at Continuity, my next stop was to see Paul Levitz. I walked into DC Comics without an appointment, straight to Paul's office, pulled out the story and laid it on his desk.

"This is a title." I said.

"This is a splash page."

"This is a prologue."

"This is a three panel sequence."

"This is a caption."

"This is a sound effect."

"This is a main character."

"This is a background."

"This is an epilogue."

"Publish this.." I said, "..and you'll sell more copies of it than anything else you've ever published."

Paul was frozen in his seat and he wasn't biting. I reached for a pen on his desk and wrote a note on his memo pad telling him that he'll be joining us when we sail off to Titan, the moon of Saturn, one day in the future.

Paul remained frozen. My mission was accomplished and I walked out of DC Comics' offices.

Skip forward to January 2004. The Cassinni-Huygens probe was sending back images of its landing on Titan. The images showed Titan to have rivers, clouds, an ocean and a rich topography. Neal Adams wrote on his web site that it looked as if we were coming into a landing at a familiar coastline on Earth. I thought of Paul Levitz and the note I'd written him 26 years before. I then wrote an open letter to Paul reminding him of that note and how he was a creator at heart and distributed it all over the comics internet forums. I asked him to think well of his brethren the creators because we were finally beginning to come together to make all of our dreams come true. I didn't have to do it really. Paul already knows all this.

Paul Levitz knows he's a creator at heart.

Paul Levitz. Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Permalink Posted: 9:02 AM EST 1 comments 

Monday, April 25, 2005

God, Sex and the New Pope

I've heard the argument made that the Pope shouldn't be compared to Saddam Hussein for insisting that the killing of innocent unborn children is wrong. The Pope, however, does not only insist. He manipulates large segments of the population in order to enforce moral and political legislation and thus force the people into a moral behavior regardless of their choice. Male Masturbation, by definition, is also the killing of innocent unborn children. Yet men of the clergy and common men continue to support the church's attempt to forbid a woman her God given right to make a choice as to what's in her own body. Why is it that all these men, who are not at all without sin, continue to cast their stones upon our women today?

Is it horribly unfair to make this comparison of the Pope? The Catholic church has waged wars which led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in centuries long crusades and persecution, the covering up of the rape of nuns for centuries while the skeletons of their murdered babies lie under the dust of the church grounds and the covering up of the sexual molestation of children by priests at the hands the newly elected Pope, who now rises to power to champion the legislation of sexual activity through political oppression and manipulation of his masses. Is it truly horribly unfair to make such a comparison of a Pope who leads such an institution today?

While they decry the fate of "innocent unborn children", do they really care about the people who are living in the world today? Or do they simply wish to champion the cause of those who have not yet been born, while they blatantly disregard every person's God given right to make such choices for themselves? Who does the religious front really care for today?

It is not given by God to the Catholic church, nor to the Pope, nor the Rabbis, nor the Muftis to make such judgments. God allows us to make our choices and asks us to pay the price for them individually, as all women who perform an abortion do. If the religious front chooses to support a corrupt system which takes this choice away, then it must contend with the wrath of God for its rebellion against a fundamental foundation of our existence, which is given to us by God: Our own personal freedom of choice.

When religious men decry the ending of an unborn fetus' growth, do they decry the same as they wipe away the semen which may have spilled from them, whether intentionally or inadvertently? Would they truly support a law to put to end their right to masturbate and would they like to see this law enforced by the local police? Or perhaps by the Pope himself? Do supporters of the Christian Coalition say this knowing how many menstruations and lost eggs bleed each day from millions of women across the world?

If the separate or collective morality of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and all other religious institutions possess what their religious leaders believe to be the key to improving the life of everyone in this world, let them set the example and lead the way. If they're right and the people see that they have a truly better way, the people will be inspired to join them and bring a better world through their faith. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case at all with religious hypocrites. Religious leaders of all faiths and institutions have shown themselves to be nothing more than deceivers who hide behind a pretense of sanctity, in the name of God, which they use to oppress the people. God, however, is not the property of religious hypocrites. God sees the evil done in the world in his name and is not moved by those who continually take it in vain.

The moral solution which religious institutions offer the world becomes corrupt when they attempt to legislate it through a corrupt political system. This example which the religious institutions put forth leaves so much to be desired that one wonders what it is they wish to accomplish by enforcing their deceptive morals on society. Perhaps it will allow the Christian Coalition to enforce, for example, the regulation sexual activity for common people, while allowing the priests to rape their nuns in the church basements, as the law enforcement agencies turn a blind eye to it. Perhaps it will allow the government to force everyone to attend mass on Sundays - or better yet revive the crusades and mercilessly slaughter everyone who doesn't confess that Jesus is Lord.

I ask all you supporters of the Christian Coalition: In reading the Gospels, which I'm sure most of you must do, how do you believe that God and Jesus Christ feel about the church? Please think about this a little and try to remember the scriptures as they were given to you. Consider the plight of Mary Magdalene, for example. Think about Jesus befriending criminals and the trodden while showing them love and forgiveness and inspiring a change in them through their own choice. This, while he denounced the political and religious authorities who persecuted the common people of his time. I now ask you to consider the church and the role it plays in the world today. How do you truly believe God and Jesus Christ must feel about the church today?

I know the Pope doesn't desire for you think for yourselves, all of you who support the Christian Coalition. He says so himself in his denouncing of "extremist individualism". God, however, does want you to think for yourselves. That's why he's given you a mind and free choice. So just for a moment, I ask you to consider God's will and not the Pope's. If only for one fleeting moment.

The evil in this world comes from the evil within the hearts of people. Evil does not come into the world from the essence of consentual sex between adults. It comes into the world from the evil in people's hearts, irregardless of religious creed, sexual preference or any other such things which the religious institutions persecute. Evil doesn't come from the secular world desiring a good life, just the opposite is actually true. Evil comes into the world from the oppressors who abuse the power given them in this life and unforgivingly trod the world with legislated false morals and corrupt government manipulations that enslave and oppress the people. Sexual activity, in and of itself is not an evil. Only evil thoughts and actions are evil. Pomposity and hypocrisy in the name of God are an evil and these are the calling card of the religious world. The secular world, with all of its sexual liberties, is far more kind, tolerant, humble and righteous before God, than the very best which the religious hypocrites of the Christian Coalition and religious institutions have to offer.

The pretentious sexual morality of the religious hypocrites of the world is one of the true great evils oppressing mankind today. Through it, the religious fronts of civilization point an accusing finger at the liberated sexuality of the secular world. The Bible itself, however, points to the opposite of this moral value as being the preferred and enlightened state for the collective family of mankind.

Before their fall, Adam and Eve were both naked and weren't ashamed. This is the highest state of human consciousness which mankind was in, before the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden.

As we enter into the age of sexual awareness in the world, we see a great deal of sexual innuendo, near nudity and a promiscuous indifference to sexual activity all about. The secular world has become indifferent to its sexuality through its liberalism. People are no longer ashamed to see nudity. No longer ashamed of their sexuality. We are now returning full circle, back to the highest level of human consciousness as espoused in the Bible: Naked but not ashamed.

Who is it then that continues to be ashamed - and why? Have all the religious hypocrites of the world eaten of the tree which God commanded not to eat of? Do they wish to keep all of humanity down in the pits of hell with the pretentious knowledge of good and evil which they espouse? Is it not clear how the opposite of the appearance of these matters is true? Is it not so plainly obvious that Jesus' message of love and forgiveness inspires the secular world today, while the church and the Pope wage the war of Satan and evil in their persecution of innocent people who have done no true evil?

God has never commanded anyone to be a Catholic or to pertain to any religion, of any denomination. God only asked that people love God and love their fellow man, even the worst of their enemies. If being a Catholic or being religious means becoming so judgmental about issues we don't yet fully understand, and not being able to love our fellow man, regardless of the choices they make, we then are faced with the choice between being religious or loving God. I say this for every religious denomination in the world, not only for Catholics. If one wishes to lean on a stable rock, then one must lean on God in truth and not on a church or a religion. The Catholic church and religious institutions are not a stable rock at all. They shall all fall, in time, just as the Temple in Jerusalem fell.

The time is coming for all people to make a choice as to where they stand with God. To look at our troubled world and make a choice as to how to make it better for the people who suffer in it. To understand that the church leads its flock as the blind lead the blind and to open our eyes and perceive the truth of the matters we once falsely held to be true. Jesus came into the world to set mankind free of lies and deception. The Pope, the church and religious institutions don't really wish us to be free at all. They do not like our "extreme individualism". They do not like any individualism at all, for that matter. They repress our God given freedom of thought and freedom of choice and attempt to take away these rights from the people.

The secular world must now prepare to resist this oppression with the help of the Scriptures which God gave us in order to see and show the light, the truth and the way. The time will come for everyone to choose which side they wish to stand on. In this battle for the soul of mankind, isn't it much better to make this choice through a deeper understanding of God's will, as opposed to allowing someone to abolish our right to think for ourselves? Isn't it better to understand the full truth which God has given within each and every one of us?

I make this appeal to all supporters of the Christian Coalition and to your sense of understanding. It's not the Catholic, Christian, Jewish or Moslem beliefs that raise the contempt of the secular world against the Pope, the church and the religious institutions today. It's when these beliefs are imposed upon society through corrupt government legislation that the problems begin.

The time has come for the secular world to demand from the Pope and his cohorts to remove their blood stained paws from the halls of legislature in Washington.

The Grace of God is with the secular coalition in its struggle for Truth, Justice and the well-being of the entire family of mankind.

Michael Netzer,

Permalink Posted: 5:16 AM EST 4 comments 

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Peacemaker

It was the night we played the World Game with Rick Meyer. The first night of my return from a 40 day and 40 night trek through the wilderness of California set off by the San Francisco treat. 40 days after the Martian went to Titan in the fall of the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th. Rick had just left Continuity and I walked into the front room to see Neal. "Look Mike..." Neal said right away, realizing I wasn't yet willing or able to talk about it. "You want to know what religion is all about? I'll tell you. Shouldn't kill, shouldn't steal, fair play..." Neal went on to list several other commandments as he pointed from finger to finger on his one hand with the index finger of his other and then switched hands for the next five.

Neal is Moses, I thought to myself as I listened to him wind down his speech and went back to my room.

A couple of hours later everyone was gone from the studio except for Joe Barny. Joe was a night owl like myself. He sat in Larry Hama's room listening to a late night radio talk show about comics. Larry always left his room unlocked so Joe could listen to the radio. The talk show focused on Steve Ditko. The host was taking phone calls from listeners. I joined Joe in Larry's room and after a long silence, he asked me what was on my mind with all this. I pulled out the Bible I'd brought back with me from California and opened it to Revelations chapter 12 and gave it to him. Joe read it and attempted to explain.

"This is talking about the Second Coming of Christ, Mike." He said."Are you saying that this Michael in here is you? That you're the Second Coming of Christ? Is that what you're saying?"

Truth to tell, I didn't know much about the Second Coming of Christ back then but I wasn't about to say no. I just knew that that name was written there for me. Realizing he wasn't going to get an answer, Joe prodded on.

"If you really believe this, then why not say it on the radio?" Joe suggested. "They're taking calls now."

Sounded good to me. Joe dialed and I took the phone and waited. Some time later I was talking to the screener and introduced myself. I was then moved to the top of line of the people waiting to get on the air and the host came on as soon as the last call had ended.

"Next caller's from Manhattan... " I was on the air and I had every intention of making it count.

"This is Mike Nasser working with Neal Adams and Dick Giordano at Continuity Associates." I said.

"Welcome, Mike." The host said cheerfully. "Your work is well known and it's a pleasure to have you join us."

"Thank you." I answered.

"What's on your mind tonight?"

"We're putting together a political party of comic book creators from Continuity and plan on running it for the 1980 presidential election."

A few seconds of silence and the host regained his composure.

"Well...uh, is that all, Mike? It sounds like you have more on your mind."

"It was written that the Second Coming of Christ would be a man named Michael." I said.

It took the radio talk show host a little longer to regain his composure this time. Realizing it best to end the call, he signed off.

"Well, if you believe it..." He said, "...then go for it."

The night was sleepless. At 9:30 the next morning, Neal came bursting into the studio. This was an early hour for Neal in the studio. I was in the hallway facing him as he stepped out of the elevator. He looked at me with a big smile.

"Did you say you were the Second Coming of Christ on the Radio?" He asked unbelievingly.

"I just answered his questions" I tried to explain.

Later in the day, I stepped out of Continuity and found myself in the elevator with Larry Hama.

"You don't really believe all that shit in the Bible, do you?" He asked.

"Neal thinks he's Moses", I answered.

"What?" Larry exploded. "Did Neal tell you he thinks he's Moses?"

"Ask him." I said. We stepped out of the elevator.

Skip forward to 1993. Things between Neal and I went sour. I just came back from a meeting with a big shot lawyer in Manhattan who wanted to serve Neal with a lawsuit for the copyright of Ms. Mystic and libel in Crazyman. I called Larry Hama to ask his advice.

"Whatever you think that Neal's done wrong, you can't forget that he's like our father." Larry said. "Neal has been like our father and you don't just sue your father. It's not right."

I didn't take Larry's advice.

Skip forward again to early October, 2004. I'm at my workstation at DPS, a 3D animation studio in the IDT Communications headquarters building. Newark, New Jersey.

Someone walks up behind me, "...let me first say Hi to Mike." I turn around. It's Larry Hama and he greets me with a big handshake and a smile. He dropped by as a guest of one of our fellow storyboard artists to pitch an idea for an animated film to DPS. Half an hour later we sat together for lunch.

"Have you fixed things with Neal yet?" He asked.

"I'm trying." I answered him. "I just don't know what more I can do."

"You have to fix things with Neal." He said. "You have to find a way."

"How long have you been here?" He asked.

"About 3 months." I answered. "I came here to give a drawing to Christopher Reeve who's directing the film we're working on."

"The production people don't want me to give it to him. They're afraid it'll disturb him and they won't allow me to meet him." I added. "It's a dead end."

"You have to fix things with Neal first." Larry insisted.

A few days later, on Friday, I resigned from DPS and went to have a conversation with Neal. It wasn't yet time to fix things. Christopher had a heart attack.

On Sunday Christopher Reeve died.

Skip forward 40 days to the Big Apple Convention in New York. Penn Plaza Hotel. I just finished The Comic Book Creator's Party website and sent out news releases to the industry press and to Neal Adams. In an article there, Blood Which Flows from the Heart, I explained everything that happened between Neal and I and was finally going to try to fix things. I walked into the lobby and saw Neal with his family at their tables to the left. Everybody was happy. I was scared shitless and not sure how I'd be received. I walked upstairs to the artist's tables and ran into Larry Hama.

"Have you fixed things with Neal yet ?" He asked.

"I don't know Larry." I answered him. "I don't know if Neal is willing to put this behind us yet."

"You have to fix things with Neal." He said. "You have to find a way."

"Look Larry, I value your advice although I didn't always listen to you. Do you really think it's realistic that I just walk up to Neal and say hello after everything that's happened?"

Larry thought about this long and hard.

"Why not?" He said.

At the end of the last day of the convention I ran into Larry Hama again.

"Have you fixed things with Neal yet?" He asked.

"You were right." I said, unable to hide the excitement. "It's fixed. We had a good exchange and shook hands to patch it up."

"I've gotta run and catch a plane back home. Got a family waiting for me in Israel that I haven't seen in 4 months."

"Shalom to you." Larry said as I walked away. "Have a safe flight"

"Shalom to you, peacemaker" I said. "Thanks for all the good advice."

Larry Hama. Peacemaker. Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Permalink Posted: 11:13 PM EST 0 comments 

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Playing The World Game

It was the summer of 1976. I was in the lobby of Marvel Comics' offices on 575 Madison Avenue delivering a White Tiger pin-up for the Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu black and white magazine when I ran into Craig Russell. We stepped into the open bullpen as we exhcanged hellos and some small talk. Knowing I was a newbie in the comics, Craig took an interest in how I was progressing and spent some time looking at the art I carried in my portfolio. He then pulled out a felt tip pen and proceeded to pass on a few tips he thought I could use.

"Think of composition as if it's all in the family." He said. "A big rock in the background shouldn't stand there alone. It needs little baby rocks and children rocks around it to make it feel at home. It also needs to have a softer mommy rock nearby so it can look strong." As he spoke, Craig doodled the rock family on the back of a materials requisition form he swiped from a nearby desk, pouring into it the same firm elegance he applied to every line which graced the comics he illustrated.

Skip forward to the end of the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th. Craig and his roommates were hosting a house warming party for their new apartment on the upper west side. I arrived there with a few friends from the Continuity, including Alan Weiss. What was strange about this party was that it appeared that Craig's roommates weren't all from the comics community and I suddenly found myself in close proximity to people who were not familiar with the family of comics makers. Once I adjusted to the shock, I began making my way around the hallways in an attempt to mingle or shmoozle or whatever the hell else I could find to do there. The place was jam packed and the folk I came with were nowhere in sight. At a distant room in the corner of the apartment, I gleamed Alan Weiss standing in the doorway listening to something which had apparently captured his attention. I forged my way through the crowd to find him in the midst of a discussion about Buckminster Fuller.

For those who aren't familiar with him, Buckminster Fuller invented the Geodesic Dome. This is a big dome which doesn't need supporting columns because it's constructed with connected triangular supports. Each triangle supports the ones above it all the way from the bottom to its top center. Bucky, as we later called him, was also a humanist philosopher who wrote many fascinating books, one of which was "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth", which I'd coincidently read several months earlier. This book lays out an aspiration to achieve the collective survival and success of 100% of humanity in the shortest time possible and suggests that if we would all spend a little more time fishing, as an example, we'd be able to think a little more clearly and come to better conclusions as to what to do with our lives and how to use our presence in this world to our utmost all-inclusive benefit.

Sitting in the room with Alan and giving the lecture on Bucky was a stocky young man who had a presence that rivaled Marlon Brando's in Apocalypse Now. Rick Meyer was demonstrating the physics inherent in the triangles which he made from toothpicks and silly putty. He was showing how a structure made of these triangles is much stronger than its square counterpart. More interestingly, he was apparently peddling an interest in Buckminster Fuller's gathering of intellectual thinkers, scientists and philosophers in order to put forth a plan to save mankind from the destructive path it was on. It was called The World Game and was based in Philadelphia. Rick talked about how anyone can participate in the seminars and workshops by contacting the organization and contributing to putting together these plans for the salvation of mankind. As Alan and I showed some curiosity about the likely success of the design-science revolution he spoke of, Rick explained that well informed people at The World Game could answer any questions we might have. "ANY questions?" Alan asked challengingly.

"Any Questions." Rick insisted.

Skip forward again a few months to when the Martian went to Titan and found the San Francisco treat. After 6 weeks of searching for America, I found it also and returned to Continuity in New York. I walked into the front room to find everyone surprised to see me sporting a beard and long hair. Neal cracked a smile and said: "Welcome back, Mike. We all have religion now", as he held up an issue of Star*Reach 12, which had just come off of the presses from San Francisco. I didn't bite. I wasn't about to let anyone drag me into talking about it yet. This needed time and it was better for me to keep my mouth shut for now and show them what I mean by just doing what I knew I must. "You look like Jesus, Mike" Neal proclaimed again. He knew exactly what was on my mind and he was letting everyone know also. I held my ground and kept my mouth shut again. "He looks really serious" Kris said, hoping I'd break the ice and say something funny. I thanked her for arranging my return flight from San Diego and went back to my room.

A phone call to Craig Russell and another one to Rick Meyer at his work number which Craig gave me. I asked Rick to come by Continuity ASAP as I had something to tell him which he'd be very interested in. Noticing the intensity with which I asked, he said he'd stop by in the early evening. For the next few hours, I sat in the back room studio as Marshall Rogers concentrated on his Batman cover while people intermittently popped into the room from the front to see if they could get a word out of me concerning what had happened. Alan stopped by in the late afternoon and I asked him to hang around a bit for the conversation with Rick. Kris soon appeared at our door to tell me that someone was looking for me. I went to the reception area, welcomed Rick to the studio and together, we went into our back room where Marshall and Alan were, and shut the door behind us. I sat at my drawing table with my back to it, facing Rick. Alan and Rick sat on the couch across from me. Marshall was busy with his Batman cover.

"What's on your mind, Mike?" Rick asked, breaking the momentary silence.

"There are a lot of people who believe in God who could be taught the things that The World Game wants to teach." I said.

"Well, good luck with that." Rick brushed off the unlikely notion. "How do you plan to do it?"

Standing up, I pressed him slightly. " Answering any questions!"

I then leaned into him and raised the intensity.. "What's going on.." ..and volume. "..RICK?!"

Rick was beginning to understand that I had a plan.

"And what part do you play in all this?" he asked.

"And Michael and his angels fought in Heaven." I said.

The words simply rolled off of my tongue with the inflection and knowledge of holding the key which The World Game needed in order to implement their designs for the success of all of mankind in its difficult hour.

Rick's adam's apple leaped in his throat as he sat back and collected himself with a gulp. For the next twenty minutes he went on to explain how the comics creators and scientists will join forces and stand poised to change the course of history. How the same spirit of the writers of the scriptures will be applied today to educate mankind, through the comics, and implement the revolution which will fix everything in our world. Both Alan and I sat in silent awe throughout his dissertation while Marshall remained busy with his Batman cover. When he finished, Rick asked me to come with him and meet some friends who'd be interested in hearing more. I told him it would have to wait. "We don't like wasting any time, you know." He said, as he stepped out of the studio.

The next day we met again and I asked him if he'd be willing to write down his interpretation of the book of Revelations for me before I go with him to meet his friends. "Perhaps you should find someone else to do that, Mike."

That was the last time I saw Rick Meyer.

Fast forward to May, 2004. I'm networking the comics web community with The New Comic Book of Life web site from Jerusalem. I'm also looking for Rick Meyer. I don't need his interpretation of Revelations anymore. I simply wish to talk to him about The World Game. They have a new web site but he's nowhere to be found there. I find Craig Russell and post a question to him about Rick at his forum. Craig has heard about my new website and welcomes me with reserved warmth. He says he hasn't heard from Rick since the mid 1980's.

Skip forward a few months. I'm in New York with Alan Weiss who'd just returned from a comics convention where he met with Craig. We reminisce about Rick and the imposing impression he'd made on both of us back at Continuity.

"Craig thinks you're psychotic, you know." Alan says precariously.

"He'll get over it." I answer. "It's all in the family."

Craig Russell. Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Permalink Posted: 6:22 PM EST 0 comments 

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The San Francisco Treat

November 19th, 1977. Fall of the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th, the day the Martian went to Titan. I've now severed all my connections with work commitments in the comics. All save for Mike Friedrich and his 8 page story for Star*Reach to be colored by Steve Leialoha in San Francisco. Steve, an artist of exceptional talent whom I'd spoken with several times by telephone, was the only creator we knew in the comics who didn't reside in the New York City area. I planned to pass through San Francisco anyway on my hitchhiking excursion across the great divide in search of America. Hal and Ollie had convinced me that it was a necassary experience in order to begin the mission which the sirens of Titan whispered to me. I'd give myself forty days and forty nights to find America, I thought to myself. Should be enough. America wasn't that big anymore. More significant was this familiar time span which would bring together an all inclusive experience and meaning to the journey. Reports of Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem in search of peace in the Middle East came over the radio during the first ride I received, heading out of New York from the George Washington bridge.

7 days later, on Thanksgiving Day, I landed in San Francisco. Giving thanks, I was answered in kind by a Salvation Army lineup for the holiday feast which interrupted my traverse of the city in search for Steve. I needed to inform him and Mike that I will not be producing the work for Star*Reach before continuing my journey. Giving thanks again, I was back in the concrete jungles where a window pane of an unattended laundromat attracted my attention. I'd finally found the man I sought. The flyer advertised Steve Leialoha's services as an illustrator, leaving a telephone number which I dialed with the last coin in my black ankle-length British civil defense overcoat pocket. Steve, showing no signs of wonder that I was in the city, supplied me with the directions needed to find him within the pastoral Franciscan maze of streets and avenues. 15 minutes later we discussed the situation over a cup of coffee in his living room.

Steve wasted no time and contacted Mike Friedrich who joined us an hour later at his abode.

"What do you plan on doing, if not make comics?" Mike asked. His tone was careful and un-intrusive in light of the intensity I was inadvertently projecting. I thought about this long and hard for a moment. I wanted this answer to count for something and pave the way for things to come.

"I intend to venture into public speaking in order to help bring peace to the world." I said.

Mike Friedrich, one of the excellent visionaries of the comics, couldn't argue with such an aspiration. Not even if it meant he'd be left 8 pages short on his grand debut of a color comics section in his previously all black and white ground-level publication. He thought long and hard in return.

"Maybe this is for the better", he said. "The story you had in mind wasn't the most original, you know."

He was right. It was a stupid story with no point other than how aliens and Earthmen blow each other up in classic juvenile redundance. It was one of the reasons I no longer had any wish to produce it. Mike wasn't a quitter, however, as he reached for another solution.

"Why not give me the story you have on your mind now." He offered. "You could do it from here and get back on the road when you're done. If it's alright with Steve, that is."

"It's alright with me." Steve answered without hesitation.

I was caught unawares, truth to tell. No notion whatsoever of such a possibility. I was guilty of undestimating Mike's creative prowess in his reach for the stars. The chips had fallen where they did and I'd delay my journey with one last creative endeavor in the comics.

In the days that followed, Steve worked on his own projects as I produced the line art for The Old, New and Final Testaments from his living room studio. The experience remains one of the more cherished for me, made even more special by the warm hospitality of my San Franciscan host. More than a month later, back in New York, I'd see the published issue of Star*Reach #12 which Steve colored with an equally warm palette of amazing splendor.

Steve Leialoha, with fond remembrance for his San Francisco treat. Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Permalink Posted: 2:24 PM EST 1 comments 

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Damned Snake

The wealthy elite who are enforcing division and ignorance in the world have a weakness. They love wealth so much, they'd give everything they own in order to have more. The socio-economic structure in Western civilization has become such that pop culture, be it film, television, COMICS, books, art, or music, among others, are generating a great deal of the wealth for the elite. Pop culture is a random force which comes from the people. Just follow me on this for a second.

If someone, or some group is able to show that they have the key with which to generate more wealth than the elite could ever dream of, through a pop culture phenomenon, the wealthy elite would put ALL THEIR MONEY, and even their own mothers, on the table to allow them to do this. The problem with confronting the merchant masters of the world has been that their opposition does not like to dirty their hands with money. But if an opposition group were to rise that would play their game - they could take away all the wealth of the world through the infrastructures of the free trade capitalist system and the pop culture merchandising phenomenon of the Western world.

Now, I know you're asking the big question: "What do you have up your sleeve that the whole world would want a piece of? What do you have in mind that could become such a pop culture hit that it would sweep the majority of the world? What is the common thing that the whole world could be led to believe that it wants?"

Alright. Here it is. The Damned Merchant Messiah Snake!

It will become the best show in town. Imagine this. He's a a real bastard who wants to take over the world, but not for himself. For who then? For the comics and for the creators. Through him they rise on the world stage and sweep the world with the most unassuming revolution that anyone could have imagined! The bastard can talk like a prophet. Just like prophets did, he gets on the case of religious hypocrites. The Damned Snake knows all the books, all the rules. The secular world raises him in order to fend off the oppression of the Christian coalition and religious institutions. The religious world is now under attack with it's own weapons for the first time in history! This will make a lot of money. It will also open up reservoirs of knowledge and understanding long buried within a lot of people. Issues will be put on the table which a lot of people have kept suppressed. Mayhem of the human spirit set free.

I know you're now asking the Million Dollar question. Why would the world allow some nut to do this? I'll tell you why. Because the humble and humane secular world wants relief from religious oppression. And this Damned Snake brings the wrath of entire religious world against him. They want to kill him and that's the key. He promises a death and a resurrection. The Bastard! He plans on showing the world that he's the one by coming back to life to the eyes of the whole world! The Damned Snake is going to steal the show. At least for a couple of years until the world can't take it anymore and finally kills him! These couple of years are a window which the comics creators and the comics industry capitalize on in a major way! Within a couple of years of merchandising the damned bastard, they overthrow the wealth of the entire world. They sell advance tickets to his execution to the whole world - which is dying to see if he comes back to life - and take all its wealth in the damn process.

That's how the power will be taken away from the wealthy elite who divide and corrupt the world.

Now the big question remains, does he really come back to life? Well, I know you won't take my word for it. So, you can't really know until it happens. But it's a win win situation for the creators and their comics. Order your tickets now.

Permalink Posted: 8:24 PM EST 0 comments 

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Martian Who Went to Titan

It was towards the end of the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th. The party was winding down and Autumn was falling upon the City. I was in the midst of finishing the first book of Ms. Mystic with Neal Adams and a Princess Projectra back-up story for the Legion with Paul Levitz. Mike Friedrich stopped by Continuity and networked the studio in preparation for the publishing of the 12th issue of Star*Reach. He came into the back room and invited me to participate by contributing the first color story in his above-ground comic book. Marv Wolfman called to ask If I'd like to pencil the John Carter Warlord of Mars series he was launching as an editor at Marvel. "We have a little time," he said, "so maybe, in the meantime, you'd like to come up with the character designs for the book". "Sounds great", I said.

The fall of the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th fell upon me like a boulder falls upon a gnat. I was 21 years old and beginning to awaken to the reality that the party of the summer was an exception and that a far more serious affair now awaited me in the road ahead. It was a time of solemn pondering and hard work. The project with Neal, the work with Paul and the invitations by Mike and Marv were indications that a certain measure of success had been achieved as a comic book artist, yet it all felt rather shallow considering that I'd lost the woman I loved and the daughter she gave me in pursuit of a career in the comics. The socio-political-economic conditions all about had driven me into a corner and were mocking me with the futility of the visions of grandeur I'd sported during the early times in New York, in pursuit of the comics creatorship. The sparks and glamour of life in the comics were beginning to fade and give way to a dark loneliness in a world which gave little hope for change.

As the month of November rolled around I knew I'd arrived at the end of this segment of my life and career. The only question was where to go from here. My friends and colleagues all noticed a change in my demeanor. Howard Chaykin commented several times on how quiet I'd become. I kept it all within and sought to find the answer there. The artwork continued to flow with progressing tenacity, elevating to new heights and eliciting reserved wonderment from my colleagues. Jim Starlin said I was too good for the comics. Neal appeared very happy with the pencils for the first issue of Ms Mystic and Paul was very enthused with the work for the Legion. Marv Wolfman expressed a reserved delight with the character designs I'd showed him for the Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter: Warlord of Mars comics adaptation for Marvel.

But my mind wasn't really on Mars at all any more, no it was far far beyond. The sirens of Titan were beginning to ring within me and beckon me to leave it all behind and to seek their soothing serenade. The sirens of Titan were raising me from the ashes of futility and despair and beginning to fill me with the wonderment of the grand and glorious events they conspired to bring to the world stage of events on the late great planet Earths' all but doomed prognosis for the future. The sirens of Titan were beckoning me to stand tall at childhood's end as the stranger in a strange land who'd dare reach for the proverbial sceptre of leadership for a new age - and with it, help raise my fellow comic book creators - and the comics - to their hopeful and rightful place as the bringers of a bright new world.

It would mean the end of the party of the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th. I could live with it all. Neal would understand and yes, he'd even encourage, support and in his own way, lend a hand to bringing it all about. Many of my friends would remain in dismay for a long time to come, but it was a small price to pay for such a hope. Alan would remain the one friend who'd not desert. Paul would appear to disassociate himself slowly, he was heading for the corporate jungles, after all - no place for such vision. I perhaps garnered some remorse at not producing the art for the Warlord of Mars series. Marv appeared to have rather great expectations of our working together. Telling him that I shall not be doing it was a precarious notion, to say the least.

On the morning of November 19th, 1977, I made the rounds to everyone I was committed to produce work for and informed them that I will not be doing it. I saved Marv Wolfman for last. With heaviness of heart, I told him that it cannot be, at this time. I hoped for best but was prepared to be pressured to explain or to reverse my decision.

"Its alright, Mike." He said. "Thanks for letting me know in time."

Marv Wolfman. A new addition to Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Permalink Posted: 8:43 PM EST 2 comments 

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Summer of 77 on 45th and 9th

That's what Alan Weiss calls it. The summer of 77 on 45h and 9th. I shared an apartment on 45th st. and 11th Ave in Manhattan with Chris Goldberg. A comics community insider adopted by the gang, found this sublet at the same time I was looking to move into the city from Queens. Didn't matter much where we lived then because we spent most of our time at Continuity. Neal Adams' studio, where we hung out and made comics. I shared a room in the back with Marshall Rogers. Both of us drew lots of Batman. A couple of years later, Chris also became a creator and wrote 'Cap'n Quick & a Foozle' for Eclipse. Marshall drew it. That sublet was a little surrealistic. Big furniture, four poster beds, plants everywhere. A spaced out movie set is what it really was. We hung out there a little but Continuity was the real home. That's where we made the comics. Alan had an apartment on the corner of 9th Ave and 45th st. We'd sit on his fire escape having a smoke and waiting for Lisa Chapin, Harry's sister, while we conspired how to fix the big mess of a world we were having such a good time in. Alan and I spent more time on his fire escape, overlooking 9th Ave, than I did at my sublet.

Tony Dispoto had a land rover. An art dealer from Jersey with lots of old Warner Brothers' cartoon soundtracks and Benny Goodman tapes. It was for going out to hunt for food or to find a good Italian restaurant, depending on who you asked. The soundtracks and the tapes blasted every ride we took in the rover. Joe Barney was an assistant. Cary Bates wrote Superman. Larry Hama played in a band. Russ Heath told jokes. Mike Hinge illustrated Time magazine covers. Jack Abel and Terry Austin inked. Joe Brozowsky colored. Carl Potts pontificated. Joe Rubinstein asked questions. Howard Chaykin popped in. Jim Starlin too. Even Sergio Aragones. Gray Morrow also puffed on a pipe. Everyone in the family popped into the studio sooner or later, during the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th.

We saw Zeppelin, Genesis twice, Yes twice, and ELP at the Garden, Tull at Radio City and Peter Gabriel at Carnegie Hall. We toked, we sipped. We tripped. We tooled, we partied, we dined and wined. We smacked each other silly with a volleyball at the Sheep's Meadow in Central Park. We were celebrities at the conventions and pests at the publisher's offices. We gathered at the Wrightson, Kaluta, Jones and Smith studio to have a drink, shake hands with Berni's skeleton and make sure everyone was accounted for. We bashed the First Fridays of every month at Jeanette Kahn's apartment on Central Park West. The comics community was a family in its heyday and we were its children. It was our magical summer of 77 on 45th and 9th. That's what Alan still calls it.

The party was coming to an end anyway, so I busted out and got on a highway to California. The family would soon scatter, not to gather together again. Not in the same way it was together in the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th. Everyone was now gone.

Except for Alan.

Alan Weiss. Latest addition to Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Permalink Posted: 3:05 PM EST 4 comments 

Monday, March 28, 2005

Mark Badger: First Steps to Organizing the Guild

You can't do it. That's what the smart set will say. Creators won't work together, won't be political, won't make things happen. You can't organize a guild or a union of artists and writers, it's like "herding cats".

That's what the smart set will say.

Now, I'm not as smart as the smart set, but I did spend 4 years working with graphic designers, illustrators, some cartoonists and writers. This rag tag band of 125 artists grew to over 400 during those 4 years. We took on California's sales tax laws, went to the legislature and worked with powerful people and compelled the California State Government to rewrite it's sales tax laws for artists. We even received a little bit of help from The United Auto Workers. So, I'm not as smart as the smart set who say you can't herd cats, but that experience looked like lots of little kitty cat paws stampeding together, to me. (More..)

Permalink Posted: 3:11 AM EST 0 comments 


Creators Assemble!

In our fast paced world of informational and visual communications wonders, it's not by chance that so many of the creations brought into the world through the comic book industry are now coming to the forefront of defining the new mythology for the 21st century - and doing so at an ever increasing pace.

The root force which has birthed the comic book creations, since the inception of the industry, can be traced back to the dawn of human history when the first intelligent people began exploring raw visual communications techniques by etching the simplest shapes into the dust of the earth with branch sticks and bush twigs, long before the adoption of the rock as a tool which the stone-age dwellers used to carve out their stories on the walls of their caves. It was this instinct, to communicate and tell stories visually, which began defining the structural alphabets pertaining to the many and diverse languages which grace our civilization. It was also this same instinct which led our cultural evolution as a species, from the literary and artistic works of ages past, all they way to the television and film industries which are pioneering the new technological frontiers of the visual communications and storytelling expanse opening itself to us today. (More...)

Permalink Posted: 3:05 AM EST 0 comments 


Bringing a Better Tomorrow for the Comics

We believe that a strong union of the comic book creators will help secure a better future for the comic book industry within the global entertainment and marketing industries it thrives.

The Comic Book Creators' Guild will strive to set new standards for the conditions under which the creators work, including the institution of retirement and medical benefits, legal counseling for newly created properties along with informative research of the fast changing arena of copyright law for existing ones, emergency funding for the support of colleagues in distress and the establishing of our own publishing, marketing and entertainment arms as a base from which to help provide creative and financial independence for the creators. (More...)

Permalink Posted: 2:55 AM EST 0 comments 


An Open Letter to Paul Levitz

Hello Paul,

It's been a while since we've had a heart to heart talk about the comics and I have been thinking about you lately, so this is as good as time as any, I suppose.

I'm writing you this letter because we want to recruit you back to our ranks. Back to the ranks of the comic book creators.

We all know you're a creator at heart. Heck, why else would you cast your lot in with A.C.T.O.R., an organization dedicated to the welfare of comic book creators? (More...)

Permalink Posted: 2:45 AM EST 0 comments 


For Truth, Justice and the American Way

The greatest service which can be given to Will Eisner's legacy in his departure from us is the perpetuation of the spirit he breathed into the comic book industry.

The gifts which Will Eisner has given the comics are so insurmountable and well known that they need not be listed here and now. Suffice it to say that amongst his many great works, this giant of the comics defined the sharp sociopolitical statements made in the medium today and invented the graphic novel with which the comics present their message to the world.

With the passing of the revered and beloved late great elder of the comics, the reigns now naturally pass over to Neal Adams. Not the reigns of eldership in age alone, but the eldership of prominence, works and stature, all combined into one. (More...)

Permalink Posted: 2:42 AM EST 0 comments 


Science or Fiction?

Excerpts from a discussion at the Silver Bullet Comic Books forums about Neal Adams' science project, which calls into question long held scientific theorems, including Relativity, Pangea and Subduction. The discussion was edited for this presentation.

BR: a) When and where has Neal Adams presented a science project? b) Pangea and the Big Bang (or at least expansion of the cosmos) are backed up by evidence.

MN: There is only circumstantial evidence for these theories. No real proof for Pangea or subduction, though. These are theories based on assumptions made from observing certain phenomenon. That's the problem with all this and this is what Neal is showing. There are other answers to these phenomenon which Neal suggests.

Go to his web site and look at the science project links. There's a lot of reading to do there but the findings are overwhelming.

To this day, we remain in a continuous process of learning about our world. It's not wise to support popular scientific theories without fully understanding the reason scientists came to their conclusions. (More...)

Permalink Posted: 2:08 AM EST 0 comments 


Dearly Beloved: A Message from the Anti-Christ

Greetings friends,

Yes it is I, the AC himself. Please do not confuse me with your air conditioner, cool as my demeanor may appear to you. You know I prefer the warmer environs, after all. This may be why I've been dispatched to you in the comics, it would appear. You are very well known for your warmth where I come from.

I am a much maligned man, you know. Quite unjustly, if I may say so myself. Why, with the names and titles you've bestowed upon me through the millennia, it's a wonder you're even reading this right now.

Lucifer, The Son of Satan, Prince of Darkness, The Devil, The Jackal, The Beast, the Serpent. Not very flattering, I'm afraid. Small matter though. What harm can come from a little name calling amongst friends? (More...)

Permalink Posted: 2:03 AM EST 0 comments 


A Challenge to All Supporters of the Christian Coalition

I understand that you truly believe you are performing a great service to God and humanity by banding together and using your unified strength in order to bring about the legislation of what you perceive to be a higher moral standard onto a society which you believe has gone astray with its liberal standards.

The comic book industry has long been a prime target of your persecution, ridicule and attempts at censorship of its publications, as part of your efforts to enforce what you believe to be Christian morals on the American people. You are, however, so very wrong about all this - and you do it all in the name of The God of Heaven and Earth and his Only Begotten Son, The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I turn to you now in order to warn you of the catastrophe you're bringing upon yourselves and upon all of mankind with your pompous arrogant ways. (More...)

Permalink Posted: 1:59 AM EST 0 comments 




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