Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Toni Topaz Rumored for "Riverdale" Season 2 Debut! Plus: When Did She Become Bisexual??

Regular readers might have noticed that I'm a fan of Archie Comics' character, Two-Fisted Toni Topaz. She is a relatively new addition to the Riverdale Pals & Gals. She was created as a tough-girl rival for Jughead, who enjoyed eating and sarcastic dialogue. She's appeared on more Archie Comics covers than you can shake a stick at, but other than that hasn't appeared in that many stories

It looks like the character will be appearing on Season 2 of The CW's "Riverdale" series in the fall. Audition tapes have surfaced, including one by an actress named Lorelei Linklater. I've never heard of her, but she was in some show called "Boyhood." Here is her audition tape. Personally, I wasn't terribly impressed.

But I did like this actress' audition tape. Her name is Arabelle Monet (sp?). I have no clue who she is or what's she's done, but I really hope that she got the job!

There was a curious bit of trivia revealed about Toni Topaz in this article. Apparently she's bisexual. When did this happen? I consider myself a fan of the character, but I don't ever remember her ever expressing any interest in other girls. In fact, I've only seen her interested in Jughead in the past. I'm not complaining, but this was completely new to me!

Did you know that Two-Fisted Toni Topaz is a bi girl? If so, tell me about it in the comments section. I really want to know!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Anamosa, IA: Man Arrested for Tossing Fireworks in Local Walmart on a Dare

Earlier this year (but late in the legislative cycle), Iowa passed a law that made it legal for people to purchase and use fireworks. Initially, there were controversies as various cities and counties barred the use of fireworks. But lately, everyone is grousing about the sounds of fireworks late each evening. There have been a small handful of house fires in nearby Cedar Rapids, but otherwise people are generally upset about the random popping of fire works.

That said, there was a great story in the news tonight involving an Anamosa man who tossed a bunch of fireworks in their Walmart on a dare. Two Walmart employees were taken to the local hospital "for loss of hearing." The 18-year-old prankster was arrested and charged with discharging fireworks inside city limits and disorderly conduct.

Frankly, I was shocked to learn that Anamosa has banned the use of fireworks within their community and yet you can still play with fireworks in Iowa City. Usually we have the reputation for such regulations. But not when it comes to fireworks. I'm still on the boat whether that's a good thing or bad.

I spent my early years in Nebraska. When I was growing up, there were tents all over town where you could buy all sorts of fireworks. My friends and I routinely biked down to the edge of town to purchase fire crackers, bottle rockets, and smoke bombs and then used them up within minutes. Unfortunately, I was dependent on my parents for my fireworks budget so I didn't get to waste too much money each year on fireworks.

It was pretty fun -- until the time that I had one blow up in my face. I was leaning over an explosive and the wick lit up quicker than normal. I didn't lose my eye, but I lost my eyebrows on that afternoon. I also was reminded that you need to light fireworks from the side, not by leaning over them!

Monday, June 26, 2017

When Things Don't Go Your Way

Muscatine City Council Begins Impeachment Effort Against City's Mayor // Updated Report: $100,000 in City Legal Fees May Be Used to Justify Impeachment Effort // More Updates... // Updated on 05/11/17: Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson Has Been Removed from Office by Unanimous Vote of her Accusers, the Muscatine City Council // Updated on 06/16/17: Court Reinstates Diana Broderson as Mayor

(Originally written on 01/13/17): This is interesting. Last night, the mostly Republican City Council in Muscatine, IA, unanimously approved impeachment proceedings against the city's Democratic mayor, accusing her of unspecified incidents of misconduct and neglect, as well as making disparaging comments towards city employees.

I've been reading the sordid conflict between Mayor Diana Broderson and the Muscatine City Council with interest. She unexpectedly won an election against the incumbent mayor back in 2015 and has since struggled for achieve any of her limited mayoral duties, which pretty much consist of making appointments to city commissions, as well as appointing the Police and Fire Chief. In fact, the City Council voted last summer on an ordinance that stripped the mayor of those duties. Mayor Broderson challenged this new ordinance and received a decision from the state Attorney General's Office back in October 2016 indicating that the City Council lacked the authority to make these changes and that it was potentially criminal. However, the Muscatine County Attorney declined to act on the state Attorney General's opinion last month.

Which leads us to this week. The Muscatine City Council announced that it would vote on a request to impeach the city's mayor at its 01/12/17 city council meeting. According to the Muscatine Journal, none of the Council members wouldn't offer any explanation for this move and instead referred the reporter to the city attorney, who conveniently couldn't be reached for comment.

Last night, Councilman Michael Rehwaldt read the following motion:
An elected City official may be removed from office for, among other reasons, misconduct or maladministration in office, and willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of the office; and

Willful misconduct or maladministration in office and include, but is not limited to, conduct such as repeated public criticism of the City or staff; repeatedly engaging in defamatory attacks against the City, staff or public; breach of fiduciary duties; or other conduct which tends to erode public confidence in the City or staff.

Habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of office an include, but is not limited to, such conduct as repeated breaches of the public official's fiduciary duties and/or repeated failure to follow established city ordinances or policies;

It appears the Mayor may have engaged in some of the foregoing conduct to the detriment of the City and in contravention of her established duties and, as such, written charges for removal should be filed to determine if the Mayor should be removed from office as a result of such conduct.

Therefore, the City Council of the City of Muscatine, Iowa, hereby motions to instruct the City Attorney to draft and file written charges for the removal of the Mayor as provided for by Iowa Code Chapter 66 and City Code section 1-7-6.
The Council members continued to avoid any specific accusations. Hopefully, they have evidence of willful misconduct or maladministration. Certainly something more substantial than vague suggestions that she "may have engaged" in detrimental conduct.

About 60 citizens attended the meeting and all appeared to denounce this impeachment effort.

I'm not a citizen of Muscatine, but this really doesn't pass the smell test. The Muscatine City Council better watch out or they might engage the citizens enough to vote out its incumbents -- particularly those like Councilmen Rehwaldt, Bynum, and Natvig -- all of whom are up for re-election later this year.

Updated on 01/19/17: We're beginning to get an idea about what the Muscatine City Council plans to use to support their impeachment effort against Mayor Diana Broderson:
The Muscatine city attorney said in an email to City Administrator Gregg Mandsager Wednesday that the city has incurred more than $100,000 in unbudgeted expenses in fighting what he says are "unproven claims and allegations" made by Mayor Broderson...

City officials said the official charges could be released as early as Friday.

City Attorney Matthew Brick detailed the 2016 attorney fees in an email to Mandsager. That email was in response to an inquiry Mandsager received from Broderson requesting more information about costs and attorney fees. Brick's email stated that complaints filed by Broderson against city officials, staff, contractors, and citizens resulted in about $64,000 in unbudgeted legal fees and $43,600 in staff time during the 2016 calendar year.

Mandsager had forwarded the email to the mayor and city council members early Wednesday morning. The email was also forwarded to the Muscatine Journal and Quad City Times.

As to the allegations that she caused funds to be spent by filing complaints, Broderson said she was just doing as the citizens asked...

Her reaction to the amount of costs paid to the city attorney was to wonder how much had been spent changing the city's appointment process. The council passed an amendment earlier in 2016 that created a nominating committee made up of the mayor, the city administrator or his appointee, and two council members to review candidates for city appointments.

"My take would be most of the money has been spent trying to reduce the office of mayor," she said.
By the way, I was listening to this Muscatine-based podcast earlier tonight and was shocked to learn that City Administrator Gregg Mandsager has apparently banned the city's employees from speaking or interacting with Mayor Broderson, outside of basic greetings. It's apparently been this way since shortly after Broderson's election in 2015.

Updated on 01/25/17: I'm not even sure that the Muscatine City Council actually has a clue about Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachable offense. Check this out:
Muscatine City Attorney Matthew Brick says charges for removal of Mayor Diana Broderson may not be filed for weeks, and the nature of the charges has yet to be determined. Brick said he will continue to investigate, and "slow equals fair. I want to make sure if there are relevant issues that they get looked at," he said. 
The Muscatine City Council two weeks ago voted to take the first steps toward ousting the mayor. Councilman Michael Rehwaldt cited "habitual neglect" and "willful misconduct or maladministration in office" as two possible reasons. State law says elected officials can be removed by two-thirds vote of the council. 
"It would be nice for not only me but for the people of Muscatine to know sooner rather than later so both sides could work to prepare," Broderson said. 
If evidence for removing the mayor under state law is not found, Brick said at the end of the investigation he would report back to council.
It sounds to me like the City Council members are just biding their time until after the next election cycle. Pretty shady, Muscatine...

Updated on 02/17/17: Muscatine City Attorney Matthew Brick filed a list of complaints early this morning, which are being used as the basis for Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachment:
Broderson is accused of ignoring Brick's legal advice when he told her that she was stepping outside of the boundaries of her power as mayor, listed in the document as "willful misconduct or maladministration … habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of her office..."

In the document, Broderson is accused of "making baseless complaints” that cost the city as much as $100,000 in legal fees and staff time to investigate, including asking for an investigation into whether she had been discriminated against on the basis of her gender and requesting investigation into actions of the city that were later determined to be unfounded.

Also outlined is an alleged breach of fiduciary duties, failure to comply with city code, defamation and/or false allegations and misuse of power and/or abuse of discretion.
These charges have been filed with the city and could appear on the agenda for the next Muscatine City Countil meeting. That is scheduled for 03/01/17.

Updated on 03/10/17: The Muscatine City Council scheduled the date for Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachment hearing at their council meeting last night. The hearing will begin at 8:00 AM on Thursday, March 23rd.

According to news reports, residents approached the Council and expressed disappointment with this whole process. One particular resident suggested that they should have waited until the next election when Mayor Broderson's term expired and just run a better candidate against her instead of going through the time, money, and embarrassment of impeaching her mid-term:
Although advised by City Administrator Gregg Mandsager to answer “no comment” to residents’ questions, Councilman Santos Saucedo responded to Nathan Baker, of Muscatine, after Baker said the recent actions of the council were making Muscatine a statewide laughing stock. Baker said that the mayor would not have retained her seat through the next election in November, and the council should have waited instead of trying to impeach her. "I wouldn’t vote for her again except for that you guys have created this problem," he said. "The right thing would be to let her finish her term, and for you guys just to do your thing." 
Saucedo was visibly upset after Baker’s remarks. Saucedo said he was doing what he felt was right and promised that the reasons behind the charges filed for the mayor’s removal would be revealed at the March 23 hearing. "All the information is going to come out," Saucedo said.
The problem is that the Muscatine City Council has been so cagey about why they are impeaching her that there is little else for residents to do except assume that there's something under-handed, political, and nasty about this whole affair.

Updated on 03/21/17: The impeachment hearing begins first thing Thursday morning. Here are some new details. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 8:00 AM in the council chambers in Muscatine. The hearing will be open to the public, but they will not allow any public comments at the meeting. They will not broadcast the hearing on their local government channel, so you won't have any televised footage for use during future campaign commercials (unless someone in the audience records something on Facebook Live).

Muscatine has brought a retired judge and mediator in to act as special counsel for the city and to act as prosecutor. Mayor Broderson will be represented by her own attorney, presumably at her own expense. Council members will hear the arguments for and against Mayor Broderson's impeachment. Two-thirds of the Council will need to vote for her impeachment. It's unclear if they will actually vote on Thursday or not.

The Muscatine City Council is walking on fragile ice here. This is the first case of a mayoral impeachment in Iowa history. There is an election in a few months and three of the seven Council members are up for reelection. There are already efforts to vote out all three Council members this fall.

Updated on 03/23/17: Mayor Broderson's impeachment hearing dragged on for eleven hours today. You can follow the #musmayor hashtag on Twitter, but it's not clear to follow most of the testimony because there's very little video or written coverage (outside of some tweets and 2-minute clips). Eventually, the hearing was postponed until 9:00 AM on Saturday, 04/01/17.

Updated on 03/24/17: Hear are some details on the testimony, courtesy of the Muscatine Journal. It offers more substantial reasons for the impeachment hearing:

Gender Bias Complaint: Mayor Broderson had initiated a gender bias investigation against the City Council and City Administrator Gregg Mandsager. It was later determined that there was no basis for her allegations:
When he was called as a witness, City Administrator Gregg Mandsager said he may have been negatively impacted by the investigation during a recent job search, because he was required to say he had been the subject of an investigation into gender bias. He also said his health had been negatively impacted by the investigation and allegations made against him and council members during her term.
Misuse of Campaign Funds: Mayor Broderson has been accused to spending $500 of her campaign funds to pay for her attorney. She is also alleged to have spent $1200 in campaign funds to send letters to residents that attack the character of Council members. For example, she referred to the Council members as "good old boys."

Complaints Against City Staff: Mayor Broderson allegedly claimed that two staff members violated Muscatine's Code of Ethics for negative comments made on Facebook about her during their free time. For example, she was called an "asshat" by a city accountant. She also questioned the employment status of a retired city engineer who was hired as a temporary independent contractor while also drawing from his IPERS pension.

Mayor Broderson still hasn't testified on her own behalf. She will presumably have the chance defend herself on April 1st.

Updated on 04/02/17: Testimony resumed and concluded yesterday in Musatine. I was traveling this weekend, but monitored the impeachment hearing as much as I could on Twitter. Testimony was split between City Attorney Matthew Brick and Mayor Diana Broderson.

We learned more of the complaints against Mayor Broderson:

Coffee with the Mayor: Mayor Broderson is accused of violating city code by forming an ad hoc committee, i.e., her monthly Coffee with the Mayor chats. These informal events were characterized by the city as a committee or task force.

Contacting City Staff: Mayor Broderson was accused of contacting city staff without permission by the city administrator. Broderson claimed that she was permitted to contact city staff by email as long as she cc'ed City Administrator Greg Mandsager. She noted that other city counselors were not required to cc the administrator on emails.

Misspending Campaign Funds: Mayor Broderson is accused of using her campaign funds to fund letters to Muscatine residents, which violates the city's code of ethics.

Lastly, it's been reported that Mayor Broderson stated that there is some sort of political deal in the works. If true, it would dismiss the impeachment charges -- with some strings attached:
Broderson dropped that bomb Saturday at the very tail end of another marathon hearing of her impeachment trial. "I don't understand this, since you'll give me back my appointment power if I agree not to run again in November," Broderson responded when acting City Council Chairman Bob Bynum asked if she had "anything else to say."

Broderson's power to appoint Muscatine residents to its various commissions and committees is at the heart of the legal and political battle that, for the past year, has fractured the city of 23,000. Last spring, just months into her tenure, the City Council stripped her of unilateral appointment power. It set off an all out war, with Broderson alleging all kinds of malfeasance on the part of City Administrator Gregg Mandsager and City Council members.
It's worth reading this article so that you can visualize the shocked responses from those in the room -- including Broderson's own attorney.

Updated Again on 04/02/17: Someone who was watching Saturday's impeachment hearing in person noted a slight difference in Mayor Broderson's final comments:
As I heard it (and heard again thanks to the Muscatine Profile recording), she says it this way: "It surprises me that the Council is acting like this is such a big travesty, some of the things that I've done, yet they were willing to make this all go away and give me back my appointment powers if I would just agree not to run again in November. And I think that that is such a terrible thing for the people—"
This latter quote rings more true to me.

Updated on 05/11/17: It took three minutes. The Muscatine City Council voted unanimously to impeach Mayor Diana Broderson. There was no discussion. No input from the various citizens in the room.

Four months ago, the Muscatine City Council moved forward with plans to impeach the city's mayor, citing unspecified charges of misconduct. Eventually, we learned that the mayor held informal gatherings with constituents. We also learned that she spoke to city staff without getting permission first from the city manager. We learned that she made some unwise decisions as mayor, but we also learned that she was pretty much cut off from the rest of the city staff. Which means that nobody pulled her aside to help her through her growing pains.

The Muscatine City Council accused her of misconduct. The Muscatine City Council acted as judges and jury. The Muscatine City Council then voted her out of office. And now they get to appoint anyone they want as the city's new mayor. Mayor Broderson might have been a mediocre mayor, but the optics on this look bad.

There is an election later. Three of the council member are up for reelection and they've managed to piss off and energize a sizable chunk of the voters. I can't wait to see the results of this election.

Updated on 05/13/17: Muscatine has a new Mayor Pro Temp: Alderman Bob Bynum. Bynum will act as mayor for Muscatine until the City Council makes a decision about how to replace impeached Mayor Diana Broderson. Bynum is one of three City Council members who is up for reelection later this year.

Updated on 06/16/17: Oh my! Diana Broderson has been reappointed as Mayor of Muscatine, IA, while her impeachment appeal moves on.

Last month, Broderson filed an appeal in court, arguing that the impeachment process was improper and that it was a conflict of interest for Muscatine's City Council to preside over her impeachment, given that they were her accusers. And, it appeared from news report of the initial court hearing that Judge Mark Smith agreed with her attorney:
"I counted 17 allegations in the decision where Mayor Broderson was accused directly affecting the city council, can you tell me why that isn`t a conflict of interest," said Judge Mark Smith. Judge Smith didn't hand down a decision in court and didn't say when he will. He did leave the door open that the former mayor may return to office, "The likelihood of success is pretty good on this case in terms of the plaintiff, in terms of being successful."
Judge Smith issued an order this morning that reinstated Broderson as mayor, pending final hearing on this case:
The judge said there were "inherent conflicts of interest" throughout the council's removal of the mayor, and to ensure a fair trial, "no man is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome."
Of course, that means that Mayor Pro Temp Bob Bynum is no longer Muscatine's mayor.

It's been reported that the City of Muscatine has spent more than $107,500 in their effort to remove Mayor Broderson from office. Ironically, one of their complaints about her was bad decisions that cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

Updated on 06/26/17: The political drama continues to unfold down in Muscatine, IA. Earlier this month, Judge Mark Smith returned Mayor Diana Broderson to office, pending a July 17th hearing. But don't assume that the City of Muscatine is sitting back and letting her run over them. And why would you?

Muscatine's city manager, Amy Reasner, filed a motion last week asking Judge Smith to reconsider his order. She argued that the City Council has the full authority to accuse, try, and sentence its mayors when it comes to impeachment. In fact, she actually challenged the court and questioned its own ability to interrupt the execution of their impeachment conviction.

Meanwhile, Mayor Broderson has resumed her "Holding the Coffee with the Mayor" chats last weekend -- much to the chagrin of the City Council! Roughly 50 people showed up to cheer her on and to share local concerns. During the event, Mayor Broderson indicdated that she plans to run for re-election.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Catholic Diocese of Springfield, IL, to Deny Marriage, Communion, & Funeral Rites to Gay-Married Catholics

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, IL, has issued policies for how to deal with married gay people. Basically, he wants to bar them from Catholic weddings, funerals, etc. Earlier this month, he issued pastoral guidance to the priests that he oversees on how to respond to Catholics who are is gay marriages:
Marriage: No member or the clergy or employee/representative of the Diocese is allowed to assist or participate in a same-sex marriage, "including providing services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges for such events." Our weddings cannot be held in any Catholic facility, including parishes, schools, charitable institutions, hospitals, etc. And God forbid that anyone uses any item in a gay wedding that is sacred or blessed, such as a liturgical book.

Holy Communion: Gay spouses will be denied Holy Communion. They will be denied Holy Communion until they repent of their marriage.

Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, etc.): Children raised by parents in a same-sex marriage may be baptized. Children raised by parents in a same-sex marriage may received First Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confirmation. A person in a gay marriage cannot serve as a sponsor for the Sacraments of Baptism or Confirmation. A person in a gay marriage cannot be admitted to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or receive the Sacrament of Confirmation until after he or she repents and leave his or her marriage.

Funeral Rites: To avoid scandal, a person in a gay marriage will be denied funeral rites, unless he or she repented and left his or her marriage prior to death.

Participation in Liturgical Ministries: People in same-sex marriages cannot serve in any public liturgical role within the Catholic Church.

Catholic Schools and Catechetical and Formational Programs: Children raised by parents in a same-sex marriage cannot be denied admission to Catholic schools or other educational programs. However, these children will be taught that their family and their parents' marriage are really, really bad.
Bishop Paprocki then advised that priests should smile nicely when they deny funerals and stuff like that to married gay people. And he reminded them that they could get in big trouble if they went against his instructions.

None of this should be a shocker to anybody who's lived in this society or paid attention to the Catholic Church's treatment of LGBT people over the past generation or so. The only potential bright spot is the allowance for children of gay parents to participate in Catholic schools. Except that the schools will most likely forbid both parents from actively participating in school events.

Might I suggest that self-respecting LGBT Catholics look into other options besides the Catholic Church? Especially if you're engaged, married, and/or a parent? If you want high church, check out the Episcopal Church. Otherwise, there are ELCA churches, Methodist churches, Disciples of Christ churches...

And, of course, there is the United Church of Christ. We have allowed for LGBT pastors for over 45 years. We've welcomed and affirmed LGBT leaders and members for the same amount of time. We have affirmed equal marriage rights and rites for over a decade. We have open communion. And we won't force your family to scramble for a funeral officiant or venue at the last minute.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gallup: 10.2% of LGBT Adults Are In Gay Marriages

Gallup did a poll of LGBT Adults in preparation for the 2 year anniversary of the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. According to Gallup, 10.2% of LGBT Adults are married to same-sex spouses. That's up from 9.6% last year. 6.6% of LGBT Adults are living with same-sex partners. 55.7% of us are single or never married. 4.2% of us are living with a opposite-sex partner and 13.1% of us are married to opposite-sex spouses. 5.4% of us are divorced and 2.1% of us are separated. And 2.2% of us are widowed.

Gallup made a huge deal about the decline in domestic partnerships. According to their polls, 61% of cohabiting LGBT Adults are now married, compared to 38% two years ago. Meanwhile, only 39% of cohabiting LGBT Adults are domestic partners, compared to 62% two years ago. In other words, the script flipped. Probably because we can actually get married now nationwide versus two years ago.

Gallup also noted that LGBT Adults are more likely to be married if we're men (11.4%, compared to 9.3% women) or if we're 50 years and older (18.1%, compared to 3.3% if you're 18-29 years old or 14.4% if you're 30-49 years old).

Check out the full stats here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SPOILER: Archie Comics Reveals the Identity of the Major Character Who's "Forever Changed" in ARCHIE #21

Last April, I came up with the theory that Archie Comics won't be killing off any of its main five characters, as they've been hinting will happen in the "Over the Edge" story line in ARCHIE #20-22. Before then, they were milking the idea that some cherished character would die horrifically. Then CBR published an interview with Mark Waid that suggested that somebody might not actually die.

io9 posted an article today that spoils tomorrow's ARCHIE #21 and makes clear that I was (most likely) right.

But first...



Monday, June 19, 2017

Trek Fest 2017: "30 Years of the Next Generation" -- June 23-

Have I mentioned that Trek Fest happens this weekend? I really haven't. But Trek Fest XXXIII is quickly approaching.

In case you've forgotten, Trek Fest is an annual celebration of the official future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. It takes place in nearby Riverside, IA, from Friday evening through Saturday.

I'm sadly unsure if I will be able to attend any of Trek Fest this weekend due to work, but that shouldn't stop each and every one of you from traveling down to participate in this unique blend of "Star Trek" themed activities and small town excitement!

Here is the schedule of events for this weekend's events:

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Who Is Yellowjacket??

It's been several months since I've written about Charlton Neo, which is a resurrection of the classic Charlton Comics lines; as well as Pix-C Web Comics, which features public domain characters from Charlton Comics as well as a few other original characters. Pix-C Web Comics launched a new strip this week called YELLOWJACKET REBORN! And it features storytelling by Roger McKenzie and art by Rodney Bennett & Bill Williams.

YELLOWJACKET REBORN is pretty new. In fact, The pic in the upper right corner is the only panel that we've seen so far. But this is what I know so far. YELLOWJACKET REBORN features Kirby King, a handyman who is skilled at robotics. He's the grandson of the Yellowjacket, who happens to be Charlton Comics' original superhero. And King will become a new superhero in the image of his grandfather.

But who is Yellowjacket? Wasn't he one of the Avengers? 

In order to answer that question, we need to travel back in time to September 1944. That's when the original Yellowjacket made his superhero debut!

He didn't start out as a superhero. He started out as Vince Harley, a crime-fiction writer who struggled to write convincing crime-fiction. His editor encouraged him to get into the criminal mind. So Harley took a two-week stay-cation -- just in time for a mystery woman and a gang of villains to break into his house!

The woman's name was Judy Graves. She was out of her mind in panic and passed out on Harley's couch. He began digging around in her purse and found a necklace. Which seemed really suspicious at the time. Because why would a young woman carry around a necklace in her purse, right?

Harley was suspicious enough to call the police, but not before taking a nap in his living room. He woke to a room full of thugs, who demanded that he hand over the girl and the necklace. Unfortunately for him, both had disappeared from the room while he'd napped. So the thugs beat him unconscious and dumped a hive of yellow jackets on him, with the idea that the bees would sting him to death. 

And yes I realize that yellow jackets aren't actually bees. And that people don't raise them in commercial hives. Or harvest their honey. But this was the 1940s... The time of food rationing. People made allowances for such things. Or something like that...

Anyway, it turned out that Judy was just hiding in the closet with the necklace and it also turned out that Vince Harvey isn't your average guy. He's one of those rare guys that bees won't thing -- or wasps for that matter! He comes up with a plan. First, he sent Judy off to the police to report that she was holding stolen jewelry. He then gained some inspiration from his yellow jackets and came up with the rest of his plan.

He dug out a giant yellow jacket costume from somewhere and attacked the thugs at their apartment. And he gained the ability to fly somehow. Seriously, that was his plan.

And final shot was pretty sweet! Check this out!

After this, Vince Harley regained his inspiration and managed to sell a story -- with promises of future adventures featuring the Yellowjacket! And those adventures continued to happen for some nearly a year! YELLOWJACKET continued for 10 issues before disappearing.

But now we get to catch up with his legacy in this new YELLOWJACKET REBORN story line!  And I'm really curious about this guy with his robotic bees -- or are they robotic wasps? Who knows? Not me! But I will next week when the next installment of YELLOWJACKET REBORN hits Pix-C Web Comics!

You too can keep up with YELLOWJACKET REBORN and the rest of these weekly strips, but you first need to have access to Pix-C Web Comics' premium site if you want to see what's happening! You too can read BILLIE THE KID -- not to mention Yang, Billie the KidNo NameTuffy Turtle, N.E.O., Kid Montana, The KnightingalesDeathwatch, The SpookmanSadistikMs. Molecule, the FunhouseFreddy, and several other great characters, by becoming a patron of Pix-C Web Comics. Those who become patrons (for as little as $1 per month) gain access to several weekly online comic strips. The more you pledge, the more perks you qualify for. I've been contributing $30 per month towards this venture. I encourage to you to become a patron too!

Incidentally, you can now read older Pix-C Web Comics on this Free website. Becoming a Pix-C Web Comics patron will give you advanced access to new Pix-C stories that are not readily available to those who access the Free website (such as BILLIE THE KID), so definitely make your pledge today!

Iowa City Pride Celebration 2017

Yesterday was a busy day because it was Gay Pride Weekend in Iowa City. There was a picnic (which I couldn't attend due to work) on Friday evening and a parade (which I could see because of where I was sitting). But I was siting in the Iowa City Ped Mall with my friend Sherry at the makeshift booth for Faith United Church of Christ!

Once again, Faith UCC signed up for a booth and passed out free cookies and water (and the occasional brochure) to the many people who come downtown in the heat to celebrate diversity and work collectively for a better tomorrow.

KCRG came by the booth after I left for my afternoon work shift and interviewed one of our church's members. Our booth didn't make it on the air, but we got quite a bit of space in the written online article:
The event also had plenty of booths set up. One was a church showing its support. "We feel very strongly that people hear of the negatives or the un-accepting messages that are out there and we accept everyone for who they are," Marilyn Calkins said. The Faith United Church of Christ says it was one of the first open and accepting churches in Iowa City.
Actually, Faith United Church of Christ was the first UCC congregation in all of Iowa to declare itself as open & affirming of LGBT members and leaders back in the early 1990s.

Here are some of the interesting images was last night's newscast: