Roger Answers Your Questions, Tom, LisaF, Arthur, and Scott

Lisa from peripheral perceptions, who has very nice toes, writes:
You may have already been asked and answered this one, but…How and why did you get into blogging?

The HOW question I answered, among other places, here, specifically in the fifth paragraph; curse you, Fred Hembeck! The WHY I’m sure I’ve answered, but, to reiterate, it’s mostly because I was composing things to write in my head, I didn’t have a place to put them, and the subsequent noise in my brain got too loud; I blogged to stay (relatively) sane. Now it’s so I can “meet” people like you.
Thomas McKinnon, with whom I worked at the comic book store FantaCo, said:
Hey Roger
Tell us the story how you met Tom Skulan, and started working at FantaCo.
I have never heard the story.

Well, those are two very different things. I’m going to go back to the old days of comic book collecting, when you had to get your comics off the spinner racks at the local convenience store. I started collecting comics by early 1972 (Red Wolf #1 was cover dated May 1972, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire June 1972). My friend and I were at college in New Paltz, NY but we had to go to some little hole-in-the wall store on 44/55 in Highland, the next town over, to get our four-color fix.

At some point, maybe as early as 1973, a guy named Peter Maresca started a comic book store called the Crystal Cave, buying from a direct market distributor (Seagate? Bud Plant?) It was right across from a bar called Bacchus. It later moved a couple blocks.

The chronology fails me here, but at some point, Tom Skulan, Mitch Cohn, and Raoul Vezina all worked at the Crystal Cave, so I met them all there. Tom also put bicycles together at Barker’s department store just outside the village limits.

At some point, Peter closed the store and sold the comic inventory, I believe, to Tom. In any case, I would see Tom at these little comic book shows up and down the Hudson River periodically. Then on August 28, 1978, he opened FantaCo at 21 Central Avenue in Albany, with Raoul as the front guy/graphic designer in residence, the same function he served at the Crystal Cave.

I was living in Schenectady by that time, and lost my job at the Schenectady Arts Council in January 1979; the federal funding was cut off. So I couldn’t afford to buy comics for a while. I’d take the hour-long #55 bus from Schenectady to Albany, sometimes do some work in the store and get store credit in return so that I could feed my addiction.

I did some work on the first FantaCon in 1979. I know I helped schlep stuff into the Egg convention center, and worked the front door and/or the FantaCo table.

In August 1979, I moved to Albany, to attend grad school at UAlbany (or whatever it was called at the time) in public administration. It was a disaster, in no small part because I developed a toe infection two days before registration and literally almost died; I spent nearly a week in the college infirmary and never really caught up. But it was also very cutthroat competitive, unlike my later time at library school, which was very cooperative, and it did not suit my personality at all.

So in May 1980, when the semester was over, Tom nagged me to work at the store. I told him that I didn’t want to work at the store; I needed to go back to college in the fall. But I COULD use a summer job. So I was hired on that basis, primarily doing mail order, and didn’t end up leaving until November 1988.
Scott from the on-hiatus Scooter Chronicles – come back, Scott! – wonders: What is your take, if any, on the DC relaunch, with 52 new story lines and rebooted famous characters?

First, I know it’s inevitable that characters will get reimagined from time to time, in part a function of them not aging as the rest of us do. Still, the whole renumbering and reinventing the whole line smacks of both a frustrating disrespect for its own history, and commercial desperation. If I hadn’t stopped buying new comics, this ploy might have motivated me to scrap the entire line. In other words, I HATE it.

That said, it appears that a a couple titles featuring female characters are specifically problematic.
A fellow political science major in college, Arthur@AmeriNZ, asked about a story. AP Reporter Responds To Chris Hayes Panel Debate On Racism Of Droppin’ G’s From Obama Speech
On Sunday morning’s Up with Chris Hayes, the panel discussed the contrast between the way Politico reported President Obama’s speech before the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Associated Press‘ reporting. Unlike Politico, who used the official transcription to pull quotes, the AP’s article reflected the President’s folksier delivery by quotin’ him without the dropped g’s. Karen Hunter called the AP’s treatment racist, John McWhorter disagreed, and Hayes got a laugh by saying, “I can go both ways on this.”

My first instinct was to say that, if that same news organization would drop the G when quoting, say, George W. Bush (which seems to be the case), it’s a non-issue, but would be if Obama were dealt with differently. However, it is NOT because, as McWhorter argued, “Black English is becoming the lingua franca of American youth, and that ‘America, including non-black America, loves that way of speaking.'” Yuck.

Hunter says she teaches “a journalism class, and I tell my students to fix people’s grammar, because you don’t want them to sound ignorant. For them to do that, it’s code, and I don’t like it.” That was an interesting point. I’ve seen literal transcripts in the newspaper, often in criminal cases, sometimes with the (sic) or “as stated” designation, and I’ve been of two minds on that, how that might color the public’s perception of the case.

I guess I agree with Hayes when he suggested, “journalistically speaking, the AP’s transcription gave a more accurate impression of the flavor of the speech.” Especially when the President clearly intended to be dropping his Gs for the particular audience to whom he was speaking. Or speakin’.
You have more questions? Just ask away!

Art from Sold Out #1 by John Hebert; story by Skulan, Green and Hebert

0 thoughts on “Roger Answers Your Questions, Tom, LisaF, Arthur, and Scott”

  1. LOL! Since I changed out my headers, many people will have no idea to what toes you are referring! Or, they will think we’re having a torrid cyber-affair. But thank you anyway! And thanks for answering the questions.


  2. Thanks for that, Roger. While I don’t have a strong feeling about that dropped “g” thing, I tend to agree with you. By the way, I was strongly considering going to grad school to study public administration (I had an undergrad class in it), but life went another way. Hm…


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