Friday, March 20, 2020

Pheaturing Todd McFarlane

What's up, kids? Welcome to the Phile for a Friday... giving you something to do while you're staying indoors. How are you? Wore a mask. Wanted to quarantine. Canceled sporting events. Root if the problem was a bat. You're right, Bane. We apologize. Haha.
Pollution has gone down. The canals in Venice are clearing up. Elephants are getting wasted. Human beings may be locked down but the rest of planet Earth is having a good time, it would seem. Such is the case with the aforementioned herd of hammered drunk elephants, who went buck wild in a town in the Yunan province of China while all the townsfolk were locked up indoors to avoid catching a hot sneeze full of coronavirus. Look at this...

It turns out this was not just a happy accident for the elephants. As conservationist Parveen Kaswan notes in his tweets, elephants love booze. They love it so much that they actively seek it out. And mark houses where they previously found booze. Elephants may, in fact, have a problem. They even get angry when they see drunk people because that means there was booze to be had and it wasn’t shared with them. No one teach elephants about cocaine, you guys. I can’t decide if your town being overrun by drunk elephants would be terrifying or hilarious. Probably a little of column A and a little bit of column B. If you’re lucky they just drunkenly sing their elephant songs, stumble around a bit, and then pass out. If you’re unlucky the walls of your house get caved in by a couple of dead-eyed drunk, 3-ton monsters in the midst of an aggressive, public orgy. The next time your town is beset by blackout drunk elephants just order a bunch of pizza and chalupas and place them just outside the village. The elephants will be gone in no time. I have added, “Get drunk with an elephant” to my bucket list. More specifically, to the top of my bucket list. I will not die before I get drunk with an elephant. I may very well die while getting drunk with an elephant, but not before!
A very cool, hilarious grandma is making waves on the Internet after she celebrated her new granddaughter’s birth by, apparently, buying her clothes from a truck stop gift shop, right next to the one-dollar Patrick Swayze DVDs and the biker-themed hoodies that don’t come in a size smaller than large. An anonymous friend of the grandmother went online to show off the baby’s new, impressively redneck attire and the reaction ranged from amused (which is the appropriate response) to disgusted and outraged (which is stupid but this is the Internet so… of course). Here's the outfit...

A few thoughts on baby’s first tramp stamp... Again, I think this is super funny. Either this grandma is a funny old gal or she’s like 35 because she and her childlike to pair their high school diplomas with newborn infants. I would 100% buy this glorious, trashy onesie for someone’s baby. They’d get mad at me, probably. They’d at least swear they’d never actually put their child in it. But then, one day, they’d be exhausted and out of clean clothes for their baby, and on that day they would, without even thinking twice, trade a sliver of their self-respect for just a little less work. They’d slide their baby into the stripper onesie and sigh. And I would win. It’s a simple matter of time. A waiting game. What even partially sane person is getting offended by this? No one is sexualizing this baby. This isn’t putting the baby on the fast track to dancing on a floating strip club owned by a meth dealer in Central Florida. This baby is as much a stripper because she’s in this onesie as she is a supernatural Amazonian warrior princess when she puts on a Wonder Woman outfit.
A New Hampshire voter, who likes Donald Trump roughly as much as you would expect someone who looks like this would, decided to take out his distaste for the President of the United States on the face of a 15-year-old wearing a Make American Great Again hat outside of one of the state’s polling stations in Windham, New Hampshire.

While leaving his polling station at Windham High School, 34-year-old Patrick Bradley shrieked, “FUCK YOU” and then assaulted the teenager after the teen had the audacity to wish him a good night while wearing a Make America Great Again hat. However, in Bradley’s defense, words you don’t like are violence, and written words are technically a picture of words, and a picture is worth a thousand words, so really the teenage boy was committing four thousand acts of violence against Bradley, and Bradley only responded with one act of violence. If anything, Bradley showed restraint, while the teenager was basically wearing an AK-47 with an infinite magazine and the trigger taped back on his head. Is Bradley actually a hero? We can’t rule it out. For whatever reason the other adults who were around when this grown man hit a boy in the face didn’t see it that way. Two of them tried to intervene and Bradley hit them too. And, of course, the fascist local police felt that Bradley was in the wrong as well. They charged him with assault and disorderly conduct and held him on $5,000 bail. Meanwhile, the teenage boy who is assaulting the entire town by wearing his hat remains free to continue his... let’s not mince words here, it’s time we speak seriously like the adults that we are... unrestrained, Holocaust-level verbal genocide.
It was a horrifying day for Aubrey Corley’s 5-year-old daughter after she was viciously attacked while riding the school bus home. According to Corley, her daughter, who attends Hubbard Elementary School, said a 12-year-old attacked her, grabbed her by the throat, and told her to stop breathing. The student then grabbed her by the hair and slammed her head against the bus wall. The 5-year-old admitted to the attack on December 4th after Corley noticed several cuts, scratches, and bruises on her daughter’s face when she got home. The little girl also said she was allegedly hit with a book bag and poked. The Monroe County Sheriff has filed charges against the 12-year-old who remains anonymous due to her age, and the Monroe County Assistant Superintendent Jackson Daniel said the district is investigating the incident. The child had been disciplined. District officials are interviewing the bus driver and both the school district and the sheriff’s office are watching video recorded by the bus camera. Corley said law enforcement members who have already seen the video described the incident as pure torture. She stated, “Mr. Blanks, Adam Blanks, the investigator, he told me that when she got on the bus, the whole 45-minute bus ride was complete terror and torture.” Fortunately, the 5-year-old did not need any medical treatment, but the mother is still wondering why someone would physically hurt the girl since she usually gets along with everyone. As for the District Attorney’s Office, someone is said to review the video before deciding what formal charges will be filed.
Parenting is hard, we all know that. Especially when it comes to toddlers. Those terrible two’s can really get to us sometimes. I think it has to do with having so much energy in their tiny bodies. So much so that its like they want to run to the next adventure really quickly. And 2-year-old Dax is the proof of that. The little rascal decided to take a peek outside, to say hi to his neighbors. Although it doesn’t sound like anything bad, well, turns out Dax was naked. Yes, just standing inches away from the upstairs window with his hand on the glass. Unfortunately, at the time of his incident, his mom Jeni was taking a shower and didn’t know what he was up to. Luckily, a neighbor spotted Dax and then texted mom, “Your kid is naked in your window.” Jeni Boysen shared the hilarious text message exchange through a Facebook Post because well, it was amazing and the whole world should see it. She noted “Ya know. Sometimes you think you’re doing okay at life and then you get a message like this from a neighbor. I Just cried I laughed so hard. This is exactly the laugh I needed tonight.” Social media is great. She’s totally right, raising a two-year-old is like pulling out that wildcard from UNO. Unexpected. Speaking with Bored Panda, Jenny said Dax was actually waving at the people passing by and she had no clue he had left the room. The little boy was reportedly sitting on her bed watching "Peppa Pig," while she had a quick shower. When she went out five minutes later, he was back on the bed. So yes, this kid just sneakily tried to pull a fast one on poor mom. But, luckily, the neighbor was there. After she got the text, she said she showed the picture to the toddler but didn’t seem interested. “He just said ‘That’s Dax.’ I think he doesn’t fully understand big everything has gotten.” Which, I don’t blame him, he’s 2-years-old. This kid probably didn’t even think this was a bad thing. He just wanted to peek outside. Wouldn't it be fun while you're stuck at home to just stand at your window naked?
So, if you wanna wear a mask when you go out and be fashionable get this mask from Puma...

Do you like the show "Pawn Stars"? Well, you never know what someone os going to bring into the store...

I just noticed... the lettering on the water bottle package is backwards. Haha. They are gonna rerelease Raiders of the Lost Ark and change a scene to go more with the times...

I do have a teaser pic of the new Spider-Man movie though. I bet today's guest Todd McFarlane doesn't know about this...

Hahahaha. If you need help washing your hands this chart will help you...

That's "Tempted" by Squeeze. You know, the Joker was crazy but not stupid.

Here's another...

Remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? A brand new one just came out...

Some people are using the coronavirus as a pickup line on dating apps...

Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, here is...

Top Phive Coronavirus Pick Up Lines From People Stuck In Quarantine
5. Hey, baby, you come within six feet of here often?
4. I have toilet paper.
3. FaceTime and chill?
2. You smell so good, is that Purell you're wearing?
And the number one Coronavirus pick up line from people stuck in quarantine is...
1. Are you a pandemic because you've got my heart on lockdown.

Yeesh. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. You know I live in Florida, right? Well, there's stuff here that happens no where else in the universe...

A Florida woman has been arrested for sending sexual messages over Instagram in the form of explicit videos and photos to a 16-year-old special needs student. Twenty-seven-year-old teacher’s aide Lindsey Noele Thorson was busted for her illicit messaging after the parent of a different student at Fieldston Preparatory School in Titusville, Florida alerted the authorities to her behavior. Thorson’s sexual messaging was initially reported to employees at Fieldson, which is a private K-12 institution, but her actions were not further investigated until a parent caught wind of the situation and reported it to the police themselves. Once the Titusville Police Department began investigating the situation their reports indicated that the principal of Fieldston, Cindy Colletti, was dismissive of the reports that her teacher’s aide was sending dirty messages to a student. Thorson, however, later surrendered herself to authorities. The investigation found that Thorson had sent explicit messages to the kid, as well messages accompanying them such as, “You ever show anyone these I will fight you lol,” and “Ima get myself fired.” The latter observation accompanying Thorson’s sexual predation turned out to be true. She was fired, as one usually is after becoming a personal cam girl for a minor. Colletti later released a statement assuring the community that she and other school officials fully cooperated with the investigation. After her arrest, Thorson posted her $4,000 bail and was released from the Brevard County Jail. Dismissive of allegations of one of your subordinates being a sexual predator? Who do you think you are, Cindy Colletti? The Pope? Do all these teachers having sex with their students not have Tinder and Bumble and whatever dating apps are out there? An (extremely small) part of me at least gets why some teacher in the 90s or 2000s might have resorted to going after a student. Just a sheer lack of nearby options. But now everyone has an entire catalog of potential sex partners in their pocket. There’s not really a good excuse for this stuff and even the bad excuses are getting worse.

So, a friend of the Phile wants to say something about spring breakers who are complaining. This should be good. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is...

Hello, humans. I keep seeing all these posts of footage from spring break. Scores of kids partying as if they haven’t a care in the world. Drunkenly holding up Corona bottles and slurring the words.. “...big ups for Corona, baby!!! Parrrrrrrtaaay!!!” Two schools of thought on this... 1. How dare they act in such a cavalier manner with all that’s going on? 2. They’re just scared kids, blowing off steam because reality slapped them in the face. Everyone is panicking and losing their collective minds... best that the Mayor of NYC can do is instill fear and compare our President to Herbert Hoover... I’m over here like now that my barber closed up his shop, guess it’s time to just say fuck it and grow my hair out...

Crime people

The 117th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Molly will be on the Phile on Wednesday I believe.

A man went to the police station wishing to speak with the burglar who had broken into his house the night before. "You'll get your chance in court," said the desk sergeant. "No, no, no!" insisted the man. "I want to know how he got into the house without waking my wife. I've been trying to do that for years!"

Today's pheatured guest comic book creator and entrepreneur, best known for his work as the artist on The Amazing Spider-Man and as the writer and artist on the horror-fantasy series Spawn. Please welcome to the Phile... Todd McFarlane.

Me: Hey, Todd, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Todd: I'm great, Jason. Thank you.

Me: So, where are you from originally? 

Todd: Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Medicine Hat to be exact.

Me: Medicine Hat? There's a place called Medicine Hat? Cool. So, living there did you want to be a comic book artist or writer?

Todd: Medicine Hat for me I went to college and wanted to be a big leaguer. It was the last official tryout I had after finishing college whee I came a hair from actually getting signed to the Toronto Blue Jays minor league styles. I ended up being the 26th man on the 25 man roster. It's not a good number. At that point it was time to put that dream away and move on I had just gotten my first job working at Marvel comic books.

Me: So, it was toss up between baseball and comics?

Todd: I thought my dream would be played baseball at night, draw during the day.

Me: Didn't I read you collect baseballs? How much money have you spent on baseballs at this point? 

Todd: Ummm... way too much. I think that's for another conversation because it's more of a business topic as to why. One of the balls went for three million dollars, why would anybody do that? Let me just tell you, if you're going to swim with the sharks and swim with the big boys the antes at the poker table is big. So this was my big bizarre antes to grab their attention so they would allow me then to have meetings with them so I could then talk to them about getting my contracts. Basically I started a toy company to and I wanted to do sports figures because again I'm a sports nut. It ended up working and I just considered that marketing money and I made it back ten-fold over the years with the sports toys we've done.

Me: How did you get a job drawing comics, Todd? Was it easy?

Todd: I sent out something like 750 artwork samples. I've kept track of it, all the way going through college here's a typical day for me... I get up, I go do my morning practice for baseball, I go to school, I do my classes. I had a three hour janitor job to help me pay for my scholarship and then I'd go back for my second practice then go home and do my work at night then about midnight I did my comic book stuff. As I got enough samples I would make copies of those samples and send them to 25 people at the time because it was basically all the editors at Marvel, DC and any other independent book company that was our there doing comic books.

Me: So, why did you keep track?

Todd: Because I wanted to know who was responding back and who to keep sending it to. Over the course of two and a half years of doing that over and over it happened to be over 700 and I got 300 rejections, I still have the bag of them.

Me: So, Marvel was the one that took you? How did that happen?

Todd: Eventually one of them said, two and half years later, a couple of weeks before I graduated from college they'll give me a job. The funny thing is because I sent to every editor I got my first job, it was working at Marvel I was still receiving letters from the other editors saying I would never work at Marvel, I'm not good enough.

Me: What was that like when you got the job?

Todd: I always said if you want to play in the NHL you only have to have one team like you, who cares what the other 29 teams care about? You only need one team, then you're in the door, you're in the game.

Me: Okay then. What drove you through all this rejections? I would have quit way before then.

Todd: Well, a couple of things. I think I could mush together, and there's a fine line... delusion, stubbornness, a little bit of immaturity, just being unapproachable. When people say, "Oh my god, Todd, what tenacity you had." At what point is tenacity delusion? What point do I say, "Todd, you can off all your opera tapes you ant, you will never be an opera singer. You don't have the voice." What point do I go I sent off 2000? They were right. In hindsight let me say they were right. When I look at the artwork that I sent, because I still have it all, I wasn't ready.

Me: So, what made Marvel take you?

Todd: What I think ended up happening, I don't know, I'm taking a guess, eventually they gave me a job because I was sending so many samples on such a consistent basis that somebody at editor meetings said, "Oh, for the love of god, will somebody give this kid something so we'd only get one package a month because he's driving us crazy keeping the mailroom boy every single week."

Me: Stan Lee raved about you, Todd. He interviewed you in on TV show in 1991. I have a screenshot of it here...

Me: What do you remember about that?

Todd: I had he great pleasure of probably being on stage with Stan more than any other human being. Especially the last ten years of his life. So, that interview was when we started Image comic books, about 1992 so I was starting to get to know Stan really well.

Me: I saw him in person once or twice and tried for years to get him on the Phile. What was he like for you, Todd?

Todd: He was encouraging.

Me: I think I first knew about you when you "reinvented" Spider-Man. I have those comics somewhere still I believe. Do you think you reinvented Spider-Man?

Todd: All the things, we go back a little bit, all the things I was doing like you said I reinvented Spider-Man, that's what they say now but at the time what was happening was I was just trying to do something that was entertaining as I was siting in a room by myself for ten hours a day doing pages. It was going counter to the look Spider-Man up to that point.

Me: Were you getting push back from anybody?

Todd: Oh, a lot from the editors and the top people. Every time I would go to New York I would get a finger waved at my face and it became kind of frustrating.

Me: But they were the ones who let you do Spider-Man, right?

Todd: Yeah, they handed me the book and I think it was Number 22 in the rank of of sales and they said, "Hey, our icon character has basically fallen out of grace can you and the writer do anything to sort of prop it up?" And we did. Every time we came into the office and we were getting the finger wagged sales were up and it was Number 16 in the rankings now... Spider-Man. went to Number 12, then Number 8 and so on.

Me: You later quit doing Spider-Man, right? Why was that?

Todd: Because I wanted to do some writing.

Me: When you said you were gonna quit what did they say?

Todd: "Hey, Todd, we don't want you to quit Spider-Man, it's doing so well now. Why don't we give you a new book and we'll let you write it?" I thought it was a fools game because I've never written. That book ended up setting a worlds record for the most sales by a single individual creator so that one's in the Guinness Book. So here's this book now selling more than anything they have in their corporation. I'm making them more cash, which I thought was my job to sell comics. I thought that was my job in the simplest form, silly me, the little Canadian kid from Calgary what do I know? And yet it was never good enough for them.

Me: What did Marvel have to complain about with your stuff?

Todd: They were saying I can't draw like this, I can't tell stories like that, I can't, I can't, I can't as the book sales were going up, up and up.

Me: So, you left Marvel and started Image Comics, right?

Todd: Right. Let me put a point on that, I'm not saying what I was doing was better. I'd never say that, that's in the eye of the beholder. Any consumer that buys any product that I do can weigh it against anything else in the marketplace. What I'm saying is I'm supposed to do my job, I would like to have some joy and some peace, and I mean peace as in peace and war. That was it and I like to have some control over my life. If working for Marvel and seeing more books than anybody else is an aggravation for them and for me then I will just go someplace where we're not aggravating each other. That's it. I just want to get up every day and go hey, it's my life, how much can I control of my life. That's it.

Me: So, when you come up with Spawn at Image, what could you do with Spawn that you couldn't do with Spider-Man?

Todd: Anything. Corporate America, once they have their billion dollar machines... good on them. I understand it, I understand why they do what they do. I have being fighting against corporate entities my entire life. Marvel and DC are now owned by Warner Bros. and Disney, these are giants. These are enormous corporations that do stuff and yet there's still space for people to go up against them if they out up a quality product at a fair price and entertain people. There's still space for that.

Me: So, how did you want Image to be different than Marval and DC? More adult, am I right?

Todd: For me when we started Image I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to do f-bombs, I didn't want to do naked scenes, didn't want to do drug stuff, I didn't want to do any of that. I just wanted to be in a position if a scene came up and it called for something like that, and I need to go outside PG-13 essentially. I'm dealing with mafia people, I'm dealing with a drug lord, the vehicular, the way they talk, the way they act might not be exact the same way they would in a PG-13 framework of a corporation that doesn't want to offend mums and things and all those other things. I get it.

Me: In a documentary about you in 2000 you said comic books, movies and video games cannot be blamed for violence with guns. Do you remember that? Here in 2020 we are still talking about that. 

Todd: Jason, not only can they not, they aren't.

Me: Has your perspective changed in the last 20 years?

Todd: They aren't. Let me just throw a fact to anybody who wants to have this argument because I start to get angry because it's a false argument. What is the document that the medical profession has said that if people watch violent movies, sane people, we're not talking about insane people. We can't stop insanity. I'm saying people watch violent movies and violent video games that they will in themselves become violent. What that report says, save yourself some time, it doesn't exist. Here's why it doesn't exist, moms, dads, everybody that thinks they just want to blame something, just so you know we've been killing humans since the dawn of man and they didn't have video games and violent TV shows back then. It's just in our nature. Here's what they're going to do, they're going to stand there and shift the blame on something just because of the things we do because we can't handle it. It's a false argument and here's why,.. your 5-year-old child you sit them down and you let them watch "Sesame Street." At five they understand there's not six foot yellow birds talking yet somehow at 20 or 18 or 24 now that our brains are more sophisticated and now we are even more mature somehow we can't discern between pretend and reality at 22 when we could do it at 5. They're making a mistake, there's a difference. Crazy people may not. We can't create and do our work on a handful of crazy people on the planet. We can't do it. It will freeze everyone of us, there will be paralysis.

Me: I know you said this topic angers you. Are you surprised we are still having this conversation? 

Todd: Yeah, because we don't want to deal with the real argument.

Me: Which is?

Todd: Look, I'll go off on the side. Here's my quick argument about guns: I'm not saying we're going to solve anything, I'm not saying we're going to stop it. This is the false argument that I hear down here in America. If you can't stop it don't do it. I'm saying we can't stop it, what we can do is limit the carnage. We're capable of doing that. 

Me: So, can we stop people from doing these vicious acts?

Todd: Nope.

Me: Why not?

Todd: Because humans have been doing that since the dawn of man too. What we can do is limit the carnage. So instead of them getting a hundred bullets in a second why don't we get it where there's only two? At least we'll have only four dead instead of forty dead. That's all I'm saying, that at least is some solution. Can we stop it? No. Can we limit it? Yes. But the world is what we make of it. We could feed the planet tomorrow because there's plenty of food, we just choose not to.

Me: In the 30 years you have been making comics most of the mainstream super heroes have made it to the big screen successfully, more successful than the Spawn movie that came out in 1997. Now you're making another Spawn movie, Todd, what do you think will happen then?

Todd: First of the first issue of Spawn sold 1.7 million copies, and independent record. I own the record for both corporate and non-corporate. I own both records.

Me: That's the comic book, not the movie. It's now a crowded market for comic book movies, Todd, why do we need Spawn?

Todd: Here's my take on what I'm hoping to do with the Spawn movie... because again I'll be the director on it. I don't want to do a big two hundred million dollar budget special effects extravaganza. Those movies are doing good, again going back to it, they're making billions of dollars. There's no shortish of that diet, right, again. What I want to do is this dark gritty story because that's the world my character lives in. I want to do it R-rated and I want to do it completely serious. I don't want their to be a funny lines, I don't want to be any funny jokes, I don't want anybody to smile because that's not the world that Spawn lives in. There's an appetite for that, and I wish Hollywood would follow me when I go to do shows. When I say I'm going to do something a little more sophisticated, a little more mature to them you should see their eyes light up. Why? Because there's 25, 35, 45 in the audience, I don't peddle my stuff to 6-year-olds. That's somebody else, that's another corporation. I'm saying they're leaving a gap and that gap is a serious, dark, cool wicked movies that happens to be... ta-da... a comic book. Spawn can fill that. There's a lot of comic book characters, especially super hero characters that can't fill that space. Spawn is prefect for that space so why not. Why not? I could do this movie for 20 million bucks, I have Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Renner attached to it... two big A-list names that they said again I couldn't get and I got them. And we'll see. If people don't see it there won't be a Spawn 2. I think this is low hanging fruit.

Me: TV, movies, comic books, toys, video games... you ave built yourself a huge empire but if someone offered you to play on a baseball team would you chuck it all in and take it?

Todd: Oh, it would be very tempting if they said, "You get three innings to play center field for the Blue Jays but you're going to be on enemy territory. You might be playing at Yankee Stadium." I don't want to play at home, I want to play on the road where they're pulling against me. So when I go to the plate that one time with the bases are loaded I'll go, "Can I silence the crowd today because they want me to fail? Can I get that base hit and break their heart?" It would be tempting, it would be very tempting.

Me: Todd, thanks for being on the Phile. This has been a big fun interview. I hope it was for you and I hope you'll come back again soon.

Todd: Thank you, good luck to you.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Todd McFarlane. The Phile will be back on Monday with Phile Alum David Crosby. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon

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