Dennis Barger on Walmart adding graphic novel section

Walmart is planning on adding a dedicated graphic novel section to 50 stores. I’ve seen some graphic novels in the book section at Walmart, but never more than a few titles. This would be different. It would be its own section. If it proves to be a success, the plan is to add the graphic novel section to more stores.

Not everyone is a fan of this idea. Rich Johnson of Bleeding Cool reached out to Dennis Barger of Wonderworld and Quick Stop Comics to find out his take.

From Bleeding Cool:

you make a deal with Walmart, it’s walmarts deal. It’s walmarts terms. (Walk in with your trousers down and every hole properly greased.)

Every hole properly greased? Who talks like that? Dennis Barger, that’s who.

There’s a reason people don’t like going to comic book shops. Too many of them are owned and operated by people like Dennis Barger. I don’t care how opposed you are to something, you shouldn’t compare it to forced sodomy, also known as rape.

I’m no fan of Walmart. I’m also not a fan of someone who speaks about dropping trousers and greasing holes.

If Walmart’s graphic novel section turns out to be a raging success and causes local comic book shops to go out of business, blame people like Dennis Barger.

Photo by Jessica Strachan

Convicted rapist banned from ‘Magic: the Gathering’ play

Wizards of the Coast suspended a player of Magic: the Gathering from competitive play until the year 2049. His Magic Online account, the online version of Magic: the Gathering played with digital cards, has been frozen and flagged for deletion. The reason? He’s a convicted rapist listed on the Virginia sex offender website.

Zachary Jesse finished 8th place at the Grand Prix Atlantic City held this past May. During his match with Christian Calcano, the tournament’s eventual champion, the following tweet was posted on Twitter:


The link goes to an 11-year-old news article about the rape committed by Zachary Jesse while he was a student at the University of Virginia. The article details the plea agreement reached between the then 19-year-old Zachary Jesse and the prosecutor in the case. According to the victim’s testimony at a preliminary hearing, also a student at the University of Virginia, she was “raped both vaginally and anally while slumped over a toilet in her apartment.” She also had bruises constant with rape.

Zachary Jesse’s victim was also highly intoxicated. Hours after her last drink, her blood alcohol level was .15, nearly double the state’s legal limit. As drunk as she was, it’s highly unlikely that she would have been capable of consenting to sex on a toilet with someone she just met.

In exchange for pleading guilty to aggravated sexual battery, a felony, Zachary Jesse served only three months in regional jail, and it was scheduled so that it wouldn’t interfere with his college classes. He was also given ten years of probation, 18-months of that supervised.

For raping a woman as she lay drunk on a toilet, both vaginally and anally.

How can someone plead guilty to raping a woman and not serve serious time in prison? I’d like to think that’s what we build prisons for, so we have places to send predators like Zachary Jesse to when they rape incapacitated women on toilets.

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Zachary Jesse’s photo from the Virginia Registered Sex Offender website.

Evidently a lot of people in the Magic: the Gathering community are critical of Wizards of the Coast for banning Jesse.  Some are also critical of Drew Levin for bringing this to people’s attention by tweeting about it. I don’t get any of that. Zachary Jesse is a convicted felon. He’s a registered sex offender in the state of Virginia. In fact, he’s classified as a violent sex offender.

How could Wizards of the Coast, a game company owned by Hasbro, a toy company, not ban someone like Zachary Jesse? Once it became known that he was a convicted rapist, someone identified as a violent sexual predator on the Virginia sex offender registry, they didn’t have a choice.

Don’t want to get banned from playing Magic: the Gathering? Don’t violently rape women passed out drunk on toilets.

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

On 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 store’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.