That Controversial Dave Dorman SAGA Blog? Yeah…That Was Actually Written By ME. Not Dave.

I get the alerts whenever Dave’s name is mentioned online, so when I read this morning that some woman blogger in Ireland wanted to “punch Dave Dorman in the face” for his blog on that breastfeeding SAGA cover, that was my final tipping point. So unbeknownst to Dave, I’m giving him an early Father’s Day gift. I’m posting this blog to end Dave falling on the sword for me, even one moment longer. For those of a certain age who remember that broken vase confessional on The Brady Bunch:

“Mom? Dad? It was me. I broke the vase.”

Yes. I wrote that controversial SAGA blog of Dave’s. And Dave, being the gentleman that he is, chastised me privately, but has forever remained silent about it publicly, despite the unfair ridicule and scrutiny he’s taken for it. He took the knives to his back from the all-too-quick-to-eats-its-own-young comic book industry to protect and defend me. But today, that cat’s outta the bag.

Dave is probably one of the nicest, kindest, most patient people you’d ever want to meet. I have 18 years’ worth of anecdotes to support my statement. So do many of you. Here’s one. When we were living in Florida, the local comic book shop gave out our private address to a budding artist who wanted to get into comics and was working full time as an engineer. The doorbell rang around lunchtime. We weren’t expecting guests, and this guy in khakis and a pocket protector, a total stranger, showed up on our front porch with his portfolio. Did Dave get mad? No. (I did. I felt our safety and privacy was violated and I let the comic book shop know my displeasure.) Dave generously invited him in and spent the next 45 minutes reviewing his portfolio and coaching him on his art. So, that small story encapsulates Dave in a nutshell. He’s always trying to help others get into art.

Here’s what actually went down that fateful day of the SAGA blog. Normally, Dave sits at the kitchen table and I whip out the MacBook Air and he gives me the essence of what he wants to say in his blog, then I write and refine it for the masses. He tends to write in passive voice, which drives me crazy. On that particular day, my ADD got in the way, pre-ADD meds. (To be fair, Dave does have this tone of voice that can sort of lull one into daydreaming mode.) I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the very nuanced way in which he was commenting on said cover. To this day, I don’t remember what he actually said because I zoned out. I was rushed, I couldn’t recall his exact quotes and I ended up writing my impressions of what I thought he said, but as Dave pointed out later, it bore no resemblance to what he actually said. I unwittingly unleashed an enormous, reputation-tainting train wreck. In my professional life as a journalist and ghostwriter, I record my book and article interviews and never make this mistake.

To take that old blog to the point of perpetuating some weird myth that Dave hates breastfeeders? Wow. That was troll cognitive dissonance taken to a new level of insanity. Yet those are the search engine terms that come up when you do a search on Dave’s name. All because of a mistake I made. It’s sad. I regret it every day. (I’m sure the former AT&T CEO Dave Dorman doesn’t much appreciate it, either.)

Rarely have I known a male illustrator who wants more women to have successful careers in comics and supports them more than Dave Dorman. He was first in line to see Wonder Woman before I did (and he loved it). He couldn’t wait! He has coached and mentored and supported women illustrators and writers for years. He respects women. All of those women who have gotten his free coaching and portfolio reviews at every Con for years? Crickets. They were sadly silent on the matter. No one came to his defense and defied the trolls, who were happily, busily framing Dave as a misogynist when NOTHING could be further from the truth. This one ugly controversy that I caused suddenly overrode much of the good he has done in the world. So there you have it. I’ve come clean. I needed to end this mistruth and injustice, once and for all. Now I’m sure there will be some trolls who say I’m just making this up. I’m not. I swear on our son’s young life this is the unvarnished truth, and I’m rather superstitious, so I don’t throw around phrases like that lightly.

Before the trolls out there release the Kraken, because I just know that bullshit is forthcoming, please know that I DO.NOT.GIVE.A.SHIT. about trolls’ opinions on this matter. And trolls, I already think you’re low-life, loser misogynists (and that includes women trolls as well) living in your parents’ basement, so don’t fuel me with further evidence. In fact, I’m shutting off comments on my blog for today as a pre-emptive strike.

To that woman “keyboard warrior” in Ireland, I’ll be only too happy to meet you in the boxing ring. Your ugly, violence-inciting hatefulness from behind the safe glow of your laptop is precisely what is wrong with this world.

 

 

What’s Your Favorite Fourth of July Meme?

I spotted this on Facebook and had to share – the Fourth of July Lynda Carter Wonder Woman meme floating around was really great, but this one is–to quote the cray-cray Charlie SheenWINNING!”

I love how this image makes me feel.

I love how creeped out this image makes me feel.

My friend & client, comic book creator and Colorado resident Mike Baron saw me post this and commented, “Come on out – I’ll take you up there.” I’m taking Mike up on this someday – it’s on my bucket list, since I’ve only seen it from afar (As a young teen, I kept glancing at The Stanley Hotel looming in the background as I was sitting in Estes Park, CO reading THE SHINING, having no idea it was Stephen King’s inspiration for the book I was reading, and thinking to myself that it matched the story perfectly.)

My friend Phil Burnett secured this autograph for me at San Diego Comic-Con in 2003, before I was married to Dave Dorman. You know how you have that running list in the back of your mind of items you’d grab in the event of a house fire? Yeah. This is one of mine – the autograph of actor Joseph Turkel (who was also in another favorite film of mine, Blade Runner.)

This is on my Top10 List of items I'd grab in a house fire.

My house fire future rescue.

And here’s an XCU of the personalized autograph:

One of my favorites in my autograph collection. (My other favorite is Frank Darabont's autograph in  my copy of The Green Mile, where it says, "To Denise, who worships me like a God.")

One of my favorites in my autograph collection. (My other favorite autograph is Frank Darabont’s in my copy of The Green Mile, where he signed it as                                                      “To Denise, who worships me like a God.”)

 

 

 

The John Hughes Home Tour: “I Can’t Believe I Gave My Panties to a Geek…”

That headline is a quote from Sixteen Candles, lest you think I would willingly sacrifice my Wonder Woman panties. I normally don’t blog twice in one day, but I have to get this one in while everything is still fresh in my mind.

My friend Amber and I decided to squeeze in the director John Hughes‘ former home tour today before the event closed this weekend. John Hughes was behind some of my favorite movies from childhood, from Animal HouseSixteen Candles, and Breakfast Club on up. The home tour was a fund-raiser for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, but the rooms were each redecorated by different designers, so the interior actually looked nothing like it did when the famed director lived there. To see what it looked like when he lived there, click here.

The Lake Forest home of director John Hughes

The lovely Lake Forest home of director John Hughes

Before meeting Amber, I had my usual 2-hour weekly breakfast with the Sister Wives, which involves a lot of laughing and even more coffee drinking. The 45-minute drive to Lake Forest was sheer torture. All of that coffee had to go somewhere, and preferably not soaked into the passenger’s seat of Amber’s cute new convertible. That crazy astronaut woman with the diaper was actually making sense to me for a brief moment.

Once we arrived at Mr. Hughes’ palatial manse, I asked to use the facilities. As the ersatz representative of the unwashed masses, I was directed outside to some porta-potties through a ridiculous, circuitous route that involved me walking on the cobblestone street in front of the home to get to the second driveway. (I later discovered the short-cut, through a sidewalk on the side of the house. The bastards.) The absurd juxtaposition of these two porta-potties against the looming luxury of this 11,000 square foot, 21-room mansion was not lost on me.

A 70-something-year-old woman was ahead of us in line. There were two porta-potties, side by side. She informed us with a dramatic grimace that the one to the right was “not usable,” as she stepped into the remaining porta-pottie and locked the door. I waited and waited. And I waited some more. I finally got desperate enough to bravely peer into the other porta-pottie. I jumped back, as if stung. It was unusable. It rather reminded me of the river in Willy Wonka’s factory. These elite North Shore women are animals! Perhaps it was a symbolic statement or art installation–a harsh reminder of the bleak existence of the Infant Welfare Society recipients? Or maybe I just read too much into things…

Poor Amber had to listen to my bitchy observations as 10 minutes passed:

“If she spends one more minute in there, I’m not going in without a hazmat suit…”

“What the hell is taking her so long? At her age, she can’t possibly be changing a tampon…!”

As we stood there, we noticed that in the four-car garage, a rummage sale of sorts was going on. Or as they called it, a “boutique sale.”

“Oh my God!” I squealed. “Do you think this is John Hughes’ garage sale?!? Maybe we can buy a John Hughes’ ashtray for $5! Or maybe Molly Ringwald’s prop lipstick from Breakfast Club!” Could I be so lucky?!?

Finally, the silver fox emerged from the porta-pottie. I went in, got business done, and went to wash my hands. The damned faucet wouldn’t work. There I was, trying to remove the sticky liquid soap with as many paper towels as I could find. Meh. Amber finally needed to use “the facilities” as well. It was then that I thought to myself, “I know exactly the picture I am taking to memorialize today’s adventure.” And it was this one:

May God bless my friend Amber, who not only puts up with my shenanigans, she lets me post them on my blog

May God bless my friend Amber, who not only puts up with my shenanigans, she actually lets me post them on my blog. That is her “Are you fucking KIDDING me right now?” face.

Amber and I decided to check out the rummage sale, er, boutique sale, in the garage before heading back to do the tour. I was thrilled to see sleeping masks for sale. The elastic is too tight on mine and these were a nicer material. It was then that I discovered North Shore rummage sales are not like the ones in my ‘hood. The price tag on said sleeping mask? $175. Hand to God. Even I, with my wild imagination, couldn’t make up a price point like that one.

Mind you, Amber has a high-powered job and she left directly from work to join me in our “play date.” I marveled that she did the entire tour in those 4″ heels. We entered the director’s former home and the weight of the pretention was cloying and oppressive. Never one to mince words, Amber knew my opinion on every window treatment, piece of furniture, bric-a-brac, and accoutrement, which went from fugly…to fuglier…to fugliest. This was a 1929 art deco era home–and call me a purist–but it deserved to be decorated by someone who respected that. Some designers just need to surgically remove that shitty 1970s mid-century modern aesthetic from their repertoire. It’s so derivative and unimaginative. To perpetrate that style on a 1920s home is just criminal to me. Imagine watching Downton Abbey and seeing a Harvest Gold refrigerator in Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen. It was fugly the first time around, and it’s even moreso today.

Something might have been said about us not being allowed to take photos inside of the home, but I can’t be sure. I know I didn’t sign any NDAs. All I know is, I stood guard, just in case, as Amber and two other tourists happily snapped away and got their contraband images. (In our defense, the expensive book we were given for the tour had almost zero photos of the home’s newly decorated interior–just designer renderings.) We loved these clever little cocktail tables that had been created with Monopoly, Backgammon, and Scrabble boards on their surfaces.

Cool cocktail/game tables we want to replicate. The steer horns? Not so much.

Cool cocktail/game tables we want to replicate. The steer horns? Not so much. I’ll never understand Southwestern decor in a Midwestern home. The rug was like walking on a lovely, fluffy cloud. 

One of the highlights for me was the library–always my favorite room in anyone’s home–and John Hughes’ office. Call me sentimental, but to be in the rarefied air of the room where he wrote some of my favorite movies meant a lot to me. I teared up a little.

We toured the grounds, with Amber re-aerating the soil in her 4″ spiky heels, and we were both underwhelmed by the lack of flowers. I guess they literally meant grounds, since there were many bald spots where grass wasn’t even growing. I was expecting a garden resembling a Monet painting, yet this was not much different than my own back yard. Just bigger.

As Amber dropped me back at my car, I shared with her my theory on playing hookey for the day: “I’m all about the five-year plan. Five years from now, you will never remember the day you had at work. But you will remember that we toured John Hughes’ beautiful home today. With nary a moment’s hesitation, she agreed.

And so I leave Amber and those of you reading this with a thought from the brilliant pen of John Hughes:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick)

Nerd Alert: My Quest for My Beloved Groundskeeper Willie in Miniature LEGO Form

Okay, confession time. I just entered an online contest to win my must-have The Simpsons‘ Groundskeeper Willie LEGO. (I can hear my Sister Wives chortling all of the way from here.) My love for Springfield’s angriest Scotsman knows no bounds. I mean, just look at those abs, will you? I could scrub my lingerie on that washboard! He would look so hot on my desk, next to my two other Groundskeeper Willie action figures:

Missing: 1 Groundskeeper Willie LEGO action figure...

Missing: 1 Groundskeeper Willie LEGO action figure…

It’s Free Comic Book Day today and Batman Day, so hopefully there will be some Simpsons LEGOs still available at my local comic book retailer after all of those crowds. Admittedly, I’m a little nervous.

And after the weight lifting adventures with Marovich the other night, even my Sister Wives are challenging me now to wear my geeky super hero garb out in public – one of the Sister Wives who shall remain nameless had to verify it up close and personal…

Sister Wife Inspector: "Yep, it's definitely an authentic  Wonder Woman tee."

Sister Wife Inspector: “Yep, it’s definitely an authentic Wonder Woman tee.”

If you happen to see a Groundskeeper Willie while you’re out celebrating Free Comic Book Day, buy it and I’ll pay you back. I’d gladly pay you tomorrow for a Groundskeeper Willie today…

Thor’s Hammer, Wonder Woman Panties, and Other Weightlifting Adventures

On rare occasions, Marovich will ‘fess up that she’s genetically gifted. She’s that freak of nature friend we all have in our lives with an innate physical advantage over the rest of us mere mortals. That being said, she works very hard at maintaining her superlative physical condition. I’ve witnessed her beating many a man at arm wrestling–even my sushi chef friend in Florida.

 

Those ARMS...!

Those ARMS…! I nicknamed her “MUBS” back in high school–Massive Upper Body Strength

 

Olympic athletes have nothing over Marovich (other than millions of dollars, cereal box covers, and those pesky medals).

Some faster dialer robbed us of our normal racquetball court time last night, so we had to improvise our workout. The moment I walked in the door with my 10-pound kettle bells, Marovich blew me shit about my v-necked Batman tee, a new wardrobe asset from #C2E2 last weekend: “Really?!? A BATMAN t-shirt?!?” With anyone else, I might’ve been self-conscious, but this is my BFF since 7th grade, and this is the nature of our relationship. Like sisters who never stop slinging the insults. Our friend Chrissy was there and she liked my shirt, so I felt exonerated.

As for my 10-pound kettle bells, Marovich wasn’t having it. That 5’4″ drill sergeant commanded me to use Thor’s Hammer (her 20-pound dumb bell) for my tricep curls. I was dying after 6 reps. All I could think to myself was “Who am I going to hire to help me remove my sports bra when I get home?” because there was no lifting my arms above my head after 30 reps with Thor’s Hammer. (I ended up sleeping in it.)

However, Marovich managed to insert some comedy into the torture. I made the offhanded comment that even my Wonder Woman underwear wasn’t boosting my strength. “Wait a minute!” she stopped me. “YOU’RE wearing Wonder Woman underwear?!? Let me see.” I dropped trou, presented proof, and quickly redressed as Marovich doubled over laughing at me. (We do that a lot, I’m sure you’ve gathered.)

Wonder Woman Underwear

My Wonder Woman Underwear

We were in her 2nd floor loft working out, and she triple-dog dared me to strip down to just my Wonder Woman panties and Batman tee, continuing my workout looking ridiculous, like this was the new normal. I took the dare. She yelled down to Chrissy to grab us two ice cubes (that’s always a “tell” when Marovich is pranking someone – those obscure requests that make no sense at the time) so Chrissy was delayed in coming upstairs. This bought me enough time to undress, resume weight lifting, and look like nothing was up. Chrissy arrived with the two ice cubes, froze in her tracks, processed for a moment, and with a half-smile said finally, “I didn’t know you had a pierced belly button!” This made me double over laughing, because Chrissy just stole Marovich’s thunder, not delivering the shocked reaction she was expecting.

Marovich tried re-selling it. “Do you see her Wonder Woman underwear?!?”

Chrissy countered, What’s the big deal? You have Batman underwear.”

‘Nuff said.