Archive for September 2013

Michael Rankins. Jeopardy! 1980s Fan Favorite. Vote. Yadda, yadda.

September 30, 2013

Choose Michael Rankins as your Jeopardy! 1980s Fan Favorite!

So, here’s the deal.

I’m Michael Rankins — you knew that, right? nobody’s real name is SwanShadow, for crying out loud — and way back in 1988, I was a five-time undefeated champion on Jeopardy!, America’s favorite quiz show. You can see how young and serious I was then, in the graphic above. (You’d think they’d have found a pic of me smiling, wouldn’t you?) I was also a semifinalist in the 1988 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions; a participant in the first prime-time Jeopardy! tournament, Super Jeopardy! in 1990; the winner of the Jeopardy! Battle of the Bay Area Brains in 1998; and a Round One winner in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions in 2005.

Okay, résumé over.

Now, I’m competing for the chance to go head-to-head against other 1980s Jeopardy! champions in the show’s 30th Anniversary Season Battle of the Decades! The Battle of the Decades is bringing back former Jeopardy! champions from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s to compete in a multi-level tournament, that will begin airing in February 2014. The show’s producers have already selected 14 champions from each decade, but the 15th and final spot in each tournament is up to Jeopardy! fans — this means YOU — via an online voting campaign. I’ve been selected as one of five candidates for the 1980s Fan Favorite slot in this mega-event.

To get there, I need your help!

Here’s how you can throw me your support starting today, and continuing daily until 6:59 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Monday, October 7.

  • If you’re on Facebook, you can go to the Jeopardy! Facebook page (a.k.a. Facebook.com/Jeopardy) and use the Battle of the Decades voting tab. Just like on the Jeopardy! site, you can choose me as your Fan Favorite, and click “Vote Now!”
  • If you’re a Twitter user, you can vote for me by tweeting: Michael #JeopardyVote. (Be sure to include both my first name and the hashtag.) One such tweet per day counts as a vote for me.

It’s that easy! You can vote for me once each day in each format — that’s one vote on Jeopardy.com, one vote on the Jeopardy! Facebook page, and one vote via Twitter using my first name and the special hashtag: Michael #JeopardyVote. Again, voting starts today, and continues until next Monday morning, October 7, at 7 a.m. PDT.

I’m not the sort to ask folks for much — if you know me, you know that. But if you would take a moment each day this week to vote for me — once per day in all three locations, if you have Facebook and/or Twitter accounts — I would be eternally grateful. (Well, for this lifetime, anyway.) And I’d especially consider it an honor and favor if you’d invite your friends, family members, and other contacts to vote for me too.

By the way, each of the other four nominees is a worthy champion also. Some of them I’ve come to know at least a little over the years, and they’re all cool people. Any of us would do you proud in representing our Decade of the 1980s as your Fan Favorite. But if you’re inclined to give me your votes, please know that I treasure your generous support. (And please, vote fairly. No spambots. I want your help, but not that kind.)

Thanks for your time, friend reader.

Now, please… go vote for me as your Jeopardy! 1980s Fan Favorite!

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Comic Art Friday: I say Martin, you say McDaniel

September 27, 2013

A while back, I was randomly browsing the comic art listings on eBay — you know, like you do — and I stumbled upon this drawing by artist Michael McDaniel of one of my favorite heroines, Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch.

The Scarlet Witch, pencils and inks by Matt Martin

Except… this isn’t a drawing by Michael McDaniel.

It’s a drawing by another artist, Matt Martin.

I can understand how the eBay seller, who I will presume is not terribly familiar with either artist’s work, could make that mistake. Both Matt Martin, who’s probably best known as a cover artist for Avatar Press (Lady Death, Crossed) and for his creator-owned series Snowman and Vortex, and Michael McDaniel, a popular pinup artist, sign their work with only their initials, MM.

Matt Martin’s signature, however, is unique in that he always surrounds it with a word balloon, as you can see in the Scarlet Witch piece above. Martin also stylizes his initials in an immediately recognizable fashion, as though the letters were dripping inky blood. (He’s primarily a horror artist, so that makes perfect sense.)

Conversely, McDaniel’s signature is clean and very linear, as shown in his own rendition of the Scarlet Witch, below.

The Scarlet Witch, pencils by Michael McDaniel

Having commissioned both artists on multiple occasions, I immediately recognized the mislabeled drawing as a Martin, rather than a McDaniel. That worked out fine for me. Now, I’m glad to have a Wanda in my collection by each of these talented gentlemen.

If you’d like to see another same-character comparison, take a gander at these two images from my Taarna gallery, both of which I commissioned directly from the artists in question.

First, here’s Michael McDaniel’s take on our Taraakian avenger.

Taarna, pencils by Michael McDaniel

Now, here’s Taarna, as envisioned by Matt Martin.

Taarna, pencils and inks by Matt Martin

Would you confuse the styles of these two creators, friend reader? I’m confident that you would not. But then, you’re probably not selling comic art on eBay.

In the above-cited instance, we’re talking about what I’m positive was an unintentional error on the part of the seller. (I want to make that clear. I’ve done business with this person numerous times over the years, and have never found him to be dishonest.) It underscores, however, the old maxim: Caveat emptor.

Stories abound of unscrupulous sellers misrepresenting art in order to increase its price tag. It’s not at all uncommon to find pieces in eBay’s comic art listings that are blatant copies of works by established name artists, or worse, outright forgeries. (In fact, I personally know a collector who unwittingly bought a forged version of an original drawing that I own, by an extremely popular artist.)

And I have no doubt that there are as many — perhaps more — cases like my Scarlet Witch, where the seller simply doesn’t know what he or she has. A buyer who is equally ill-informed might well end up purchasing something he or she will be disappointed to learn isn’t what it was represented to be.

Consider yourself warned.

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

A LearnedLeague update: LL58 postmortem

September 25, 2013

LearnedLeague Season 58 concluded this week, and in the immortal words of Gloria Gaynor, “I will survive.”

After a grueling 25-day campaign, I managed to finish 17th in Rundle A West — without dispute, the league’s most talent-loaded bracket. By placing above the bottom 10 in our 32-player Rundle, I avoided relegation (the LL euphemism for “demotion”) to a lower bracket for next season. Not escaping that fate were several esteemed competitors whom I consider superstars in the trivia world.

Sometimes, it is indeed better to be lucky than good.

It’s worth noting that my placement in A West plummeted nine slots between last season (when I finished 8th) and this, even though my statistical performance in both seasons was similar. (My head-to-head matchplay record in LL57 was 11-9-5; this season, LL58, I went 10-9-6.) The primary contributing factor here was the disbanding after LL57 of the League’s previous top level, Rundle Championship, and the redistribution of its participants into the four A-level Rundles. A West inherited several former R-Champ members, raising the difficulty factor of our bracket exponentially. (Not that it needed to get more difficult. Rundle A West has long borne the nickname “A Murder” with good reason.) I would have to check name by name to be certain, but I’m pretty sure that every A West member who was in R-Champ in LL57 finished above me in LL58. So, there you go.

Now that I’ve completed three full LL seasons, the last two in A West, it’s a good time to analyze my overall performance in the League to date.

My win-loss-tie record stands at 42-21-12. That’s significantly skewed by my rookie season, in which I went 21-3-1 against other rookies and won my Rundle. None of my fellow R Central competitors had yet advanced to A-level as of LL58 (I believe one or two just earned promotion to A for next season), so it’s fair to say that I compiled that gaudy rookie record against less-stiff competition than what I’ve faced in A West the past two seasons. So, let’s call that first season’s 21 wins an outlier. In A-level competition, I’m a just–over-.500 hitter.

It’s also important to understand wins, losses, and ties in the context of LearnedLeague’s unique method of match play. In LL, defense — that is, the point values assigned to each day’s questions by each player, based on his or her estimation of that day’s opponent’s likelihood of answering each question correctly — plays a critical role. Quite frequently, a player wins or ties a match in which his or her opponent offers more correct answers — simply by virtue of more effective defense. Here’s an example: Player A gets four of the match’s six questions correct; Player B assigned those four questions values of 3, 2, 2, and 1. (Player A therefore missed two questions, valued at 1 and 0.) Player B gets five out of six, earning the following points: 0, 1, 1, 2, 2. (Player B missed the sixth question, valued by Player B at 3.) Player A’s score is 8(4) — that is, 8 points on 4 correct responses. Player B’s score is 6(5) — 6 points on 5 correct responses. Since only the match points, and not the number of correct answers, determines the outcome of the match, Player A wins, despite getting one less question right than Player B.

As a hardcore trivia guy, I sometimes find that system less than satisfying. Ideally, every trivia matchup would be decided purely on the basis of “who knows more stuff.” But the fact is, even Jeopardy!, the venue from which whatever minuscule trivia street cred I possess is derived, works the same way. I’ve certainly won games in my Jeopardy! career where one of my opponents answered more questions correctly, but I happened to get more of the high-dollar-value questions, or a Daily Double or two, correct. It’s how game creators make games competitive and exciting. I get that, and I’m cool with it.

I do, however, like to keep track of my own performance based strictly on my percentage of correct answers. When it comes to LearnedLeague, I’m pleased that I’ve continued to improve in this regard. In my rookie season, I notched 118 correct responses for a .787 batting average. In LL57, my first season in A West, I got 124 answers right, upping my average to .827. In the season just concluded, I scored 125 correct answers (.833). Some of that is pure luck, of course — you happen to get asked things that you know, or can figure out — but I’ve also been working on upping my game by reviewing material in categories where I could use a boost. I also spend at least a bit of time each evening playing quizzes on Sporcle. You just never know when knowing, say, the capital of Burkina Faso will come in handy. (It’s Ouagadougou, in case you were curious.)

Speaking of categories where I could use a boost…

To help facilitate defense, LearnedLeague publishes extensive statistical background on each player’s performance. At a glance, you can survey an opponent’s track record in every category, and see where his or her weaknesses lie. (You can — if you’re really into it — review every question your opponent has ever played, and discover which specific items he or she got right or wrong. I’m not quite that anal-retentive.)

Were you to review my statistical profile, you’d find few surprises if you know me well at all. After three seasons, my highest correct percentages are in Current Events (100%), Television (96.9%), Film (96.7%), Theatre (92.9%), Lifestyle (a catch-all category that encompasses such diverse areas as religion and fashion — 91.7%), and Games and Sports (90%). You’d have predicted that, yes?

Conversely, my nemeses are Art (60%), Classical Music (58.8%), and of course, Math (16.7%). Again, if you know me, you know that my ineptitude in mathematics rivals only my distaste for country music. In fact, I believe that Hell is an eternal algebra class with country music playing at ear-splitting volume over the loudspeakers.

I’ve been doing some brush-up reading on art, and trying to memorize some basic facts about the most notable classical composers. I think it’s helping. Nothing will help me get better at math. If you find yourself facing me in a future LearnedLeague match, and there’s a math question in the day’s sextet, you might as well slap a big fat 3 on that one. (Then again, I do pull one out of thin air 16.7% of the time. So, you never can be too certain.)

For what it’s worth, I’ve also attempted to work on my defense. I’m consistently a subpar — although not altogether horrible — defender, which means I do a mediocre job at assigning points based on my opponent’s perceived strengths and weaknesses. I could probably win an extra couple of games each season just through better defense, so I’m trying to take more time with that portion of each day’s quiz. My defensive efficiency rating improved to .672 this season, from the previous season’s .651, so I suppose I’m doing something right. Or at least, less wrong.

LearnedLeague 59 begins November 11. I’m looking forward to the next challenge.

Comic Art Friday: You’re Thor? I’m tho Thor I can’t write an ethay

September 20, 2013

The truth can now be told: I’ve never much liked Thor.

Steel vs. Thor, pencils by Trevor Von Eeden, inks by Joe Rubinstein

I actually think the concept of Thor — lightning-wielding proto-Viking with a flying hammer — is pretty awesome. The character himself? Not so much.

I want to like Thor. He’s a pillar of the Marvel Universe, an original Avenger, wears a wicked costume, and talks as though he wandered in from an improvisational Shakespeare road company. His adventures have been drawn by some of the greatest artists in comics history: Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Keith Pollard, and Walt Simonson, to name just a few. What’s not to like?

But from the dawn of my comics-reading days until now, Thor has always left me kind of cold.

Thor, pencils by Geof Isherwood, inks by Bob Almond

For me, Thor doesn’t work very well as a superhero. A superhero is a rather narrowly specific kind of fantasy character, a creature of modern urban mythology. Thor, who’s more or less a port-over from ancient Norse legend given a comic book twist, feels awkwardly shoehorned into superherodom. He’s too powerful to waste his time beating up Earthbound bad guys — which, let’s be frank, is also one of the main problems with the prototypical superhero, Superman — and yet, that’s mainly what superheroes do. It’s no accident that Thor’s best storylines place him outside the terrestrial realm and give him a more cosmic scope. But since he’s not a true spacefaring quasi-science-fictional character, like, say, Adam Strange or the various Green Lanterns, that doesn’t suit Thor very well either. So, he kind of floats in between, neither fish nor fowl.

We see this problem play out in Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie. Of all the titular heroes, Thor’s by far the least interesting — and, despite his familial connection to the villain of the piece, the one whose presence adds the least to the story. Which is saying something, considering how brutally that film treats Hawkeye, a character for whom I have a fair amount of affection. At least Hawkeye’s narrative, clumsy as it is, has some semblance of an arc.

Thor’s supporting cast can be fun. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Warriors Three, the triumvirate of bickering adventurers who occasionally pal around with the big guy. And Thor’s half-brother Loki makes a decent villain, as his enjoyable appearances in the first Thor and Avengers films attest. There’s at least a modicum of potential in the whole Asgardian thing.

Just not for me, I guess.

Thor, pencils and inks by Bob McLeod

To his credit, though, Thor does make for some appealing pictures.

At the top of this post is a Common Elements scenario pitting the Thunder God against another hammer-slinging hero, Steel. Penciler Trevor Von Eeden said that he wanted to comment on the relative merits of the two characters. I believe it’s clear whom Trevor favors in this duel. Veteran inker Joe Rubinstein contributed the finishes.

Next up, penciler Geof Isherwood and inker Bob Almond team up to present old Winghead in all his Mjolnir-gripping glory.

Lastly, Bob McLeod gives us a classic rendering of the Asgardian wunderkind.

Ah, Thor. I wish we could be better pals. Unfortunately, that would require you to be less lame. No Dr. Don Blake reference intended.

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

Comic Art Friday: O Captain, my Captain!

September 13, 2013

Ms. Marvel, pencils and inks by Aaron Lopresti

In the entertainment world, rumors are a dime a dozen. With the advent of social media, that value has plummeted to, say, about a dime per quadrillion.

Still, I was intrigued to note earlier this week the rumor that actress Katee Sackhoff — best known to genre fans as Starbuck on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, and currently costarring on A&E’s modern-day Western-slash-police-drama Longmire — is being touted for a film role as one of my favorite superheroines, Ms. Marvel.

Except… okay… she’s not Ms. Marvel any more. She’s Captain Marvel now.

But not the guy in the red union suit with the lightning bolt on the chest. Then again, he’s not Captain Marvel any more.

I’ll explain.

Marvels vs. Marvels, pencils by Luke McDonnell

The original Captain Marvel first appeared in Fawcett Publications’ Whiz Comics #1 way back in February 1940. Enormously popular from the get-go — comics featuring Captain Marvel routinely outsold those starring Superman — the Big Red Cheese (as he was lovingly nicknamed) spawned an entire family of spinoff characters, including his sister Mary Marvel, his protege Captain Marvel Jr., and numerous Lieutenant Marvels. The publishing concern today known as DC Comics — National at the time — took Fawcett to court, arguing that Captain Marvel was a ripoff of their Man of Steel. (Never mind that Superman was himself, in some respects, a ripoff of Doc Savage and other characters who preceded him. But that’s an essay for another day.)

After years of legal wrangling, National/DC forced Fawcett to stop publishing the adventures of Captain Marvel and his cohorts, effectively pushing Fawcett out of the comics business. By the early 1970s, DC had won all rights to the Fawcett characters, and began putting out their own Marvel Family comics.

Only they couldn’t use “Captain Marvel” in the title of any of those books.

Why? Because in the intervening period when Captain Marvel lay fallow, the entity today known as Marvel Comics (who’d operated under various names, including Timely and Atlas, before settling on Marvel in the early 1960s) had created a new character named Captain Marvel, thus seizing claim to the then-inactive trademark. Marvel’s hero, unrelated to the Fawcett character other than in name, was a former soldier from a distant planet who embarked on a series of increasingly cosmic exploits. The real-world upshot meant that as long as Marvel kept a comic in active publication (that is, within a three-year window) with “Captain Marvel” in the title, DC couldn’t use that trademarked phrase in marketing any of its comics. Thus, DC resorted to “SHAZAM!” — their Captain Marvel’s transformational magic word — as the umbrella title for books featuring Cap and company.

Ms. Marvel, pencils by Michael Dooney

In 1977, Marvel debuted Ms. Marvel, a distaff version of their Captain Marvel. (As both audience-expanding and trademark-grabbing moves, Marvel generated a host of female spinoffs during this period, including Spider-Woman and She-Hulk.) Ms. Marvel was the freshly superpowered incarnation of Carol Danvers, a supporting character who had floated around in the Marvel Universe background for several years prior. An officer in the U.S. Air Force, Carol’s new abilities (mainly super-strength, invulnerability, and flight) and costumed identity made her essentially Marvel’s equivalent to DC’s Wonder Woman, another powerhouse who likewise had a military career in her past.

Following the cancellation of her eponymous series after a two-year run, Carol (who flirted briefly with other codenames, including Binary and Warbird, but always returned to calling herself Ms. Marvel) moved on to a stint in the Avengers and occasional guest appearances in other Marvel books. She didn’t regain her own title until 2006, when writer Brian Reed and a revolving door of artists (Roberto de la Torre and Aaron Lopresti notched the longest tenures on the series) chronicled Ms. Marvel’s adventures until the book folded after four years. Last year, Carol ditched her longtime nom de guerre in favor of Captain Marvel (a name that had bounced around between a couple of different characters over the previous two decades), and began a new self-titled series under that banner.

Meanwhile, back at DC, the original Captain Marvel — who, as noted above, had headlined a variety of books with “SHAZAM!” in the title since the ’70s — finally gave up on the marketing nightmare a couple of years ago, and changed his own codename to Shazam (the name by which many readers called the character anyway, given the cover designation).

Ms. Marvel, pencils and inks by the comics artist Buzz

I’ve always really liked Ms. Marvel — I haven’t quite gotten the hang of calling her “Captain” yet — because from the time of her debut, she represented the kind of heroine that Marvel hadn’t had previously; an immensely powerful fighter who could battle mano a mano with any villain in the Marvel Universe. Plus, having grown up in a Air Force family, I felt a special connection to Carol due to her history in that service.

She remains one of my all-time favorites. I’d love to see her on the big screen someday. Katee Sackhoff, who exudes a kind of scrappy toughness, wouldn’t be a bad choice to portray her.

Of course, given how many decades I’ve been waiting for a Wonder Woman motion picture, I’m not holding my breath.

Ms. Marvel, pencils by Matthew Clark, inks by Bob Almond

A few notes on the art we’re presenting today, starting at the top of this post:

Ms. Marvel in her original (and still my favorite) costume by Aaron Lopresti, who at the time this piece was drawn (at WonderCon 2007) was the regular penciler on the Ms. Marvel comic.

A battle of the two Marvel Families, penciled by Luke McDonnell (JLA, Suicide Squad). On the left, from top to bottom: Mary Marvel; the original Captain Marvel; Captain Marvel Jr. On the right: Marvel’s first Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell of the Kree); Ms. Marvel; Marvel’s second Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau).

Ms. Marvel, again in her original costume, penciled by Michael Dooney (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). This piece was my very first Ms. Marvel commission, and also the first of my many commissions from Dooney.

Ms. Marvel in her second and longest-tenured costume (which I refer to snarkily as the Warbird Swimsuit), in beautiful brushed ink by the comics artist known as Buzz. (Buzz was supposed to draw Carol in her original costume, but forgot. I love this piece anyway… in spite of the Warbird Swimsuit.)

And back to the original — see how much better that looks? — with pencils by Matthew Clark (Adventures of Superman) and inks by Bob Almond (Black Panther, Infinity Gauntlet).

Finally, below: Ms. Marvel in battle against the sometime-villainous, sometime-heroic Moonstone; pencils by Scott Rosema (Space Ghost), inks again by Bob Almond.

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

Ms. Marvel and Moonstone, pencils by Scott Rosema, inks by Bob Almond

Comic Art Friday: The universal me

September 6, 2013

The Thing and Sabra, pencils and inks by comics artist Rich Buckler

L’shana tovah and Happy New Year to all of my Jewish friends! (I will presume that you know who you are.) May the year 5774 bring you and everyone you love much good, and none ill.

In celebration of Rosh Hashanah, today’s Comic Art Friday features artworks starring the four most prominent superheroes of the Hebrew persuasion. At the top of this post, you’ll encounter Ben “The Thing” Grimm and Ruth “Sabra” Bat-Seraph, drawn by longtime Marvel Comics stalwart Rich Buckler. Further down, you’ll see Denny “The Spirit” Colt and Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde, rendered by the artist known as Briz (a.k.a. Brian Douglas Ahern).

Someone asked me several years ago why I always post messages to Facebook and Twitter wishing folks well on Jewish holidays, given that I’m not Jewish. The best answer I can come up with is found in the lyrics of one of my favorite popular songs from the 1990s, Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis”:

Muriel plays piano
Every Friday at the Hollywood
And they brought me down to see her
And they asked me if I would
Do a little number
And I sang with all my might
She said, “Tell me, are you a Christian, child?”
And I said, “Ma’am, I am tonight!”

The point being, here’s a Jewish musician singing Christian gospel music in a blues club… and why not?

The Spirit and Shadowcat, pencils and inks by Brian Douglas Ahern ("Briz")

Which is the frame of reference from which I come. I’m not Jewish, but I have a lot of friends who are — in fact, I’m sure that I probably have friends who are Jewish whose religion/heritage is unknown to me — so why would I not wish them well when they’re celebrating? It may not be my holiday, but it is theirs, and they’re my friends and I want them to be happy. That doesn’t seem all that difficult to understand — at least, not to me.

Incidentally, the same principle applies to my friends who identify as some denominational brand of Christian. I’m a Christian, but I don’t celebrate religious holidays as part of my faith practice. That doesn’t mean I can’t wish my friends whose religious practice does include holidays like Christmas and Easter much happiness as they celebrate. (And yes, I do celebrate Christmas — and, to a lesser degree, Easter — in a secular manner. I just don’t acknowledge December 25 as the “birthday” of Jesus, or attach any religious significance to the date.)

Although I don’t always apply this principle perfectly — mostly because it’s a lot of work to keep track of who might be celebrating what this week, and I’m sure I miss somebody’s Festivus Maximus or whatever — but I do apply it as universally as is practical. I tell my ethnically Asian friends “Gong Hei Fat Choi” at the Chinese New Year, even though I’m not ethnically Asian. I wish my female friends well on International Women’s Day and Women’s Equality Day, even though I’m demonstrably not a woman. I salute my friends who identify as LGBT during Pride Week, even though I’m pretty much a 0 on the Kinsey scale.

And why not? It doesn’t have to be my holiday for me to want you to enjoy it if it’s yours.

I believe a key reason why we have so much division among people — both generally, and in American culture specifically — is our tendency to separate ourselves from those we perceive as “different” or “other.” Now, there’s great value in finding and bonding with people with whom we share commonalities. I treasure the bonds I’ve made with folks whose beliefs or vocation or interests or hobbies mirror my own. I think it’s vital, however, to also connect with people who differ from me, so that I don’t end up living in a bland, homogenous world.

I’m glad that, even though I’m a nondenominational Christian, I have friends who identify with other varieties of Christian practice, and friends who are Jewish, and Buddhist, and Muslim, and Wiccan, and atheist. (And yes, I really do have friends who fit each of those labels, and more besides.) I’m glad that, even though I’m genetically biracial and identify primarily as African-American, I have friends who reflect every shade in the melanin spectrum, from inky to pasty and all of the various browns and pinks and goldens in between. I’m glad that even though I test out as more or less left of center politically, I have friends who range from left-wing socialist/anarchist pinko to right-wing reactionary whacko (and I use those terms advisedly). And I’m glad that even though, as previously noted, I’m unrepentantly hetero and monogamous, I have friends who are openly gay and lesbian and bi and trans and poly (and, I imagine, others who aren’t out to me).

I’m glad why? Because I love them all, and I learn from them all. And because my world would be less rich and glorious without them all.

And by “them,” I mean “you.”

So, yes. L’shana tovah to my Jewish friends today. And happy whatever your thing is, when your thing comes around. I’ll try to remember. (If I forget, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It just means I forgot. Or didn’t know. I’ll try to do better.)

And that’s your Rosh Hashanah Comic Art Friday.