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    LeaguePodcast and DigBoston Comic Book Picks for October 12, 2011


    Censorship is just plain rude and ugly. We’ve The First Amendment to protect us from the beast, and real-life heroes locking arms in city parks against the thing. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization protecting those rights in the comics art community of creators and retailers. The CBLDF Annual 2011 features too many creators to list, and John Cassaday’s muted Uncle Sam cover is awesome, check it out here. … Dwayne McDuffie (Static Shock, Justice League Unlimited) passed away unexpectedly this year. DC collects his Batman: Blink this week from Legends of the Dark Knight. … Just in time for Halloween, Marvel drops a Legion of Monsters mini! Make mine Morbius the Living Vampire! … Picks this week from


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    Steve Jobs

     Credit: Matt Yohe“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs


    I went to MassArt to learn, live, and breathe everything. Our computer labs were packed with Amigas and Mac Clones. I was jealous of an upperclassman who could design flyers with QuarkXPress. I asked him how he learned, and he said “I just started using it”. He showed me the two basics, making a text box and importing a picture in a box. That got me going. I was a graphic designer now (if only in my own mind). You should have seen all of the triple border tricks and Helvetica that Duncan Wilder Johnson and I used for Spoken World Poetry promotional materials. I have nostalgia of the extended time I had to spend on those projects. All of that was at a time with little to no internet and Pine mail! All on a Mac. It was easy to understand and fun to do. Classmates of mine were layering Photoshop files and borking the MassArt network because files were approaching nearly 1GB!

    Post-graduation, I got into publishing by archiving a publisher database onto CDs on a Mac. While burning discs, I was reading Journey to the End of Night. While scanning Bruce Lee’s personal photographs, I made art on the color copier. I loved going downtown, meeting new people, being a professional, eating sushi on Bruce’s birthday, and most of all…watching the extensions load on ‘my’ computer. I was good. They hired me from the temp agency. Within months, I was laying out cover mechanicals and revising text for the designers. I was left alone to get my work done. I made lifelong connections. I started my ever-changing and ever-evolving career. Life was good. I understood the Mac because I felt it understood me. Truth was, Steve Jobs understood me, or the type of person I am. We creatives don’t need to build our own PC. We creatives just want the thing to work, and it is worth the risk of crashing the computer when we really push it with too many Photoshop filters and layers. Keep the coffee coming, we have a press check this week and the manuscript just got turned in!

    I suggest patience as a virtue to my students because my career did not go from point A to point B. Steve Jobs invented the Apple computer with Woz, invented Lisa and the Mac, left Apple, was at Pixar, returned to Apple, unleashed the iPod, and revolutionized all creative work with his vision. Getting that job in publishing was my Apple I. I’m not dropping the iPad on the world, but it took me a while to get to this happy & sober 36th birthday. I bounced to and from temp jobs, hourly wage jobs, courier jobs, shift manager jobs, to other publishing opportunities. Ironically I’ve never wanted to work particularly hard, something just drives me.

    I’ve let myself be crushed by setbacks, losses of friends and family, drained bank accounts, heartbreak, therapy, treatments, moving apartments, and negative people. I never stopped. I did put down the drink and things started to get better. I bought this website. I’ve got this very real place to display my art and my writing. I’m surrounding myself with positive people. I can call on real friends. I came close tonite to making some phone calls because I was crying at the gym and the grocery store. Steve Jobs has influenced my life, and I’m sad that his family and the world have lost him. Where will I be 20 years from now at exactly 56 years of age? Hopefully influencing my family and friends and my place in a world in a positive way.

    Two months ago, my therapist directed me to the Steve Jobs speech at Stanford. I was having trouble dealing with the loss of my friend Adam. She said the best thing to do was to live my life like Steve suggested here…as if every day was my last. To me, that’s the best way to give to Adam. That’s the best way to give to my family. And as I write my second memorial post of the year, this is how I can give to Steve Jobs. Give by doing. Do by giving. Live by living. Transform by transforming. Work by working hard at what I love and for who people I love working with.

    I’m fully going to let myself be sad in bed now. Thursday, October 6, 2011 will be a great day. Birthday lunch with Mom and Dad. Work. Gallery show and pizza and movie night with a great friend.

    From Paul Simon’s Paul Simon in Concert, a quote. “Say a few words? Well, let’s hope that we continue to live.” He then starts into the tune ‘America‘…

    “Let us be lovers we’ll marry our fortunes together”
    “I’ve got some real estate here in my bag”
    So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
    And we walked off to look for America

    “Kathy,” I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
    “Michigan seems like a dream to me now”
    It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
    I’ve gone to look for America
    Laughing on the bus
    Playing games with the faces
    She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
    I said “Be careful his bowtie is really a camera”

    — Clay S. Fernald, October 6, 2011


    DigBoston and LeaguePodcast Comic Book Picks of the Week

















    It’s October now. There is a sharpness in the appetite for the flesh as the cold snaps the air! Vertigo is reprinting its 1995 epic The Eaters, a story of your average American family, The Quills, who happen to find human meat delectable. … Penguin: Pain And Predjudice, written by bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz, delves deep into the past of Gotham’s deformed rogue gang leader from swaddle to waddle. … Avengers: 1959 by American Flagg’s Howard Chaykin is a period tale of Nick Fury’s Avengers with the flavor of Mad Men or this summer’s X-Men First Class. Fury leads his team of Sabretooth, Kraven and Namora to track down a secret Nazi cloning gang! … Picks this week from

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    Frank Miller - "Holy Terror" [Book Review - Clay N. Ferno of LeaguePodcast]

    As a followup to my previous post, I received Holy Terror in the mail this morning. Here is my review.

    Frank Miller’s most recent, and somewhat anticipated Holy Terror surprised me with its form factor immediately. Landscape comics are decidedly uncommon, but a clever way to have books stick out on the shelf. Miller has been working on this conceptually since 9/11. Partly a tribute to the Cap punching Hitler days, this work pits a superhero against a real world terrorist threat. Unfortunately, the master cartoonist, storyteller, and artist has missed the target.

    Storytelling was awkward, abstractions were obtuse, and politically the story was tough to swallow. Also, make no mistake, this is a Batman story. Co-starring Catwoman. And Jim Gordon. Originally slated for a pre-relaunch “Dark Knight Returns” continuity DC Comics release entitled “Holy Terror, Batman”, we miss out on all of the good stuff in this release from Legendary Comics. 


    Legendary Comics is a subsidiary of Legendary Pictures. The studio dropping such great comic book movies from directors Nolan, Snyder, & Singer drops Holy Terror as its inaugural title. Safe bet there, with Miller being a true master of the genre. We look forward to books from other Batman creators Paul Pope (Batman Year 100), Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley. Editor-in-Chief Bob Schreck was installed in late 2010.  The personable Schreck is perfect for the job with over 30 years in comics. As a writer and editor he’s worked at Dark Horse, Oni Press, DC, and most recently at IDW. Will Legendary be the new ‘boutique’ publisher for high-end graphic novels and creator owned work? That answer has yet to reveal itself, with only three titles announced. 


    All the pretending and dancing around that this is not a Batman book is most certainly a copyright and intellectual property issue, and not the truth.  DC Comics would never back this up. Seventy years of establishing this important Bat-brand, only to be sullied by an attention grabbing pro-American graphic novel would not be good business. I estimate The Fixer to be sitting comfortably in the timeline of Bruce after his retirement, and roughly five years before putting the cowl back on in Dark Night Returns


    There’s minimal dialogue, and no lettering credit. It’s safe to assume Miller lettered the book himself. Cool lettering and sound effects, too. His voice and his penstrokes are definitive. I’d love to watch him ink a page of rain coming down on a character! Ever since Sin City I’ve been in awe of his black and white Sumi-e brush strokes, the balance of the page, his chunky flat spotted blacks, wide eyes, and dynamic action. Dave Stewart provides masterful, well-directed, minimalist coloring (with a palette of no more than three colors).

    I’ll drool over Frank Miller’s art any time, but this was more late-period Sin City than it was of earlier works of personal favorite cross hatch inkgasm, Ronin


    The biggest failure here is that the work is painfully aware of itself. This is a comic book. There are comic book tropes such as callbacks to other Miller comics, and a rather awesome play on the nine panel grid structure. Is this book for comic book fans or the general public? I had trouble figuring that out, and still have no answer.

    The Fixer is murderously acting out a revenge fantasy that most Americans dreamed of post our nation’s greatest tragedy (and many still do). Is there much of an audience for that, even ten years on? Or have we all grown from those feelings, focused on our families, regretted our wars, and decided to live our lives? I have buyer’s remorse after reading this. I feel like this was a cash grab from both fans of Frank Miller and from über-Patriots who would read abour this book in USA Today and relive a hatred never to be forgotten. 

    The story was compelling, but not surprising. I had known the plot from the original title, and internet rumors. The location change to  Al-Queda’s Subterranea parallel was interesting, but by that point I was just wanting the whole thing to be over. I kept struggling to imagine that this was a young independent creator, speaking volumes on our social troubles. But this book was not the product of that. I was reading the work of an elder statesman of comicdoms’ elite who had nothing to say that wasn’t hateful, short-sighted, and frankly a bit empty. 


    Is Miller’s intention of this book being “bound to offend just about everybody” justified? By that, am I to be offended and just walk away feeling offended and say he did his job? That would be irresponsible and dishonest. Since when are critics to listen to an artist’s intention? The public is to digest and make their own opinions on ‘the work’. My strong relationship with Ronin and Dark Knight Returns are based on my formative years as a comic book fan wanting to read more of Miller’s work, and emulate it. Now I’ve got sour grapes because he’s telling me how to react to it. No way dude. You put out Dark Knight and I heard about it in 1987 because it was an amazing story. Not because you said it was. I’m not detecting an homage to old comics or irony at all in Holy Terror. Why is that, Frank? Hey, I stuck with you through that Spirit movie…is this how you’re going to leave us?

    I’ll remain a Frank Miller fan, and I’ll be cuious as to what he comes up with for a next move. I’d love to see an apology, an explaination, or for Miller to go back to making great films and comics. I stand by Sin City as being as close to perfect a translation of comic book page to film as you can get. Hate speech, hate actions, hate anything will keep me away for good. If we continue to get more of this, you can be sure I’ll stay far from it.


    10/16 Clay N. Ferno's Bday w/ THE BOMBPOPS (San Diego), CONTINENTAL, CHIP and XTOWN XPRESS & more #punk


    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Middle East Upstairs and Rock On! Concerts present
    The Bombpops (Red Scare Records, San Diego, CA)
    Continental (featuring Rick Barton of The Outlets / DKM)
    Hands Like Bricks (LA, CA)
    Chip and The Crosstown Express
    Clay N. Ferno’s Birthday Party
    18+ $9 Advance / $10 Day Of Show
    TIX - Facebook Event

    8pm Doors


    The Bombpops have proven to be one of Southern California’s hardest working bands, drawing influences from ’90s skate punk and Fat Wreck Chords bands like NOFX, Lagwagon, Descendents, and No Use For A Name.

    Fronted by two girls ripping on guitars and vocals, and backed by dudes holding down a strong rhythm section, The Bombpops offer a fresh, honest, in your face, delivery of catchy melodic pop punk songs.

    Formed in early 2008, with members fresh out of (and others still in) High School, The Bombpops quickly established a name for themselves in the So-Cal punk scene opening up for punk rock giants such as Bad Religion, GBH, TSOL, The Adolescents, Strung Out and The Queers.

    With their first official EP “Like I Care” released on Red Scare Industries in November 2010, their second EP “Stole the TV” on the way and relentless touring under their belts, The Bombpops have no plans of slowing down.

    “Perfect for blasting through some pool corners or for keeping the good attitude going” -

    “The Bombpops are a female fronted quartet and a force to be reckoned with… Like I Care delivers some of the quickest and most melodic punk tracks of the year! “- Scene Point Blank

    Artist Website:



    Hailing from the Hallowed grounds of the garage at 123 Centre Street (former home of the “Dropkick Murphy’s” and “Everybody Out”) comes Rick Barton’s latest and greatest incarnation “Continental.”

    Continental will never be defined by a particular genre. They blend a unique style of rock, folk,country and blues to as closely follow Gram Parsons mission of “Cosmic American Music.” Some of the initial comparisons have been to Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and The Velvet Underground. Continental will be a touring, starving, and hard working band coming to your town.

    Artist Website:



    Remember when punk rock bands played in basements? Tall boys, best friends, bad lighting, and bands without make-up or hair that impaired their depth perception? This is Hands Like Bricks.

    A Los Angeles foursome with an idea that punk rock is about best friends having awesome times together, Hands Like Bricks write unpretentious, sing-along anthems that speak to your soul, and voice things we can all relate to. With an impressive punk rock pedigree that stretches from New Jersey to Los Angeles, Hands Like Bricks is bringing punk rock back to the kids that couldn’t find a family anywhere else, whether they are 13 or 37.

    Artist Website:



    Craving a high energy musical fix full of soulful melodies, innate harmonies, and carefully crafted songwriting? SEXCoffee is an alternative rock quintet best served live, loud, or recorded. Sean McCarthy from Standard Times praises SEXCoffee as “a high-energy rock band with a solid reputation”, while The Noise Magazine says “They sound like a band that knows how to carve their own musical path and does so with aplomb.”

    Through the in-your-face vocal presence of front-woman Ruth Charbonneau, the dueling guitar riffs of Joey Magnanti (guitar/vocals) & Josh Baptista (guitar), and the thunderous low end rhythm section of Sharlene DeNardo (bass/vocals) and Paul Campbell (drums/vocals), SEXCoffee’s eclectic musical brew is a genre-breaking force in both their recorded and live sound.

    Sharing the stage with such high profile acts as Candlebox, Halestorm, Siobhan Magnus (from American Idol) Company of Thieves and Me Talk Pretty, this multi-award winning band maintains and values a competent work ethic along with attention to melodious detail. Once you’ve had a taste of SEXCoffee’s infectious blend, you’ll be feeling satisfied to the last drop!

    Artist Website:



    Come early - Chip’s set opens the night at 8:30! Chip is saddled with the burden of being one of Clay’s closest friends. This Middle East Upstairs debut of the CHIP AND THE CROSSTOWN EXPRESS is going to be epic.

    “Just in case you weren’t aware: Jimmy Fallon is my best friend. We opened an old phone museum. Fell in love with a Korean. Soup friends for life. Oh yes, soup friends for life.”- Soup Pals

    Boston / New York singer songwriter. Tributes to old phone museums (Old Phone), The Turkey’s Nest in Brooklyn (Soup Pals), Jacket Magazine (Jimmy I Lost My Jacket), Jimmy Fallon , Brooklyn’s G-Train (G Train), Soon Lee from M*A*S*H (Soon Lee), and many more. The Chip and The Crosstown Express EP was produced by Randy Miller and Iyad Kheirbek (Wild Zero, C.O.N.D.O.R.).

    Here’s Chip and the Crosstown Express at the Miss G-Train Pageant, 2009.

    DOWNLOAD his EP for FREE at bandcamp -

    Artist Website: