First rule of comic book shop rape room, don’t complain to owner about comic book shop rape room

7533044484_c95fa75ae1_zOn Saturday, August 30, Jennifer Williams took to Twitter and tweeted the following bit of wisdom:

Then, a few days later on Tuesday, Septemeber 2, she posted the following:

The owner of Harrison’s Comics is a man named Larry Harrison. Even though Williams spoke to him on Sunday about her concerns, he didn’t know that she was fired until afterwards:

Who then fired Williams from Harrison’s Comics? That would be Julian, the very person she claims made the comment about the rape room, the same person Willimas complained to Larry Harrison about:

Let’s see if I have this straight. A woman hears a manager make an inappropriate comment and goes to the manager’s supervisor, the store’s owner, about what she heard. The manager then takes it upon himself to fire the woman without even informing the owner. How is that appropriate?

On September 5, Larry Harrison, owner of Harrison Comics, after days of negative publicity on social media, decided to pick up a shovel and dig himself even deeper. He wrote a long response on the comic shop’s official Facebook page. It included the following:

Ms Williams was hired on a 30-day trial basis, as were five other employees she was being trained with. Training includes a tour of the store, including a room we call the “statue room.”

If you’ve been in our Salem store, you know we have many statues displayed in locked cases throughout the store. They are displayed behind glass because statues are fragile, valuable collectibles that can easily break if improperly handled.

The boxes these statues come in are specifically designed to protect them, so the boxes are stored in the “statue room,” a practice that’s been in place for at least ten years. When a buyer purchases a statue, an employee goes to the statue room, finds that statue’s box, and repacks it for safe travel to its new home.

While the group of trainee employees were being shown the room it was referred to only as the “statue room” or the “stat room” for short. This prompted one of the new trainees (not Ms. Williams) to question “Stat, like stat rape?” The group trainer frowned at the employee who mentioned rape and sternly said “We do NOT have a rape room.” This was the last first and last time “a rape room” was ever mentioned in Harrison’s until Ms. Williams’ took to social media and we were put in the position of having to defend ourselves.

Bat_frownThe most ridiculous thing from this Facebook explanation is how Larry Harrison somehow knew that his group trainer, Julian, frowned at the employee who mentioned the word “rape” during the tour. How would he know Julian’s facial expression? He wasn’t there. And why wasn’t this other trainee, a person who evidently thought the storage room was for perpetrating statutory rape, fired? Is this the kind of person that they want to deal with the public at Harrison Comics?

My guess is that this other employee wasn’t fired because this other employee doesn’t exist. I think Julian made the comment about a rape room, just like Jennifer Williams says he did. It’s important to note that Willams claimed the word “rape” was used during the store tour. Larry Harrison isn’t disputing that. He is only disputing the claim that the comment was made by Julian, the frowning group trainer and manager.

It’s awful that Jennifer Williams was fired, but I think in the long run, it’s for the best that she’s not working at Harrison’s Comics. Either Williams is right and the manager makes jokes about rape or the stores’s owner is right and the manager allows an employee to joke about rape without firing them. Either or, it doesn’t sound like a great place to visit, let alone work.

Comic book shops like Harrison Comics make me thankful for Amazon.

Turns out eBay is kind of a rip-off

ebay2-e1398803884644I don’t sell a lot of stuff on eBay, but when I do, I’m fairly ignorant when it comes to how much I pay eBay and PayPal to facilitate the transaction. Normally I sell low to medium value stuff. They take their fees out of my PayPal balance and I’ve never really paid much attention to it.

Early last month, I sold 44 comic book issues of the The Walking Dead in a single lot. The auction ended at $554.65. That was by far the the most expensive thing I’ve sold in 16 years on eBay. Yesterday I received an email from eBay informing me that my August statement was available.

I owe eBay $57.18.

Of that, $55.47 represents a Final Value Fee for the actual item. That looks like a flat ten percent, rounded up. Then there’s $1.72 added on as another Final Value Fee for the shipping of $17.18. This too looks to be ten percent, rounded up.

I don’t understand why I have to pay a fee on the shipping when I created the auction so the seller pays the actual amount of the shipping. I had already boxed the comics up and weighed the box so that I could list it with the initial auction. The weight along with my zip code, would allow anyone bidding on it to know exactly what they were paying for shipping.

At least in theory.

For some reason, when I listed the auction, I must have selected UPS instead of the regular US Postal Service. I didn’t even know that eBay offered UPS shipping. The buyer was charged $17.18 for UPS shipping, but when I went to PayPal to pay for the shipping through UPS, I was charged a total of $37.11 for shipping the package from Maryland to California. It would seem that eBay’s shipping calculator is a little off when it comes to UPS. I, not eBay had to eat the difference.

Speaking of PayPal, they charged me $16.88 on the transaction of $571.83, the action’s final winning bid and the incorrect shipping price. That worked out to be 2.95 percent. Not bad, but it’s not great, especially when you figure that eBay owns PayPal and is basically forcing you to use their payment gateway.

So what did it cost me in total to sell my 44 The Walking Dead comics to a stranger in California? Here’s a breakdown and a total:

eBay: -$57.18
Shipping: -$19.93
PayPal: -$16.88
TOTAL: -93.99

That left me with $460.66 in profit. I see why people sell stuff on Craigslist or Facebook yard sale groups. Going that route, you have to actually meet up with the person to make the exchange. There’s a whole lot of reasons that is less than ideal.

I feel like eBay is charging too much money, mostly because they are.

I’m not really complaining. I had these comics in a box in the garage. I was never going to read them again. If I took them to the Hagerstown 2nd & Charles, some hipster covered with ironic tats and wearing a knitted beanie, would have probably only offered me $43 in store credit. Instead of dealing with that, I was able to take the money and spend it on a new iPad Air at Target. They had them on sale for $50 off shortly after the auction was complete. I already had an iPad, but it was the first generation model. I got it the first day they were available. It was slow and I couldn’t install any of the newer, current apps.

I’m glad I sold my comics, but I’ll think twice before selling something expensive again on eBay.

Finally, The Rock has been cast as Black Adam

Black_Adam_0003Dwayne Johnson, known as The Rock from his days in professional wrestling, announced on Twitter that he has been signed by Warner Bros. to play the part of Black Adam in an upcoming Shazam movie.

I feel like this has been a rumor since Gennifer Flowers interviewed The Rock at Wrestlemania 14.

If you’re not hip to who Black Adam is or what he’s all about, make sure to check out his Wikipedia entry.

Dwayne Johnson will make a perfect Black Adam. Not only does he look exactly like Black Adam, he reportedly is a fan of the anti-hero.

There’s no word yet who will be playing the title role of Shazam or Captain Marvel or whatever else he’s legally allowed to be called today.

2014 Baltimore Comic-Con

2014 Baltimore Comic-Con - Bent CornerThe 2014 Baltimore Comic-Con is this weekend, September 5-7. The show this year is three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased for individual days, or as a three-day package. This is something I wish Otakon would do, offer single day tickets.

A PDF of the program, including a map of the dealer’s room and a listing of all the panels, can be seen here. Save it to your iPad and you’ll never not know what’s going on or where something is.

I haven’t been to the Baltimore Comic-Con in years, but I remember it being far superior to Wizard World Philly for the Pittsburgh Comic-Con. It’s held in the Baltimore Convention Center, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area. It’s across the street from Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles play. It’s within easy walking distance of the National Aquarium and all the other Inner Harbor attractions.

The Baltimore Inner Harbor area is a really nice place.

If we go, we will probably be going on Friday. There’s usually a lot fewer people on Fridays, and we have the day off.

In case you were wondering, the Baltimore Comic Con has a pretty comprehensive harassment policy. Unlike just about every other comic book convention, they actually take a stab at defining what harassment is:

Harassment includes, but is not limited to; making unwanted and/or discriminatory advances on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, physical appearance, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable federal or state laws, intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcomed sexual attention or other verbal or physical conduct of a discriminatory nature, or by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment by engaging in such conduct.

There’s much more information about the harassment policy on the official website. It’s a shame that the Baltimore Comic-Con has to do something like this, but unfortunately, it’s a necessity. Harassment at comic book conventions, like other places humans congregate, is a very real thing.

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso answers criticism of ‘Spider-Woman’ #1 variant cover

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso answers criticism of Spider-Woman #1 variant cover

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso (Left)

From Comic Book Resources’ Robot 6 blog:

It’s a limited edition variant that is aimed at collectors. While we would not have published this as the main cover to the book, we were comfortable publishing this as a variant that represented one artist’s vision of the character — a world-renowned artist whose oeuvre is well-known to us, and to collectors. It is not the official cover for the issue. It is a collector’s item that is set aside or special ordered by completists — and it doesn’t reflect the sensibility or tone of the series any more than the Skottie Young variant or Rocket and Groot Spider-Woman variants. If you open up the book, you’ll see that this series has everything in common with recent launches we’ve done, like Black Widow and Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk and Captain Marvel. It’s about the adventures of two women that have complete agency over their lives, and that are defined by what they do, not how they look.

Milo Manara is a world-renowned artist? Really? This is what it says about him on Wikipedia:

Maurilio Manara, known professionally as Milo Manara, is an Italian comic book writer and artist, best known for his erotic approach to the medium.

Marvel Comics should have more respect for its own intellectual property then to hire a man best known for his erotic approach to illustrate a cover of one of its few female superheroes, even a variant cover. Some might say Spider-Woman looks erotic, I say she looks like a baboon in heat waiting to be mounted by the alpha male of the troop.

That’s what a group of baboons is called, a troop. I had to look it up. That’s what Marvel Comics has done by commissioning a sexist and misogynistic cover for Spider-Woman #1, they’ve forced me to look up the mating habits of baboons, something I normally don’t do.

At least not on purpose.

And will this cover really only show up on variant copies of Spider-Woman #1? I don’t buy single comic books anymore, but I occasionally do buy collected editions, normally on Amazon. These books normally always contain all the variant covers of the monthlies, found usually at the back of the book.

I’d be surprised if the collected edition of this volume of Spider-Woman doesn’t include this awful variant cover.

I don’t understand Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics, for some stupid reason, hired Italian erotica comic artist Milo Manara to draw a variant cover for an upcoming comic, Spider-Woman #1. This is what Manar’s cover looks like:


This is pretty terrible.

I don’t know who Milo Manara is. Not really. I’m not familiar with his work, mostly because when I do read comic books, I don’t read erotica comics. At least not on purpose or consciously. I had to look Manara up on Wikipedia. Evidently he’s well-respected in the world of funny books, though by judging from his Spider-Woman artwork, I never would have guessed.

His Spider-Woman cover looks pretty awful. Her costume looks to be painted on, which means she’s technically naked. With her rear way in the air and her legs spread apart, she looks like a baboon waiting to be mounted. That’s not a good look, especially when you’re only wearing paint.

Whoever hired Milo Manara to do a special variant cover of Spider-Woman #1, shouldn’t have. Just because Manara was paid to do artwork by Marvel, doesn’t mean that the resulting product had to be used by Marvel. Some people have reacted to the artwork by saying that it’s misogynistic.

I think it’s partly that, but more so, I think it’s just bad.

I don’t think anyone, male or female, should be portrayed with their butt in the air, especially wearing a costume that looks like it was created by Sherwin-Williams.

I don’t understand Marvel Comics. It’s hard to believe that they are part of the same group that created the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. They should have more respect for their own intellectual property than to pay a European erotic comic artist to pencil a female superhero posed like this. I think this just goes to show that comic books is a dying medium. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a comic book. On the other hand, I went to the theater to see Guardians of the Galaxy the very first weekend it came out.

I can’t imagine a scenario where I would do the same thing with a comic book.