Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

KaPow! Print Edition of The Outer World Blasts Off This Weekend!

The limited edition print copy of The Outer Worlds #0 (written by me and illustrated by the great Ivan Castillo) came in today and will make it's debut at KapowCon! this Saturday October 6 at the Conquest Art Designs table! 

The Outer Worlds is a black and white sci-fi comic that follows a team of bounty hunters who have to travel out of our solar system to catch criminals escaping the long arm of the law. This prelude issue sets up a seven issue series (eight if you count the #0), It's the very first book by Conquest Art Designs new digital comic book imprint Conquest Comics and will soon be available for digital download at ComiXology. 

KapowCon is a FREE admission convention being put on to raise money for STEM education. It will be at Virginia High School, 1200 Long Crescent Drive, Bristol, VA on Saturday, October 6th. Doors open at 9:30 and it closes at 6:00.

While I will not be there, but artist Ivan Castillo will be signing copies at the Conquest Art Designs table. If you live locally and pick-up a copy I will be glad to meet up with you at Mountain Empire Comics and sign a copy for you and if you are out of town please feel free to contact me or Conquest Art Designs to obtain a copy via mail order.

UPDATE: I pre-signed copies of The Outer Worlds for Conquest Comics so anyone attending KapowCon! who stops by the Conquest Art Design Table and picks up a copy will have it signed by both the writer and artist!


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Trek to the We Talk Comics Podcast Site for a Trio of New WeView Reviews that will Leave You Breathless

After my last appearance on the We Talk Comics Podcast, one of the regulars, Mo Kristiansen, asked if I would be interested in doing some "WeViews" for their site. It was a relatively new feature giving text reviews (hence the great WeViews name) provided by the great guys at We Talk Comics. I looked over their list and was going to contribute a WeView of the finale of Dynamite's comic The Librarians (based on the TNT television show). Sadly, the day I was going to read this issue and write up the review was the day my father passed away. After a few months, one of us reached out (I don't remember if it was me or Mo) and I finally got to do a review for the site.  The Librarians had been out so long (so long the show had been canceled) that I decided to do a review of IDW's Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Blood Suckers #1. I don't know if it was me or Bubba but it was well received and Mo gave me the great news that it was the most viewed of the WeViews. So a month later I dove in and tackled another review.  This time I discussed the merits of the Archie Comics Archie's Super Teens Versus Crusaders #1. (I mentioned both of those reviews in previous blog entries). 

Several weeks later I did three more: Aftershock's historical fantasy ClanKillers #1, Black Mask's brilliant monster series Breathless #1 and #2 and IDW's latest Star Trek tie-in, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Terra Incognita #1. Those last three have gone up over the course of the last two weeks. I'm really enjoying the new gig and hope I get the chance to do more.  If you are a comic fan who has to be selective about what they pick up, I hope I can earn your trust.


You can see my review of ClanKillers #1 here.
You can see my review of Breathless #1 and #2 here.
You can see my review of Star Trek: The Next Generation - Terra Incognita #1 here.

I highly encourage checking out the podcast. The guys are great and put on really fun shows. I can't say it enough about them. It really is like hanging out with your friends at the comic shop, it doesn't matter if they are simply debating issues or doing professional interviews writers and artists in the industry. Please go here to check out their most recent shows.

Oh, and yes, I do realize I misspelled Barclay's name as Barkley. I actually do know better. So please don't revoke my nerd card...

Monday, July 23, 2018

Rob-Con Anouncement and another WeView

It looks like I will be attending RobCon this year. I've been waffling back and forth for a while. Initially I was hoping to come and RobCon would be the debut of the prelude issue of The Outer Worlds a sci-fi miniseries I am doing with Ivan Castillo of Conquest Art Designs. But sadly, Ivan is still working on the cover and I still have several pages left to letter. 

So I was going to pass but several things happened. Matt Shafer invited me to join his annual movie panel, and being the self promoting ham/whore than I am, how could I say no? More over, why would I say no? Matt ran the Mountain Empire Comics Movie Club for several years and his enthusiasm for genre films is positively infectious. The panel will be Sunday at 12:30. I was going to do a hit and run. Go in for the panel, hang with Ivan at the Conquest Art Designs table for a bit, then scamper off into the night.

Matthew Preiss and his niece.
Then something tragic happened, one of Robert Pilk's employees, Matthew Preiss, was hospitalized.  Matthew is a great guy (as anyone who has had the pleasure to talk to him at Mountain Empire Comics will tell you). He has a long road to recovery ahead of him and if you are a praying person, please include him in your thoughts the next time you offer up to the Almighty.  

What's this have to do with me? 

Glad you asked. This left Rob a man down so I have been helping him out by filling in for Matthew. Now, don't let the way I phrased it make you think I was somehow coming to Rob's aid. (Although when I write my memoirs or biography that's exactly how I will present it). Oh, no, Rob and the rest of the RobCon/Mountain Empire Comics family have been doing this for years and have it down cold. They would be able to handle it no problem, but Rob knows things have been a little slow for me writing wise. I'm about to get the release of my three television pilots from Gloverzone Productions since they have not moved forward on production. My last three submissions have been rejected and it will probably be another month before Ivan and I have The Outer Worlds completed. Beyond the writing, Rob also knew I was laid off from my day job of 18 years back in November and my benefits ran out about a month ago. So I will be working Matthew's four hour shift at the Mountain Empire Comics table Saturday and helping out with a few shifts here and there at the shop in Bristol. Truth be told, Rob rode in to *my* rescue.

Matt Shafer then reached out again. He will also be having a comic book television panel Saturday at 1 and wanted me to join as well. I really do have a problem saying no, so I was all in before he finished the sentence.

Then one of Rob's organizers texted asking if I wanted a whole table or a half table for signings. In short, they already had me down as a guest and I didn't realize it. Did I mention I have problems saying no? So I will be at RobCon both Saturday and Sunday (not Friday). I will have a few of the very last print copies of the award winning Adventures in Pulp series from 2015 as well as copies of the Women of Darby Pop ready to purchase and sign. So, barring scheduling issues, if I'm not at my table you will be able to find me at the Mountain Empire Comics table or at the Matt Shafer's Comic Book Movie and Television panels. I highly recommend stopping in. Rob has really been stepping it up the last couple of years. It's a fantastic show, with panels, costume contests, writers, artists, and lots of vendors. The last couple of years have been an absolute blast and it looks like this year will be even better in its new venue of MeadowView Convention Center in Kingsport, TN.


Until then, I did do another WeView Review for the great folks at We Talk Comic Podcasts. This time I reviewed Archie Superteens Versus Crusaders #1. It has been up for a couple of weeks but you can find it here. I have a couple of more in the works that should be up soon. If you can't make it to RobCon and still want to check out my work you can get digital downloads of all four Adventures in Pulp short stories (with all profits still going to the artist) and the Women of Darby Pop anthology at Comixology here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Couple of (Not so) Shocking Rejections

As I have done in the past, I like to post rejected material here so it can still be read. Below are two short story scripts for a British publication. 

The first, which is titled "Parallel Intersections" from last year, suffered from too many ideas getting crammed into a four page plot. I had two ideas with the same basic idea but could not decide on the twist ending, so I decided (ill advisedly) to put them together and let the two narratives play off of each other. I often wonder if I went with one story if it would have had more impact and if so, which one?

The other, titled "Boy Meets Girl...," is from earlier this year.  In fact I had no idea until I started putting together this blog that they were written exactly one year apart. This second tale takes the romantic structure of "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back" but puts it in a darker more dangerous scenario. This one was probably not sci-fi enough for the publication. If you strip out the SF elements it could have taken place today. Or heck, even 100 years ago. Either way, I feel like it is probably the stronger of the two scripts.

I hope you enjoy them (or if you are an aspiring writer, learn from my mistakes).



ORIGINAL SCRIPT: "Parallel Intersections"
Short Story Script by Brett Harris
4 pages, Final Draft: 18th February 2017



PAGE ONE

Note: The page is divided horizontally across the center with a thick black line to separate the narratives. Three panels above the line and three below. The TOP narrative is very retro sci-fi hard edges with buttons and dials, futuristic but with a vague feeling of analogue instead of digital. The BOTTOM narrative is just the opposite. Sleek and streamlined with smooth touch screen panels.

1/ We see a soldier/astronaut.  She is a black woman in a suspended animation tube (kind of like the ones from Aliens). Through the clear hatch, we can see her face and her eyes are closed.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER) 1: As I start to rouse from
     hyper sleep, the mission parameters come rushing back
     to me.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER) 2: We were going to end the
     war with our new prototype weapon that would stop their 
     machines.

2/ The same basic panel but now her eyes are open and she looks worried.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER) 1: The ship was going to
     glide in orbit powered down, then power up and deliver
     the pay load.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER) 2: The fact that I'm awake
     tells me something went wrong. I was a last resort.

3/ The soldier is out of the tube in front of a closed door putting on a space suit. It's something flexible but with a domed helmet and air supply.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): The sensors tell me large
     parts of the ship have been compromised. I decide it's
     safer to suit up. I have to succeed.

4/ We are now on another ship, with a different soldier. This time, a white male. There is an open tube near him. He is dressing in simple fatigues.

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): Their ship tried to glide
     in and sneak past our sensors. Luckily our sleeper
     defense ship was already in orbit.

5/ The second soldier is exiting the room.

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): If I've been activated it
     means there must have been a battle and the ship has
     taken damage --

6/ A close up of the second soldier's inscrutable face.

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): -- and my job just got a          
     little harder.



PAGE TWO

Note: The page, like the previous page, is divided horizontally across the center with a thick black line to separate the narratives. Three panels above the line and three below.

1/ Close up on the first soldier, a look of horror on her face.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): This is why Mars uses     
     androids for most of their combat. Some think there     
      are no humans left on their side.

2/ We reverse angle to an over the shoulder angle to reveal three dead bodies floating in zero g. One is an Asian male with the flag of Japan on his sleeve. Another is a white female and we can see the U.K. flag patch on her shoulder. The third is a black man with a Nigerian flag on his uniform. In the background we can see three doors. There is scorching on the walls to indicate damage.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): I don't have time to mourn    
     my ship mates. I'm the last chance to win the war and    
     I have to keep going.

3/ The first soldier is now working some switches at the opposite end center door.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): The door to the bridge is      
     not operational. I have to over-ride to get through --

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): -- and I have to get      
     through if I'm going to save the Earth.

4/ A high shot of the second soldier, a broken bridge that stretches over a huge machine that is sparking with electrical energy. It would have connected the door he just exited to another door at the other end. A trio broken and smashed android bodies can be seen. They should look kind of like the endoskeleton of the Terminator.

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): The engineering droids have
     been smashed, as well as the only way to the     
     command center. I have to get there to defend my world.

5/ The second soldier leaping across the gap in the bridge.

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): Luckily the gravity seems         
     twenty-five percent of normal. Low enough to make the leap.

6/ The second soldier is using his hand print on a panel next to the door.

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): Almost there. The Earth       
     will learn that the new regime on Mars will be free        
     and safe from their attacks.


PAGE THREE

Note: The page, like the previous pages, is divided horizontally across the center with a thick black line to separate the narratives. Three panels above the line and three below. The three panels are two half page panels each with an inset in the top left and bottom right of the panel.

1/ Is inset in the top left corner of panel 2. It is a close-up of the shocked face of the first soldier.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): Oh, God!

2/ Reverse angle to reveal the first soldier being sucked toward a big gaping hole in the forward section of the bridge. It has clearly been hulled in combat. Empty space lies beyond.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): The decompression is      
     pulling me out!

3/ The inset in the bottom left corner of panel 2. We can see her gloved hand just missing the edge of twisted metal at edge of the hole.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): No! I have to complete 
     the mission!

4/ Is inset in the top left corner of panel 2. It is a close-up of face of the second soldier. His eyes are wide both otherwise inscrutable.

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): Sensors were wrong.

5/ Reverse angle to reveal the second soldier also being sucked toward a big gaping hole in the forward section of the command center. It has also clearly been hulled in combat. Again empty space lies beyond.

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): I have to destroy the    
     Earthlings!

6/ The inset in the bottom left corner of panel 2. We can see his face hitting edge of twisted metal at edge of the hole.

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): No!


PAGE FOUR

1/ A single panel page of the two soldiers battling in the vacuum of space. They are a twisted knot of limbs grabbing and punching at each other. The second soldier's human face as been ripped off to reveal a robot face underneath. In the background we can see the two ships in the distance. They are both battered and in ruins.

     FIRST SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): I'll have to destroy this
     machine before I run out of air! For Earth and
     humanity!

     SECOND SOLDIER (VOICE OVER): I have to destroy the   
     human before I run out of power! For Mars and machine
     independence!

CAPTION: FIN.


__________________________________

ORIGINAL SCRIPT: "Boy Meets Girl..."
Short Story Script by Brett Harris

4 pages, Final Draft: 19th February 2018

PAGE ONE

This is a five panel page (including the first panel which is a solid black panel with white reverse text running across the top of the page).

1/ A solid black horizontal panel across the whole page with reverse white letters that say: "BOY MEETS GIRL...". No other text.

2/ Establishing shot of a modern/futuristic business building in downtown London. To help sell a future vibe we can see a flying yellow taxi cab in the sky or perhaps a flying red bus.

     OLIVIA (FROM BUILDING) 1: Amelia! Welcome back!

3/ Inside the business office. A typical set up of cubical work spaces. Olivia is hugging Amelia. Both are attractive young women with the look of business professionals. Olivia is black, while Amelia is a blonde Caucasian. People in the backgrounds are working on computers with holographic monitors and are a mix of male/female and ethnic backgrounds.

     AMELIA: I wish I could say I'm glad to be back.

     OLIVIA: We acquired some great new additions while
     you were on holiday.

4/ Olivia gesturing toward three workers. They are at Jackson's cubical. He's nebbish looking, middle aged, and balding, with spectacles. He has a look of "future middle manager." His holographic monitor has a newspaper article with a headline that reads "Body found on east end." In smaller type: "Laser blade believed to be murder weapon." Isabella is next, she is a young Asian lady holding two cups of coffee. She has the look of an over worked executive secretary. Last is Ava, another professional looking lady, she is the oldest with dark hair with some dignified gray or silver highlights. She is holding a tennis ball size box that is projecting a small holographic pie chart.

     OLIVIA 1: This is Jackson our new assistant to Human
     Resources.

     OLIVIA 2: That is Isabella, the boss's new assistant.

     OLIVIA 3: And last is Ava a statistician we stole from     
     Yamaguchi Corporation.

5/ Amelia looking friendly and exited.

     AMELIA 1: Oh, it is a pleasure! I'm Olivia's partner
     in the Marketing Department.

     AMELIA 2: We absolutely must go out this evening after
     work so I can get to know you.


PAGE TWO

This is a four panel page.

1/ Amelia in the foreground dancing with Charlie, a handsome but oily gentleman. He looks like he has over done his spray tan to create the illusion of Latino or Sicilian. Hair slicked back. Pencil thin mustache. Tacky but not unattractive. In the background at a table: Isabella looks annoyed. Olivia is having a drink. Jackson looks jealous and Ava looks disinterested reading a holographic bar graph from her stat box.

     ISABELLA: "We absolutely must go out this evening
     after work so I can get to know you." Pfffth!

     OLIVIA: Oh, when you go out with Amelia, she will find
     fun, but not much in the way of meaningful conversation.


2/ Amelia, taking a shot of whiskey, Charlie, smiling and looking friendly, is carefully trying to balance three more. They are at the table with Amelia's office mates.

     CHARLIE: Another shot, Love. I'll call a cab to fly us     
     home.

3/ Charlie, anxious to leave, is now pulling Amelia by the arm toward the door. She looks pretty drunk.

     CHARLIE: Come on, Love. Can't be higher than the taxi
     can we?

4/ The quartet of office workers at the table. Olivia looks heavy lidded. She's had too much to drink. Isabella looks worried. Jackson looks angry and (again) Ava still looks disinterested looking at her holographic display from her stat box.

     ISABELLA: Amelia, do you think it's a good idea to    
     leave?

     AVA: No. Wait. Stop.

     ISABELLA: Too late. She's out the door.


PAGE THREE
 
This is a six panel page (including the second panel which is a solid black panel with white reverse text running across the page).

1/ Outside the club. The neighborhood does not look as upscale as their office or even the inside of the club would allow you to believe. Not much in the way of foot traffic or vehicles. The quartet are at the door. Isabella is holding Olivia up. Charlie and Amelia are already a good distance away in the background.

     ISABELLA: You should stay with us, Amelia!

     OLIVIA: Amelia, shoo be wif ussss.

2/ A solid black horizontal panel across the whole page with reverse white letters that say: "... BOY LOSES GIRL...". No other text.

3/ Charlie, not looking as friendly as before, is pulling a drunk Amelia by the arm.

     AMELIA: Whesh, tha cab, Baby?

     CHARLIE: This way. It's a short cut.

4/ Charlie and Amelia in a dark alley. If possible it's even more creepy than the main street was. Amelia is pushing away from a sinister looking Charlie.

     AMELIA: No! Thish, ishn't right.

5/ Amelia falling as she tries to get away from Charlie, who now has a knife in his hand.

     AMELIA: No!

     CHARLIE: Get back here!

6/ Looking up from Amelia's angle (but not necessarily her POV) Charlie looks big and scary wielding the blade and total darkness all around and behind him.

     CHARLIE: They'll be reading about my work tomorrow on
     the webs.


PAGE FOUR

This is a six panel page (including the last panel which is a solid black panel with white reverse text running across the page).

1/ Same as last panel on previous page but now Charlie has a confused look on his face, perhaps with a trickle of blood coming down the corner of his mouth.

     CHARLIE: Urk!?

2/ Similar as the last two panels. Charlie, eyes rolled back in his head, is sinking out of frame to reveal kindly nebbish Jackson.

3/ Amelia hugging Jackson.

     AMELIA: Oh, thank you, Johnson.

     JACKSON: It's Jackson actually.

4/ Amelia looking at Jackson appreciatively.

     AMELIA: What a creep, Jack. Can I buy you a drink to       
     thank you?

     JACKSON: I should thank you. I can't stand copy cats.

5/ Amelia's POV Jackson looking downright evil as he holds up a glowing green laser knife.

6/ A solid black horizontal panel across the bottom of the page with reverse white letters that say: "... BOY GETS GIRL BACK". No other text. End.

_____________________________________________
 

If you are glutton for punishment and would like to read the short stories that were rejected for the MillarWorld Annuals in 2016 and 2017 you can read them here and here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

New We Talk Comics Episodes Drop and RobCon Almost Here!

Back in March of last year Chris Beck of We Talk Comics Podcasts contacted me about joining him and We Talk's founder Mo Kristiansen to do an episode focusing on Pre-Marvel Universe comic book movies. I first appeared on the We Talk Comic Podcast way back in the summer of 2015 promoting "Adventures in Pulp" and it was an absolute blast. Chris and Keith Callbeck hosted that episode and talking to them was like hanging out with my friends at the local comic shop. Keith has since moved on and regular host Brett Monro was ill, so Chris invited me to fill in at the 11th hour (proving one Brett is most definitely NOT as good as another). The show was a lot of fun. It was a different vibe contributing to an ongoing conversation as opposed to a straight up interview so I felt a little shaky. My fear was that I spent a little too much time saying "I agree" or "I really liked this or hated that" without going into specifics. I guess I got lucky because some technical issues cropped up and the whole show had to be scrapped. After almost a year of scheduling conflicts I finally got to join Chris and Mo for a re-recording along with Brett and even Keith who returned as a special guest. Again, it was an absolute blast and we managed to get two episodes out of it! The first episode focuses of the "Best Comic Book Movies Before the Marvel Universe" and you can hear it here and the second episode focuses of the "Worst Comic Book Movies Before the Marvel Universe" and you can hear it here. Since then I even did my first review for their "WeView" reviews. I selected the comic book prequel to the cult classic short story and film: Bubba Ho-Tep. You can read it here. You can also check out my first appearance here and I highly recommend trying some of their other past episodes.  They are pretty great.

I'm not sure if I will be a guest at RobCon again this summer. However my partner on the upcoming comic "The Outer Worlds," Ivan Castillo of Conquest Art Designs, will have some fantastic stuff available and even a few pages to preview of our sci-fi comic book mini-series. If the stars really align we *might* even have a printed copy of the book itself.

If I make it, it will be my sixith time around for the ever growing convention and appears it will be the best yet. If you are in Northeast Tennessee or Southwest Virginia July 27 through 29, I highly recommend stopping in. Robert Pilk of Mountain Empire Comics has really been stepping it up the last couple of years. It's a fantastic show, with panels, costume contests, writers, artists, and lots of vendors. The last couple of years have been an absolute blast and it looks like this year will be even better in its new venue of MeadowView Convention Center in Kingsport, TN.

Just a reminder, my story story "Looking for Redemption with Blind Eyes" featuring the character Stingray from Darby Pop's "Indestructible" closes out the "Women of Darby Pop" anthology and you can still get it and my four "Adventures In Pulp" short stories as downloads at Comixology here.  "Adventures in Pulp" was named "Digital Comic of the Year" by Pipedream comics for 2015 and all digital profits for go to the artist.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Facts Matter: Disecting a Fact Free Post



Facts matter. I know we live in an "alt fact" word. But there should be a point where a fact should be a fact. Period. I have a dog named Sisko. He's a male, you can call him a female all you want, but he's male. I have never written a blog relating to politics because I don't want to get "Dixie Chick-ed."  In my private life I am very political and the wars on science and facts are starting to make me crazy. I can understand and respect a difference of opinion, but the refusal to listen to or accept provable and verifiable facts is a new phenomenon.  If you say something that is not true that means one of two things. Either you are ignorant on the topic and have made an error or you have willfully said something untrue.  Now I could site example after example of the stuff I am talking about but I have decided to simply take one single post that have I have seen several times and use it as a sole example. People I know, people I like are sharing (some more than once) this COMPLETELY fact free post below and it boggles my mind. Have I misjudged these people's character or their intelligence or both?

The first time I saw this post on the right my initial thought was "Wow, there is so much factually wrong with this. I don't know quite where to begin."  Well, how about I start with the fact that the initial writer (and those who liked it enough to share it on social medial) appear to favor the positions of North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran over America. Ranging from fascist and totalitarian to theocratic, those countries seem to be the antithesis to what America stands for, but if that's their opinion, I will respectfully disagree. I'm not going to hurl insults because we disagree. Like I said above, I can respect a difference of opinion and they are entitled to their opinion here in America (although, ironically, not always in North Korea or Iran, but I digress).  No, I'm not going to challenge their un-American opinion. I would rather respond to the FACTUAL ERRORS, because while you are entitled to your own opinion you are not entitled to your own facts.

 The general position seems to be that undocumented immigrants are responsible for our nation's debt. Many economic scholars have pointed to "trickledown economics" as the real culprit of our debt, massive tax cuts (predominantly on the wealthy) while increasing spending has put is in a hole, but that's really a separate debate. Let's focus on the issues specifically ascribed to undocumented immigrants.

First, "you cross the border illegally and you get a job." Well, they only get a job if an American company illegally hires them or they commit fraud to get hired. In the former case, this is a private sector issue and does not support the debt issue except that employers are defrauding the government out of tax dollars that would have been otherwise taken out on citizens or legal immigrants here on work visas and not the undocumented immigrant who is more often than not being taken advantage of. On the latter issue of fraud, well, I will cover that further on down.

Moving on.

 "You cross the border illegally and you get... a driver's license." This actually varies from state to state.  Some states with large undocumented immigrant populations have seen insurance premiums go DOWN once they started  issuing drivers licenses as did cases of hit-and-run. This SAVED both private market money (insurance premiums) and tax money at local levels (investigating hit and runs).

"You cross the border illegally and  you get... food stamps." No, undocumented immigrants, do NOT qualify for food stamps. If you frequent a website that say they do, it LIES. In addition to NOT qualifying for food stamps, undocumented immigrants also do NOT qualify for welfare, Medicaid, and most other public benefits. Most of these programs REQUIRE proof of legal immigration status and under the 1996 Welfare Law, even LEGAL immigrants CANNOT receive these benefits until they have been in the United States for more than FIVE years.

"You cross the border illegally and you get... a place to live." Well, if you can pay the rent, I guess most property owners will rent to you. Again, this has nothing to do with national debt unless you are implying that undocumented immigrants are getting government housing assistance. If you are, then again, like with food stamps, undocumented immigrants do not qualify for government housing or housing subsidies.  

"You cross the border illegally and  you get... health care." Hospitals are required to give aid to anyone in this country who has a medical emergency. It does not matter if they are insured, uninsured, legal resident, illegal resident or legally visiting. Do you really want to live in a country where you have to show your papers before first responders will take you to a hospital after an accident? Now, I suspect this is not the "health care" that was being referred to. I suspect, it is the completely false idea that many put out over the last decade that undocumented immigrants qualify for the Affordable Care Act. They don't, it's an often repeated lie. President Obama said his proposal would not cover illegal immigrants, a remark that prompted Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina to shout "You lie!" The president  was correct: The House bill contained a section (Sec. 246) titled "NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS," which states: "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."

"You cross the border illegally and  you get... housing." Obviously we covered "housing" under "a place to live," and but I guess the list didn't seem long enough so the author decided to double dip, which goes to their honesty. Or perhaps they didn't know that housing IS a place to live, so maybe they are just ignorant. As I said before it usually comes down to one or another.

"You cross the border illegally and  you get... child benefits." Children of undocumented immigrants DO qualify for child benefits if, and only if, they were born here. If you position is that American children should be denied benefits because one or more of their parents are undocumented immigrants then I should point out citizen children of illegal immigrants -- often derogatorily referred to by racists as "anchor babies" -- costs taxpayers $14,387 per household (this includes education -- which I will get to next AND healthcare which I covered above), according to a (some say inflated) 2014 report by the extreme right wing Heritage Foundation. But in its 2013 "Immigration Myths and Facts" report, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says most economists see providing these benefits as an investment for the future, when these U.S. born children become workers and taxpayers.

 "You cross the border illegally and  you get... education." Well, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again. Children (only children) of undocumented immigrants can attend public schools grades k-12 (NOT higher education). I'll be honest. I'm not sure what the cost is nor do I care, as someone whose wife is a teacher, both parents were teachers and my grandmother was a teacher, I'm pro-education for anyone and everyone and see an educated and informed populace as a good thing.

Finally, let's get to "You cross the border illegally and  you get... a tax free business for 7 yrs."  While MANY businesses are enticed into areas at both the city and state levels, with the promise of no or reduced taxes (my home town of Bristol, Virginia is doing that in spades at "The Falls" complex) but with an extensive search, most of those appear to be either large corporations moving into a depressed or rural area or LEGAL immigrants starting small business. It's hard to get a tax break if you are illegal and getting played under the table. It's also pretty hard to hide your status if you are starting a legit regulated business like a restaurant or specialty store.  I find this highly unlikely, but it's so out there I can't even find data to dispute it but then I could not find anything legit that supported it either.

So that brings us back to the general position of this fact free meme/post. That undocumented immigrants are driving us into debt. In cases of employment fraud (I said I would get back to it), where they provide fake papers to work. They have taxes taken out that they never file to get back. Collectively, they paid an estimated $10.6 billion to state and local taxes in 2010, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). Contributions varied by state. In Montana they contributed $2 million. In California, more than $2.2 billion. On average they pay about 6.4% of their income in state and local taxes, ITEP said. A 2007 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the impact of undocumented immigrants on the budgets of local and state governments cited IRS figures showing that 50% to 75% of the about 11 million unauthorized U.S. immigrants pay income taxes each year. A CBO report on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 concluded that a path to legalization for immigrants would increase federal revenues by $48 billion. Such a plan would see $23 billion in increased costs from the use of public services, but ultimately, it would produce a surplus of $25 billion for government coffers, CBO said.  The truth is that undocumented immigrants contribute MORE in payroll taxes than they will ever consume in public benefits. Take Social Security. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), unauthorized immigrants -- who are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits -- have paid a stunning $100 billion into the fund over the past decade. "They are paying an estimated $15 billion a year into Social Security with no intention of ever collecting benefits," Stephen Goss, chief actuary of the SSA told CNNMoney in 2014. "Without the estimated 3.1 million undocumented immigrants paying into the system, Social Security would have entered persistent shortfall of tax revenue to cover payouts starting in 2009," he said. Without immigrants, the Social Security Board of Trustees projects that the system will no longer be able to pay the full promised benefits by 2037.   

You see, if you GIVE MORE than you take then the idea that you are responsible for debt is kind of a nutty one, as was the meme that was re-posted.  This is actual fake news. This is the stuff that is put out to be divisive and stir up feelings of anger and resentment in the white middle class against the poor or undocumented immigrant.  To all I suggest checking some legit sources before you hit that share button because if you don't then you need to ask yourself: "Am I stupid or a liar?" 

If you don't like either answer, it's time to make some kind of change.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

RobCon Reminder and We Talk Comics Podcast Update

Just a reminder/update from my last post from March.

I will be attending RobCon again as a guest this coming weekend. It will be my fifth time around for the ever growing convention and appears it will be the best yet. If you are in the Northeast Tennessee or Southwest Virginia this weekend I highly recommend stopping in. Robert Pilk of Mountain Empire Comics has really been stepping it up the last couple of years. It's a fantastic show, with panels, costume contests, writers, artists, and a floor full of vendors. Last year was an absolute blast and it looks like this year will be even better. My partner on the the upcoming "The Outer Worlds," Ivan Castillo of Conquest Art Designs, will have some fantastic stuff available and even a few pages to preview of our sci-fi comic book mini-series. If you want info on RobCon you can find it on facebook here or contact Robert directly here. Also check out Conquest Art Designs here and here. I'll be sharing space with Ali Slate the GlitterGeek vlogger and cosplayer, who is kind of a "Sith Lord with a make-up addiction." You can check out some of her videos here or here. Ali will be hosting a pizza dinner followed by a Q&A with novelist and fellow RobCon guest Timothy Zahn (creator of the Thrawn character for the Star Wars universe), the night before the convention at Machiavelli's on 5th St. in Bristol, TN at 7:30. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Holly Help Fund.

Since the "Women of Darby Pop" anthology came out in September I will actually have copies available this year. My story story "Looking for Redemption with Blind Eyes" featuring the character Stingray from Darby Pop's "Indestructible" closes out the issue. If you prefer digital comics you can still get both "Women of Darby Pop" and my four "Adventures In Pulp" short stories as downloads at Comixology here.  "Adventures in Pulp" was named "Digital Comic of the Year" by Pipedream comics for 2015 and all digital profits for go to the artist.

Back in March Chris Beck of We Talk Comics Podcasts contacted me about joining him and We Talk's founder Mo Kristiansen to do an episode focusing on Pre-Marvel Universe comic book movies. I first appeared on the We Talk Comic Podcast way back in the summer of 2015 promoting "Adventures in Pulp" and it was an absolute blast. Chris and Keith Callbeck hosted that episode and talking to them was like hanging out with my friends at the local the comic shop. Keith has since moved on and regular host Brett Monro was ill, so Chris invited me to fill in at the 11th hour (proving one Brett is most definitely NOT as good as another). The show was a lot of fun. It was a different vibe contributing to an ongoing conversation as opposed to a straight up interview so I felt a little shaky. My fear was that I spent a little too much time saying "I agree" or "I really liked this or hated that" without going into specifics. I guess I got lucky because some technical issues cropped up and the whole show and to be scrapped. We are trying to work out a time for a re-recording and I will make every effort to be more ready with specifics this time around. Have no fear, if I choke again,  Chris and Mo are total pros and I'm sure the show, like all their others, will be a fantastic in spite of my "green" efforts. As soon as the new show goes up I will provide a link. Until then, you can check out my first appearance here and I highly recommend trying some of their other past episodes, they are pretty great.