Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fear Doubt Hate

Psycho-Man sure likes to push buttons.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kirk the Romantic


Goodbye Paul

Paul Newman January 26, 1925 - September 26, 2008

Thanks for all the great films and steadfast support for charitable causes.



Thursday, September 25, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Ambush Bug: Year None #3.

Fall of Cthulhu: God War #2, Boom Studios.

Cthulhu Tales #5, Boom Studios.

Ambush Bug: Year None #3, DC Comics.

My Name is Bruce #1, Dark Horse.

Northlanders #10, DC Comics/Vertigo.

Hulk #6, Marvel.

She-Hulk #33, Marvel.

Zorro #7, Dynamite Entertainment.

Trade Paperbacks:
Conan the Hand of Nergal Dark Horse.

Back Issue #30 TwoMorrows publishing


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Movie of the Week: King of Hearts

King of Hearts (Le Roi de coeur) by Philippe De Broca.

I used the Japanese poster (in which the name of the film is changed to Imaginary War Town) instead of the western versions .

Sadly, I couldn't find a trailer.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Great Moments in Comic Book History

Susan sports a mullet of first time at Reed’s surprise birthday party in Fantastic Four #271.


Quick Comic Reviews

Comic Reviews

Conan the Cimmerian #3
Conan has made is his way back to Cimmeria and he meets up with Coallan, an old flame who has grown into a strong and very attractive woman. Hot on her heels are the invading coldblooded Aesir. I like this issue a lot, probably for it’s depiction of Coallan as she represents that strong female warrior that I’ve been pining for. I’m very interested in the women of Cimmera and how they handle themselves in a fight, so this whole new story arc by Truman is refreshing. Thomas Giorello’s artwork really brings out the blacks, which I greatly enjoy and it’s reminiscent of the old Savage Sword of Conan title. Richard Corbin also provides engaging art for a flashback sequence featuring Conan’s grandfather.

Marvel Apes #2
We’ve kinda got two things gong on in Marvel Apes. The first is the fun wackiness that is an Ape-ified Marvel Universe and the other is a “what if” story in which Captain America is a villain (although if my suspicions are correct it’s not his fault). I approve of this approach, as the novelty of a Monkey Marvel world isn’t enough to carry a story. The back up tale on the history of the Marvel Ape Universe is hilarious and so are the fake covers for other Marvel Apes titles. A nod to Mutant and Masterminds’ “Earth-Ape” should be made though as Marvel is ripping it off wholesale.

The Walking Dead #52
The zombie title that’s not about zombies continues with Rick and Carl on the road. Michonne shows up just in time to save little Carl from a zombie attack and later she helps Rick deal with the death of his wife and daughter. It’s nice to be traveling, instead of stuck in the prison as in the previous story arc and its good to have tough as nails Michonne back too. I realized while reading this issue and Conan that Charlie Adlard’s art has a definite Richard Corbin influence that really fits a horror title like this. Krikman’s pacing is as excellent as always and he ends the issue on just the right note. How does he do it?

The Astounding Wolf-Man #8
Kirkman’s superhero horror comic sees Gary on the run as he’s been wrongly accused of murdering his wife. The only thing keeping him going, is his thirst for revenge over the vampire that killed his spouse and the only way to accomplish said revenge is to seek out the Were-Wolf that made him. I love how Gary set himself up all Bruce Wayne–like and how it quickly went to shit. When you are dealing with dark supernatural forces it’s hard to simply go on patrol and fight bank robbers. I love how the Saturday morning cartoon style contrasts with the evil undertones of this book. Note: Fans of White Wolf’s Were-Wolf game should be reading this.

The End League.
Is it just me or did this take forever to come out? Anyhoo, issue 4 of Rick Remender’s post-apocalyptic superhero series focus in on The Prairie Ghost this time around as he secures the services of a healer. The Prairie Ghost (who is now my favorite from this title) is strangely an appropriate cross between Jonah Hex and Ghost Rider. He’s really working for me and I feel he should have had more prominence before now. The story is a good one of desperation and survival but the art takes a right turn as Eric Canete replaces Mat Broome. I have to say I prefer Broome’s cleaner style to Canete’s. Canete’s drawings have a little of the Savage Dragon bendy bones thing going on and some super deformed traits too. Plus, it’s hard to tell what’s going in his panels. I may have to drop this title if the art doesn’t improve with the next issue.

Guardians of The Galaxy #5
I really like cosmic stuff or at least I did back in the day, but I skipped the whole Annihilation thing because I was mad about Marvel killing off the Xanderians… again. I’ve wanted to pick an issue of GOTG though but it’s always sold out. I love the original team and I’m also a fan of Rocket Raccoon and Gamora, so I figured “why not” as an issue was available. Well, I’m lost. Too much has gone on in the far reaches of Marvel space for me to track. I know most of the characters but a lot has happened to them in modern times for me to keep up. Plus, I really am not interested in the Secret Invasion crap Marvel is forcing down our throats and it’s all over this title. Crossover/event comics suck! I thought the appearance of Star Hawk was cool though. It’s funny that everybody’s costume had to be updated to look like something from the X-Men movies. They can’t be superheroes anymore I guess. They have to be “adventurers.”

Men of Mystery #72
It’s fun to read these golden age black and white reprints but frankly at ten buck a pop Men of Mystery should really be in color or a least grayscale. I particularly enjoyed the Major Midnight, Rainbow Boy and Camilla stories. It’s kinda nice to read pulpy stuff with characters I’m not familiar with as it gives me that down home serial feeling.

Star Trek Assignment Earth #5
Love it, love it love it. ST:AE is truly a fantastic comic series. This mini-series finishes out in grand fashion with a communist plot to replace Nixon as he visits China. Gary 7 and Roberta Lincoln succeed in saving the president… or do they? But all that really matters is that old tricky Dick appears to be who he is supposed to be for the sake of the timeline. John Byrne has really pulled it off with this one. ST: AE feels like a late 60s and early 70s TV show but with 20/20 hindsight. This series made me realize what a great sci-fi, espionage show Assignment Earth could have been. The AE concept should be revived as a TV show in some fashion IMO. I was skeptical about this comic but this is one of the best things I’ve read all year. Not to be missed by Star Trek fans. Side note: this great idea for a roleplaying game too.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Random Comic Cover

In honor of our economic meltdown here in the states, The Story of Banks.


A Galaxy Far Far Away My Ass!

Robert J. Sawyer Rants about how Star Wars ruined Science fiction

part 2

part 3

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My New Comics

John Byrne does it again with this week’s best cover Star Trek: Assignment Earth #5.

The End League #4, Dark Horse.

Marvel Apes #2, Marvel.

Star Trek: Assignment Earth #5, IDW.

The Astonishing Wolf-Man #8, Image.

Conan The Cimmerian #3, Dark Horse.

Guardians of the Galaxy #5, Marvel.

The Walking Dead #52, Image.

Men Of Mystery #72, AC Comics.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Uhura Takes Charge

Audio Not Work Safe


Quick Comic Reviews

Star Trek: Mirror Images #3, IDW.
Here we get an interlude from the main storyline of the Mirror Universe Kirk with a story of a young Picard (looking like Shinzon) seizing comand as the Terran Empire begins it’s death spiral. I like the Mirror Universe a lot but I hated what they did with it in Deep Space 9. This comic shows that at least Jean Luc didn’t go down without a fight. I enjoyed the excellent storytelling and the art has an adequate sci-fi, tarot card kinda look.

Red Sonja #37, Dynamite Entertainment.
The story of a reborn Red Sonja continues with acceptable although not stellar results. Her whole origin was screwed up so I guess why not start over practically from scratch. Sonja begins her training to become the warrior she once was in her previous life so she can seek revenge, sounds familiar. It’s a hero(ine)’s journey. The art is OK but the coloring needs work. I liked the nod to Claw the unconquered.

Doctor Who Classics #10, IDW.
I’ve enjoyed this Who reprint title immensely. The new show is OK but for some reason I still like the old Doctor Who with Baker better and this comic has given me my fix. The two stories contained herein see the Doctor’s companion Sharon off on her final two adventures. Gibbons’ artwork is a good fit for Baker’s Who and the new coloring works for me. I believe this the final issue and I’m sad to see it go, as this series really captured the Doctor imo.

Star Trek: Romulans: The Hollow Crown #1, IDW.
An outstanding comic all-around, John Byrne has recaptured his lost magic here. He is exactly what the Star Trek franchise needed and vice versa. I can’t decide which is better the art or the story and that’s a good bit of indecision to have. This title is a sequel to Byrne’s earlier Star Trek: Romulans comic and is set after the events in Balance of Terror. Get it, Read it and enjoy it. The world of the Romulans has never been richer.

The Dark Tower: Treachery #1, Marvel.
This is the third and final act of the Dark Tower Comics. Amazing art and a rich universe unfold as Ronald is home and he’s not quite sane. What we got here is the Man with No Name meets Lovecraft meets Lord of the Rings. Pick up Gunslinger Born first if you are interested in reading this.

The Stand: Captain Trips #1, Marvel.
I’ve read the Stand and watched the TV miniseries. So I was intrigued in how all of this could be condensed down into three comic mini-series. So far we’re off to a tube-necking good start. It’s seems the events in the comic are set in the early 80s as old cars and ghetto blasters are prominently depicted. I like the renderings of Stu, Larry and Frannie and Randal Flagg (although he’s only on the cover). It’s actually kinda nice to get away from King’s over exposition with the images recalling so much of the information from the book without the need for words.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Comics I wished I had followed

I have been thinking about what it means to buy issues from month to month. Some of the fun and wonder of comic books have actually been diminished, IMO, by being collected and only read in collected form. Of course the convenience and resale value make it more than worth it to purchase comic trades but having a story unfold over time has a kind of charm and surprise that you just don’t get with collected editions. I believe this is especially true with Silver and Bronze Age issues. I’ll argue until the day I that I die that Crisis on Infinite Earths is better when read over 12 months rather than just over a weekend.

However, I do agree that it really doesn’t matter for comics published nowadays as most of today’s comic books are really written to be collected. My thoughts are just kinda nostalgic for a previous four-color era I guess.

Here are some titles that came out when I was a kid and as a teenager that I regret not picking up for one reason or another. These series may have been great or merely mediocre but at the time they were published I think I would have greatly enjoyed them. That's not to say I didn't pick up a few issues of some of theses guys here and there but rather that I never picked these comics up on a regular basis.

The Thing

Alien Legion

Grim Jack

Justice League

George Pérez's Wonder Woman

New Teen Titians

All-Star Squadron

Suicide Squad

Dark Horse Presents

DC's Star Trek

Amethyst (1st series only)

Arak Son of Thunder





King Conan

Omega Men


Thursday, September 11, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Star Trek: Romulans: The Hollow Crown #1.

Star Trek: Mirror Images #3, IDW.

Red Sonja #37, Dynamite Entertainment.

Doctor Who Classics #10, IDW.

Star Trek: Romulans: The Hollow Crown #1, IDW.

The Dark Tower: Treachery #1, Marvel.

The Stand: Captain Trips #1, Marvel.



9-11, artists respond


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Missing Jack

I missed Jack's B-Day with all the goings on with the baby. But here I am thinking about him belatedly.

Here's Jack the year before he died... Yup Hollywood cashed in on his Ideas.


Movie of the Week - Vampiros Lesbos

It's Sexadelic!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Quick Comic Reviews

The Twelve #1/2
What we have here is a reprint of 5 stories from the golden age of comics, 2 stories of the Fiery Mask, one of Mister E and two of Rockman. It’s a bumper issue, as the next issue of The Twelve isn’t going to be published until October. The stories have the simplistic art and the ridiculous plots that we’ve come to expect from the time period they were created in but they’re fun nonetheless. This comic is notable for having two stories written and drawn Joe Simon, (the fiery Mask ones), one written by Stan Lee (one of the Rockman stories) and one written and drawn by Basil Wolverton (the other Rockman tale). The fiery Mask stories have an odd horror edge to them with a Green Zombie-making doctor and blood draining experiments. The Mister E story is kinda dull but the villain, “the Vampire” (who is not vampire), is kinda interesting as a low-grade Cobra Commander. The Rockman stories are fun with Rockman creating a Tsunami to wipe out the villain’s island lair and Rockman battling underground pixies to rescue a princess.

Army of Darkness #12.
The Home Sweet Hell storyline wraps up with Ash returned to his proper Chosen One status after fighting the Seven Deadly Sins. The Seven Deadly sins are both a parody and an homage to the Hellraiser cenobites and Piers Anthony’s incarnations of immortality. This makes me wonder if there was a Hellraiser / Army of Darkness crossover that fell through. This issue has the solid horror/comedy action that I’ve come to expect from AoD.

Jonah Hex #35
Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti haven’t let me down yet and Hex 35 is another example of their prowess as writers. Seems Jonah has proven himself a little too macho this time around and some folks that would like to use him for their own purposes notice his manliness. The art by J.H. Willams is excellent, his style is kinda like Tony Harris crossed with Moebius. Jonah’s scars really look anatomically possible this time around. The “done in one” comic is almost a lost art nowadays but it’s still alive and well in this issue.

Tor #5
Tor’s story is winding down as our prehistoric hero gets offered up as sacrifice to the sprits by ape-men. Of course he gets out of it and rescues the girl but not before getting bruised and battered. An intriguing aspect of Joe Kubet’s Tor is that selfless acts are considered a strange aberration by most of the inhabitants this primeval world. Tor represents a new kind of being, one that is thoughtful, curious, and even noble in a savage way. Kubert’s art doesn’t disappoint, as his beasties are the best in the biz. It’s weird that Tor’s Dark skinned woman can’t be drawn with nipples though.

The Secret Six #1
I enjoyed Villains United so I though I’d try this new ongoing title written by Gail Simone. I was a little lost as I hadn’t realized that this supervillain team has already had several appearances since Villains United, but I was brought up to speed quickly with a wikipedia check. I was reminded that comics aren’t’ for kids anymore with a gay strip club scene in the first page and a grisly murder a few pages later but hey, I’m an adult so why should I care right? I’m really enjoying the characterizations of both Catman and Deadshot. The big spoiler is that Bane’s on the team. It looks like I finally found a DC team comic to replace Shadowpact and it has much better writing.

Marvel Apes #1
This was a lot better than I thought it was going to be as there were plenty of chuckles. The ape version of the Marvel universe has a lot to like such as Spider-Monkey and vines growing everywhere. I’m intrigued by ApeX as he seems to have no analogue plus the running joke about Oregon was funny too. I guess Karl Kessel means that the dirty hippies from Oregon shave on Earth Ape.

The War that Time Forgot #5
This title is treading water. It’s a great concept to have all of DC comics various non-superhero characters gathered together from different time periods in a Lost World setting, but maybe there are too many characters or something. I’m not getting enough examination of what everyone is going through. There were some shadowy figures shown running what seems to be an experiment with all these time-lost soldiers but their motivations are not revealed. Plus, where’s the war? I thought we’d have some big battles by now. I’m glad G.I. Robot looks like he might not be down for the count.

Witness to War
I bought this is a graphic novel a while ago. It took me a long time to read it because the art is somewhat amateurish and so I thought it might not be that good of a story. But as far as war comics go, I think it is excellent on the scripting end. WtW tells the fictional story of Anna Krieg, a journalist that gets caught up in the events of the Battle of the Bulge. It’s a fresh concept to tell a WWII story through a woman’s eyes but it is also a great storytelling device to have the narrator be a journalist. The squad level combat was riveting and that fact that a female character was going threw it added to the excitement. I think this book opens up a whole new arena of war comic possibilities. Imagine Sgt. Rock, the Haunted Tank, and the Losers hooking up with female Journalist. Now that could have been a very cool series. The book also includes a fairly long prose chapter on the history of battle itself.

Galaxy High School

I picked up the Galaxy High School DVD set. It’s a fun little cartoon from 1986 that only lasted one season. Basically, it’s your not-so-standard high school drama with two earth kids that interact with all kinds of weird alien creatures, and corny sci-fi at an intergalactic school. The show was imaginative for it’s time and has a pretty good soundtrack. Of course, you have to throw logic and reason out the door and just enjoy the crazy antics of the characters. GHS has obviously been released to ride the success of Andy Mangles’ cartoon boxed sets like Dungeon and Dragons and the Filmation programs that have come out the last few years. He clearly didn’t produce the Galaxy High School DVD as it has absolutely no extra features and is not digitally re-mastered, but then at ten bucks, it’s a great deal. Oh those Saturdays… they had lots good-natured gems, and GHS is one of them.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is The Un-Men #1.

The War That Time Forgot #5, DC.

Army@Love: The Art of War #2 DC/Vertigo.

The Twelve #1/2, Marvel Comics.

The Un-Men #13, DC/Vertigo. The last issue...

Marvel Apes #1, Marvel Comics.

Secret Six #1, DC.

Jonah Hex #35, DC.

Tor #5, DC.

Army of Darkness #12, Dynamite Entertainment.

Dropped 1985, that last cover was enough for me to overcome my nostalgia for the time period.


Friday, September 5, 2008

The First Six

I read comics a few times as a kid, mostly dc stuff, but it never really fired me up until one day back in 1983 I had my mom buy me a sealed bag of three comics because I was bored. What I found in that plastic bag changed me forever. I immediately became a huge comic book fan and a huge groupie of the Marvel Universe. I so thoroughly enjoyed the marvel titles so much that I went back the next day and bought a second bag of three comics and I was off and running. I had suddenly found comics to be so creative and so immersive that its nearly indescribable to explain how my child self felt, but I guess you might say it was kinda similar to seeing Star Wars in the movie theater the first time. Pretty powerful stuff for a kid.

They funny thing is that the bagged comics were a few months behind what was actually on the shelves so there was a gap in my collection for several years until I discovered the comic book store.

But what were these six issues that had such an affect on me?

Captain America # 283

This is the one that started it all because it was this cover that got my attention. I’ve always had a fondness for Cap ever since this issue and I really loved (and still do) Mike Zeck’s art. Plus it had the Viper, see here for my love of this character.

Rom #44

What immediately blew me away with Rom was Sal Buscema’s artwork. I’d never seen anything that exploded with so much energy and yet was so emotive at the same time. I greatly enjoyed the sci-fi and horror trappings of the title and Rom was also my first experience with the “tortured” hero. Other supers talk about losing their humanity but with Rom he actually gave up his own body to fight the cosmic threat of the dire wraiths. This issue took place in Russia, and the idea of Communist Superheroes (and villains) was totally new for me and it felt representative of how a kid could interpret the bizarreness that was the cold war.

Fantastic Four #256

I think I read an issue of Fantastic Four back in the seventies, but this issue was a whole new ballgame. John Byrne was at the height of his powers and he really was doing something special with this title and as a kid I noticed. This was my first introduction to a really cosmic adventure with the FF battling in the Negative Zone. I loved the grandness that was the villain Annihilus and his “death” as he floated to through space and crashed into the barrier that separated dimensions. I swear I could actually hear his scream. I’ve been an 80’s Byrne Junkie ever since.

New Mutants #5

Before New Mutants #5 it was my belief that kid superheroes were supposed to be a joke like the wonder twins. Abruptly, with this issue, that all changed. Here was my first encounter with an X-men title and I was hooked. The characters were so well fleshed out and the team was so relatable that it almost seemed like they could be real… if just for an imaginary moment. I also really liked the international flavor of the team and I greatly enjoyed how they interacted, like a superhero Real World. This was also my first introduction to Sal Buscema’s art as he did the inking chores on this title and I’ve been a big fan of his from this time on. Plus, there’s that Viper again and this time she’s brought a friend.

Daredevil #196

Daredevil #196
I had never encountered anything like what I found in Daredevil #196. Before, I couldn't even conceive that an environment itself could really be menacing before but this issue really showed me the danger that lies in the heart of a decayed concrete jungle. It was gritty and crime hung around like old smelly socks. I had no concept of the super anti-hero before, so I had a difficult time making out if Wolverine was a supposed to be a good guy or a bad guy, but the fun part was trying to figure it out. I’ve never been a big fan of Klaus Johnson's art but it was certainly different then everything else and it suited crime story feel of comic.

And ?
I can’t remember the sixth issue! I thought I’d never forget any of these titles but for some reason one has slipped from my memory. I’ve rummaged around the Internet endlessly looking at comic covers, trying to find this lost issue of my “real” first six Marvel Comics. This lost comic book would have to be from June 1983 as all the other bagged comics had this cover date but nothng has come up in my searches so far. It’s maddening that I can recall this issue. Oh well… I just have to keep looking.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Movie of the Week: Xiu Xiu the Sent Down Girl

Sometimes communism dosen't kill people in violent revoutions. Sometimes it kills them by slowly crushing their sprits and dreams to dust until there is nothing left. That's Xiu Xiu the Sent Down Girl. This film takes place during one of the sad chapters in China's Cultural revolution known as the Down to the Countryside Movement, when a whole generation of children were sent out from the eastern cites to live and work in the western countryside. It is a tragic motion picture with tragic characters but it's a very affecting film.

(note: the music is not from the film)


Quick Comic Reviews

I thought I’d make some quickie reviews of last week’s comics

H.P. Lovecraft’s Vault of Horror #3
Horror and Sci-fi favorite Richard Corbin finishes out his mini-series which adapts some of the gentleman from Providence's smaller works including poems. The adaptations here are well done and the Heavy Metal art style suits these mythos tales quite well, although I wasn’t completely behind the black &white drawings until this issue. I’d consider the Arthur Jermyn adaptation in this issue quite stellar by making one of Lovecraft’s more obvious stories into something much more enjoyable to read. The last two tales in this issue are freely adapted from H.P’s horror poems The Well and The Window. Both are short but engaging.

She-Hulk #32
Secret Invasion invades She-Hulk with mixed results. I’m not interested in this lame crossover that is infecting the Marvel universe but I do like the Super-Skrull who figures as the main villain, so that’s something. The coloring is bowling me over as it remindes me of Heavy Metal (again). It’s such a dramatic visual look and unlike how comics colors used to appear that Shulkie seems like she’s in a sci-fi, anime movie.

Star Trek Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment #5
This is one of the best if not thee best Star Trek comic series that I’ve read, but what else could you expect from D.C. Fontana. The voice of the characters is correct and their actions are in line with the TOS. Fontana ties in concepts like the Preservers and the Organians, and she brings back popular characters such as the Kor, Koloth and the hottie Romulan commander from the Enterprise incident. Plus, she makes the Edosians important to the future of the Star Trek Universe, which is much appreciated. More ST if it is written by Fontana.

Necronomicon #1
A wonderful new Cthulhu Horror miniseries from Boom Studios centered around the most famous sanity-blasting tome off all time. Set in the 1920s, the narrative is told through a letter from an Arab student that comes to study at Miskatonic University and who ends up joining forces with academic occultists because of his language skills. The story, so far, is top notch and the Vertigo art style by Andrew Ritchie suits the Lovecraftian Horror theme.

Northlanders #9
You can’t tell realistic Viking tales without taking about Lidisfarne. This issue is part one of two-part standalone story on the sacking of a Monastery on the Northern coast of England in 793 A.D. A boy feels crushed under the yoke of medieval Christianity and calls upon the old gods for help and the Vikings seem to be the answer to his prayers. With adequate art and a solid narrative, this two-parter is kinda a placeholder until the next longer story arc commences.

Ambush Bug: Year None #2
Mitsu Bishi, Amber Butane, Blue Beetle, and Jann Jones are present and accounted for. What else do you need to know? Might not be as fun for folks that aren’t as familiar with all the crazy crap that’s been going on in DC comics that last few years but the OMAC Cheeks takes the cake! Did I mention Angryish Bear? Oh Well I just did.

Life Sucks Graphic Novel
I recently finished up the graphic novel Life Sucks written by Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria. This isn’t my usual sort of fair, but I just had to give this vampire slacker story a look-see. If I had to give you a shorthand description for this it might be Love and Rockets crossed with the Lost Boys plus a dash of Clerks.

Life Sucks isn’t your typical vampire story. When the luckless vegetarian Dave is transformed into a vampire, none of his problems are solved, he still has to pay the rent and the Jocks still seem to get the girls. It’s supposedly Young Adult but I wouldn’t let that stop you if you’re looking for something different.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sorry I haven't had a lot of time for posting and comments


Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day

"Labor Force... Don't Thank Them, Pay Them"