My name is Steven Howell Wilson, and I do a lot of different things…

Featured

I’ve written fan fiction and published fanzines. I’ve assumed the role of custodian for my friends who created a fanzine called Contact. I founded a convention called Farpoint, which has run for over two decades. I’ve been a comic book writer for DC Comics (Star Trek and Warlord) and a comic reviewer. I run Prometheus Radio Theatre, and we put out a (mostly) weekly podcast. I’m publisher for Firebringer Press, and a contributor to Crazy 8 Press. Finally, in the mundane world, I’m a recovering librarian, an IT Director and a consultant. And yes, I do all this because I’m allergic to work. I figure as long as I look busy, I won’t have to perform actual labor. It’s worked for nearly half a century so far…

I Just Finished – Secret Empire #10

This was a terrible let-down. The series was mildly interesting, but, ultimately, the problem with the Hydra Cap story is not that it made Cap a fascist, it’s that it was the setup for a thinly veiled anti-Trump rant. A poor successor to the real Secret Empire story, and a cheap excuse for Big Damn Deaths of the Year. It’s odd, because I understand Nick Spencer is not particularly leftist, but the “stand and fight fascism” mantra that permeates the final battle, laced with all the talk about how “we let this happen,” and how half the people supported Hydra Cap, can’t really come off as anything else but a blatant partisan statement.

Steve Engelhart’s first “Secret Empire” storyline, 40 years gone, was not an anti-Nixon rant or an anti-Republican rant, much as Englehart probably disapproved of both. That story was about secrecy and lack of transparency in government as a concept. A much subtler, much less divisive tale. The original was also groundbreaking, and this new one is not. There’s nothing wrong with not being groundbreaking, assuming that you’re not pushing your product as an earth-shaking “event” series.

Definitely, in the end, not worth the interruptions of good storylines in many other comics this summer. I found most of those tie-ins very disappointing as well.

I Just Finished – Champions (2016) #12

I promised to share what I’ve been reading, watching and listening to. Here’s the first entry. Going for daily. Will post them under “I Just Finished…” Please jump in with your thoughts. 

Cyclops loses it! Well, he doesn’t lose that. 

Champions has strayed occasionally into the preachy, just a little. When the story opened with the team getting a call to handle a riot in Denver, I cringed a bit. Fortunately, the riot was not caused by the orange rays emanating from the President, but by a classic supervillain from a more innocent time–Psychoman.

Slim Summers takes a point blank shot of Psychoman’s emotional manipulation force, and spends the issue running the gamut of extreme emotions in a very fun way. A fun story about a fun team. Hopefully a new trend after the deadly dull tie-ins with Secret Empire these past couple issues. Marvel’s marketing arm still did everything they could to try and tie this standalone tale into Secret Empire. Their hype for this issue? “SECRET EMPIRE AFTERMATH! The Champions team was born from a fracture inside the Avengers. Now the events of SECRET EMPIRE have divided the Champions — and which ones are still with the team may surprise you!”

Really, Marvel?

The Champions / Avengers War storyline starting next issue looks promising, with hints that Mark Waid is in control and free of Summer Tie-In restraints. I look forward to his tribute to the original “Summer Tie-In,” the Avengers / Defenders War of 45 years ago.

I’ve been off in my corner

The boys are in my corner, at any rate.

Really. I’ve been hiding in a corner for all of 2017. You’ve barely heard from me at all, unless we had specific business to transact, or a family event to attend together.

Well, I’m coming out of my corner. Some. A little ways, maybe.

I want to tell you why I’ve been in hiding, but I don’t want to say too much.

I don’t really consider this vague-booking. Vague-booking is making a statement on Facebook (or, I guess, other social media) that grabs people’s attention, but doesn’t tell them what the hell you’re actually talking about. “I’m really upset with you. You know who you are. I think you suck.” That’s vague-booking.

Well, first, this is my blog, so I think that disqualifies my somewhat cryptic content. Second, I’m not hiding information from anyone because I want to taunt them, or because I’m trying to be mysterious. It’s just that I’ve gone through a hell of a lot in the past few months. A lot of it was painful. I’m not ready to talk about it in public. I may never be ready to talk about it in public.

Continue reading

In Honor of Father’s Day

My Dad isn’t here to spend Father’s Day with me. He died on May 6th, at the age of 94. This past Tuesday, we buried him in his native North Carolina mountains, after a funeral at which I delivered the eulogy. So, in honor of Father’s Day, here’s what I decided to tell people about my Dad:

That’s me on the blanket. My father is the one who’s obviously old enough to be my father.

The topic of today’s lecture is Snell’s Law. Snell’s Law describes the relationship between the angle of incidence of a light wave as it passes through a transparent medium, and the resulting refraction of that light. Which is a fancy way of telling you why sunlight looks different when you see it from the bottom of a swimming pool–because the light comes through water and twists and bends before you see it. Which is another way of saying that the way things look depends an awful lot on what you’ve come through before you see them.

Col. Charles Edwin Wilson Sr., US Air Force Retired, Physicist, Engineer, Teacher and researcher… my Daddy… came through a lot. And it definitely shaped how things looked to him.

Continue reading

On the Occasion of my Mother’s 90th Birthday

Evelyn, Steven and Susan

My mother, my sister Susan and me (the one in the highchair), discussing Proust’s influence on literature, circa 1966.

Yesterday was my mother’s 90th birthday. I had intended to dust off a biography I’d written of her about eight years ago, and share parts of that. It was written for our local newspaper in Yancey County, NC, and it celebrated the 20th Anniversary of a scholarship she and my father had established. That scholarship encouraged County high school graduates to study what we now call the STEM fields.

As I tried to re-work it, that article just seemed too dry and cold to describe my mother. She’s a pretty amazing person, and a list of career accomplishments doesn’t really sum her up. So I decided to start from scratch, which brings me in a day after her 90th birthday. But, hey, a 90th birthday should be celebrated for more than a day anyway, shouldn’t it?

My mother was born Elizabeth Evelyn Briggs on December 7th, 1926. Back then, it wasn’t Pearl Harbor Day. That attack happened on her 15th birthday. Her family called her Evelyn. Most of her aunts, uncles and cousins actually didn’t realize her first name was “Elizabeth.”

Continue reading

Icky Things We Don’t Talk About But Should – Pelvic Pain Therapy

I wrote this article on pelvic pain a while back, and was waiting for the right time to share. Since I missed International Men’s Day this past Saturday, now seemed like the time.

Golf Ball

Because I’m tired of seeing a walnut here.

Prudery and Squeamishness are two things I don’t have much patience with.

Okay, I’m squeamish about having things touch my eyes, and snakes still make my skin tingle. I don’t care to look at open, oozing wounds or dismembered bodies. Or most of the photos on Internet ads captioned, “Do this one weird thing to get healthy!” That’s what I would call normal, healthy squeamishness. We should be uncomfortable with things that could be dangerous or harmful.

But being so uncomfortable about the parts of our bodies that go inside our underwear, to the point that we don’t know about or receive the health care we need, is just plain stupid. And it grows not only out of childhood prejudice that boobs and butts, ding dongs and hoohas are “gross,” it grows out of the repressed, anti-sexual prudery brought to us by the Brits who had the biggest influence over our nation’s culture from the beginning, and haven’t let go yet.

Continue reading

A Different Kind of “Bully!” – Hillary, Teddy and the Quest for Leadership

23158392405_d3e3b60cb8_o teddy_laughingSo the story goes like this:

  • Donald Trump is the Anti-Christ. If he is elected, America is over.
  • Hillary Clinton is the only other option. If you do not vote for Hillary, America is over.

I do not agree with either of these points, but, for a few hundred words, let’s live in a world where they are gospel truth, divinely revealed, handed down from the mount, and, of course, thoroughly fact-checked and proved bullshit-free.

While it astounds me that American citizens would complacently accept such a reality (addressed in my post here), it is the narrative for about half of us, it seems.

So I have to ask, if Hillary Clinton really is the competent candidate I’m told she is; if the Democratic Party really is the friend to The People that it claims to be; if Trump’s nomination really is proof that the GOP has lost cohesion and isn’t going to be with us in any form we recognize…

Then why isn’t our one candidate trying to adapt and make herself more palatable to the entire electorate? Why run an adaptation of Bernie Sanders’s socialist-inspired platform, munged with W. Bush’s imperialist agenda, at such a time? Why make extremism our only option?

Continue reading

Hymn for a Sunday Evening – Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Watch Something Other than The Walking Dead

I wasn’t going to watch it. Ever since the (pathetically weak) Season Six finale of The Walking Dead last Spring, it’s been clear that the show was determined to re-enact the storyline that made me stop reading the comic book. I therefore vowed that I would skip the Season Seven premiere, read about what happened on Facebook, and then decide if I wanted to watch.

But my wife Renee and my son Christian wanted to watch, so I grabbed a beer and a stack of comic books, and said, “Okay, I’ll be in the room with you.” Before the show started, we had our weekly Facetime session with my son, Ethan, who now lives in South Carolina. He wasn’t sure if he was going to watch, but, since we were, he fired up his AMC app and got ready to join the fun. Understand that the four of us have been Walking Dead fans since the series first aired. In Ethan’s case, he’d read the comics for a couple of years before that.

We signed off with Ethan and turned on the show.

My promise to be in the room lasted 21 minutes, including commercials. When Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character chose his victim and lashed out with the first strike of his stupid, “named” murder weapon, and then began to recite his character’s sickening words from The Walking Dead comic book, issue #100, I left the room.

Continue reading

SNUFF PORN! Getcher SNUFF PORN! ICE COLD! (My review of Walking Dead 100, revisited for the Season 7 Premiere)

I haven’t moved my entire library of old blogs from LiveJournal to StevenHWilson.com, but here’s one from back in 2012 that’s relevant tonight. The Season Premiere of The Walking Dead was a shot-by-shot adaptation of issue 100 of the comic series. It seems fandom is split on whether this was a good or bad show. I made my decision four years ago, and I stick by it. The words I wrote then, when I stopped reading the comic, apply tonight, as I stop watching the show. And here they are

I try to avoid negative reviews of works. This time, though, I think there’s a lot of intellectual meat in a discussion of a work I had a very bad reaction to, and why that same work has been overwhelmingly popular. Here we go. Below are vague spoilers. No names mentioned, but some events described.

I’ve been behind on the graphic novel series The Walking Dead. Way behind. Volume 17 is due out next month, and, as of last week, I had read through Volume 8. Ordinarily, I’m not normally one of those comic readers who waits for the graphic novel to come out. There was no such thing as a “graphic novel” when I was growing up. Comic books came out monthly or bi-monthly, and you read each issue as soon as you had it in your hands. There was no waiting for the trade paperback edition to come out a week after the last part of the story was published, and stories were not designed to flow better as 144-page novels than they did as 24-page chapters. Now the creators are so conscious of the release of six or twelve issues at a time that reading a single issue seems almost pointless, like reading a page of a novel once a month. Nothing happens, and you lose the thread of the story.

Continue reading

Hate Speech? Anger Speech? Or just plain “I didn’t know that!” Speech?

tumblr_mpx0501anl1rhbebyo4_250Recently, at New York Comic Con, prolific author Peter David was asked a question about Romani representation in comics. As he explains on his own blog, the question triggered in him a memory of seeing a deformed child while visiting Romania, and being told that that child was deliberately deformed by the parents. By Peter’s own admission, the painful memory caused him to lose his temper with the questioner. He has apologized, and that apology I know was sincere, because I know Peter.

I’ve known Peter David for almost 30 years. We’re not best friends. We don’t call each other every week, or even make a point of having dinner when we’re at the same con. But we’ve done countless panels together, I’ve acted in plays he’s written, our families hang out together, and, more, we’re part of a very old network of Star Trek fans and creators whose number is shrinking. That’s a kind of family tie for a lot of us. Peter is a talented author, an opinionated curmudgeon, and an obviously loving and committed father and grandfather. The idea of a child being hurt clearly has a powerful impact on him.

Continue reading