Friday, October 20th, 2017 11:24 pm



"I reserve the right to change my mind [laughs], but Barry and I have talked about it many times and one thing we like in the world we’ve built is that there is no Justice League waiting in the wings, no Fantastic Four, no Avengers to set the world right. It is not a story of what happens when the villain wins until the heroes wake up, it’s about there not being any more superheroes."

- Mark Waid


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Friday, October 20th, 2017 07:24 pm

Posted by Amanda

We’ve selected With This Curse by Amanda DeWees for our October read for the SBTB book club. Our official selection post has some more information on the book, including Elyse’s thoughts on why it’s a great Gothic pick for the month of October.

Our chat will occur on Wednesday, October 25 from 8:00pm – 9:30pm EDT. That afternoon, we’ll post the chat link on the site and it will go live around 8:00pm. Sarah will lead a discussion of the book for around an hour, and then author Amanda DeWees will pop in for a Q&A!

We hope to see you there!

Friday, October 20th, 2017 06:00 pm

Posted by Josh

Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad could be here, right now.

Hey guys! Here’s today’s comment of the week — a week that, I think it goes without saying, progressed from Monday through Friday in the ordinary sequence that we all know and love!

“Isn’t a key premise of Dennis the Menace that Mr. Wilson would have a quiet, idyllic suburban life, if not for his rambunctious neighbor? Well, Dennis is right next to him, sitting quietly as Mr. Wilson stares out at his own lawn. What exactly is spurring this stony contempt for the hurly-burly of modern life? Did somebody give Joey a cell phone or something? Is Mr. Wilson shooting that brutal look at Joey as he just sits calmly on the lawn playing Minecraft? Because fuck you, Joey. [sips coffee] Fuck you.” –Dan

And here are the runners up! Obviously none of the ones about Friday’s comics were posted several days ago. Like, how would that even work?

“I was curious enough about today’s pop-philosophical quote to look up ‘Javan’ on the internet. Apparently he’s a poet who went by his middle name and had some books published in the ’80s, but still isn’t famous enough to have his own Wikipedia mention (unlike, say, Welsh rugby player Javan Sebastian, English ‘footballer’ Javan Vidal, or Javan, the character on the 2011 version of ThunderCats whose kin was afflicted with a plague). Sometimes I wonder if the Mary Worth folks are just browsing BrainyQuotes.com every Sunday, but then I think to myself, ‘Yes, of course they are.’” –BigTed

“Since Mindy is an antiques dealer in what is purportedly the 21st century, it seems like she’d have done some business with online auction sites herself. I don’t really think she’d need to ask Buck how they work, unless mansplaining is part of their foreplay.” –Artist formerly known as Ben

“The Sofia Vegara/Danny DeVito sexy cosplay you ordered is both sexier and more disturbing than you dreamed.” –Andrew DevilHorns, on Twitter

“I love the look on the barber’s face that seems to suggest that the kid is asking for some rare extravagance that those who can afford it might have in their homes, but in a barber shop? No way! Especially not if after this is over your mom hands me another 50¢ piece and no tip. Sure, by 1980, when we’re all taking weekend vacations to the Moon and the safe cigarette has been perfected, there might be TV sets in every business and every room of the house, but until those 30 years pass, let’s deal with the present day as it is, shall we?” –Larry McAwful

“That bikini color, a cross between mauve and beige, does absolutely nothing for Fabiana. Her attraction to Wilbur makes a lot more sense if she has absolutely no taste, and even more sense if it turns out she’s blind.” –Spunky The Wonder Squid

“If it’s on the internet, it’s true. Sorry kid. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to read about this one strange trick to lose weight.” –Bryan J. Simmons, on Facebook

“Coach, I have four questions: How should I prepare my hashbrowns? What does the Prom Committee do? Should I rent or own a timepiece? Can you help me deliver this refrigerator to the Johnson’s?” –The Mighty Untrained FOOZLE

“There’s a sad subtext in today’s RMMD, in which the vibrant, fresh-faced youngster looks upon his doughy, deskbound dad and can’t help but think, ‘So THAT’s what I’m going to look like in 25 years.’ His plaintive ‘What’s the deal, dad?’ may be overtly about comix forgery, but beneath is an existential question about faulty genes and the anti-Darwinian course of civilized human evolution.” –jvwalt

“One more week of Rex Morgan, M.D. strips about this and I am going to buy art forgeries out of spite.” –Ettorre

“I’m not so sure I like this North American Air Command, a place where grizzled, hardworking, mustached men can have their work — and, by extension, their very sanity — questioned by weak, callow, non-mustached men. Tell me, Captain Peachfuzz, have you ever field stripped a rifle blindfolded? Been forced to shoot a beloved family dog? Broken a woman’s heart? That’s what I thought. So why don’t you go back to playing hopscotch and leave the bogey spotting to the men?” –Joe Blevins

“Cut! There’s a goddamn mic in the panel two shot! Is that your boom mic, Bruce? Is it? You’re fired. Get the hell out. And you two. Look, Blondie, you just got a nice gift from an old man you made happy. Maybe try happy as an emotion? Not joy, but wistful happiness? Is that in your goddamn repertoire? And you, Noseboy, does the script say ‘jealousy?’ Does it say ‘greed?’ It does not. It says ‘joshing,’ do you know what that means? You’re happy for a friend — you have friends, right, Nostril? You’re being buddy-buddy, not green-eyed monster. Christ, who writes this crap anyway? OK, someone get me a coffee and a danish, and let’s start this over. Take 65, and go!” –Voshkod

“If you’re going after the fleeing, unarmed blonde, while leaving the heavily-armed psychopath to your partner, maybe you’re not the one who needs to be shouting ‘Cover me!’” –Pozzo

“This Sunday’s Mark Trail will cover the importance of posture and standing upright to prevent lower back injury as you hunt and track the Most Dangerous Game of all.” –Dread

Thanks to everyone who became a Comics Curmudgeon Supporter to get an banner-ad-free site, put some scratch in my tip jar, or backed me on Patreon! And as ever, we must give thanks to our advertisers:

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Friday, October 20th, 2017 01:22 pm




A repost of one of my Hallowe'en 2014 selections! H.P. Lovecraft's classic 1924 tale of horrific family secrets gets the Richard Corben (writing as, appropriately, "Gore") treatment in the underground comic Skull #5 (Last Gasp, 1972). NSFW warning for gore.

'Is it Edward Norrys' fat face on that fungus thing?' )
Saturday, October 21st, 2017 12:03 am


When Pia Guerra and I started Y: The Last Man that was our impulse: Let’s make a comic book for people who don’t yet know that they love comics. I think for a lot of people it’s kind of an intimidating art form to get into. Even if you’ve been reading comics your whole life, you take it for granted sometimes. It’s hard to just open up this page of panels—you don’t know how to read it. With Y: The Last Man we were like, let’s think about it so that if you’ve only ever read Calvin and Hobbes in your daily paper growing up, you will be able to read this comic. And I think with Saga we tried to hone that even more. -- Brian K. Vaughan

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Friday, October 20th, 2017 11:48 pm


When I was a kid, Superman quite literally saved my life.

I have always been a devotee. Captivated by superhero comics when I was no more than four years old, they became the foundation of my existence. They always buoyed me in times of trouble, but even they couldn't elevate me when I was hitting high school. I was from a broken home, I was incessantly bullied in school, I wasn't handling any of it well, and the darkness of my depression had me -- and I am not exaggerating, forgive me -- suicidally depressed that no one really gave a damn about me and no one ever would.

And in that mood, on a January afternoon in 1979, I went to see Superman: The Movie, and it changed everything. I sat through it twice, full of joy I have rarely experienced since. I knew Superman was a fictional character. I knew Christopher Reeve was an actor. But together, alchemically, magically, they communicated something profound to me: Superman cared. He cared about everyone.

Even me.


-- Mark Waid

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Friday, October 20th, 2017 01:00 pm

Posted by Jen

Deedeedeedeeedeedeedeedee

You unlock this bakery with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension.

A dimension of icing.

A dimension of piping bags.

A dimension of wreckitude.

You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of bad taste and even worse skill. You just crossed over into...

The Twilight Zone.


BUM BUM BAAAAAHHHH...

 Picture, if you will... a monkey. This monkey:

I know, creepy right? [shivering] Brrrrrr. Totally.

 

[resuming serious announcer voice] Ahem. Now picture, if you will, five ravenous-yet-dim-witted Shih Tzu dogs:

[sternly] Let's call them Muffy, Boopsie, Precious, Buttercup and Mr. Snuggles.

 

Now picture, if you will, a face of terror that watches in malignant silence far beyond your present capacity to understand. A face enigmatically bizarre in terms of time and space. A face...

...of a tweety bird.

 

 Now picture, if you will, Meerkat Zombies...raising the roof.


"What up, playah?"

 

This is the stuff of fantasy, the thread of imagination, the ingredients... of the Twilight Zone.

 BUM BUM BAAAAAHHHHH... SQUEEDLEDEEEE!!!


Jennifer P., Matt N., Christine S., and Melanie L., picture, if you will... a dolphin eating a Snickers bar in flip-flops and a cardigan. Then tell me what that looks like. I've always wondered.

 

Note: A couple of people suggested the pictures should be in black and white which was an awesome idea. So we changed them. I think it adds to the ambiance, don't you? For those who really want to see the full color versions, click here.

UPDATE! LeAnna and Woobie took up the dolphin challenge and sent in their ideas.

 

First LeAnna's:
AWESOME! Check out the flip flop thongs on his flippers.

 

And next we have Woobie's
See, the snickers bar is wearing the cardigan and flip flops because I apparently have no grasp of sentence structure. ?thought Who would have

Touché!

 

One more!
This one's from Vanilla Smoke. Awesome!

 

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

Friday, October 20th, 2017 08:00 am

Posted by Carrie S

B+

Unwanted Girl

by M.K. Schiller
January 19, 2016 · Lyrical Shine
Romance

Unwanted Girl deals with serious topics and yet manages to be a sweet, satisfying romance. It’s quite a balancing act in terms of tone.

The hero of Unwanted Girl is Nick Dorsey, the writer of a series of bestselling spy novels of the James Bond type. Nick is also a recovering meth addict. When the book starts, he’s been meth-free for eighteen months, although he still drinks alcohol in moderation (N.B.: most recovery programs do not recommend continuing to drink alcohol after quitting other drugs, although it appears that some people are able to do it). Nick goes to Narcotics Anonymous, has been healing his relationships with family, and is struggling with writer’s block. He lives in New York City.

Nick likes to order sandwiches from a deli that delivers. The same woman always delivers his sandwiches. Eventually she introduces herself and invites herself in. Her name is Shyla, and she is from a small village in India. Shyla is studying education with plans to return to India to be a teacher. Shyla asks Nick to help her write a book of her own and as they work on it they fall in love.

Shyla promises Nick that her book has a happy ending. Nick finds this hard to believe, since her story is about the practice of female gendercide as well as spousal abuse and rape (obviously, HUGE trigger warnings for rape, spousal abuse, child abuse, and sexism). As they work together on her book, they also watch movies and she reads both his spy thrillers and his much more personal first novel. This leads to talk about culture, the meaning and purpose of fiction, and gender and race representation.

Shyla’s story forms a book within the book. It’s about a baby in rural India who is abandoned by her biological parents due to her gender and adopted by a woman who has recently lost her only child. This woman, Nalini, names the baby Asha and raises her with the support of a local nun and teacher named Sarah. Sarah insists on Asha continuing her education well into adulthood. However, Asha is frustrated when she marries an abusive man whose mother is also abusive to Asha. Asha wonders the point of all this education is if she never gets to use it.

Even though the book Shyla is writing is full of trauma, and Nick is dealing with the consequences of his addiction, Shyla and Nick are very playful together. Their playfulness lightens the tone, rounds out their characters, and is just generally a kick to read. It also establishes that despite Nick’s original assumption about Shyla, she is comfortable and confident in her sexuality and not opposed to pre-marital sex. Nick makes many assumptions about Shyla and it’s satisfying to see her overthrow them one after another.

Shyla is an interesting character and I would have enjoyed learning more about the family and friends she works with and lives with in New York. She has a strong sense of self that I admired, and she also has the ability to be flexible in her understanding of the world around her without losing the core sense of who she is. For example, she explains that earlier in her life she would have been shocked at the idea that two women could be in a committed relationship and raise a child, but after living for some time in New York she accepts the idea that there are many configurations of family (Nick’s sister and sister-in-law have an adopted daughter). She has a wicked sense of humor that endeared her to me entirely. On the other hand, towards the end of the book she makes a couple of comments that drove me up the wall, including one about women needing to be ladylike. If she had made that comment at the beginning of the book instead of near the end I doubt I would have stuck with it.

Nick is a more bland character. He’s used to telling people what to do. His inability to comprehend things like the racism in Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom frustrated me. I felt that he tended to infantilize Shyla, assuming that she would be naïve and shy when actually she’s seen much more of the world than he has. Their relationship levels out eventually.

This book is basically a billionaire romance, with Shyla as a Cinderella who finds a rich prince. Nick isn’t a billionaire, but he is very wealthy, and he loves and is generous with beautiful things and good food. Meanwhile, Shyla is hardworking and, while not desperately impoverished, limited in her financial resources. The cross-cultural and feminist elements deepen the story and there’s a bit of thriller intrigue at the end involving a twist that frankly I did not entirely buy. There is a happy ending to both Asha’s story and Shyla’s story but readers should be warned that Asha goes through absolute (graphically described) hell before she gets to the happy ending that Shyla promises. The writing can be a bit stilted and the characters aren’t equally balanced, but the sensitive handling of difficult material and the balance of tragedy and humor bring the book up to a B+.

Friday, October 20th, 2017 06:00 am

Posted by SB Sarah

This is something of an all-in-one episode. Ready?

We begin with one last recommendation request for Amanda and me, and then we squee! Amanda and I both read a book we loved, and want to tell all of you about it. We go on at length, too, so be ready. It’s got magic and mystery and a terrific heroine.

But because I know so many of you immediately grab the next book when you begin a new series, I wanted to include a little information about book 2, which I DNFd after a scene that really irritated me.

THEN, I have an email from an anonymous listener who wanted to share some information based on episode 257, where we discussed BDSM and chronic pain. This is some fascinating stuff, so stay tuned for that.

Listen to the podcast →
Read the transcript →

Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

Our anonymous listener mentioned shibari rope bondage techniques, and you can learn more online.

The episode our anonymous listener was responding to was episode 257: Bitches Assemble: Our Favorite Recommendations and the Expectations of Tentacles. 

If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us on Stitcher, too. We also have a cool page for the podcast on iTunes.

Thanks to our sponsors:

More ways to sponsor:

Sponsor us through Patreon! (What is Patreon?)

What did you think of today's episode? Got ideas? Suggestions? You can talk to us on the blog entries for the podcast or talk to us on Facebook if that's where you hang out online. You can email us at sbjpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-3272. Please don't forget to give us a name and where you're calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.

Thanks for listening!

This Episode's Music

Our music is provided by Sassy Outwater.

This is “Fishing at Orbost,” by the Peatbog Fairies, from their album Dust.

You can find all things Peatbog at their website, or at Amazon or iTunes.


Podcast Sponsor

organization Academy lighthouse logoThis episode is brought to you by Organization Academy.

Organization Academy the home of my online courses on using Google Calendar to declutter your schedule and organize your life. I did a series on SBTB about how I use Google Calendar to automate and manage every aspect of my day, including home, family, business, other business, freelance writing, podcasting, meal planning, and more.

Over the past year, I have developed a step by step instructional program outlining the method I use for meal planning, and I am about to launch my first online course, Menu Planning Mastery. It’s all about saving time, energy, and money by harnessing the power of Google Calendar to manage your meal planning.

If you feel overwhelmed sometimes by the question “What’s for dinner?” when you don’t know the answer, this course is for you. This method can save you time and reduce stress.

And what can you do with all that time? Read more books! While you eat good food! I love this plan.

If you would like more information, you can sign up for my newsletter at OrganizationAcademy.com, and you’ll be the first to know when the course opens. You’ll also receive weekly tips on organizing using Google Calendar every Friday.

Find out more at Organization Academy.com!

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Friday, October 20th, 2017 12:26 am


Who doesn’t like Squirrel Girl? Doreen’s great, because she’s the furthest thing from a “random,” “zany” character there is; at the core of her, there’s this incredible, intense well of compassion and empathy that you don’t really see in a lot of other super-people. -- Al Ewing

Read more... )
Thursday, October 19th, 2017 03:30 pm

Posted by Amanda

An Untamed State

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay is $1.99! This is a highly recommended piece of contemporary fiction. It’s harrowing and emotional as it chronicles a woman’s kidnapping, rescue, and recovery. This is Gay’s debut novel and there are definitely some trigger warnings for this book. For those who have read it, what did you think?

Roxane Gay is a powerful new literary voice whose short stories and essays have already earned her an enthusiastic audience. In An Untamed State, she delivers an assured debut about a woman kidnapped for ransom, her captivity as her father refuses to pay and her husband fights for her release over thirteen days, and her struggle to come to terms with the ordeal in its aftermath.

Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents.

An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a willful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places. An Untamed Stateestablishes Roxane Gay as a writer of prodigious, arresting talent.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

A Rogue to Avoid

A Rogue to Avoid by Bianca Blythe is 99c at Amazon! This is a historical romance where a misunderstanding leads to marriage. Talk about awkward. Readers really seemed to enjoy the interaction between the hero and heroine. However, others found some things to be a bit unbelievable or inconsistent. It has a 3.8-star rating on Goodreads. This is the second book in a series and the first one is also on sale!

A Scottish scoundrel…
Gerard Highgate, Marquess of Rockport and the ton’s most aloof rake, knows better than to wed an Englishwoman, especially one as prickly as Lady Cordelia. But when his mother dies and he finds himself saddled with her debts, he needs a wife and he needs one fast.

An exacting Englishwoman…
Lady Cordelia knows that hastiness in husband hunting leads to mistakes. But when she visits an aristocrat to warn that his life might be in danger, he misinterprets her suggestion to flee to Scotland.

An unexpected elopement…
Most elopements are born of love, not misunderstanding. Cordelia and Gerard have already broken that rule, but perhaps they can still make their marriage one of love.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

amazon

 

 

 

Stud

Stud by Jamie K. Schmidt is 99c! This sounds like a pretty fun contemporary and I already have it on my Kindle. Some readers found the writing a bit choppy at times, while others really loved the heroine’s strong personality. This is also a standalone romance.

Large. Hot. With a pump of sexual tension. 

When the barista next door teams up with a slick ad executive in this sweet standalone novel from USA Today bestselling author Jamie K. Schmidt, they both get a taste of unexpected love.

Terri Cooke wishes she could give Mick Wentworth a piece of her mind. The infuriating stud muffin walks into her coffee shop every morning expecting his regular order at 8:57 on the dot, without ever acknowledging Terri’s presence—except for staring at her cleavage. And yet she can’t deny that Mick Wentworth has an animal magnetism that’s stronger and richer than any espresso . . . which explains why Terri says yes when he suddenly, inexplicably asks her out.

After the morning coffee run, Mick’s day is all downhill from there. His family’s marketing firm is dysfunctional in more ways than one, so to save the business, Mick desperately needs to impress their newest client. When he learns that Terri’s a fan of their trendy product, he tries to get inside her head. It doesn’t hurt that she’s the barista he’s been lusting after for the past five months. But as things heat up with Terri, Mick finds that a little steam is just the jolt he needs to turn his whole life around.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

One Bite Per Night

One Bite Per Night by Brooklyn Ann is 99c! This is a historical paranormal romance with a vampire hero who takes the heroine on as his ward. Readers seemed divided on the main characters. Many liked the hero, but found the heroine to be rather exhausting at times.

He wanted her off his hands…
Vincent Tremayne, the reclusive “Devil Earl,” has been manipulated into taking rambunctious Lydia Price as his ward. As Lord Vampire of Cornwall, Vincent has better things to do than bring out an unruly debutante.

Now he’ll do anything to hold on forever
American-born Lydia Price doesn’t care for the stuffy strictures of the ton, and is unimpressed with her foppish suitors. She dreams of studying with the talented but scandalous British portrait painter, Sir Thomas Lawrence. But just when it seems her dreams will come true, Lydia is plunged into Vincent’s dark world and finds herself caught between the life she’s known and a future she never could have imagined.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 11:02 pm


'The team is far, far more aware of their role in the Marvel Universe not just as mentors, but as students. The Champions aren't the "farm team" anymore - their peers are the Avengers.' - Mark Waid

Read more... )
Thursday, October 19th, 2017 01:00 pm

Posted by Jen

Greetings, bakers! This handy guide will demonstrate how easy it is to turn your bakery's plain stock cakes into fabulously frightening Halloween designs.

Ready?

Then let's get started!

First, nothing says "Halloween!" like a sprinkling of candy corn:

So easy, the deli guy can do it!

 

 

Or, October is the perfect month to stretch your product's shelf life. When the icing cracks and the colors fade, just add a spiderweb!
See? Now you meant to do that!

 

 

And why not take this opportunity to "customize" your scones?

"That'll be $1.20 extra for our 'tomb scone specials.'"

 

 

Or, since studies* have shown that customers prefer plastic over pastry nearly 37 to 1, far better to reach for your trusty Flotsam Bugs®!

* We asked our marketing team.

Suddenly, Stanley felt the tide of power turning...

 

 

Flotsam Bugs® are grrreat for turning any design into a Halloween one. Can your bakers only make roses? Nooo problem. Just add a Flotsam Bug®, and poof!

Now that's one scary Halloween flower!

 

Or, how about turning a birthday present into a Halloween birthday present?

Spine-chilling, isn't it?

 

 

But let's say you have character cakes already decorated with an assortment of flotsam. What then?

Why, just pipe a few ghosts on, silly!

 

Hm? What's that? How do you pipe ghosts?

Uh...

Ever see a cactus?

 Perfect!

 

And finally, what about all those doggy cupcakes you're required to pump out by the pound? Well, a little Flotsam will soon have you seeing eye-to-eye with your customers!

[chortle]

 

Or, if you want to go the extra mile, give Patches some patches!

Good dog that's awful.

I mean, uh, look how cute!


And remember, bakers, once Halloween is over it's easy to convert your cakes back, too:

"Aw, Suzy, don't cry! It's just a sweet little kitty cat! See? He's smiling at you!"

 

Thanks to Wreckporters Katrina S., Kristin S., Holly Q., Emily A., Sara F., Megan G., Jess & Connor W., Bettie P., Stacey K., & Kristen, who know that a party hat makes everything better.

 

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.