From the Desk of Mr. Zissman

The musings of an over-stimulated mind

Archive for April 2012


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Being a two-time state advertising co-champion, I know a thing or two about marketing. The whole point of marketing is to make money and you make money by convincing people to exchange their money for your product, good or service. The more people you appeal to, the more money you make. Seems simple, right? And yet, for some, the mere concept of mass appeal seems so foreign and strange. No more is this prevalent than the comic book industry, especially towards women. Granted, the industry has always been viewed as a Boy’s Club, but studies have shown an increasing number of women reading comic books. In fact, a recent informal survey on Facebook of over a million comic book readers revealed that roughly a quarter of them are women and that number is growing. And yet there seems to be a large disconnect between publishers and female readers.

One infamous example of this disconnect is DC’s recent approach to one of their more popular characters, Starfire. For you non-comic fans, allow me to give you a quick summary: Starfire is an alien warrior princess from the planet Tamaran and was a well-known member of the super-group called Teen Titans. As her character grew older in the comics, she eventually out-grew the Titans and went solo, where she faded into obscurity and disappeared into the background. Besides making a cameo here and there, she didn’t have much of a presence in the DC Universe.

Classic Starfire

But when Cartoon Network launched an anime-inspired cartoon series based on the Teen Titans, Starfire’s popularity exploded due to her animated alter-ego. The popularity of the Titans increased so much, that DC re-launched the Teen Titans comic book after years of cancellation solely because of the cartoon show. The show itself drew a range of ages, but served as a good entry point for a younger generation into comic books. Animated Starfire was friendly, strong, loved her friends and wanted nothing more than for everyone to get along.

Animated Starfire

Like all good shows, Cartoon Network cancelled Teen Titans and comic book Starfire went about her ways. Eventually, DC Comics held a massive event in their comic books called New 52. Long story short, due to some shenanigans involving the superhero the Flash, time travel and your usual comic book logic, the entire DC universe was essentially rebooted. They had a fresh, clean slate to work with and brought in tons of creative talent to usher in a new era of their creative properties. Again, Marketing 101 says they would take this ball and run with it and they did, with Superman and Batman getting excellent teams and stories to work with. Oh and Starfire?


If you can’t figure it out, Starfire’s decides to sleep with fellow ex-Teen Titan member Arsenal (aka Speedy, former side-kick of the Green Arrow) because of REASONS. No real character development, no real method or anything. Just “lol sex” for the sake of sex. I think David Willis, creator of popular webcomics Shortpacked! and Dumbing of Age, summed it up best in this strip.

Or, even better, fantasy author Michele Lee had a conversation with her then-7 year old daughter about Starfire’s sexy reboot. You can read it here. 

By pushing towards hormonal young men in readership, you’re missing out on a huge wide market. You’re limiting yourself in terms of money, readership and endangering anyone coming back to buy future issues. Granted, after constant complaints, DC and the industry itself have made some attempts to bring in more female readers, but lately it seems these attempts have been half-assed, at best.

And it’s not just Starfire getting this treatment, as female characters from other titles and companies are drawn in, shall we say, creative ways…

Clearly the chain-mail thong barely covering her ass will protect from the nefarious barbarian Hans McButtstab


Oh Rob Liefeld, you wonderful scamp!

I know plenty of women whose vaginas are perfectly outlined under their clothing and who constantly walk around on their tip toes

"Behold my THINGS and despair, mortals."

One of the worst aspects of this whole debacle is that it’s even a debate at all! It’s common sense: treat female comic book characters with the same respect and intelligence you would a male. But fanboys will be fanboys, and due to the anonymous power of the internet,  fanboys hiding behind screen names have threatened female comic book fans with rape and violence! It’s utterly ridiculous and insane. If done properly, you wouldn’t notice a change with the male characters and yet the fanboys have armed themselves with verbal slings and arrows, ready to attack anyone who wishes to harm their precious stash.

I’m a comic book fan and I want this industry to survive. I want comic books to continue to be an entertaining medium for many more generations to come. I want to be able to sit down with my future son or daughter and revel in the exploits of Starfire or Batman or Captain America or anybody. But if the industry continues to hope to ride a tsunami of testosterone to the bank, they’re going to find that it will only get you so far. Mass appeal means just that, MASS appeal. As in the masses. As in, including females too.

In the end, the future of comics rests in the hands of the readers and the readers will only buy what they like. Treat them with respect and they will treat you with respect with their pocketbooks.


Written by MrZissman

04/30/2012 at 4:00 PM

The Ballad of Trog Blüdsmash: An Epic Tale of Blood, Steel and Carnage

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[The following is my created back story for my D&D character, Trog Blüdsmash]

Trog Blüdsmash, of the Blüdsmash Clan, was born into a long lineage of warriors. His great grandfather, Hansdreck, once punched a Dire Moose to death merely because he could. His grandfather, Vonheim, stood 7’2″ and was known throughout the entire kingdom of Merdervorld for his bravery and ridiculous pecs. Trog’s father, Zardon the Great, drove back an entire army of Zombie High-Priests using only his bare hands and a small rock. They say the body count was in the triple digits, but that is a severe under-estimation.

So naturally, when Trog was born to his mother Valhalla, the expectations for him were high. He quickly proved himself worthy of the Blüdsmash mantle by dismembering a ten foot tall Minotaur named Grog the Unspeakable. This would be a decent accomplishment for any proud warrior, but considering Trog was still a wee-lad wearing vampire-skin diapers, it quickly spread throughout the kingdom. By the age of 10, the full list of his slain accomplishments was baffling:

  • 337 zombies of various sorts (Shufflers, sprinters, moaners, screechers, gobblers, thrillers, etc.)
  • 37 vampires of the normal variety
  • 5,104 vampires of the sparking variety
  • 7 Minotaurs (including the father and son duo of Ragnark the Unholy and Starg the Facepuncher)
  • 89 Voodoo Mistresses
  • 3 Were-Dragons
  • 17 T-800s
(An artist’s re-creation of Trog on his 12th birthday)

Though he was capable of many feats of epic brutality with his bare hands, he instead chose to wield a mighty battle axe given to him on his 1st birthday by his uncle Rets. Nicknamed ‘Solomon’ (due to its habit of wanting to split things in half) the mighty weapon never goes dull, due to it’s keen sharpness haven been forged in the fiery furnaces of blackest hell (or spoken as W’en Yesrej in the Old Tongue.)


A rare, non-bloodied picture of Solomon

Yet despite his list of accomplishments, he lacked the one true quest that a Blüdsmash male needs in order to fulfill his obligations to the clan. And so, with that being said, he left the village on his 21st birthday, armed only with Solomon and some basic provisions and set out to wander the kingdom of Merdervorld to find his One True Goal. As the night grew deep and long, with the moon hanging in the air and casting it’s pale luminescence upon the ground, he met a kind old trader who let him ride with him to the next town. However, the caravan was soon set upon by a horde of greedy goblins who would attempt to slay both the old man and Trog and steal the cargo. Trog drew Solomon from the holster on his back and leaped into battle, his heart full of rage and pride. His story has just begun and pages will be written in the blood of all who stand before him.

Written by MrZissman

04/26/2012 at 4:04 PM

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Maybe Flanders is so cheerful cause he’s just tripping off crystal meth? Would make sense.

Steeshes - Mustaches and Miscellaneous

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Written by MrZissman

04/26/2012 at 3:02 PM

Posted in Random


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Kudos to the good folks at Fox News for, once again, exposing a grave threat to the everyday freedoms we AMERICANS enjoy so much. After blowing the lid of the hidden MARXIST agendas of The Muppets and the Lorax, the flag-waving patriots over at Jesus’ favorite network exposed yet another horrible threat: GLEE. Yes, that show featuring actors in the 30+ age-range desperately trying to pretend they’re 17 and singing ham-fisted auto-tuned glossy covers of popular pop and rock hits is actually a hidden window into SOCIALISM.

Now normally, I would explain my disapproval with this, but as I took a good look around me, I realized that they were right! Yes, I was blind to it, but now I see that we are SURROUNDED by THEM! No, no, not THEM!, but THEM. You know, other people. I did a bit of investigation and uncovered more Marxist subliminal messages into today’s children media. Be warned, my friends. What you are about to read is shocking to its very core…

5) DORA THE EXPLORER – We’ve already read Glenn Beck’s hard-hitting exposé about the evils of Dora the Explorer, but I’ve discovered an evil deeper level never-before-seen. First off. how do we know Dora is even LEGAL? Have we actually SEEN her BIRTH CERTIFICATE? She’s often given free-roam with a talking monkey (clearly an allegory for Darwinism if there ever was one) and runs wild over the American landscape. Funny how she never has her immigration papers in her backpack, isn’t it? Notice too that if you re-arrange the letters in ‘DORA’ you get ‘ROAD’ and we must ask, a ROAD to what? I doubt it’s anything good.

4) BLUE’S CLUES – Are you ready for the shocking truth, my friends? Blue is a GIRL! A WOMAN! And yet she is colored a masculine hue of blue. Back in my day, blue was a BOY’S color and now we see it being tainted by anti-Heterosexual threats. If this isn’t a frontal assault on your child’s sexuality, I don’t know what is! How else can you explain the fact it’s a DOG? Think about THAT for a second, why don’t you? Plus, why is Steve talking to objects like salt and pepper shakers and a mailbox? Clearly, he is a drug user. Shameful and disgraceful.

3) POKEMON – They evolve! We know Rikachu was created, not evolved! (How does a Moonstone even work? You can’t explain that!) Through random acts of violence, these ‘creatures’ evolve into more powerful forms of their earlier selves. Plus, with almost yearly releases, it’s a near constant stream of mind-warping Communism. Don’t believe me? Pokemon comes from Japan, and Japan is similar to China and China is COMMUNIST. It’s right there in front of you, folks. Not to mention the latest issues of “Pokemon Black” and “Pokemon White” are clear attempts at inducing a race war. Hence why the only people capable of preventing this race war are rich, white, middle-age uber-conservative men.

2) SUPERMAN – Remember when Superman renounced his American citizenship? Well, my friends, I’m afraid the PINHEADS at DC Comics have taken their Communist views a step further. For starters, has it never occurred to anyone that Superman is an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT?! We’re just supposed to accept and understand that a man in blue spandex from ANOTHER PLANET suddenly has the best ideas on how to save America? Um, hello? Have you ever heard of RONALD REAGAN? And he was born in the Good OL’ USA, not Marxist Krypton!

1) SESAME STREET – Filth upon filth! Lies upon lies! Where do I even begin with this train wreck? Let’s take the first example: sharing. No one actually owns any property or items on this so-called ‘show’ when in fact, they share everything. JUST LIKE A COMMUNIST WOULD. Need more proof? Their most popular character, Elmo, is RED! RED COMMIE ALERT! And we’re supposed to believe that giant birds and elephants can suddenly talk? Darwinism at it’s finest, folks. And have you seen their so-called Pinball song, the one that teaches kids to count to 12? You know who else used Math? That’s right…


….he used math all the time and look what happened with him! Do you really want that happening with your kids?

I’m honestly scared, you guys. I had no idea there were so many threats to the USA! We must shut-down everything not-Fox News related, buy as many gold coins as possible and donate money to Sarah Palin. Why? Because freedom, that’s why! Be warned. The dark times are coming.

Written by MrZissman

04/23/2012 at 4:37 PM

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