Ted Rall

Week Three: Rallbeard

June 22, 2010 by  


Photo 4

The beard is now entering its third glorious week. The itching has stopped, mostly, and I’ve just learned about the need to trim the lower mustache to avoid an uncomfortable feeling on my lip. All in all, not a bad first effort. I leave for Asia on August 1 and enter Afghanistan August 13.


Eric Hobbs

Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre Present…

June 20, 2010 by  


I’m asked  where I get my story ideas from all the time. All writers are, I suppose. The truth is, I see stories everywhere. But I’ll never forget the first time I heard the Orson Welles’ WAR OF THE WORLDS radio broadcast. It sparked my imagination almost immediately. Of course, it did for more than one million Americans that night too. Enjoy…

Click here to listen to the original Orson Welles’ broadcast.

See the forthcoming The Boradcast graphic novel.


NBM

Newsarama on Dungeon

June 18, 2010 by  


“Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim, two of the world’s wittiest and creative cartoonists, continue to script.  They stuff each tale chock full of insane twists and wild ideas, including the various ways people survive on a floating, rotating island.  Meanwhile, their dialogue crackles with an uncanny balance of humor and compassion, providing the readers with dozens of amusing moments and still just enough heart to care what happens to the characters.”

Michael Lorah at Newsarama on the latest Dungeon Twilight vol.3, don’t miss coming up in September to comics shops the next Dungeon Monstres with guest artists Carlos Nine (another mad genius who deserves much more exposure here) and Patrice Killoffer.


NBM

20% off SALE on NBM graphic novels

June 18, 2010 by  


WE’RE OFFERING 20% OFF ALL OUR BOOKS as long as you order at least $25 worth. (After discount, your cost: $20).

This includes all our books to come for the rest of the year which we have up on our website under “Coming Up,” even $3 sale books! NO EXCEPTIONS!

Fact is, cash is tight and we need your help!

So, until the end of this month, come on over and get a fabulous discount on our exceptional books! No code needs to be entered, as soon as you reach $25 on your order, the cart will give you your 20% discount.

Adult, New, the latest Geary, A Home for Mr. Easter, or latest Dungeoncome and get’em for 20% off!


Eric Hobbs

A Little About THE BROADCAST

June 17, 2010 by  


I guess the best place to begin is with an introduction. My name is Eric Hobbs, and I’ve written a book titled THE BROADCAST set to be published by NBM later this fall.

Taking place during a treacherous storm, THE BROADCAST is about a rural Indiana town that loses power halfway through Orson Welles’ infamous WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast having never learned the infamous radio play is a hoax.

Fearing the worst is upon them four diverse strangers band together in an effort to make it through the night. Tensions build, however, as long suppressed emotions and unsettled conflicts surface, and it isn’t long before all involved realize they have as much to fear from each other as they do the “alien invasion” heading their way.

I’ve teamed with artist Noel Tuazon for the project. His work on ELK’S RUN earned a Harvey nomination, and his most recent project, TUMOR, received critical acclaim across the board.

Here’s a brief look at what he’s bringing to the table with THE BROADCAST…

BalloonMaker

I don’t want to give too much away, but given that WE know there are no aliens… it’s pretty clear someone is lying, no?

Click here for a look at the first 21-pages of the book.


NBM

NBM Month on Comic Book Bin

June 16, 2010 by  


The site Comic Book Bin has an NBM month going on with lotsa reviews of our books and this interview of our publisher.


NBM

Review roundup: Dungeon, Little Nothings and On the Odd Hours

June 13, 2010 by  


The Seattle Post Intelligencer picked up the Blog Critics review of Dungeon Twilight vol.3.: “with satiric bite, visual inventiveness, and engagingly fallible anthropomorphic heroes, New Centurions delivers the goods, particularly in its second half.”

The Comics Journal’s Rob Clough has this to say about our latest entry in the Louvre collection, On the Odd Hours: “releasing the works of art at the end was a power play on his part, but it was also his way of getting people to really look and experience the work of art on its terms, to establish an individual relationship with it: to induce the sublime and release the art from its cage in a museum.  Liberge seemed to be saying that encountering art should not be easy or fun, but rather an experience that can be intense, frightening or even transformative.”

Curled Up with a Good Book on Trondheim’s Little Nothings: “If you like watching Seinfeld, this is along similar lines – a book ‘about nothing’ that shows you how funny life is with all its mundane ironies and irritations, and how funny our behaviors are as we go through the details of our ‘normal’ life. Light and enjoyable read for teenagers and adults alike, that will make you take a second look at all the ‘little nothings’ in your everyday life. Recommended.”


Ted Rall

Beard, Week Two

June 13, 2010 by  


Wherein your humble hirsute narrator presents, for all to see and regale, the result of 14 days of non shaving in preparation for his August trip back to Afghanistan.Photo 2


Ted Rall

SYNDICATED COLUMN: First They Came for the Cranky White House Columnist

June 9, 2010 by  


Helen Thomas Learns That Free Speech is a Myth

This is why a lot of people think Jews control the media.

Not me. I’ve worked in the media most of my life. So I know that the media is controlled by morons.

Still, what happened to Helen Thomas will feed the rants of wild-eyed conspiracy theorists.

On June 7th the professional life of Helen Thomas came to an end. The acid-tongued “dean” of the White House press corps since the Kennedy Administration got fired by her newspaper syndicate, dumped by her speakers’ bureau, and disinvited by a Bethesda high school that had asked her to address its commencement ceremonies. The White House Correspondents Association condemned her. President Obama took time out from not doing anything about unemployment or the Gulf oil spill to weigh in.

Chastened, reviled and subjected to the kind of national opprobrium normally reserved for international terrorists and blind baseball umpires, Thomas apologized and announced her retirement.

All in one day.

So what did Thomas do to merit such derision?

No, it wasn’t that journalistic career killer, plagiarism.

Actually, in America today, stealing people’s words and ideas and pretending they’re yours is A-OK. Mike Barnicle, fired by the Boston Globe for ripping off a column from a George Carlin book in 1998, landed on his feet at the New York Daily News and now works for the Boston Herald. And he’s on MSNBC. Monica Crowley, who plagiarized in the Wall Street Journal in 1999, is now at Fox News and The Washington Times. (Jayson Blair has yet to reappear in print, but that’s different. He’s black.)

No, Helen Thomas didn’t participate in the attempt to throw a presidential election.

Unlike George Will. The right-wing columnist may or may not have stolen President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 debate briefing book and handed it over to the Reagan camp, as Carter has claimed. But Will did admit in a 2005 column that he had seen the purloined document at Reagan economic advisor David Stockman’s house during the campaign. Will had a legal obligation to describe what he had seen to the police, and an ethical duty to his readers to report a blockbuster story to his readers. He did neither. Yet Will still works for Newsweek and the Washington Post, publications whose readers must not care about the truth.

No, Thomas didn’t say anything racist.

But racism doesn’t get you fired from journalism. Just ask Pat Buchanan, another MSNBC regular.

Here’s what killed Thomas’ illustrious career: “Tell them [Israelis] to get the hell out of Palestine,” she told a rabbi in a spontaneous video interview. “Remember, these people [Palestinians] are occupied, and it’s their land; it’s not German, it’s not Poland’s.” Asked where Jewish Israelis should go, she replied, “They should go home” to “Poland, Germany… America and everywhere else.”

No doubt, Thomas’ comments were simplistic. Three generations of Jews have made their homes in Israel. Asking them to back up and “return” to places where they’ve never visited, much less lived, would be inhumane, not to mention impractical. Of course, this is no different from current U.S. immigration policy, which calls for the arrest and deportation of undocumented people whose parents brought them here as small children.

Her words also demonstrate historical ignorance. Surely Thomas, who is 89, ought to know that most Israeli Jews were born there. As for the rest, many came from the former Soviet Union, not Poland or Germany (which murdered most of their Jews during, and even after, the Holocaust).

But are these remarks so beyond the pale that their utterance ought to mean the end of your professional life?

Ari Fleischer, who ought to be in prison for defending torture and concentration camps as press secretary for George W. Bush, called Thomas a fan of “religious cleansing.” Equating opposition to Israel with anti-Semitism, ex-Clinton spokesman Lanny Davis called Thomas “an anti-Semitic bigot.”

“If she had asked all blacks to go back to Africa, what would White House Correspondents Association position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials —much less a privileged honorary seat?” Davis asked.

Davis is entitled to his opinion. But so is Helen Thomas—not that you’d be able to tell by reading the avalanche of self-righteous yowling by politicians and editorialists.

Thomas isn’t unusual. Like it or not, supporters of the State of Israel should understand that Israel’s creation was and remains highly controversial—and not just among anti-Semites.

The postwar decision to establish a Jewish homeland by seizing land from Arabs who had nothing to do with the Holocaust—instead of, say, Germany—continues to bewilder. The fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are living in refugee camps, where old men and women still wave the deeds and keys to their old homes when they see a reporter, attests to the freshness of the wound. Feeling sorry for them and taking the position that they have a right to be compensated doesn’t make you a Jew-hater.

Moreover, the might-makes-right tactics of Israeli political leaders doesn’t make them any friends in the world. Acting above the law, they ignore resolutions issued by the same U.N. that made their country possible in the first place. Dissembling about their own “secret” (and illegal) nuclear weapons, they bomb an Iraqi nuke plant and threaten to do the same to Iran. Mossad operatives traveling to Dubai to assassinate political opponents.

Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians turn off a lot of people who don’t have a bigoted bone in their body.

Settlements in the occupied territories, apartheid-like economic planning, bulldozing the homes of the relatives of accused Palestinian terrorists, the Berlin Wall-esque “security fence,” and now the outrageous blockade of Gaza have angered millions of Americans. What makes these acts even more appalling is that Israel, as the number-one beneficiary of U.S. foreign aid, is America’s de facto representative in the Middle East.

Lanny Davis’ attempt to draw an analogy between Israelis and African-Americans is historical nonsense. Blacks were brought to the U.S. forcibly as slaves. Israel is occupying Palestine, and not just in Gaza and the West Bank. Eventually, the world—even Muslim countries—will come to accept the existence of the State of Israel as a fait accompli. But that will require the passage of time, as well as Israeli politicians who work harder to accommodate themselves to the Arabs inside and outside their borders.

So is Helen Thomas an anti-Semite? I don’t know. I do know that her comments were not inherently anti-Semitic.

The bigger question is: What if she were? Should she have been fired?

Of course not. Free speech must be defended no matter what—even that of cranky anti-Semitic columnists (if that’s what Thomas is/was). Unless we are truly free to say what we think—without fear of reprisal—free speech is not a right. It is merely a permission.

Besides, if every American columnist or politician lost his job over bigotry, what would that mean for all those “family values conservatives” who bash gays, not to mention the nativists who attack Latino immigrants and Muslims?

We owe Helen Thomas an apology.

(Ted Rall is the author of the upcoming “The Anti-American Manifesto,” to be published in September by Seven Stories Press. His website is tedrall.com.)

COPYRIGHT 2010 TED RALL


NBM

NY Times Book Review on Little Nothings

June 7, 2010 by  


The prolific French cartoonist Lewis Trondheim keeps a public diary in comics form — doodles with casual but impressive water­colors — translated into English as “Little Nothings.” (For whatever reason, he draws himself with an ungainly, monobrowed bird’s head.) In the third volume, LITTLE NOTHINGS: Uneasy Happiness (ComicsLit/­NBM, paper, $14.95), he figures out how to deal with a mouse in his home, travels to Fiji, feels guilty about wanting an iPhone and so on. It’s very gently funny but splendidly assured and evocative of place — if a friend had drawn you a page of it as a letter, you’d treasure it forever.

Doug Wolk in Sunday’s NY Times Book Review