The hero of this comic book is a single, black mother raising her super-powered son

The trailer for the comic is great! There’s a link to the first (free) issue of the comic. I look forward to reading it.

Fusion

In the comic book Raising Dion, Nicole, a widowed, black single mother, dedicates her energy to raising and chronicling the life of her son, Dion, a seven-year-old boy with a bevy of inexplicable superpowers. With Dion, getting dressed in the morning turns into a frantic chase as he teleports around the apartment, playtime involves bouts of uncontrolled telekinesis, and timeouts are thwarted by the boy’s ability to render himself invisible.

Though she loves her son to death, Nicole realizes that unless she guides him properly, his abilities could easily overwhelm her and expose their secret to the world. Rather than freak out, Nicole does what she can to teach Dion about what she means when she says that he could be a superhero one day.

“How do you protect him from the world?” Nicole asks in the cinematic trailer for the comic book. “First, never take your eyes off of him…

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Appreciation: Local TV Commercials I Have Known and Loved (Despite Themselves)

While watching the morning TV news yesterday, I thought of local TV commercials. They are getting to be a rare breed these days, given the rise of the Internet as a marketing medium, and the nationalization/globalization of TV watching (both on “regular” TV and online). I have lived in a number of large cities, each with its share of home-grown commercials. No slick productions or fancy computer graphics here — just sincere local businesses trying to get your money. Here are some of my favorite local TV commercials from years past, perfect for this Throwback Thursday.

As a kid growing up in Detroit, Maurice Lazar, owner of Belvedere Construction, was a fixture on the family TV set in his guise of “Mr. Belvedere”. This 1984 commercial is the oldest one I could find, but if you ask anyone who grew up in Detroit during the 1960s or 1970s, they know about these commercials. I’m sure there are some people who, although they can’t remember their own phone number, remember Mr. Belvedere’s – TYler 8-7100.

I hope you noted the near-Method delivery of Mr. Belvedere’s lines, as well as the au courant wood paneling in the background.

Later, when I lived in Chicago, TV was a refuge from the stresses of graduate studies. Chicago did not lack for uh, interesting local commercials. Here’s one from Moo and Oink, a meat market chain that featured the beloved mascots Moo the cow and Oink the pig.

Although the Moo and Oink stores are closed, Best Chicago Meat bought the trademarks, including the iconic pig and cow. Moo and Oink products are now on grocery shelves in areas surrounding Chicago. Don’t know if they’ll resurrect the commercials though…

Along the way, I lived in the Washington, DC area. At first, I couldn’t think of an old local commercial that played in DC. So I did a search for “old DC TV commercials” on YouTube. The first one that came up was for Mr. Ray’s Hair Weave! I definitely remember these commercials, and passing by the shop when driving home on Georgia Avenue. I didn’t see a line of people with hair problems outside, clamoring for Mr. Ray’s services, though…

Crazy Gideon was L.A.’s answer to the infamous New York City purveyor of cheap, crappy electronics, Crazy Eddie. But Gideon, who at times could be incomprehensible even to polyglot Angelenos, had a style all his own.

Recent gentrification of eastern downtown Los Angeles doomed Crazy Gideon’s, but the Yelp reviews of his store (and commercials) are still with us. These reviews are as bizarre as the commercials were!

What’s your favorite old or new local TV commercial?

Character Study: Barbara Gordon

In light of Yvonne Craig’s death, I was going to write a blog post. But I read this post by Dennis R. Upkins, and realized that he said it much better than I could have. A great tribute!

Dennis R. Upkins

Dedicated to the late Yvonne Craig

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It’s a shame how much Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is perhaps one of the most underrated characters in comics and pop culture. Not surprising that many dismiss her as little more than a “female Robin” or a lesser spinoff character of the caped crusader.

But the astute observer will note that by being tied to the Batman mythos, Barbara Gordon has arguably made more appearances in mainstream media than any other comic book super heroine, including Wonder Woman, thus perhaps making Batgirl the most publicized comic book super heroine to date.

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