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<<May 2015>>
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1. I Have Been Avenging!! (sort of)

 Well, I've just spent three hours trying to sort out my Marvel Comics -specifically The Avengers and what a **** mess it is.

Straight forward we had the first volume and, no, I do not have #1 just reprints of this great comic.  A joy to read even now and ***** off Brevoort.

The seemingly forgotten volume 2 is...bad.  But volume 3 had Busiek and Perez who, while on the title made it a real Avengers book for fans. But let's have a look at what I've been going through.

Avengers #1 vol. 1

 Luckily I've already catalogued volume 1 and the distractions it caused...great covers and stories.

 Of course, due to the constant selling off and screwing about (read Sean Howe's Marvel The Untold Story) Marvel was, once again, on the very edge of ceasing publication so it tried some of the new "hot talents".

I have tried reading this short run (I think 13 issues in all) but it is just awful and, in the end, was a failure.

Avengers #1  vol. 2

And that failure meant that someone at Marvel had to stress-out over what to do next.  They got George Perez who they asked to also write the book.  George had a better idea and he "strongly" suggest Kurt Busiek and Busiek accepted like a shot (see the interview on the animated film Ultimate Avengers).

The Avengers were back. Beautiful art and great stories.

Avengers #1  vol. 3

Avengers The Domination Factor (mini series tie in with Fantastric Four Domination Factor)

Sadly, things went wrong and as Marvel jumped issue numbering again so that it continued on from the first volume, the rot set in with Avengers Disassemble.  Awful, awful, awful -by this time Busiek and Perez had been kicked off  decided to move aside for a 'better team'.  I believe 'em.

I think the last storyline was "Siege"

But then, oh my gods...it almost looked as though Marvel had realised their mistake and their titles re-launched as The Heroic Age.

Avengers #1  vol. 4

Yeah, and that didn't last long before it got messy again.  Don't give a crap: Bendis ruined the whole thing and it's that simple.  **** Bendis.

Hmmm. I seem to be getting a wee bit angry.  Anyway, the Avengers Assemble movie was a big deal and Disney now owned Marvel (not to mention Star Wars) and everything has become science fiction orientated.  And to cap it all off probably the best Marvel animated series ever -Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes got ****** over by Disney.  Screw all the story lines and that fans loved the two series -I've even seen Justice League Animated fans rave about "the opposition". 

And what did they replace this great animated series with -throwing out all the storylines?  "Avengers Assemble" a piece of puerile crap -but it has the same title as the hit movie so who gives a ****?!

Avengers #1 Volume 5


But you have to remember there was Avengers United They Stand -an animated series so awful I tried to blind myself -and the comic? aaaagh

Avengers Solo, Avengers Strikefile, Avengers Unplugged, Avengers Infinity, Avengers Celestial Quest, Avengers The Last Story, Avengers---oh. And of course....
Young Avengers   #1

Yeah, milk it!

Young Avengers #1 vol.2


"How can we screw more money out of the morons, Joe?"

The Initiative #1
"Joe -we need more and more sucker money!"

 Secret Avengers #1  vol.1

"Joe, I can't, you know, be a "real man" for my wife unless I see more money squeezed out of the jerks!"

Secret Avengers #1  vol. 2


New Avengers #1  vol. 1


"Uh, this is better than viagra -more sucker money! More! MORE!!!!!!"

New Avengers #1 vol. 2

And to help that bunch of executives -because money spread sheets are better than porn....

Avengers 1959

The number of Avengers titles goes on.  I have two shelves which includes West Coast Avengers mini series and volume 1 (complete).  So you are sat there thinking I'm looking at gold.  I can ask whatever I want for these Fine to Near Mint comics, right? 

I tried to work it out but I've paid over the years a couple thousand on just these books.  Their ACTUAL value?  I'd be very lucky if I even got £100 for all of them.  Seriously, I checked it all out and the only ones asking big prices are the dealers and traders who are milking stupidity.

It's all very sobering and now I need to catalogue this lot before bed....I'm tempted to start tonight and end tomorrow.  Who knows?  My comics aren't going anywhere!

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2. ***Tipsy Painting Party***

All new Tipsy Painting Party at Maggie's Underground on Tuesday June 16th from 7-9!!!!! 
I'll be hosting a step by step workshop on how to paint your very own painting. And what's better? You can sip on some cocktails while you learn!!! Tickets are $30. You can purchase them through the banquet department of Maggies. Ask for Courtney (732) 363-8124 x10
145 Country Club Drive, Lakewood, Nj 08701

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3. PREVIEW: ‘High Crimes’ #10 is a chilling read



The latest issue of Monkey Brain‘s digital first comic High Crimes is available at Comixology. I have read the review copy and it’s exceptional and chilling. Page one gives you the same cold feeling when you open a walk-in freezer. Christopher Sebela’s striking and circumstantial words pair with Ibrahim Moustafa’s art on various levels. Lesley Atalnsky’s colors have a Laura Allred feel, and help create the grim mood.

All the characters are detailed from their extreme weather clothing to their facial expressions, word choice, and body language. New readers will appreciate the strong pace and look forward to catching up with the back issues. BTW, I wouldn’t skip the user’s guide if I were you.

I say it’s worth the $1.

High Crimes #10
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Ibrahim Moustafa
Price: $0.99
Pages: 21
Rating: 17
A partner in distress, a team of killers, a dead body full of secrets, the roof of the world. Only a few hundred feet separate Zan from all of them, but in the last desperate stretch towards the summit of Mount Everest, they may as well be miles away.

Read the first few pages below:

High_Crimes_10-1 High_Crimes_10-2 High_Crimes_10-3 High_Crimes_10-4 High_Crimes_10-5

Click here to go to Comixology and read High Crimes.

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4. Book Review: Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings

From Goodreads:
At the age of 39, Christian theologian Todd Billings was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer. In the wake of that diagnosis, he began grappling with the hard theological questions we face in the midst of crisis: Why me? Why now? Where is God in all of this? This eloquently written book shares Billings's journey, struggle, and reflections on providence, lament, and life in Christ in light of his illness, moving beyond pat answers toward hope in God's promises. Theologically robust yet eminently practical, it engages the open questions, areas of mystery, and times of disorientation in the Christian life. Billings offers concrete examples through autobiography, cultural commentary, and stories from others, showing how our human stories of joy and grief can be incorporated into the larger biblical story of God's saving work in Christ.
Billings is such a talented writer - I'm not sure why this is the first I'm hearing of him, since I pay fairly close attention to what's being published in Christian non-fiction.  He does seem to write more academically-geared titles, which may be the reason.  This book is, in my opinion, the perfect blend of academic theology and personal insight.  Billings uses his personal struggles to illustrate his theological understanding of the Psalms and Lament.  This isn't just a surface look at lamentation though, this is deeply considered and obviously written by someone who is skilled both as a writer and as a theologian.

Entertainment Value
While it wasn't always an easy read, I feel like this answered some of my major questions about how Christians should face times of lamentation.  He talks about why praying for immediate healing is fine, but not always helpful to the person who is in the midst of suffering and what is more helpful in terms of prayer.  He also does a great job of explaining how "instant" healing is an illusion - even if Billings were miraculously healed, he would still be facing a lifetime of invasive tests for a reappearance of his cancer and he would have also still have missed valuable time and experiences with his family as well as physical suffering.  His take on life in a fallen world and the legitimacy of grieving and anger in the face of the suffering that brings made a huge impact on me.

Obviously, this is a book for the Christian reader.  It's beautifully written and well-researched and studied, but it's appeal will necessarily be limited to those who want to read about Christianity and the Bible.  It's also a lot more academic and deep than the majority of popular Christian non-fiction. It's exactly what I look for in Christian non-fiction, but it takes more concentration to read and grasp it.  I think the reward is totally worth the effort here.  I've already recommended it to several friends and my church group is considering using it for a future study.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.

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5. Garlic Knots

A garlic knot, when nice and hot,
Is something that I like a lot.
One little bite brings pure delight
And ramps my taste buds outta sight.

The oil does ooze and helps infuse
Each bite with flavor as one chews.
It makes a mess but nonetheless,
It’s worth a stain on shirt or dress.

A health food nut will spew his gut
On why such knots are evil, but
He might just find he’d change his mind
If on one garlic knot he dined!

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6. This Food Truck Honors Animation Legends with Pretzels

We'll have 2 Chucks, a Natwick, and a Blair.

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7. 2015 Denver Comic Con Highlights

I can’t believe the 2015 Comic Con is over! It was super exhausting but incredibly fun. It’s not every day that Lou Ferrigno hugs you, you know? I mean, how can you not love being in a place with costumes like this:


Or signing books with awesomesauce authors like Amalie Howard!

Amalie Howard and Me

Or having your kids attend their very first Comic Con!

Comic Con booth

Or being told that the Barnes & Noble booth of Comic Con sold out of your book! Luckily, they found more copies for the next day!

Barnes and Noble Booth

I was lucky enough to be on some amazing panels with authors like Dan Wells, Jim Butcher, Amalie Howard, Sherry Ficklin, Tyler Jolley, Stant Litore, Gail Wagner, DelSheree Gladden, Stephen Graham Jones, Sue Duff, and many more. I met so many fantastic people from fellow authors to fans, to fellow sci-fi nerds, and I already can’t wait for next year! But first…I need a nap. ;)

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8. Troy Little to Adapt a Hunter S. Thompson Book

Fear & Loathing in Las VegasComics artist Troy Little has landed a deal with IDW Publishing. Little plans to adapt the Hunter S. Thompson novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.

The publisher has partnered with the Thompson estate for this project. Top Shelf Productions, an IDW imprint, has scheduled the release date for October 2015.

Thompson’s book was initially published as a two-part series in 1971 by Rolling Stone magazine. According to the press release, the story “follows Thompson analogue Raoul Duke on the mother of all Vegas benders, as he and his attorney Dr. Gonzo cover a motorcycle race, crash a drug-enforcement convention, and rack up obscenely large room-service bills, all while dosed to the gills on a truly spectacular assortment of mind-altering substances.”

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9. Cardiff Independent Comic Expo 2015

Event Details

Cardiff’s only independent comic show returns on Saturday 27th June, 2015 at Cardiff Masonic Hall.
The Cardiff Independent Comic Expo (CICE) will showcase the very best in independent comic artists, writers, publishers, retailers, illustrators and more, from South Wales and beyond.

The event returns after a brief break in 2014, to build on the successful shows held since 2011, to celebrate the talent of those creators at the heart of the indie scene.  

Guests include 2000AD artists Mike Collins and Patrick Goddard, 2000AD writers Ian Edginton and Rob Williams, horror writers Wayne Simmons and David Moody.  They are joined by superbly talented indie creators including: Ana Catris, Lou Scannon, Bearded Skull, Stiffs, Razarhawk, David Broughton, Godmachine, Sarah Millman, Stu.Art, and many more…

Mike Allwood, creator of CICE and comic show producer for 25+ years, is delighted to bring back CICE:-

The independent creators are the very soul of our shows.  Every year they raise the bar on the books they produce and to this day continue to push the medium to new levels.  I’m delighted to have the opportunity once again to showcase the rich pool of talent we have in the UK with our small press creators”

The show is suitable for all ages, families are welcome, as are family friendly cosplayers
Tickets are available online from our official website priced at £5 (children under 12 go free with a ticket holding adult)


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10. Sam Hiti is not dead, but that’s about all we know


Yesterday, the tumblr of incredibly talented cartoonist Sam Hiti presented a post called Rest in Pages Sam Hiti which suggested that he had passed away. Immediately social media flooded with reports that he was in fact alive and podcaster Charlie La Greca was on the phone with him.

Hiti is, in fact, still alive, but as the post may indicate, not going through the best of times. and has perhaps decided to put his comics career aside…for keeps.

David Zissuo has a much linked to post asking for compassion at this time. It seems Hiti has undergone a bunch of setbacks, including ill health following an accident, and perhaps for a moment ot two it all seemed too much.

Comics is a cancerous profession. 

An overwhelming amount of people struggle with comics and it spreads them really fucking thin. A lot of people will come off jaded, ignorant, or morose, if not completely alone. It shows. It’s contagious. Its demand and time consumption won’t flow when the effects of production on personal lives destroy motivation and productivity. Especially when publishers try to get you to work at wholesale prices without the benefits you need to keep yourself healthy, support a family, and insure that if something happens to you, you have something there for you and your family to fall back on.

I don’t want to be pessimistic or “realistic” about comics. Comics at its best is one of the  most nurturing communities I’ve known. But, as a career, judging from the people I know who struggle from depression and have expressed suicidal thoughts, it has the ability to have the creator running breathless with hooks digging deep into their backs.

I don’t know that comics is any worse as a creative profession than writing or art in general….but I DO know that the rewards are generally smaller. I don’t know if its possible to run a financial analysis of various creative professions but I can guarantee that even the highest highs of comics don’t come close to the highs of writing, fine art, music, acting and so on. There are several cartoonists who make very comfortable livings from comics, don’t get me wrong, but no one is buying an island…at least they haven’t since the early Image days.

Anyway, I don’t know Hiti’s specific situation but it seems similar enough to others to at least guess that maybe buying something from his store would be a help even if to just clear away memories of something he wants to move past.

Hiti is also enormously, talented, did I mention that? I wish him the best in moving through whatever it is he’s experiencing and finding joy in his life again.




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11. Anime Studio Pro Targets Industry Pros with Launch of Major Upgrade

Anime Studio Pro has introduced frame-by-frame animation capabilities to complement its existing cut-out animation system.

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12. "You Are Me," Says A Young Comedian

I got a high compliment recently from Middleton High School student Ali Khan, who told me, basically, that he was my mini-me. Last year, Ali created a trailer for my book OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES (Candlewick, 2013). Our approach in that anthology of adding humor to discussions of race strongly resonated with Ali, who happens to be hilarious (go ahead, watch the trailer he made).

Read On Wisconsin and the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison arranged an interview to bring us together to share thoughts on the book, racial identity, and humor. Here's an excerpt from the interview:

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13. DreamWorks Hires Live-Action Helmer Jason Reitman for ‘Beekle’

The director of "Juno" and "Up in the Air" will make an animated feature based on the Caldecott-winning children's book.

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14. Rebel: A Stepbrother Romances Leads the Self-Published Bestsellers List

Rebel: A Stepbrother Romance by Kim Linwood leads the Self-Published Bestsellers List this week.

To help GalleyCat readers discover self-published authors, we compile weekly lists of the top eBooks in three major marketplaces for self-published digital books: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. You can read all the lists below, complete with links to each book.

If you want more resources as an author, try our Free Sites to Promote Your eBook post, How To Sell Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores post and our How to Pitch Your Book to Online Outlets post.

If you are an independent author looking for support, check out our free directory of people looking for writers groups.

Amazon Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of May 27, 2015

1. Rebel: A Stepbrother Romance by Kim Linwood: “I married my stepbrother. Yeah, no one’s more surprised than me. I can’t fucking stand him. All I wanted was a quiet summer before starting college. Catch up on my books.”

2. Knocked Up by the Bad Boy by Vanessa Waltz: “The only settling down I do is at night, when I take a girl home to f*ck. I get laid to unwind from the chaos in my life. I live to hear them scream my name, but one night is all they get.”

3. Blue Moon Brides Boxed Set: Books 1-3: “This boxed set includes the first three Blue Moon Brides books: TEMPTED BY THE PACK, PLEASURED BY THE PACK and CLAIMED BY THE PACK. Once in a blue moon… the Pack hunts for mates.”

4. Insatiable by J.D. Hawkins: “It’s not cocky when you’ve got the goods to back it up. Lust-maker. Pleasure giver. Fantasy creator. I can blow your mind in five seconds flat — but trust me, you’ll want this to last all night.”

5. Insatiable 2 by J.D. Hawkins: “It was supposed to be simple: I teach her a crash course in pleasure. No commitment. No strings. Now she’s found the perfect guy — and it’s not me. I should move on, but I need her. And I never back down from a fight.”

6. The Other Man by R.K. Lilley: “He was brazen as hell from the moment I laid eyes on him. He was aggressive, and dominant, with Mack truck arms, and a bar brawler voice.
He was too good looking for his own good, with a hard jaw, and harder eyes.
I’d always led a fairly peaceful life, but even I could tell at a glance that this man was dangerous. For so many reasons.”

7. Viper’s Defiant Mate: Sarafin Warriors Book 2 by S.E. Smith: “Prince Viper d’Rojah, a warrior from the Sarafin cat shifter species, is not happy when he is sent on a special mission by his older brother Vox, King of the Sarafin. The mission is to deliver important documents to the human authorities before kidnapping the sister and grandmother of Vox’s mate, Riley.”

8. Bridenapped: The Alpha Chronicles by Georgette St. Clair: “Bridenapping? That old tradition where the Alpha grabs the bride of his choice and takes her back to his pack’s property to submit to his lustful demands? That’s so 19th century.”

9. PUCKED by Helen Hunting: “With a famous NHL player for a stepbrother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation of many a hockey star. So of course she isn’t interested in legendary team captain Alex Waters or his pretty, beat-up face and rock-hard six-pack abs. When Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes much more than just a hot body with the face to match.”

10. Love, Laughter, and Steamy Ever Afters: “From the hot big city heroes that make us melt, to the sassy small town heroines that make us smile, this limited edition collection has something for everyone. Ten sexy and sweet full-length novels—a wide mix of fun, heart-tugging, addictively romantic love stories—each handpicked by an all-star gathering of ten of today’s most popular contemporary romance authors.”

Smashwords Self-Published Bestsellers for the Week of May 27, 2015

1. Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills By George J. Siedel

2. Bryony And Roses by T Kingfisher

3. Third Reality Revealed: Vision, Persistence, and Inventing a New Latino Identity by Third Reality Publications

4. His Bad Boy Ways By Faye Aden

5. Private Practice Preparedness – The Health Care Professional’s Guide to Closing a Practice Due to Retirement, Death, or Disability By Rob Reinhardt, LPCS, M.Ed., NCC & Anne M. \"Nancy\" Wheeler

6. Everyone Is A Business – Orchestrating Innovation In Your Life, Career And Business by Paul McKey

7. Dragonoak: The Complete History of Kastelir by Sam Farren

8. Something Like Thunder by Jay Bell

9. Daughter of The Sun by Michael Lane

10. Our Universal Journey by George Kavassilas

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15. Cinebook The 9th Art: The Bluecoats 08 - Auld Lang Blue


The Bluecoats 08 - Auld Lang Blue
Authors: Lambil & Cauvin
Age: 8 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages

08 - Auld Lang Blue
ISBN: 9781849182454
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT

Publication: March 2015

Contrary to what you may believe, even the very martial Sergeant Chesterfield didn’t always wear the Union’s blue uniform. Both he and Blutch were civilians at the beginning of the war – butcher’s boy and barman, respectively. So, how did they find themselves in the 22nd Cavalry? Well, there was a rather unscrupulous recruiting officer, a lot of alcohol, an overly eager young lady ... and a definite aversion for the infantry!

There is one thing that stands out with this series.  Accuracy.  You might think that with a "humour" title ("humour" in its broadest sense) that the historical accuracy need not be important.  But if you check your history you find out that this is not just a slapped together series or story -how Sergeant Chesterfield was "tricked" into joining the Union Army in this volume.

And things like uniform accuracy (yes, I really can be THAT pedantic!) keeps the series look going and the battle scene was well drawn -as if it would be anything else!

Have I written that it is a fun series to read?  No? Right.  This is a fun series to read and I would say it ought to be enjoyed by a universal age group -children to adults of all ages!



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16. Why Don’t Books About Women Win Awards?

Novelist Nicola Griffith has analyzed the winning books of six major book awards over the last 15 years and has come to the conclusion that both women authors and story’s written from a woman’s perspective are less likely to win awards.

Griffith looked at data from the Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics’ Circle Award, Hugo Award and Newbery Medal. She found for instance that men were more likely to get a Pulitzer Prize. While women authors had won the award, it was only for works in which the narrative was from the man’s perspective or at least both a man and woman’s perspective. (No narratives written soley from a woman’s perspective won the award). Here is more from Griffith’s blog:

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that, when it comes to literary prizes, the more prestigious, influential and financially remunerative the award, the less likely the winner is to write about grown women. Either this means that women writers are self-censoring, or those who judge literary worthiness find women frightening, distasteful, or boring. Certainly the results argue for women’s perspectives being considered uninteresting or unworthy. Women seem to have literary cooties.

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17. WARNING: freaky ventriliquist dummy alert

If you follow my blog you may well know
that I draw anywhere and everywhere.
But where better than somewhere that combines your other interests. And I bloody love stuff. Old stuff. Which is why I love the antique auctions.
Which is why I love an antique auction house. Today I was at Adam Partridge's auction house in
Where else can you sit on an antique chair and draw surrounded  by spooky ventriloquist dummies and tiny chaise longue? 
And then there's the vast array of fabulous and insane subject matter. It's everything I love in one afternoon.
 And if I'm drawing I'm not bidding.
Although, I always end up bidding too. Not on the spooky dummy though. Not this time anyway.

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18. Grumpy Cat is getting her own comic book from Dynamite

Grumpy Cat, the professional name of the mixed breed cat Tardar Sauce, is getting her own comic book! Considering that she draws the biggest lines at any event she shows up at and has 31 million YoutTube vies, I’d say…it’s about time. The comic will co-star her real life brother Pokey, and if you get a little Garfield Odie vibe, well…it’s Grumpy’s time.

The comic will debut as a three-issue mini series this fall.

Dynamite is proud to announce a collaborative licensing partnership with Grumpy Cat Limited to develop print and digital comic books and graphic novels featuring “The World’s Grumpiest Cat” and her brother, Pokey. Grumpy Cat will debut the first of her all-new misadventures in a three-issue miniseries, released in Fall 2015, and collected into a hardcover graphic novel in time for the holiday season. Dynamite also plans to launch a website this summer where new Grumpy Cat comic strips will go up online every week.  
“With her ever-present pout and sassy disposition, Grumpy Cat has won the hearts of people everywhere. I can tell you, we’re thrilled, just absolutely thrilled, to bring this adorable curmudgeon’s misadventures to the comic world!” says Keith Davidsen, Marketing Manager of Dynamite Entertainment. “One of the most important responsibilities for today’s comic publishers is creating content that will attract fresh new audiences to experience the wonders of the medium, and Grumpy Cat is the perfect combination of unbearable cuteness, instant fan appeal, and established multimedia presence to make just such a thing happen. If you love the memes, the videos, and that irresistable scowl, then get ready for the wildly fun antics of Grumpy Cat and Pokey in Dynamite’s all-new, all-sensational Grumpy Cat comics!”
Grumpy Cat’s global following includes 7.6 million Facebook fans and over 31 million YouTube views. Since her photos first went viral in 2012, Grumpy Cat has gone from Internet star to real-life celebrity. She has two New York Time Best Selling Books, her own Lifetime movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (voiced by actress Aubrey Plaza), has made numerous appearances including the MTV Movie Awards, American Idol, The Bachelorette, The Today Show, SXSW, Good Morning America, and even hosted WWE Monday Night Raw. Grumpy Cat is Friskies official “Spokescat”, has filmed videos with Disney and Sesame Street, and appears in commercials for McDonald’s and Honey Nut Cheerios. Licensed Grumpy Cat merchandise is currently available at retailers worldwide.
Dynamite Entertainment’s Grumpy Cat comic books and graphic novels will be available to consumers through the comic book specialty market, and its graphic novels will be available at major bookstore chains, online booksellers, and independent bookstores courtesy of Diamond Book Distributors. Grumpy Cat comics will also be available for purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital. Fans and retailers are encouraged to follow Dynamite Entertainment and Grumpy Cat’s official social media channel for the latest updates regarding creative teams and release dates.

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19. Boomerang Book Bites: Girl At War by Sara Novic

Sara Novic’s writing is incredible and she completely shattered me a quarter of the way into the book. She also structures her story perfectly jumping backward and forward from the war in 1991 to ten years later and its lasting aftereffects. This is a coming-of-age story which happens far too early. It is about how […]

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20. My pecha kucha talk about Open Library


I went to the Vermont Library Conference last week and mostly handed out Vermont Libraries Passports but I also gave a short talk about Open Library in pecha kucha format. I’d never done one of these before. Twenty slides, twenty seconds each. Total talk is under seven minutes. You have to be brief and you have to practice. This was a session with six or seven presenters and we got to learn a little bit about a lot of topics. You can probably see what mine was about by watching my abbreviated slide show. I also learned how to make an animated GIF from a slideshow which is not as tough as you might think and quite useful.

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21. Sleepy Animals, Bedtime Children's Book by Gerald Hawksley

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22. Youth and depression

Youth and depression सुनकर आपके मन में भी बहुत बातें आ रही होगीं. क्या होता जा रहा है आज के युवा को !! सोच कर ही धबराहट होने लगती है. सोनम शर्मा का बेटा पढाई में बहुत अच्छा है. हाल ही में उसका 12वी क्लास का नतीजा आया और उसने खुद को कमरे में बंद कर लिया. नतीजा मेरे हिसाब से बहुत अच्छा था 89.6 % अंक आए थे पर इस शर्म के मारे की लोग क्या कहेंगें. इतने कम अंक लाया है. आगे अच्छे कालिज मे दाखिला कैसे होगा इसी चिंता में खुद को कमरे मे बंद कर लिया और मोबाईल भी स्वीच आफ कर दिया. अगले दिन जब तक उसने दरवाजा नही खोल दिया.  सोनम की जान अटकी रही उसे  डर   सिर्फ इसलिए कि उनका बेटा कुछ गलत कदम न उठा ले.

इसके बहुत कारण हो सकते हैं  जिसमे से एक है माता पिता की  बच्चों से बह्त ज्यादा उम्मीदें  वो सोचते हैं कि बच्चे पर बहुत पैसा खर्च किया है अच्छी से अच्छी कोचिंग दिलवाई है इसलिए अच्छे अंक तो आने ही चाहिए. बच्चा उस उम्मीद को पूरा नही कर पाता और निराशा में चला जाता है. एक बात यह भी हो सकती है कि   एकल परिवार का होना और माँ-बाप, दोनों का कामकाजी होना. यही बात बच्चों को एकांकी और चिड़चिड़ा बना देती  है  आखिर विचार-दर्शन उन्हें कौन करायेगा, माता पिता अपने आफिस कार्य मे व्यस्त हैं और युवावर्ग चौराहे पर खड़ा है. वे जायें तो किधर जायें । अपनी जीवन-गति का निर्माण करें, तो किस प्रकार करें  कौन बतायेगा कौन सही राह दिखाएगा.

एक बात यह भी हो सकती है कि पेरेंटस हद से ज्यादा जरुरत से ज्यादा बच्चे का ख्याल रखते हैं पर इसी के साथ साथ बच्चे की इच्छा जाने बिना वो बच्चे पर अपनी इच्छा लादने या थोपनें की कोशिश करते हैं जिससे बच्चा अपना शत प्रतिशत नही दे पाता और जिंदगी मे ईम्तेहान में लगातार फेल होता जाता है.

फिर बात आती है हमारे समाज की. परीक्षा के दौरान नकल, रिश्वत खोरी, पेपर लीक आदि का होना भी युवा मे depression ,आक्रोश भर  देता है और ईमानदारी से मेहनत करने वाला युवा सिस्टम को देख कर अपना हौंसला छोड देता है.

इन सब के साथ साथ संगत बहुत ज्यादा असर डालती है. बिगडे हुए रईसों के साथ दोस्ती करके और नशे में डूब कर अपना जीवन बर्बाद कर लेते हैं.  खुद को स्मार्ट और मार्डन दिखाने के चक्कर में नशा करना वो जिंदगी का अभिन्न अंग मानने लगते  हैं  और इसके साथ साथ सबसे बडा फेक्टर है धैर्य की कमी और यही आज के युवाओं की सबसे बड़ी कमजोरी है.  धैर्य की कमी के कारण आज का युवा सब चीज बस जल्द से जल्द पाना चाहता है.  आगे बढ़ने के लिए वे कड़ी मेहनत करने की बजाय शॉर्टकट्स यानि आसान रास्ता  ढूंढने में लगे रहते हैं. कम समय में सारी आधुनिक चीजों को पाने के लालच में उनमें समझदारी की कमी नजर आती है। भोगविलास के आद‍ी  युवा में लगन, मेहनत, जोश, उमंग और धैर्य की कमी हो गई  है.

Youth  depression में होता है तो पूरा परिवार  मानों  depression मे चला जाता है. बहुत जरुरी है आज के युवा के साथ समझदारी से बात करना. उसकी मन की भावनाओं को समझते हुए उसके हिसाब से बात करना.


Youth depression a concern for counselors

Substantial levels of “loneliness, anxiety and depression” among Cayman’s youth, identified in a series of health surveys came as no surprise to counselors in the territory.  Read more…

New Strategies to Treat Depression in Youth

http://www.empr.com/new-strategies-to-treat-depression-in-youth-using-ssris/article/413048/Two new strategies have been developed by Johns Hopkins researchers to treat depression in young patients using serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) while mitigating the risks and potential negative effects such as increased suicidal thoughts. The strategies are published in Translational Psychiatry. See more…










समय प्रबंधन की विशेषज्ञ एवं चर्चित किताब ‘व्हाट द मोस्ट पीपल डू बिफोर ब्रेकफास्ट’ की लेखक लौरा वंदेरकम लिखती हैं कि अगर आप किसी चीज को करना चाहते हैं तो आप उसे सबसे पहले करिए। हमारे बीच के लोग जो आज सफलता की सीढ़ियां चूम रहे हैं एवं जिंदगी की सफलता का जमकर लुत्फ उठा रहे हैं वे इसी फिलॉसफी पर चलते हैं See more…


Youth and depression में कुल मिला कर बात का निचोड यही है कि बजाय चिंता मे जाने मे अपने भीतर गुणों को विकसित करें. पीपल स्किल यानि नेतृत्व का गुण, अपना व्यवहार और दूसरों को प्रेरित करने की कला खुद में डालिए. खुद को एक शानदार पैकेज बना डालिए और भेड चाल और भीड से हट कर चलने का प्रयास कीजिए.  समय को महत्व देते हुए आप अपने प्रयासों मे जुटे रहिए … और वो फिल्मी डायलाग है ना कि किसी चीज को शिद्दत से चाहो तो पूरी कायनात उसे आपसे मिलवाने में जुट जाती है तो भागाईए डिप्रेशन विप्रेशन को क्या बला है ये और नए उसाह, नए जोश और नई उमंग से उठ खडे होईए

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23. Summer Fun for the Family: Pickin’ and Grinnin’ at the Earl Scruggs Center

  by Sally Matheny
photo courtesy of Wikipedia
The lazy days of summer are about to plop on the sofa. As comfy as it is, we know it's not healthy to veg out all day. It's time to plan some fun activities for the children. Here's an idea that'll make your kids smile.

If you've ever watched The Beverly Hillbillies,you may remember musicians Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt. Occasionally, they sauntered through the Clampetts’ mansion door pickin’ and grinnin’. If you missed their appearances, you didn’t miss out on their music. Scruggs and Flat also performed the theme song for the show.

You can share the history of the toe-tapping, bluegrass music with your children by visiting a wonderful museum in western North Carolina. The Earl Scruggs Center, which opened in January 2014,  is located on Lafayette Street in Shelby, North Carolina.

My local homeschool group recently visited the museum, housed in the former 1907 Cleveland County Courthouse. An array of activities provided opportunities for learning the history, music, and cultural traditions of western North Carolina. 

Presented with complimentary ear buds upon arrival, each visitor is encouraged to plug in and participate throughout the museum. Receiving a set of ear buds, to keep as their own, brought immediate delight from the children in my group! 

At the museum, you’ll learn about the legendary banjo player, Earl Scruggs, known for popularizing the three-finger playing style. Through live demonstrations, short films, and exhibits you’ll discover how Scruggs continually stretched music boundaries by learning new techniques to grow with the changing times.

The Common Threads Table
The museum is definitely pushing the edge with fascinating technology. One of the most popular, interactive exhibits is the Common Threads table. Touch screens, the size of your dinner table, make different instruments, various music styles, and musicians come to life. The students in our group found the hands-on learning extremely fun!

Another exhibit allows participants to adjust the speed of a banjo picking visual so they can actually see the placement of each finger and the sound it produces. Very cool.

In addition to the evolution of banjos and playing styles, the Earl Scruggs Center also houses exhibits on other aspects of N.C. history, such as the cotton industry, cooking, and the advancements of technology. 

I want to go back and read all the interesting tidbits I missed. Someone, excited to go see the next exhibit, kept tugging me away. I know Earl Scruggs recorded some Christian bluegrass at one time. I'm curious to see if there is anything posted about how his faith influenced his music.

All ages will find things of interest at the Earl Scruggs Center. The exhibits are best suited for children over age five, but those under five get in free. 

Special events occur at the center on a regular basis—from southern cooking demonstrations to outdoor performances. You can find out what’s taking place as well as the hours and prices on the website: www.earlscruggscenter.org

That's me with my fifth cousin, Earl Scruggs.
Allow plenty of time for your visit. We went with a group of sixty people and stayed about three hours. We still didn’t feel like we explored it fully and look forward to returning.

Pull the kids off the sofa. They may not be guitarists or banjo-pickers, but I'm confident they'll leave the Earl Scruggs Center grinning.

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24. And in further casting news, Chris Pine is probably playing Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman

chris pine

Variety just broke the news, and it looks as though the new Captain Kirk is about to suit up for a DC Comics based role.

According to their report, Chris Pine (Star Trek, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) has entered negotiations with Warner Bros to play Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster).

Trevor is the long-time love interest of the title character, played by Gal Gadot. His current iteration in the New 52 relaunched DC Universe posits him as Wonder Woman’s U.S. Government liaison and the head of A.R.G.U.S. where he was seen in titles like Team 7 and Justice League of America.

Originally, there were rumors that Scott Eastwood would be taking on the role, but the trade also addressed that issue, stating that Eastwood had to choose between testing for Trevor or taking a guaranteed supporting role in David Ayer‘s Suicide Squad. Obviously, he ended up taking the latter option, though what role he landed on is unknown.

It seems likely that Warner Bros scoring an actor of Pine’s profile means that he’ll be signing on for a multiple picture appearance, which will surely include the first part of Zack Snyder‘s Justice League, set to release in 2017 along with Wonder Woman.


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25. Tilda Swinton entering negotiations for Doctor Strange

tilda swinton

Per THR, a fellow well regarded thespian may be joining Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange, as the outlet reports that Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, Only Lovers Left Alive) is entering negotiations to play The Ancient One in the upcoming Marvel picture.

Were Swinton to join the cast, this would be her third comic book movie role, having played Gabriel in Constantine and the delightful Minister Mason in Snowpiercer.

The Ancient One, as most of you who are up on your Marvel lore probably already know, served as Stephen Strange’s mentor in the Himalayas. When the character died in the comics, Strange began to summon him through the spiritual plane and he continued to aide the good doctor.

THR also reports that Marvel originally sought a male for the role, but that the studio eventually retooled the role for a female.

It’s hard to argue that there’s any actress (and perhaps any performer, male or female) that’s been on a more incredible streak in terms of on-screen acclaim than Swinton. The sheer diversity in her role selection also speaks volumes about her avoidance to tread the same ground or be type-cast in any way. Honestly, Swinton is one of the few “sure things” in Hollywood right now, and if Marvel secures her services, it would prove quite a coup.

Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister), will see release on November 4, 2016.

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