4.1.20: Eye See You

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What, THIS again?!

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We begin our April extravaganza not with an April Fool’s jape—the reason for this you can find in my new(ish) article “How April Fool’s Day Unwittingly Gave Birth To Fake News”—but with the sinking of the RMS Atlantic on this day in 1875.

While not as well-known as the White Star Line’s more famous maritime disaster 39 years later (stay tuned later on in April for that), the event was still, as they say, “pretty bad.”

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At least 535 out of the almost 1,000 on board the Atlantic perished after it struck rocks off the coast of Nova Scotia. Despite the traditional maritime instruction to evacuate them first, ALL of the women and children died…except for 12-year-old John Hindley (or Hinley), “the boy who lost everything.”

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little Johnny Hindley, “the boy who lost everything”

The disaster was also an occasion for surviving crew to discover that one of their own, 25-year-old Bill, was really a woman. A crew member was quoted thus about dear departed Bill after the revelation (whose body was discovered trapped in the Atlantic’s hull):

“I didn’t know Bill was a woman. He used to take his grog as regular as any of us, and was always begging or stealing tobacco. He was a good fellow, though, and I am sorry he was a woman.”

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If you’re a comic book fan (and WHO ISN’T???), you would be very interested to know that Diamond Comic Distributors—the company with a defacto monopoly over the distribution of comic books to “direct market” retailers in North America—is no longer paying their vendors, due to the coronavirus.

Now: WHO are their vendors?

Quoting eminently reputable source of knowledge Newsarama: “the comic book publishers and manufacturers of games, toys, collectibles, etc., who depend on Diamond to distribute those products to retail stores.”

Now: what does that MEAN, exactly?

It means that, ultimately, the creators of the comics are fucked.

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Now: if Diamond DIDN’T have such a goddamn stranglehold over the whole industry and there were numerous alternate comic distributors with somewhere even close to the reach of Diamond, MAYBE one distributor’s failure to pay wouldn’t take out the whole industry like ol’ Paint at the back of the barn.

Now: a big part of the fact Diamond has been allowed to have this type of stranglehold over the industry is the traditionally cozy-cozy relationship certain leadership types at the big publishers had with the distributor.

In fact, taking the larger perspective on it, the comic book industry has largely run their ship like the aforementioned RMS Atlantic…

…and yes, I suppose I’m Bill.

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Some other bits of interest, as I continually listen to the howl of the ambulances screeching past our block:

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Me: “Mom’s being mean to me again!”

My Sister: “Go watch Tiger King.”

Me: “k”

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I think I’ll leave it there.

Have a good day.