Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. Today you might know is Walt Disney's birthday. Man, I should've had Jim Korkis on the Phile today... talk about bad planning. Walt Disney never said "if you can dream it, you can do it." Unless he was a zombie, and wrote the script for Horizons fifteen years after he died. How are you? You're one of the few people I don't mind very briefly communicating with on Monday. Last Thursday marked a new first for the Mall of America: the option to take a photograph with a black Santa."This is a long time coming," said Landon Luther, the co-owner of the mall's Santa Experience, according to the "Star Tribune." The search for a black Santa signifies the mall's desire to give children who aren't white an opportunity to see a Santa that looks like them. "We want Santa to be for everyone, period," Luther said of the decision. And while the action might feel small or way overdue, it's also a positive sign of proactive inclusiveness amidst a current political climate that has sent a message of intolerance to many Americans. The hunt for a diverse Santa wasn't an easy one, which is not shocking considering that for centuries Saint Nick has been marketed to Americans exclusively as a white man with rosy cheeks. But in the end they found him. While at a Santa convention in Branson, Missouri (there truly is a convention for everything), Santa Sid, a veteran Santa at the Mall Of America, found the only non-white Kris Kringle present: Larry Jefferson. Jefferson, a seasoned Santa impersonator from Irving, Texas, decided to make history and sign a contract for a four-day stint taking pictures with kids and passing out candy canes in Minnesota. And if your heart is still feeling cold this holiday season, just hear was Jefferson has to say about being a black Santa, "I’m just a messenger to bring hope, love and peace to girls and boys. Anybody can be Santa; it’s what’s in your heart.” Dang, good luck being a grinch after that.
At a concert at Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City on Wednesday, legendary rock band Guns N' Roses invited four fans on stage take out their aggression on an oversized piñata made in Donald Trump's likeness. This is pretty much the only way you can beat up the President-elect that won't land you in jail or on a bunch of FBI lists. "Let's bring up some people and give them a fucking stick. I just want you to express yourself, however you feel," said Rose. Needless to say, no one got up there and hugged the oddly-jacked papier-maché Trump (seriously, they were awfully kind to depict Trump as insanely muscular rather than extremely doughy). It was not surprising that the audience found beating the effigy of Trump with sticks cathartic. Building a wall between Mexico and the United States (and having Mexico pay for it) was the entrée of the hell-feast that was Trump's campaign, although it now seems unlikely that the wall will actually be built at all. Donald Trump kicked off his bid for the White House by calling Mexicans "rapists" and "criminals" in a speech. Countdown to Trump's next Twitter meltdown in 3... 2...
The police department in the Canadian town of Kensington are real sorry about that mean Nickelback joke they made earlier this week. In a since-deleted Facebook post, the Kensington authorities warned citizens of the punishment for drunk driving with a little shade thrown at the band from Alberta: “on top of a hefty fine, a criminal charge and a years driving suspension we will also provide you with a bonus gift of playing the offices copy of Nickelback in the cruiser on the way to jail.” Well you know what they say, it's always funny until someone gets hurt. And this was apparently the straw that broke the... nickel's back. The world has been goofing on Nickelback for quite some time now, but as the story of the Kensington police department's joke suddenly went viral, they started to rethink their actions. Friday afternoon they decide to issue a public apology on Facebook.
"The message being heard was no longer Don’t Drink and Drive and in its wake was a group of guys and their families left wondering why they were the global butt of a joke that they had not deserved," wrote Constable Robb Hartlen, who penned the initial post. The decision was reached after Hartlen directly reached out to the members of Nickelback to apologize to them. "I have reached out to Nickelback. To Chad, Ryan, Mike and Daniel," he said. "And as we spoke I found out some wonderful news. They feel just as strong about it as I do. So we decided it was best to take down the original post." A local police unit's Facebook post going viral because the world loves a good Nickelback joke serves as a reminder to all of us that we should think about what we say online (duh). But probably more importantly, it's a reminder to media outlets that the stories they choose to cover, often also as a joke, can have an adverse affect on their subjects by elevating them to a much larger audience. Since the Nickelback post, the Kensington PD has seen a 300% increase in Page Likes, while beforehand they were speaking to a small, local audience and would often get a handful of likes, comments or shares. Having a smaller audience doesn't make a joke more acceptable, but we're probably all guilty of making at least one Nickelback joke in our lifetime. On the spectrum, it's probably not that bad. Sometimes a joke gets blown out of proportion, and things get out of hand. I feel you, Kensington, Police Department. We've all been there. In the words of the Bee Gees... I started a joke which started the whole world crying. But I didn't see that the joke was on me.
Merriam-Webster's Dictionary does not want "Fascism" to become their Word of the Year, but the amount of people searching for it on their site may have forced their hand. I think we all know why this is happening. Trump isn't a fascist per se, but to be sure he's definitely the reason people have been looking up the definition. This kind of politically fueled definition search has become a trend for Merriam-Webster in recent election years, though perhaps not as severe. In 2012, the WOTY was "Socialism." For 2008, is was "bailout." While getting a WOTY that is synonymous with Hitler definitely says something about America's future, word fans out there have started doing their best to end 2016 on a more positive note. It's still too early to call if "puppies" will become our Word of the Year, but until the results are in, here's Merriam-Webster's definition of Fascism, in case this has made you desperate to look it up... Fascism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
In what is somehow this week's second "bad ice skating" story, a Japanese theme park called Space World apologized for freezing 5,000 fish into the floor of its ice rink. "Sick in the head, why would you do that?" wrote one outraged commenter on Facebook, before all posts about the attraction were removed. "Hope your business get shut down." According to CNN, the park bragged of the feat as a "world first." They also posted photos of the fish in ice with such clever captions as: "I am d... d... drowning, s... s... suffocating." Talking animals... not always adorable. After the predictable backlash on Facebook and other social media, Space World manager Toshimi Takeda told CNN, "We were shocked to hear the reaction as the ice skate rink was very popular since it opened two weeks ago, we had an unprecedented number of visitors. (But) we had endless opinions about the project, we were shocked... We are sorry for the project and decided to close the rink on that night." Worth noting is that Space World says they purchased the fish already deceased from a local market. They now plan to use them as fertilizer after an "appropriate religious service." Some of the fish were arranged in a fun greeting for tourists.
At this point, a religious service for the fish seems particularly farcical. One second you're skating on their graves, the next you're giving them a state funeral. Ah, the good people of Space World. They should invest in some black cowboy hats and reopen with a whole new shtick.
Hey, wanna see what the guy you nominated as president has been doing lately?
He's so clever. The other day Trump had dinner in New York with Mitt Romney... and a bunch of other friends so it seems.
That's so cool! So, I went to a supermarket yesterday for the first time in awhile and I was surprised to see something brand new...
Hmmm... not in my diet unfortunately. I have mentioned this before in the past... in my spare time I like to look up certain words on Twitter so see what people are talking about. One of those words I look up is "Foghat" and this is what I recently saw...
Ha! That's not gonna happen, Sheila... Trump playing "Slow Ride" that is. I love the Cjristmas ads that come out this time of year... like this one for example...
I don't care what Mojud is. Wait, it's stockings I think, right? You know what you should get for your house this Christmas?
Santa's sitting atop the chimney and he's not playing around this year. Press his foot and he'll let loose with one of 5 phrases, like "Congratulations, you're at the top of my list... Wrong list, sucker! Ha!" You can buy it now on Amazon. I know someone who would love this. Hahaha. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida... I hope. Well, there's things that happen in Florida that happen no where else in the Universe. That's why I have a pheature called...
You know that old movie trope where a guy gets thrown in prison and meets his new cellmate and asks, "So, what are you in for?" Well, try for a second to imagine that the reply you got was, "I wanted to pet my neighbors' cat." This is indeed the strange tale of Florida man Jasper Fiorenza, who twice entered the St. Petersburg home of Brittney Cline, and has been charged with burglary. But it didn't seem he was out to steal anything besides some love from Cline's cat. She said that in the first incident, she woke up to find Fiorenza standing at the foot of her bed. “He was standing perfectly still, I said ‘hello’ and when I said hello he dropped very slowly down to the ground. And as soon as I saw the shadow move down to the ground I knew somebody was there.” When she turned on her light, she saw him crouched and petting the cat, which had woken her up by jumping off the bed when Fiorenza entered the room. "I’m panicked of course," she said. "I said, ‘What are you doing, get out of my house,’ and he looked at me very calmly and said 'hey' [and] turned around walked back to my doorway." Mission accomplished, apparently. Police only caught Fiorenza when he tried to break in a second time... no doubt to see if he could play with the cat some more, or even rub its belly. Sadly, most prisons have a strict no-pets policy, but maybe he can get some visiting hours.
Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Somehow I think I posted this one before. Oh, well, it's very funny anyway. So, who likes jokes? I do... and jokes have been around for a long time. In fact, a friend of the Phile is so old and has been telling jokes for so long no one really understands what he's saying... except me. I'm old, and I happen to understand what he's saying. So, I thought once again I would have him back on the Phile to tell a a joke and I would translate. Please welcome back to the Phile...
Me: Hey, Alan, welcome back to the Phile.
Alan: Salutations, Jason.
Me: Okay, let's here this joke you have.
Alan: A booby of a country squire, who made an honest woman of his father's chamber-maid, bolted into the room when she was in labour, and blubbering over her with great tenderness, sobbed out that he was sorry she felt so much pain on his account. "Don't make thyself uneasy, love," said the wife, "I can't bear to see thee fret, for I'm sure it was not thy fault."
Me: Haha. That's good. Okay, here goes... When a dumb guy's wife goes into labor, he apologizes for the pain he's causing her. But she's like, "Don't worry about it; it's probably not your baby." Alan, do you have one more?
Alan: A lady, being at a wedding, and overstraining herself a little, let a great fart; at which she blush'd so much, and was in such confusion, that she was forced to quit the chamber, nor could any one persuade her to come in again: But happening to leave her gloves in a chair, near a gentleman that sat by her, she bid one of the maids fetch them away, but the maid excused herself, as did the other also. At last she goes in herself, without taking notice of any person, but the gentleman, to whom she said, "Did you see, sir?" and then stopt. "Did I see what, madam?" said the gentleman. "Why," continu'd she, forgetting her gloves, "did ye see, sir? did ye see my fart?" At which the whole company burst out in a laughter, and with much a-do persuaded her to stay, and end their mirth together.
Me: That's a long one. Alright... A woman farted at a wedding and was so embarrassed that she left and refused to come back, but she also left her gloves in there. When she went back for her gloves, she was still thinking about farting, and instead of asking "Hey, did you see my gloves?" asked "Hey, did you see my fart?" Alan, that joke wasn't that funny.
Me: That's okay. Alan Raglafart, the 100-year-old comedian, everybody. Thanks, Alan.
Trump University was an American online education company whose degree were worth about as much as a humanities degree from a real university.
Rachael Lavin will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.
And the 33rd artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Gene Guilmette and this is one of his pieces...
Gene will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.
Today's guest is a writer and founder of the comic book company Gateway Comics an indie comic book publishing company dedicated in helping writers, artist, and creators come together to bring their projects to life! That's so cool. Please welcome to the Phile... Alex Lobato.
Me: Hey, Alex, welcome to the Phile. It was cool to meet you at Clermont Comic Con. How are you doing?
Alex: I am doing great! It was cool to meet you at Clermont Comic Con too. I dug your "Greatest American Hero" shirt!
Me: Thanks. How was the convention by the way? I had a pretty good time posting my blog from there.
Alex: I had a good time too. We got to meet a lot of people and make some friends along the way.
Me: Do you do a lot of conventions?
Alex: I try to do about 4 to 5 a year due to fund and time restrictions. I would love to do more, I love cons!
Me: Do you have a favorite convention experience?
Alex: My favorite experience so far was at NYCC this year. I boothed with Richard Rivera and Wayne Hall and we had a blast!
Me: So, you're the head and founder of Gateway Comics, am I right?
Alex: Gateway Comics is comprised of a group a friends following their dream of bringing their stories to life.
Me: Where are you from, Alex?
Alex: I'm from Miami, Florida, born and raised.
Me: Is Gateway based out of Miami?
Me: There's a Gateway Comics from St. Louis as well I think, but they suck. Hahaha. So, where did the name come from?
Alex: The name is from a city in our comics that acts as a home base for all our characters called Gateway City. We wanted to have a name that is inviting to others because we want to help make other people's dream of making comics come to life.
Me: I love the logo...
Me: That's not a character from your books though, right?
Alex: For right now we only have one superhero type character in our world but soon there will be an event that will change all that.
Me: Is that the Miami skyline? I can't recognize it.
Alex: No, It is a generic skyline drawn by an artist.
Me: So, do you draw and write, Alex?
Alex: I wish I can draw, it would make my job much easier and less expensive... LOL, but alas I can not draw for the life in me. I am one of the writers in our team. I wrote "Max Hunter."
Me: Did you grow up reading comics as a kid?
Alex: I did! My dad bought me my first comic, "Superman Man of Steel #1," when I was a kid at a pharmacy he used to go to. Ever since that moment, I fell in love with comic books.
Me: So, I always like to ask... DC or Marvel?
Me: I should've known as you are wearing a Superman t-shirt. How long has Gateway been a company and making comics?
Alex: We started about 5 years ago but under a different name, Dark Side Global. Gateway Comics has been around for about a year. We made Gateway Comics so that we can join with other creators like Dark Side Global and Maelstrom Comics as one. We find that it's better to work together and help each other out. We are and have become great friends!
Me: Where do you find the writers, artists, and creators? Do they come to you or do you find them?
Alex: Most of the time we go out and make connections in conventions and social media outlets. Sometimes they came to us as well but since we are an indie publisher not too many people know about us yet.
Me: So, one of my favorite comics is "Stabbity Bunny." Is he a part of the Gateway world?
Alex: "Stabbity Bunny" is awesome but not officially a part of the Gateway world. Richard is a great friend of ours and we work together all the time at conventions, Kickstarter, and other aspects in the industry. They are a friend to Gateway. But who knows, maybe one day through a portal or speed force our worlds can maybe one day cross.
Me: How did you meet Stabbity's creator Richard Rivera?
Alex: We met through Wayne Hall. Wayne did a couple of podcasts for us when we were just starting. One day Wayne introduced Richard to us and we all became instant friends.
Me: And Richard introduced me to you. Most of your titles have female leads, am I right?
Alex: Yes, since joining forces with Maelstrom Comics our female lead ratio jumped up a notch. But we do have other leads as well. Max Hunter being one of them. We also have a new title coming out called "Redux by Proxy" that has a female android and male scientist working together to solve a murder.
Me: Is that a coincidence, Alex, that a lot of your characters are females?
Alex: No, it's simply a jump from joining Maelstrom Comics who is known for writing awesome bad ass female leads.
Me: What was the longest running title at Gateway?
Alex: "Max Hunter" is our first baby and longest running comic to date.
Me: "Max Hunter" seems to be my favorite... I would ask you what your favorite would be but that would be not fair, right?
Alex: It would also be "Max Hunter" but I am biased... LOL. Max Hunter was my homage to a character I made for an old role playing game we use to play called "Shadow Run."
Me: I have to show the cover of the "Max Hunter" book, Alex.
Me: Tell the readers what all the titles are and what they are about, Alex. I have a cool pic to show of all your main characters...
Alex: "Max Hunter" is a Cyborg Bounty Hunter going after his latest bounty when an assassin Vincent Snow goes after the same target and gets in his way. "Prymal Jungle Warrior" is a sexy warrior fighting against evil people that want to do harm to her jungle. "Ultra Vixen" is sexy female superhero fighting crime and protecting the people of her city. "Gargoyle Girl" follows a teenager who trains with a former superhero The Gargoyle so that she can one day take the mantle as Gargoyle Girl.
Me: Okay, so, I have to talk about your Kickstarter campaign. You created a card game called "Slash Bang Dead!" Did I get the name right?
Alex: Yes, we currently have a Kickstarter for our card game "Slash Bang Dead!." This plays alot like Paper Rock Scissors and War. We wanted to make a game that showcases all our characters and is a quick, fun game to play for all ages. The Kickstarter can really use help getting funded.
Me: I like it the cards are metal and not paper. That's probably more expensive to make so what made you go that route?
Alex: Well, we are actually doing both. We have rewards for a metal set and one for a paper set. The metal cards are more expensive but they last longer and feel really cool.
Me: The game is kinda fun... especially since I beat you twice. Hahahaha. I am very competitive. So, when and how did you come up with the game, Alex?
Alex: Thanks! The game was a collaborate effort from our team at Gateway Comics. We came up with a base very similar to Paper Rock Scissors and then started to come up with ways to make it more fun while keeping the game itself easy to pick up and play.
Me: If a reader pledges what do they get in return?
Alex: If a reader pledges they will get an alternate art Gun card not offered in the Kickstarter.
Me: There's a Stabbity card as well, which is cool. The more Stabbity merch out there the better. How many characters are in the game?
Alex: There are 7 characters in total all based on characters from our comics and Stabbity is a limited to Kickstarter alternate card.
Me: That's cool. I have to show what the Stabbity card looks like...
Me: Will there be an expansion pack with more characters in the future?
Alex: Yes! If we are able to get funded then our plan is to come out with more themed packs that are specific to the title. We also have an expansion pack idea will a different layer to the game!
Me: So, where can a Phile reader go and pledge, Alex?
Alex: They can go here to pledge: kickstarter.com/projects/778988315/slash-bang-dead. Every little bit will be a huge help!
Me: How's it going so far?
Alex: It's not going so well right now but hopefully it will pick up during the holiday.
Me: I asked Richard Rivera, the creator of "Stabbity Bunny," if he ever would like to see his comic turned into a cartoon or movie. What about any of the other titles, do you ever picture that?
Alex: Definitely! We would love to see our characters come to life in all aspects of media. We actually have a webisode we created up on Amazon now.
Me: Alex, thanks for being on the Phile. I hope it was fun, and I wish you great luck with the Kickstarter. Go ahead and plug your website and anything else you'd like.
Alex: Thank you for having me on the Phile! It was fun answering all these awesome questions. You can visit us on Facebook, Twiiter, and Instagram on Gateway Comics or visit our website at gatewaycomix.com.
Me: Thanks again, please come back soon to the Phile. I hope to see you at a convention soon.
Alex: Thank you and we will see you soon!
That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Alex Lobato for a great interview. Go donate to his Kickstarter campaign. The Phile will be back next Sunday with singer G Matthews. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.
Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker