Category Archives: Comic Books

The Cheese Plate

by L.C. Folk

A film actor with career problems is trying to overcome anger issues. 1,986 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.

I  settled into the soft leather seat with a sigh. Nothing like a private jet. First class could not compare. A5B3E0F0-C9C6-486D-B9BF-98B356EAA0EBAcross the aisle, a group of reporters huddled around the latest superhero. What was the kid’s name? Jack or Jake. Strutting and flapping like hungry pigeons, the journalists darted in and out for a morsel. Better watch your step, Jake — they are just waiting for you to fuck up. God knows, they’d feasted off me for years. I’d been served up to them like an extra large pepperoni pizza tossed out of a passing car, then run over a few times and left for dead.

I had to be crazy for agreeing to this. The producer, Max, whose jet this was and who used to take my calls, had asked me to stop by his office for a chat. Just in case I mistakenly thought I could not sink any lower, I’d been asked to wait. I spent the time idly watching the studio parade pass by the large bank of windows in Max’s plush outer office. Writers, editors, directors. Leading men and women and their agents. A group of zombies. A lovely young starlet in cutoff denim shorts on a bicycle. This contained circumscribed world, more than several degrees removed from the gritty hole I’d climbed out of, had somehow always made the insistent, all too real messiness, more bearable.

“Kevin, sorry about that, I didn’t mean for you to have to wait.” Max was a small wiry man, balding and too tan. He threw up his hands and shrugged. “But you know how it is, right? Always crazy around here.”

Crossing the cavernous room, I took a seat on one of the overstuffed couches and sank into the feather down for several seconds before touching bottom. “No problem, Max, I know how it is.”

“I want to talk to you about the press junket, which you have so generously agreed to do.” Max sat at his massive Art Deco burl wood desk. It dwarfed him.

I nodded, a sense of unease slowly gripping my mid-section. “I’m all ears, Max.”

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Abraham’s Gun

by Rich Johnston

What happens at the nexus of comic books and films when fan boys and moguls meet? 3,086 words. Illustration by John Donald Carlucci.

Abraham Zimmer, the reclusive Israeli owner of Myriad Comics, felt the weight against his chest as he leaned back hard in his chair. It was a very useful weight, reminding him of the here and now, the knowledge that at any time he could just pull the pistol from his holster, pull back the safety and shoot a hole right through the forehead of this Californian prick asking for more money.

But it also took him back 50 years, to a time of blacker/whiter morality. It was him against the world, armies on all sides, and there were only six days needed to push back all-comers and change the world forever.

He wasn’t going to shoot anyone. Not today. Anyway, strangulation was always so much better in these circumstances. Bullets cost money.

Abe had a reputation for being a penny-pinching boss, though some called him pathologically greedy along with volatile. But it was a cred he had purposefully created, because he was always teaching lessons. Like the time he had waited until everybody was in the Myriad Comics office before he started screaming about the use of too many Post-It notes. The same when he roasted the editor-in-chief over booking a car service just because he left the office for home at two in the morning. Abe didn’t give a shit about those individual examples. What, was he a psychopath or something? But over the next quarter, office costs came down by half a million. The quarter after that, by a whole million. He never had to make those cuts himself; everybody did it for him.

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