ESPN (fake) suspends Dan Le Batard

ESPN has suspended radio host and TV personality Dan Le Batard two whole days for placing a message directed at LeBron James on an Akron, Ohio billboard. The ad suggests that James owes the city of Miami gratitude for going there and winning two championships.

Le Batard is a Miami native and occasionally writes columns for the Miami Herald. Evidently Le Batard is upset that James never “thanked” Miami Heat fans.

This is the billboard that earned Le Batard an extra long weekend:

The message communicated on the billboard is almost as absurd as the fake two-day suspension. As if James needs to thank the city of Miami or anyone else for going to the Heat and winning two championships. The Miami Heat went to the NBA Finals the four years when James was with them. If James wasn’t there, they wouldn’t have gone to the NBA Finals, let alone win two championships. Just watch how deep into the post-season this year the Heat go without James. My guess is that it won’t be too far.

How designed this ugly billboard? Is that Comic Sans font at the top?

ESPN shouldn’t have been surprised or caught off guard by Le Batard erecting this stupid billboard. Le Batard tried to place an ad in an Ohio newspaper, any Ohio newspaper, that basically said the same thing, but he couldn’t find a newspaper willing to sell him the ad space. Didn’t ESPN know this? Among other things, ESPN is supposedly a news organization. How can they not know that one of their paid personalities wanted to troll LeBron James? Maybe they should create Google Alerts for all their paid personalities.

New comic retailer advocacy group named after a snake

There’s already a comic retailer advocacy group, ComicsPRO, but according to comments made by Dennis Barger, ComicsPro is only looking out for themselves.

Dennis Barger, owner-operator of Wonderworld Comics in Taylor, Michigan, announced on Facebook the formation of a new comic book retailer organization, the Comic Book Retailer Alliance, or COBRA for short. Continue Reading

Scott Lobdell apologizes for sexually harassing MariNaomi

Cartoonist MariNaomi wrote about an awful experience while attending a panel at a recent comic convention. She detailed how a then-unnamed comic book professional harassed her throughout the panel. He made lewd and inappropriate comments to her and about her.

I found it uncomfortable to read, both because of the actions of the harasser and because of the way MariNaomi felt after the panel.

The unnamed harasser now has a name, it’s comic book writer Scott Lobdell.

Scott Lobdell issues a fake apology

Scott Lobdell apologizes for sexually harassing MariNaomi - Rick Rottman
Scott Lobdell

Lobdell revealed this fact by writing an open apology to MariNaomi and her husband.

The apology in its entirety:

First and foremost and without any conditions I would like to formally and publicly apologize for offending a fellow comic book creator.

I am also sorry because if I had realized my failed attempt at humor had offended MariNaomi or her husband in the moment that I made those statements, I would have certainly apologized in then and not have left her to feel victimized in the hours and days that followed.

I am particularly saddened because I was completely blown away by not only her talent as both a writer and artist, but more importantly by the fact she was using her talent to speak so openly and freely about her own life experiences and how they informed the artist that she is today. As someone who has only ever written super heroes, I marvel at the type of courage it takes for someone to put their whole life out on paper (or blogs) for the world to see.

Finally I am sorry that my presence on the panel caused her experience to be anything other than a celebration of her work. MariNaomi deserved more than that.

This “apology” doesn’t really mesh with the facts laid out in MariNaomi’s essay. She wrote that Lobdell apologized to her husband immediately after the panel.

For those keeping score at home, Lobdell has so far apologized to MariNaomi once and to her husband, twice.

It wasn’t Lobdell’s presence that MariNaomi had a problem with. It was his repeated inappropriate comments. Lobdell was acting like a jerk, in public, to a woman he didn’t know. His comments were of an overtly sexual way. MariNaomi did not encourage these comments. She also did not welcome them.

In conclusion

Scott Lobdell sounds like an asshole. If comic convention organizers with an anti-harassment policy invite him to their event, then they are hypocrites. Guys like Lobdell are the reason cons have anti-harassment policies.

DragonCon finally cuts ties with accused child predator Ed Kramer

Remember when organizers of DragonCon, the popular science fiction and fantasy convention held every Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, said that they couldn’t sever ties with accused sexual molester of young boys Edward Kramer? Yeah, about that…

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Five of six founding members of the company said in a statement Monday that they’d merged the old company, DragonCon/ACE, into a new one, Dragon Con, Inc. — giving Kramer cash for his shares.

Kramer is facing child-molestation charges in Gwinnett County. He was extradited from Connecticut where he faced similar charges.

Though Kramer was no longer responsible for running the convention, he continued to earn dividends from its proceeds due to his 34 percent ownership.

According to a statement by the new company, “Edward Kramer, who has not had any role in managing or organizing the convention since 2000, was offered cash for his shares in the old company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.”

So for the record, they were able to somehow create a new company to run the convention and keep Kramer out of it. If only this remedy had been thought of earlier. Oh, that’s right, it was.

This is what they said earlier this year on Facebook:

The idea proposed of dissolving the company and reincorporating has been thoroughly investigated and is not possible at this point. Legally, we can’t just take away his shares. We are unfortunately limited in our options and responses as we remain in active litigation.

So there you go, what was once impossible is now possible. Good for DragonCon and good for the people who enjoy attending, but don’t want their money going to a sexual deviant who uses the money to avoid justice.

Now that organizers of DragonCon have removed Kramer from their coffers, maybe now they can focus on coming up with a good way of apologizing to author Nancy A. Collins, the organizer of the DragonCon boycott.

She was right, they were wrong. The organizers of DragonCon owe her an apology, and the rest of us owe her our thanks.

Update: Now that DragonCon has finally done the right thing, Nancy A. Collins has called off the boycott.

Free Comic Book Day 2013

Over the years, Free Comic Book Day has turned into a sort of combination of Black Friday and Halloween for nerds.

Going to party like it’s 2013.

Tomorrow, May 4, is Free Comic Book Day, the annual event where people can go to participating comic book stores and get free stuff. Not only are there special comic books to be had, other comic book related items are usually there for the taking. Most participating comic book retailers also use the annual event to promote their business by having sales on back issues and other merchandise.

Over the years, Free Comic Book Day has turned into a sort of combination of Black Friday and Halloween for nerds.

Hagerstown is of course without a comic book shop since the city condemned the building in which it resides. That means anyone in Hagerstown who wants to enjoy Free Comic Book Day must travel to Comics World in Chambersburg or Brainstorm Comics & Gaming and Beyond Comics, both in Frederick.

Yes, that’s right. The city of Hagerstown doesn’t have a comic book shop while the neighboring city of Frederick has two. They also have a Costco while we don’t, but we do have a nicer Sam’s Club. Frederick has both a Costco and a Sam’s Club. No wonder people in Frederick think they’re better than everyone else in Western Maryland.

I probably won’t be attending any Free Comic Book Day events tomorrow as my schedule for tomorrow already looks quite full.

Used bookstore to open in former Hagerstown Borders location

The city of Hagerstown is about to get another used bookstore. 2nd & Charles, a division of Books-a-Million, is opening a location in the former Borders store in the Centre at Hagerstown shopping center located on Garland Groh Boulevard.

There’s a rather cryptic sign in the window at the old Borders promising a whole new experience in reading, watching, playing, and grooving. Nothing on the sign mentions that a 2nd & Charles is moving in, but if you do a Google search of the old Border’s address, it points to job listings for 2nd & Charles.

According to the 2nd & Charles website, they have a total of seven locations. Hagerstown will make its eighth.

Not only do they buy and sell used books, but they also deal in movies, video games, comics, and music. In other words, it sounds a lot like Wonder Book and Video, a used bookstore already doing business in Hagerstown. Can the area support two large used bookstores? I guess we’re about to find out. Hagerstown’s 2nd & Charles is scheduled to open sometime in April.