It’s the San Diego Comic-Con, not the San Diego Flea-Market

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Chuck Rozanski

Chuck Rozanski, owner of Mile High Comics, is at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and there’s something going on at the con that he doesn’t like: publishers and manufacturers creating convention exclusives and then selling them directly to fans. The problem is, it’s interfering with his ability to sell overpriced back issues to people at the convention. It turns out, people would rather spend their money on exclusives, comics and merchandise they can only get at SDCC, than his old, jacked-up back issues.

From his official Mile High Comics website:

Before I go any further, let me stress that the detrimental effects of exclusives at San Diego is not a new phenomena. Ever since I helped to create the Wednesday evening Preview Night over a decade ago, the bigger booths have had great freebies and exclusive toys available on that first evening of the show. What has now changed is both the breadth, and the scale, of those exclusive products. No longer are exclusives limited to just a few booths, or only to Wednesday evening. We are now seeing all of the major comics publishers, and every single toy and game company, creating limited edition products that they deny us. This aversion to helping comics retailers has become so agregious and pernicious that I heard from my fellow dealers that some publisher and manufacturer booths were refusing to even allow anyone wearing a dealer’s badge to stand in line. That is beyond ridiculous.

What’s ridiculous is someone with a dealer’s badge standing in line with attendees, buying exclusive items for the sole purpose of turning around and reselling them at a markup, to people at the convention. What’s ridiculous is that retailers like Rozanski are even still at SDCC setting up booths to sell old back issues. I would have thought SDCC moved past the flea market model a long time ago. People go to SDCC to see celebrities, learn about upcoming releases, meet other people, and to buy exclusives, not to pay too much money for a high-grade copy of Amazing Spider-Man #10.

The San Diego Comic-Con isn’t that type of show. At least not anymore.

Back in the olden days, some folks refer to them as the early 1990′s, people would go to comic book conventions for the sole purpose of buying old comics, the type of comics Rozanski and retailers like him, are still trying to sell today. Markets change, people change. Today, when someone wants to buy an old comic book for hundreds of dollars, they can easily do so on eBay or online. They don’t have to trudge to a comic book convention to do it, especially when that convention is the San Diego Comic-Con.

Some comic book conventions still look, smell, and operate very much like a flea market. The San Diego Comic-Con is not one of them.

Photo: Korene Gallegos/The Denver Post

Stephen A. Smith is a woman hating, blabbering idiot

Stephen-A-SmithESPN’s Stephen A. Smith weighed in on Ray Rice’s two-game suspension from the NFL for knowingly causing significant bodily injury to the mother of his child, and it didn’t go too well. Smith presented the following monologue on ESPN’s First Take (via Deadspin):

It’s not about him, then. It’s about you, and here’s what I mean by that. We keep talking about the guys. We know you have no business putting your hands on a woman. I don’t know how many times I got to reiterate that. But as a man who was raised by women, see I know what I’m going to do if somebody touches a female member of my family. I know what I’m going to do, I know what my boys are going to do. I know what, I’m going to have to remind myself that I work for the Worldwide Leader, I’m going to have to get law enforcement officials involved because of what I’m going to be tempted to do. But what I’ve tried to employ the female members of my family, some of who you all met and talked to and what have you, is that again, and this what, I’ve done this all my life, let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if I come, or somebody else come, whether it’s law enforcement officials, your brother or the fellas that you know, if we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn’t negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let’s try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn’t happen. Now you got some dudes that are just horrible and they’re going to do it anyway, and there’s never an excuse to put your hands on a woman. But domestic violence or whatever the case may be, with men putting their hands on women, is obviously a very real, real issue in our society. And I think that just talking about what guys shouldn’t do, we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen. We know they’re wrong. We know they’re criminals. We know they probably deserve to be in jail. In Ray Rice’s case, he probably deserves more than a 2-game suspension which we both acknowledged. But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation. Not that there’s real provocation, but the elements of provocation, you got to make sure that you address them, because we’ve got to do is do what we can to try to prevent the situation from happening in any way. And I don’t think that’s broached enough, is all I’m saying. No point of blame.

If you read the above monologue and you got the impression that Smith is saying that victims of domestic violence are to blame, that’s because that’s what he said. Stephen A. Smith, a trained wordsmith, used the word “provocation” three times.

Fellow ESPN host Michelle Beadle called Smith out on Twitter:

Smith then responded in a long series of incoherent tweets that he has since deleted. You can still read them over at Deadspin.

On a sidenote, I love it when someone tweets something stupid, other people embed the tweet, and then the author of said stupid tweet deletes it from Twitter, somehow believing that the deletion from Twitter will somehow make it all go away. It doesn’t. Deleted tweets live on in embedded form. Because they look different than a normal embedded tweet, when you see one, you know the author realized what they tweeted was stupid and they wish it would just go away. Anytime I see is, I have to laugh.

Back to the issue of Ray Rice and Smith’s assertion of provocation. This is what happens when a prosecutor fails to do their job and vigorously prosecute those who commit violence on a women. Idiots like Stephen A. Smith look at that and take away that the woman somehow deserved it. My guess is that Smith is the type of man who doesn’t need a whole lot of help in coming to that conclusion.

Stephen A. Smith is an idiot and a misogynist. That’s a bad combination. A smart misogynist would know better than to spew his blame-the-victim opinions on ESPN.

The NFL treats dumb, homophobic comments more severely than violence against women

ray_rice_pink_jersey_nflThe NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice the first two games of the 2014 season as a result of an off-season arrest for domestic violence. Rice punched then-fiancée, now wife, Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City hotel. The entire debacle was captured on security video. So far, only the video showing the aftermath has been made public.

In the video, Rice is seen dragging Palmer out of an elevator. She looks unconscious.

It’s ridiculous that Rice can commit a crime of violence against a woman, and his punishment is only a two-game suspension. In comparison, Minnesota Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer said something stupid about gay people and the NFL suspended him for three games. That’s one whole game more than what Rice got for rendering the mother of his child unconscious.

Why are words punished more than violence?

A grand jury indicted Rice with aggravated assault. Instead of going to trial, he was able to reach a pre-trial deal with New Jersey prosecutors. Once he completes a diversionary program, his indictment will go away and his record will be cleared.

The grand jury’s indictment stated that Rice “knowingly caused significant bodily injury” to Palmer under circumstances “manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.” For that, his only punishment will be a suspension of two games.

To the NFL, what Mike Priefer did, saying something stupid about gay people, is worse than what Ray Rice did, beating a woman unconscious. One whole game worse.

Way to go NFL. Have fun selling all those pink jerseys.

What constitutes harassment at a comic book convention?

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Don’t touch her butt

The Los Angeles Times blog Hero Complex published an article about the San Diego Comic-Con and its lack of a policy on harassment. Although the event is attended by 130,000 people from all over the world, organizers haven’t seen fit to define what harassment is. Not really. This is the only thing posted on the official San Diego Comic-Con website about harassment:

Code of Conduct

Attendees must respect common sense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and badge of any attendee not in compliance with this policy. Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security, or a staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner. 

Not once do they define what harassment is. How do you have a policy on something that you fail to define what it is? If you are coming up with code of conduct, and you find yourself using the phrase, “common sense”, you need to stop and start over. There’s no such thing as common sense. What may make sense to one person, may not make sense to others.

In fact, the word “common” should be stricken from any credible code of conduct. The San Diego Comic-Con uses the word twice in the first sentence.

For what seems like my entire adult working life, at every job I’ve had, I’ve had to take a yearly class on harassment. I find it boring and completely unnecessary, but I invariably realize some people are stupid and actually need an annual reminder on how to treat others in the workplace. Every workplace harassment class I’ve ever had has always began with defining harassment.

Every single one.

I’ll admit that defining harassment in the workplace is much easier than defining harassment at a comic book convention. A comic book convention is a social event. What’s considered unacceptable in the workplace may not apply in a social gathering. It’s why San Diego Comic-Con and other similar events need to define what harassment is.

You can’t have a policy on something if you never bother to define what that something is.

Photo: Kotaku

Ben Affleck as Batman

BVS-00754-Edit_53d03e04c5f306.62433326DC Comics premiered this photo of Ben Affleck as Batman at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. I really don’t understand how anyone could have a problem with Ben Affleck playing the Dark Knight. I think he will go down as the second best Batman of all time, second only to Adam West.

Ben Affleck is Batman.