Feminism in Comics

By Rohit Chauhan

Feminism is defined as the belief in the social, political, and economical equality of both men and women. It grew as a movement in the early 19th century in the United States, taking shape of women suffragettes who fought for the right to vote for women. The comic books were no different; Since the medium’s beginning as females were mostly featured in short-lived and inapt female superheroes or female characters shown either as a sidekick or male superheroes love interest like in the early Superman stories. It hardly mattered if a female role made a difference to the storyline.

The onset of WW2 opened a small window for an independent and determined woman who could take the role of superheroes as they were busy fighting villainous Hitler! The birth in 1941 of the first female superhero in form of Wonder Woman was a momentous event in comics history. Sadly, after some time, Wonder Woman was demoted to more conventional female roles. She was rarely part of the action and became submissive. The spark of feminism was left to die a slow death by the same creators who had thought for a bright moment to let women live their dreams. The prevalent social attitude towards women was of sexism, comic books were creatively portraying women as an object of desire. Moral crusaders of that time decided to raise their voice against the comics, branding them as the originators of moral turpitude which resulted in the formation of the Comics Code of Authority (CCA). The comics censorship was an easy way out for publishers and creators to banish women from the comics world; DC comics' in-house Editorial policy code regarding the portrayal of women is a stark reminder of how insensitive the comics world had become to feminism. The policy read that “the inclusion of females in stories is specifically discouraged. Women, when used in plot structure, should be secondary in importance, and should be drawn realistically, without exaggeration of feminine physical qualities”. 

 

The Rise of Women Power

Throughout the Bronze Age of Comics, feminism gained some traction in response to the feminist movement and attempts were made by companies to reach out to female readers with the publication of several female characters. However, as usual, creators were largely ignorant of true feminism as most of these characters were often stereotypical, like the man-hating Thundra. The feminist activists were fighting hard for the change and they came up with a one-off comic called “That Ain’t Me Babe” which later evolved into Women’s comics; A first-ever all-female underground comic that brought many controversial women’s issues into the limelight. Marvel’s, feminist superhero, Ms. Marvel's debut in 1977 is a classic example of how comics were boasting off their support for feminism, but in reality, they had made a mockery of the movement itself. The first few issues of Ms. Marvel even had the cover line “This Female fights back!”. The change afterward was shocking with Ms. Marvel getting beaten black and blue by lower-class villains, her costume torn, and a yielding look. But worst was yet to come when an all-male Marvel staff under watchful eyes of Comics Code, crushed Marvel’s beacon of the modern woman by showing her as a victim of rape and then her wilful acceptance of it as her destiny. The shallowness of feminism was there to see for everyone, it was not going to go away anytime soon. In 1999, comic writer Gail Simone coined the term “Women in Refrigerators” as a response to an incident in Green Lantern #54, in which the superhero comes to his apartment to find his girlfriend killed by a villain and stuffed into a refrigerator. Simone also had a list made of female characters to show how women in comics were first objectified and then killed intentionally to punish the males in their lives; And those women were depowered or tortured in a wholly lop-sided way than their male counterparts. Or was it just too easy to kill the females to make the male character’s story arc move forward? The other big daddy of comics, DC, was not far behind from their rival Marvel comics. DC’s “Woman in Refrigerator” moment came when Stephanie Brown aka Spoiler was brutally tortured to death in the closing stages of War Games crossover. Fans were aghast at the gruesome killing of another female character and the way DC treated Steph at the end, demanding at least a memorial like that of the second Robin, Jason Todd. DC editorial team stuck to their guns with quotes like “She wasn’t really Robin”, generating even more sharp rebuttal from fans. It was the intense pressure from a feminist group called “Project Girl Wonder”, a website dedicated to better treatment of women in comics, that forced DC to eventually gloss it over with a new storyline where Steph is shown to be incredibly alive after going through a senseless ordeal. And the current Robin says to Batman "Oh! You always knew she was alive! No wonder you never made her a memorial case!". Hats off to DC for showing us how easy it was for them to hide their mistakes and still be able to keep their chin up. Was it really a victory of feminism or utter hogwash, DC could care less? 

 


Moving Ahead

The depiction of women in comics is still highly debatable as far as the mainstream comics are concerned. They continue to struggle with a realistic representation of the woman suffering from bouts of sexism now and then. Take the case of the Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon variant cover that DC planned to release in 2015. It featured tearful Barbara Gordon helpless in Joker’s arms, a chilling reminder of the 1988’s influential Batman story “The Killing Joke” in which Joker attacked and sexually assaulted Batgirl. Soon social media was on fire with the hashtag #changethecover becoming a hot topic for discussion within online comic communities; With feminist groups calling for a complete boycott of all DC Comics. Although variant covers are supposed to be a departure from the norm, it was not hard to see that this specific variant cover was bluntly opposite to everything the young team of Batgirl was trying to do at that time, to celebrate young women. The rebooted Batgirl was meant to show the superhero in a new avatar, fighting to save Gotham City, a superhero comic for everyone. DC quickly got into damage control withdrawing the variant cover based on the artist who had drawn it as they were now listening to their fan’s concerns. It is important here to understand that feminism is much more than how females are dressed up. It is the consistent characterization of female characters or giving them roles, which are in some way or another meant to show them as weak, silly, or dumb that is a cause to worry about. Too much focus on female costumes in comics is bound to create a distraction from real issues concerning females and will lead to the dilution of feminists. However, more recently steps have been made towards equality and de-sexualization with alternative comics leading the march creating stories dealing with real female issues. At Comic-Con fan fest, there is a huge presence of female fans, writers, and artists, eager to see their favorite superheroes or just to have fun. One can see even the Hollywood stars gracing the occasion to much delight of the fans, all due to the distinct effort of noted comic book editors, writers, journalists, and several

behind-the-show people working hard to bring more awareness of gender issues within the comics world. In the creative space as well, we can see a host of new generation writers, illustrators working hand in hand with the industry's well-known writers and editors. The young talent is more vocal, full of energy, and highly creative, providing a much-needed all-around view to creatives that cannot be easily ignored. Comics is a powerful medium to analyze how women were understood in society during different times as the pages of comics reflect the role of women that society wanted them to follow at any given time. The evolution of women in American society can be visualized from the comics of different eras. Comics are indeed a precious medium for preserving societal changes, yet they also send a strong message that if a medium is made gender-specific, with men dominating the industry for a good fifty years or so, we get to see only one side of the story. Hence, it was but natural for women to become vocal against the certain stereotypical portrayal of women and that has slowly and gradually awakened the comics industry from its deep slumber. The present transformation of the comics industry is simply amazing, in terms of top-notch creativity, catering to a diverse audience. Feminism is beautiful and very much part of our daily life in the modern world. We just need to be aware of it to see its true potential. It is a gradual change that is happening around us, for the better. The recent election of a female Vice President, in the world’s longest-standing democracy, the U.S. is a historic moment for a feminist to celebrate. Feminism was glowing as finally a woman got the same opportunity as a man would.


Motion Comics – The Future of Comics

By Rohit Chauhan

The world is experiencing a new wave of emerging technology that is delivering high-quality creative efforts never explored before. Comics have been evolving since the early 19th century, becoming a popular medium for entertainment. The classic comic book ruled American pop culture with occasional tweaks in layouts and story themes. It was not until the late 19th century when comic book-inspired superhero movie “Superman” spectacular box-office results influenced the adaptation of comics into various media, televised cartoons, webcomics, etc. Superhero movies continued their successful journey to greater heights and as the world became more digitalized in the early 21st century, demand grew for comic books that could be easily made available on various digital media platforms, smartphones, tablets, and the internet. The future of comics was evolving, moving from printed pages to digital medium - motion comics were born!

 

Motion comics take the narrative and static artwork from the comic book and use animation (CGI) to create a fascinating impression of moving images, “a multimedia comic.” The comic book images were alive; they could move. 

Keeping the storyline and speech bubbles the same as regular comics have, adding voice acting, sound effects, and music enhanced the overall effect of storytelling, giving the audience a feel of cinema. Motion comics can be easily distributed over the internet, smartphones, e-readers, etc.                    Screen capture from “The Watchmen” motion comic


The potential reach of motion comics in the age of the internet makes it an attractive medium for the mass media and entertainment community to explore and experiment using modern digital tools. The notion of traditional storytelling via comic book is gradually transforming into new motion comic storytelling which can lure millions of new audiences to a medium that is relevant to them. For those from older generations, the idea of story narration in motion comics may seem insane but for many who are hooked to their phone, a crisp voiceover taking the story forward is entertaining. 


Future ahead

Motion comics score highly on innovation and viability as a medium of entertainment in the internet age. It is also leading to experimentation and greater sophistication as companies roll out new motion series. The emergence of mobile app-based versions gets their inspiration from motion comics’ art and are destined to become popular among today’s digitally wired audience. The comic book companies are also gearing up to reinvent themselves to produce printed artworks that are rich in color and have a visually impactful version when seen on a mobile screen.


The shorter motion comic version also allows for quick adaption of comic books into local languages by changing the voice-over tracks. The technology-driven changes in format and distribution of comics are also leading to radical changes in storytelling. The shorter motion comic version is slowly gaining ground with the newer audience who are glued to their mobile screens binge-watching video shorts and reels as they are easy to watch at any time and give a much needed instant break of entertainment from today’s hectic life. 

 

Conclusion

Motion comics have no doubt polarized comic book fans to a great extent. Some oppose it outright as the smell of printed paper can never be replaced nor will the value of printed comic books! For others, the transformation from the static version of comics is the need of the hour, lest we let the art die a slow death. 

 

With its unique cinematic approach and high-tech production making, motion comics have an edge over other interactive modes to bring comic book narration to a new digital audience. Will this transition to motion comics sustain with the greater interplay between animation and the comic book or will it lead to something more enriching and creative? Only time will tell!

High Hopes and Shallow Pockets

From Chair/Creative Director Mike Gagnon


Well it sure has been a crazy few months, transforming my life and career to create something to make the world a better place. 

In truth I'd wanted to take my work in a different direction and create something that was a not-for-profit for awhile. TO me not-for-profit comics is a no-brainer, assuming that it's done the right way.

That right way is a process we're still testing and figuring out.

In fact, just a month before the official announcement that my studio name would be donated to this new not-for-profit to get it up and running, my plan was a much more extensive and robust line of products and content.

And then reality set in. A shoe-string budget, a skeleton crew made up of mostly volunteers and the will and determination to work myself into a grave do not make an entertainment giant.

But that's okay. That's not what we want to be. 

Maybe the biggest challenge has been to change my own way of thinking and approach since I've been working so long in for-profit entertainment. 

ADBP doesn't need to be a top 5 publisher or try to compete with Captain America and Superman to do good in the world, but we can take some of the things represented by those characters and turn them into a real world philosophy that will leave the world a better place when we are gone. 

The plans and ideas had to be scaled back drastically, in spite of my constant chomping at the bit and creative energy always looking for an outlet, propelled as if by rocket force. 

My original thinking, in spite of the mountain of challenges ahead of us, was that if we could successfully pull off a print project that would support comic retailers first, the biggest, most challenging and most stressful project would be out of our way and when we started looking at other projects, such as motion comics and video games, they would be a relief after dealing with the print project. 

A great idea in theory and a sentiment I still stand by, but there are only so many things we can do and we can't change the world over night, even if it is to help recover.

Logistically and economically, the world and the comic industry have not recovered yet, even if things are starting to re-open in a lot of places. 

Comic retailers especially, are struggling to be able to buy the regular monthly titles that they KNOW they can sell and keep existing clientele. New titles and clientele are not even on the radar or in the budget for a lot of retailers. 

On our end, print provides the least amount of profit of any project that we can do, with incredibly tiny margins, we may be clearing a profit of $1 per book. 

The high hopes and ambition that we had to produce a monthly graphic novel one-shot series that would get readers of all ages coming back to support local stores every month is a solid idea, it's just not economically feasible for a start-up small press not-for-profit publisher to maintain a monthly print only series right now.

Failing to adapt and move with the times would likely cause our new little NFP to go belly up before it ever really had a chance to take off.

So, coming to this realization, and being a small start-up, we have the advantage of being able to make changes and adapt to economic conditions in real-time. 

The logistics of print for a new monthly series just don't work and don't provide the return we need, making our fundraising and poverty relief efforts very slow, which is not what we want. 

So, as of August, with our upcoming Read and Colour: Native American Heroes release, we will begin offering a digital download option for read and colour as well, with bonus content, lessons and activities. 

Native American Culture is a very important issue to me. So our Native American Heroes edition of Read and Colour will be available in both print and digital editions. It will be our last monthly print edition as well. From here on out, Read and Colour and all of our other publications will be released in digital format. 

Digital release lets us ship a title, sell, collect payment and donate it to worthwhile causes much faster. Where we are collecting money the same day, pretty much instantly with digital, it takes months to receive sales royalties on print products and after expenses, shipping and a million other middle-men that need a slice, we're looking at pennies per book in profit. 

We've also been working our team of freelancers and volunteers to the bone and they deserve a break. 

Our focus is not selling books, but to take profits and turn them into food, water and shelter for the public. 

We are still committed to completing a 12 volume run of Read and Colour, but after August, we will switch to a bi-monthly schedule and digital only format, allowing more time, better quality and higher profit margin per sale, meaning we will be able to donate more money to worthwhile causes. 

We actually have a backlog of other projects, series, and ideas waiting to be released to the world and excited fans for a good cause, but we just aren't a big enough company with enough staff or volunteers to implement them all at once, so you'll just have to be patient while we continue to produce the wonderful goodness that we have in store for the future. 

Will we continue to produce any print content in the future? Yes, but from here on out our print projects will be less frequent and will only be available as fundraising exclusives or based on digital bestsellers and fan votes. 

Though some people might take this message as a bad omen or a struggling company, it is in fact the opposite; being small and not-for-profit means we can cut off the branches that aren't growing, or may be more than our tree can support right now. By making changes and trimming off the problems now, we can ensure that our tree continues to grow and be healthy until it can support a larger number of branches. 

I'm looking forward to showing you exactly what our team can do and where it will go in the future. 

Thanks for reading,

Mike

What is the New Normal?

Rohit C.


Our work and home lives have forever changed in 2020 and continue to do so in the current year. From our physical hugs and meetings to elbow bumps and virtual meetings, everything has changed. We were pushed to learn and adapt to new skills just because it was a question of our survival. It was a big challenge for many of us to accept change so fast in our normal lives and seeing the scale of change from a global viewpoint is just staggering. Who would have thought that a normal toilet paper, in this pandemic, will attain the status of gold! The shift in our lives is real and visible. The new normal that we see today is way different from the old normal and possibly continues in some form or other for a long time.


The normal we enjoyed living

The last year was a complete whitewash for all of us. This frustrating time is still ongoing for a major part of the world as the happy hours many of us boasted about became off-limits. The old normal way of going to the office jostling in a metro, catching sometimes with a long-lost friend was enough to put up a smile on our face. The office was for fun, the thought of staying at home would make many go crazy. School-going children were not far behind. They were happy to go to school every day, learning new things, playing, and having fun with friends. Picnics, outings, sightseeing trips, tourism, and travel were the perfect getaway from boredom as well as to feel good and recharged to live another day. Surprisingly for us, the word “virus” used to be just another harmless word in the dictionary. It was best left for creative writers to imagine sci-fi stories where a lonely virus could bring the world down. And for those who were feeling let down, it was the thought of positivity created by the positive people that worked wonders.


The normal gestures which we were used to, a firm handshake, a tight hug, or a friendly tap are in for a long break. Sneezing and coughing were just a way to show that we are alive! Meeting new people at different places, parties, clubs and even hanging out with friends and family is how normally weekends were spent. People used social media but never went off limits with it, there was much more to do. Life was in the fast lane, people were happy to live a mechanized life for it brought them stability, success, and peace in life. Special costumes were for special occasions, PPE and masks were rarely seen in public; social distancing was unheard of. Office meetings were a good time to eat your favorite pizzas and McD burgers.


The New normal we have adapted


A year has passed with “new normal” now part of our lives. It is all about a new way of living, working, and interacting with other people after a major disruption in our life routines due to a global health crisis. The current one emerging from the widespread outbreak of Covid-19 has influenced every aspect of our work and life. All of us are adjusting to new ways to manage our daily activities. This adaptation is the New Normal, for some, it may be a temporary phase while for others it will be a new living culture. Besides, the numerous changes in our lives, the new normal is also about knowing ourselves better. It is also time for preparing for the post-pandemic generation. So let us dive into what is the new normal. 

 

Virtual world

The emergence of a new kind of virtual world in a short span of a year and moving at a break-neck speed is simply mind-blowing. In some parts of the world, this digital transformation, unimaginable a couple of years back is leading the change in society. Society has become contactless to a large extent. People are using digital technology like never before, ordering food, groceries, medicines, etc, online, from the comfort of their home. Binge-watching and eating go hand in hand with a host of OTT platforms to keep us glued to screens for hours. Work-from-home is here to stay as more and more companies adopt it as a part of their work culture. People have upped their skills to cope with remote working learning new office tools. Social media platforms, video chat, and phone calls are the only ways to stay in touch with your close ones. The world of schools and universities has shifted to the e-learning model, teaching done remotely and on digital platforms. Will this abrupt move to online learning will become a norm or we will see an emergence of a hybrid model where online education will have a larger role to play, only time will tell? Cash in physical form is now hardly seen with people finding it easy and safe to pay using credit, debit, or mobile-based apps. Public transport is seeing dwindling users as most of the world is virtually connected. Businesses have increasingly moved to an online model, those solely relying on physical mortar and brick are in deep trouble as consumers accept online shopping at a frantic pace.


The future of medicine is undergoing rapid change. People will continue to have online consultations with doctors. Internet of Things-based devices will continue to grow at a fast pace offering advanced technology at cheaper costs to monitor everyday health. Social distancing norms are part of the new virtual world, people are willing to interact virtually but reluctant to meet in person. The age-old thought of a human being as a social animal has gone for a toss! Personal hygiene was always an important part of our lives before the pandemic, but now it is more to do with how many times we wash our hands, incessantly use sanitizers and wear face masks with a ritual-like frequency. And based on our habit-forming tendency, this will continue for a while and they should. The once-revered word “positive” has lost its sanctity, now it sets most of the people in panic mode. People are happy to see “negative” people or negative-positive people!! (person tested negative for covid-19, and with a positive attitude)


New beginnings

The pandemic has been a great leveler for all of us, giving everyone time to introspect about ourselves, society, and nature. It gave us the time we all needed in building ourselves to cope with this tough situation and learning the various truths of life. We even got the space and time to grieve, to celebrate, and to feel every emotion in between, during this challenging time. We are living in a situation that never happened before, and it is impacting each one of us in a very distinctive way that we never thought of. We even got time to learn our indoor hobbies which we did not even know we had. People enhanced their skills in their area of interest. From the initial shock, the 'new normal' has been able to reduce the chaos and calm us down to a great extent. It has also allowed us to think but it also expands our ability to think openly about the efforts that are needed to help our society at large.  

 

Conclusion

There is no denying the fact that the current pandemic has turned our world upside down. Indeed, it was very tough to suddenly change your way of living to something alien to all of us initially. But we persisted like so many times the human race has done in past in face of adversity. We allowed the change to happen, some for good and some for just survival. It is but natural to resist a change that is so dramatic and so many of us were not ready to accept the new normal. The resistance was more with the inner self which had to give in at some point in time. Will life ever return to old normal is the question that crops up whenever one sits down thinking about life. The answer is probably no as the clock ticks with each passing moment, the new normal has already become normal for most of us. The comfort of tech and habits that we have picked up during this time is here to stay. Of course, some of the restrictions will go off simply because we are indeed social animals! We are born to interact physically with some caution. 


Adjusting to new normal is never too early or too late, it is a process that each one of us is getting used to at our pace. The opportunity to change, make a better version of ourselves is a godsend and should be taken in the right spirit. It is difficult for us as a global community to predict when such a crisis will occur and what will be its impact, but if we prepare for any eventuality then it is sure that the next black swan event will not be as gloomy as the one, we all have endured. “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans” So, let us leave old normal to rest in peace while we focus our energy on the bright future ahead that holds the promise of a great life, a society that upholds the principles of liberty, truth, and justice for all.  

Comic icon of India, Dheeraj Verma, passes away due to COVID complications

Mike Gagnon

It is with a heavy heart that we report on the passing of Dheeraj Verma. 

Verma is idolized by comic fans worldwide for his amazingly detailed comic book illustration, and in India particularly, where he is recognized as the first comic creator from India to break into the mainstream comics scene with major publishers such as Marvel and DC.

Verma was hospitalized in May with COVID-19, though he recovered and was showing improvement, Dheeraj developed pulmonary fibrosis as a side effect of his COVID-19 exposure, likely due to organ damage caused by the virus. 

While hospitalized waiting for treatment for his complications Dheeraj fell into a coma and had to be put on a ventilator. 

Being in India, Dheeraj lived in the country with the largest production of Vaccine, but, like most Indian citizens did not yet have access to it. 

As of June 9th, Mr. Verma's passing due to pulmonary fibrosis caused by Covid-19 was confirmed by his daughter in social media posts. 

Our heart goes out to the comics community in India and around the world and all those that mourn the passing of this great artist.

Dheeraj's daughter, Vinnie, was running a crowdfunding campaign to pay for his father's medical treatment to save his life when he passed. 

Condolences and donations can be made to the Verma family at: My Father Is Suffering From Pulmonary Fibrosis. We Need Your Help To Provide For His Treatment - Ketto 

Rest in Power, Dheeraj.


Note from the creative director: When I first met Dheeraj, it was online. In fact, with him being in India and me in Canada, online is the only way I know Dheeraj, but I knew him. 

Many years ago, when neither one of us had had a big break yet, he and I worked on an independent comic together we were going to self-publish. I think we may have gotten it half completed when Dheeraj started catching the eye of bigger publishers with paid gigs. I was looking at forming my own publishing company at the time, so we mutually agreed to put the project on "pause" while we both pursued success in our separate careers, but always stayed in touch and said we'd get back to finishing that book together. 

We never did get back to it, but it was great to see an artist with so much talent and for who I had so much respect continue to succeed and get some of that recognition that he deserved. 

To be honest, if I could be any artist than the one I am, it would have been Dheeraj Verma. One look at his work tells you how amazing his art skills are amazing. I always thought it was crazy that he wasn't already working for Marvel by the time that I first met him. 

What really weighs on my mind, is that when we were working together, Dheeraj and I had discussed the idea of me sponsoring him to immigrate to Canada. At the time I felt like a nobody, and didn't think my fledgling publishing idea would be able to support someone moving across the world, so we decided not to do it. 

If I had done more then, Dheeraj might have been in Canada now. He may have still gotten COVID, but he might not have, and he would have had access to the vaccines and treatment he needed without his family having to worry about medical costs as much. 

There are very few regrets I have in life, but not helping Dheeraj get to Canada is definitely one of them.

I have privately donated what I could to the fundraiser for Dheeraj's medical care, and with a heavy heart, I encourage others to do the same if they can. 

A Word on the Future of ADBP from the Creative Director

Hey guys!

Words cannot describe how much I appreciate the professional, personal and fan support for what we are doing. The team we've assembled of board members and professionals is a blessing. 

We've come a long way in a few short months, from an idea I've been passionate about for years, to the reality of assembling a board and creating a not-for-profit corporation. 

The dream of using comics to feed and shelter people is becoming bigger and more real every day, and I know for me personally, it gives me the drive to get out of bed every day to do what I do with purpose, to help others while doing what I love. 

We've achieved a ton of accomplishments, but there are still a monumental number of hurdles to overcome and the finish line is not in sight yet. 

If you thought the idea of a not-for-profit publisher, one that donates all of it's profits to food, water and shelter organizations around the globe was crazy, wait until you hear what else is in store. 

ADBP Current and Future Goals and Initiatives:

Tax deductible receipts: Thanks to COVID-19, the application and verification process has slowed considerably, but in the near future we expect to receive all of the documentation needed for us to not only legally accept donations, but also issue tax deductible receipts. Imagine the potential! We will be exploring every possible avenue to ensure that those that support us receive tax deductible receipts whenever possible. Imagine that! Buying your monthly comics and graphic novels to enjoy, and getting to write them of as a charitable donation as well!

Kickstarter: A big Kickstarter campaign is in the works with exclusive items and amazing stretch goals. Our Kickstarter will be going directly towards overheads and operational expenses of running a publishing company. That means a successful campaign will pay our expenses in advance, which means that there will be even more profit to be donated for every book sold! There will be more announcements in the future. 

Reprint Platform: We're taking the time to make sure we develop a smooth and consistent flow of product before we open the doors to other creative talent. We also have limited and tight publishing schedules, while also loving and wanting to be a part of the comics creator community. To this end, we plan to open up submissions to reprint publications in the near future. If you have an independent comic, one-shot, graphic novel or miniseries that you feel is still relevant, or maybe never got the attention it deserved, even if it's just long out of print, we want to know about it. As creative director, I'd love to reprint an eclectic and classic collection of indie comics for a new generation or audience to enjoy. Tentatively we'd be looking at a system where the publisher's share of profits would be split 50/50 between the creator and the publisher, with the publisher donating their share of profits to a food, water or shelter organization in the creator's geographic area. 

Creator Owned Platform: Some time after we've integrated reprints and made them part of a well-oiled machine, we will explore opening submissions for new, original creator owned graphic novels. Again, things will be tight, our publishing schedule is limited, but will grow as we find great projects by great talent that we want to shine a light on. Again we'd look at a 50/50 split of profit with 50% going to the creator and 50% donated to a charity in their area. 

Increasing the game and motion comic line: We have lots of plans to deliver more fun and interactive content such as games and motion comics. Producing these things takes a lot of time and hard work. So does comics. Once we have our solid footing as a start-up not-for-profit, we will begin looking over opportunities to expand on our digital game and motion comics content. 

Future media and expansion: In an ideal world, All Day Breakfast will be a smashing success and we'll be able to seriously look at expanding our media offerings. Animated shorts and features are definitely on the "some-day" radar. Ideally, I'd like to see video game, animation and toy arms developing, with each branch donating it's profits to a different cause. I'd very much like to see a system where one branch donated to animal shelters and to stop animal cruelty, another branch would donate to charities involving missing and exploited children, as well as human trafficking, again another branch could support another cause and so on. Maybe cancer research. Maybe the food, water, shelter donations could be split between the branches. Either way, the idea is to produce more content and thereby do more good in the world. We want to support any cause that has equality and respect for the human race at it's core, regardless of race, religion, colour, gender, age, weight or anything else. 

A Comic Creator Support Program: I love comics. I'm a comic guy. Have been all my life. I have so much respect for this segment that I had to give it it's own heading. Words will never express how much I owe to and appreciate every comic book creator that came before me. An initiative I'll be pushing is to create some kind of a support system for creators. Whether it's a special program or project that donates to an existing program, such as the Hero Initiative, or something else. I'd really like to create a support net for fellow comic creators who didn't have any kind of royalties on past work that they had to give up ownership of in order to work in the industry. A system that could also provide paying work to artists in need too. It's a seed of an idea right now, but hoping it will grow into something beautiful. 

No more "Work-for-Hire", kind of: Everyone in the comics industry knows at least one story about a comic creator who dies broke and penniless because the publisher took the rights to a character they made millions on and gave the creator nothing, because they worked under a "work-for-hire" contract. That means you only get a flat rate for the work produced, and the publisher owns the rights to all of your creations. We're not going to do that. Contracts can be as simple or as complicated as the publisher WANTS the to be. Well, let me make this clear: We don't want to own your characters, so we have no reason to steal them. We are currently working to make sure that any time in the future. IF we use a work-for-hire style agreement, there will always be plain and specific language that the publisher does not claim or accept ownership over any character or intellectual property created by a contracted talent. 

A Cohesive, unified, public domain universe: We are only in the earliest of early seeding stages right now, but over the next 2 years, we expect to slowly create a line of new original graphic novels featuring public domain characters in a connected and cohesive universe. In spite of it's decades old public domain roots, the ADBP universe will be bold, exciting and original. Just wait and see!

And keep in mind two things: 1: All of these projects will create public good and fight the effects of poverty. 2: It's all public domain and not for profit. There's no "fat-cat" sitting at a desk getting rich here. In fact, the board in charge of the company are volunteers and don't see a dime of your hard earned comic spending money.

Living Wage: An initiative near and dear to my heart is the idea of a living wage. A wage that allows a person to have a life, a family, cover expenses and put away some money for the future. A staggering number of people form all walks of life and cultures do not have access to living wage employment. We are currently working with our small but mighty team to experiment with hours, deadlines rates, etc. to work out a system where each and every paid employee of the company is making a living wage for the region they live in (Living wage is different for every city, based on economic and social factors) and that future employees and freelance contractors make a living wage, because we don't put the financial spreadsheet of our company over the well being of our skilled and respected staff. 

Thriving Wage: A radical concept! Once we are successfully running a team of happy, appreciated professionals who are paid a living wage and not under the financial stress caused by employment with for-profit companies, we hope to go a step further and offer a THRIVING WAGE. This would be a system where we would take the person making a living wage at 40/hrs per week and increase their total pay while reducing required hours, thereby giving our staff more time to spend with families and loved ones and to enjoy the money they have worked so hard for. 

International Branches: In the initial stages. In the near future we're going to begin looking for and recruiting good citizens and people who want to make a difference in their community, by volunteering to run and manage their own regional ADBP office. Regional board will need to register as a not-for-profit or equivalent in their country or region of location and will have autonomy for choosing publications to reprint, as well as a voice in meeting with other ADBP representatives. We want you to bring the comics and opinions of your culture to the table and connect with like-minded people all over the world to share your characters and culture. 

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Well, that's just a quick glimpse into some of the plans and directions that we want to go and what you can look forward to seeing from us in the future. As a volunteer Chair and Creative Director, even though I created the idea and founded the company, I only have one year to implement programs and set the company on this path for the future. I hope to continue longer, but that will be up to my fellow board members come election time in February. I'll do my best to continue to reward their trust and earn their votes, as well as that of the public and creative community. The value of my performance will be shown by the level of good we do, not just in the comics community, but in society in general. 

Hoping to see you all along for this ride,

Mike


  

Jeanna Harrison of Trailer Park Boys for All Day Breakfast Productions


How to Lead by Example and be the Change you Want to See

By Rohit C. 

Real-life leaders have always fascinated us, such as the “Father of a Nation” - Mahatma Gandhi, “I have a dream”- Martin Luther King Jr, “Hero of South Africa”- Nelson Mandela, “The Greatest Statesman” - Winston Churchill, to name a few.

As legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.” What sets them apart is their character, creativity, competence, and charisma to be great leaders.


Leading by Example

The foremost quality of a leader is that they practice what they preach. They lead others by doing all of the things they advise others to do. The shining example in human history is of Mahatma Gandhi, who led the largest democracy of the world, India, to its freedom from British rule. Gandhi was the epitome of simplicity; his simple life attracted millions of Indians irrespective of their status and beliefs to join hands to fight for a common goal. He led a life of a poor Indian, dressing with bare minimum clothes with no material possessions, setting an example for people to live a simple and meaningful life.


Empathy towards others builds a culture of trust and makes people feel comfortable. They are willing to share their concerns without fear. All it needs is an ability to listen attentively to those around and by doing this, leaders have a greater awareness of the people. “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt


Respect for others comes from self-respect. If we have a feeling of pride and confidence in ourselves, it becomes our nature to respect others. Treating others with care and compassion is the only honest way to gain the respect of people around us. “I don’t care if you’re black, white, short, tall, skinny, rich, or poor. If you respect me, I’ll respect you.” – Adele


A true leader believes in the power of love and not muscle power. They can use their great influence to push people to take the path of violence and hatred as a means of achieving their goals. History shows us many examples of leaders who thought it was right to force people to take up violence and the subsequent fatal results of their actions. 


Leaders like Nelson Mandela advocated peace over violence and are a source of great inspiration for many in the world and South Africa. As a great leader, his actions and belief in non-violence transformed a country by breaking the shackles of apartheid to attain freedom for all based on principles of democracy. Black people rallied behind Mandela as he gave a message of peace and that the way forward was a path of reconciliation and acceptance between white and black communities. It shows the true strength of a leader that they can convince people to follow a path of justice with their hearts and their honest actions. 

 

Be the Change you Want to See

If we desire changes in our world, we have to start with remaking ourselves. We can spend hours trying to change people around us, our friends, relatives, and colleagues if we feel they are impolite, hostile, selfish, and so forth. But we face denial, resistance, and stress as no one likes to listen to the hard truth. We think that if a person becomes nice to us, we will also show goodness towards them. But that does not happen. Why? Because we miss an important understanding that if we change how we behave with others, it acts as a strong catalyst for them to change their behavior towards us. By changing ourselves, we become a new person with a fresh pair of eyes and the change within allows us to take actions we were afraid of or never thought of while stuck in our old ways. More importantly, we can see other people's perspectives which helps us in getting a better understanding of the situation and accordingly taking actions to support them.

 

We can all see how little actions can lead to bigger changes that we never imagined in the first place. Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager, has done what many of us only think about or felt; how can we be the change that we want to see?


Climate change is real and happening at this moment as we breathe, still many in the world community see it as a showstopper to their country’s progress or an issue that is not so alarming and should be left for future generations to take care of! It was in May of 2018 that young Greta decided to raise her voice against climate change that was causing large-scale changes in weather patterns, a result of relentless human-driven emission of greenhouse gasses. What started as her solo protest in front of the Swedish parliament grew into a worldwide movement and became viral with the hashtag #FridaysForFuture. She has been able to inspire millions of students worldwide about the urgent need to address climate change and has received support from a wide spectrum of the global community. The world is now united in its focus and efforts to reduce carbon emissions to fight climate change. Greta has achieved significant success in raising greater awareness to address climate change urgently because of her strong inner belief that she can be the change! Greta was prepared to undergo hardships, face resistance, but never for a moment thought of backing down. 

 

Time for us to introspect and decide as to how we can be the change we want to see. There are many ways we can do our bit for society. If we care for our planet and want to reduce global warming, we can find ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, like putting up solar panels, planting trees, eating seasonal veggies, driving less, conserving water, reducing waste, and so on. 

 

The onus is on us for the change we want to see in the world and not the public institutions or political leadership. We do not need massive changes, but small consistent steps. To become good citizens, we just need to follow the norms of the society that is meant for the well-being of us all. If we want to build a community of happy and caring people, it should start from us and our homes where we live and spend most of our lives.


Comic Book Confidential - Why expression, human rights and anti-censorship are important.


Life Lessons from Black Panther

Rohit C.

Black Panther is one of the greatest black superhero movies to have dazzled the big screen in recent times. People from all races were amazed at the sheer richness of black culture. Many movie watchers from the black community wore traditional African attire to enjoy their moment of truth. 


In the imaginary world of Wakanda, an African nation of the highest order and the most technologically advanced country in the world is brimming with life and joy. It has vast reserves of rare and indestructible metal vibranium and they have technology which is light years ahead of other civilizations. Prince T’Challa makes a comeback to Wakanda to take over the reins after his father and the King are killed in a terrorist attack. He engages in ritual combat with his challenger to become the Black Panther. The King faces a daunting enemy, Killmonger, who sees Wakanda’s advanced technology as a means to expand the Wakandan empire all over the world for black people to rule the world. The Black Panther must rise to the occasion to save Wakanda and the entire world from the dangerous rogue Killmonger. 


Black Panther, apart from its visual brilliance, has, for the first time, MCU’s almost all-black lead cast. It caught the eye of the world for its costuming capturing the rich and diverse culture of Africa. Black Panther is all about the true essence of black life if it had not been enslaved and had the freedom to choose the way it wanted to live. It provides us lessons we can all use in real life.


Women Power

Black Panther showcases the real power of women, an inspiration to women and girls worldwide to the fact that they can do everything that men can do. An all-female army Dora Milaje “adored ones,” led by their female general Okoye that protects the King and Wakanda is the symbol of ultimate female strength. There are several examples in present times where women have broken the barriers to finding their rightful place – Kamala Harris, the first African American Vice President of the USA, is one such example. 

Wakanda not only represents the beauty and intelligence, but also the strength and resilience of women's power, a huge motivation for black women and girls all over the world.

 

Knowledge is power

T’Challa, the Black Panther, is a genius in the field of science. His sharp and curious mind uses science to propel Wakanda into becoming a highly advanced nation. He is also a superhero with super strength, agility, and has mastered many forms of martial arts. Black Panther does not rely on his family’s wealth or empire to become king. His skills and abilities make him the best man to lead Wakanda. 


Knowledge is all about awareness and understanding. It gives the power to choose the right direction and make intelligent decisions. The power of knowledge is limitless and can knock out even our strongest enemy, as the advantage lies with the person who has superior intelligence along with physical strength. We must use every opportunity to learn and upgrade ourselves!

 

Listen to your Soul

Superhero stories are all about sci-fi or human endurance. Black Panther is a superhero but there exists a moment of spirituality when he visits his “ancestral plane” to interact with his ancestors as he undergoes the process of becoming a King. Humans have always had deep connections with spirituality. The belief that there is something greater, divine than us that gives us power and courage to choose the righteous path and helps us in our most difficult moments. It brings positive emotions such as inner peace, a feeling of contentment, and gratitude. T’Challa has the fictional heart-shaped herb to experience spiritual vision, but we as humans can also experience the power of spirituality simply by praying and meditation. Our emotional well-being is as important as our physical health. One cannot be healthy without the other!

 

Compassion for your Enemy

The feeling of compassion for a person who has caused deep suffering to us is seldom seen. M’Baku as a challenger could have lost his life during ritual combat but T’Challa spared his life, showing an act of true compassion which made M’Baku realize that T’Challa was indeed a good person and so he became an important ally. People have an increasing tendency to seek revenge, they celebrate seeing someone down, but forget that this only starts a vicious circle of violence which is never ending. Only a brave and daring individual can stop further escalation of violence and offer compassion as a way forward to secure the future. 

T’Challa as Black Panther exhibits what it means to be compassionate and shows how skillful action which is driven by seeing reality from a larger perspective can end violence and bring lasting peace. 

 

The World is One Big Nation

Wakanda became the most advanced country in the world because of the metal vibranium which helped them develop their resources and technology. They refused to share technology, hiding from the world for their benefit. What if they would have worked for the greater cause of black people's liberation or the poor world at large? Our history has several such examples when nations became selfish, ignoring others. 

 

The Nation First ideology has brought far greater suffering to humanity than can be imagined. Nationalism in a broader sense is good for society as it helps its citizens to work for the betterment of their nation. The problems arise when a country decides to safeguard its interests but ignores the fact that its unilateral actions will cause harm to the global community. The US in its previous administration decided to withdraw from global climate change mitigation citing economic reasons and that it was putting the US at a permanent disadvantage, a narrow and selfish thought from the world’s strongest country, ignoring the opinions and studies done by the scientific community that global warming is real and can cause a life-threatening disaster in near future. Though, the recent change in US administration brought forth the majority outlook that the US is deeply concerned about and needs to be part of the global climate pact. Sanity restored!

 

Similarly, the ravaging pandemic has brought mankind to the edge. “As of 22nd April 2021, 40% of the Covid-19 vaccines administered globally have gone to people in 27 wealthy nations that represent 11% of the global population. Countries making up the least-wealthy 11% have gotten just 1.6% of Covid-19 vaccines administered so far, according to an analysis of data collected by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.” The world community is ignoring the simple fact that, “No one is safe until everyone is safe.” I hope that common sense prevails.

 

Wakanda Forever!