Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Pandora is scf-fi on the other side


Creator Mark A. Altman is a TV veteran of Castle, The Librarians, and more. He's also reverent when it comes to science fiction, and his new CW series, Pandora, is rife with conflict, but ultimately hopeful. Read all about it over on Space.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Christian Gossett: Writer, artist, director and allla that

Christian Gossett, courtesy Christian Gossett

Back in 2000, young buck Christian Gossett popped in to the comic book scene with a hot new title, The Red Star. Since then, he's built a wild and varied career. Catch up on it all at Newsarama.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Joe Quesada, Storyteller on Stories for Disney+

Quesada with mountain climber Ed Viesturs (Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

Joe Quesada has worn a variety of hats as Marvel's chief creative officer: Publishing expert, TV executive producer, and even theme park ride designer. Now he's the host of a new upcoming Disney+ show in which "the connective tissue is story." Read all about it at Wired.com.

Jim McLauchlin


Quesada with Teen Vogue Editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay (Eric Liebowitz  (Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

Monday, July 1, 2019

More on the mystery of Spider-Man's first appearance

Spider-Man art from Amazing Fantasy #15
The first-ever Spider-Man art from the landmark Amazing Fantasy #15 had been missing since at least 1975, possibly earlier. Then in 2008, it was anonymously donated to the Library of Congress. How'd it get there? We don't have all the answers, but we have some HERE at Newsarama.

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

50 Years in, Looking Forward to the Next 50

Chuck Rozanski, courtesy Mile High Comics
Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics has (almost!) 50 years of retail experience, and he's looking forward to the next 50. He also has 10 million back-issue comic books, and a LOT of opinions. Gain the benefit of his wisdom by reading HERE.

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, May 23, 2019

On retiring from coaching youth sports…

"Good day, men. Good day to work."
I've coached youth sports, but am officially…retired. I coached 4-5 YMCA basketball teams, three Little League teams, and two flag football teams. Ages from about 5 to 11.

I’m done, I’m out. I feel like I’ve had enough for reasons you’ll see. But ultimately, I’m happy. It takes a lot out of you, but it puts a lot into you as well.

I can tell you this right from the jump, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise: 100% of the kids are great and 90% of the adults are great.

Yes, Fortnite dances have wrecked havoc with attention spans over the last year or two.

I’ll tell you this: If you are a youth sports coach, you are not just a coach; you are also Lost and Found.

I’ll tell you this: If you are a youth sports coach, you are not just a coach; you are also Julie the cruise director from the Love Boat.

I’ll tell you this: If you are a youth sports coach, you are not just a coach; you are also expected to be Master of Schedules (and the one to blame when parents don’t like the schedule).

If you are a youth sports coach, you are not just a coach; you are a bathroom monitor. No matter HOW many times you beg those kids to go pee before the game, you’ll have a shortstop who has to run off the field and pee in the 6th inning.

Getting back to those 90% of adults, two quotes will stay with me forever. One parent in Little League told me “I’ve made a lot of friends here…and a few enemies.”

I found that experience to be true. And it pains me, and maybe it should pain you, that it happens. Yes, Virginia, every damn story you’ve heard is true. There are parents who speak out of both sides of their mouth, and take this WAY too seriously.

The second quote speaks directly to that: “It’s all about the kids.” I don’t know WHY, but in my experience, this was a-hole code. The guy who said “It’s all about the kids” was UNDOUBTEDLY going to be the biggest jerk in the league.

Explicitly and for the record: I’ve seen adults F-bomb each other over if their team is going to be the White Sox or the Diamondbacks or whatever.

Explicitly and for the record: I’ve seen coaches try to TRADE their team name (“Hey, you wanna be the D-Backs?”) for a PLAYER on another team. Yes, turning 9-year-old kids into commodities swapped for laundry.

Explicitly and for the record: I have been F-bombed and had objects thrown at me by other coaches on a field of play. You swallow hard, but I never took the bait.

I’ve been in the middle of drafts—YES, drafts for 8-year-old kids—with adults F-bombing each other over player ratings and if they were getting screwed or not because a coach’s kid was ranked too high.

I distinctly remember one F-bombing fit over (really) team names. I walked in on the middle of a conversation to hear a league administrator say to a coach…

“Here’s the hierarchy: We have the administration, then we have the volunteers, then we have everyone else. You’re everyone else.”

I said, “Hey, I’m a volunteer coach. What’s that make me?” He had no answer.

These things are all true. And this is a scratch of the surface. You wanna hear the REAL stories of Adults Acting Badly at 10-year-old sporting events? Ask the refs and umpires.

So look, there’s some bad. As can be said for many things in life.

And as I prepped this missive, I realized something. It’s not new. I have distant memories of playing T-ball, freaking T-ball, in 1975, and hearing the parents whisper about the league commissioner who always happened to coach the most stacked team in the league as well.

Freaking T-ball. 1975.

And here’s a crazy rub: Youth sports desperately need coaches, for a job that’s time-consuming, occasionally soul-sucking, largely thankless, and did I mention time-consuming?

I’ve been called by sports leagues coyly asking, “Hey is your kid playing this season? And if so, maybe you’d like to coach?”

I’ve also had leagues call and just flat-out ask me to please please please please coach, regardless if my kid is playing or not (!) because they need coaches badly.

Are they calling me because I’m some great coach? Some pillar of civic virtue? Hell no. I’m a warm body who’s done it before and never gone Roy Turner on a kid. Those are my qualifications.

But now, I’m out. I limped to the finish line. I just finished a season with a jacked-up hip and shoulder, doing 2-3 physical therapy appointments a week while coaching. I’m happy to bid this goodbye.

Yes, I said “happy,” and I mean that in every sense of the word.

The main driving force was my kid. He’s 10, and he just feels done with team sports for now.

Please make NO mistake: 10-year-olds are WAY smarter than we typically give them credit for. He sees everything I’ve mentioned so far.

And I told myself I was NEVER going to be the parent who forced their kid into activities they didn’t want to do.

I told my kid, too. I desperately want him to find what he’s passionate about and pursue it—music, theater, art, back into sports, whatever. But I’m not going to force anything on him.

Find a passion, kid. Fortnite seems to be winning right now.

And yeah, “happy” in every sense of the word. Because I’ll tell you this:

I felt a lot of sting in the moment, sometimes from a tough loss, sometimes from a chappy parent. But now, all I feel is the good. The bad has lost its sting.

I distinctly remember starting a Little League season 0-3 once, wondering if we were ever going to win a game. I felt so badly for the kids, like I was letting them down. Thank the gods and Abner Doubleday that we won our next game, ’cause I was almost ready to jump off a bridge.

And if I’m being 100% honest, I’ll tell you I’ve wrestled mightily with my own motivations. Was I REALLY feeling bad for the kids? Or was I doing this all for my own self-aggrandizement?

I’d like to think it was 100% the former, but I don’t know. Maybe I’m a symptom of a problem myself.

So look, I’ll say it again: I lived all the good and the bad in the moment, but all I remember is the good. The bad has lost its sting.

I have trinkets. Every now and then I’ll reach into the cupboard for a glass and pull out an engraved mug the parents got me at the end of a Little League season. Makes me smile every time, and sometimes damn near cry.

I have memories. I coached a 7-8 year old basketball team once, and we had a tiny, tiny little 7-year-old girl on the team who just flat out lacked the strength to even come close to making a shot, even on an 8-foot hoop.

And the end of our first practice, I put her up on my shoulders so she could score. Her mom came running over to me after, tears in her eyes, crying about how happy her daughter was that she finally made a basket.

So we ended every practice that way. Little girl gets to score, we all go out on a high note.

Cliché as it sounds, I think my favorite memories will always be helping those “bottom of the roster” kids move up and move along.

We had a baseball player who barely knew which end of the bat to hold on Day One, but when he hit a legit triple (which turned into a Little League home run when he ran through my stop sign at third) against a first-place team, well…you rarely see greater joy than a kid’s face turning third an heading into home like that.

Seriously, the best was watching the kid who was tripping over his own feet on the first day of practice develop a love of a game or a kid who couldn’t even grip a football suddenly “get it.”

Another parent, a really good guy, told me something else: “You’re approaching the end of your ability to help them.” Yeah, as my son moves from 5th grade to 6th, it’s largely the schools going forward.

And I’ll go forward with him, into whatever he wants. Just not as a coach anymore.

The feeling is bittersweet, but way more sweet than bitter.

I’ve had first place and last place teams, but again, the sting is gone and the good remains. I know there are more important things than a won/lost record. And I comforted myself with that thought last season. It was also a last-place season.

Am I a saint? Hell no. It will likely take me a few more years and the bottom of a bottle to truly figure out if I did this out of some kindness of the heart or for my own puffery. Maybe it’s some combination of the two.

But at 51creaking years old, and with some torn knee cartilage and thoracic outlet syndrome, I’m happy to sunset.

I CAN tell you with all certainty and no hesitation: I love every one of the kids I ever coached. Again, 100% of the kids are great. The moments I spent with them were magic.

I love you kids. Just please, go pee before the game starts.

Thank you for listening to my it’s-not-a-Ted-Talk on #YouthSports.


Jim McLauchlin 

Friday, May 17, 2019

From $300 to an eight-store chain

Phil Boyle of Coliseum of Comics

One of eight Coliseum stores

Phil Boyle is one of the stronger voices in the (no, really it's a) billion dollar comic retailing game. He started with 16 boxes of comics and a $300 rent payment, and grew that into an eight-store Coliseum of Comics chain. Find out what he's learned along the way HERE at icv2.

Jim McLauchlin