Friday, April 17, 2009


For a good part of my time here, I led a very charmed life. I always had good luck with friends; school was easy -- I was smart enough to afford to be lazy. Was never Col. Woodsman, but I did okay with the ladies. Fell into my job at Starlog, and then bounced pretty easily to Entertainment Weekly, where I was promoted early and often. I've never wanted for much. I was a good kid, so I figured that the relative ease of my life was reward for living righteously. But I started to wonder, as my wife was pregnant with our first kid, if Fate was going to pick the absolute wrong time to level the scales.

And it did. My first born was diagnosed with autism when she was two-and-a-half.

The karmic corrective applied, life went on. We realized early on how fortunate we were with Sophie, even in the face of such cold misfortune. She's a happy girl. She loves to laugh; to be hugged, tickled, wrestled. Her default expression is a smile. And, as we got involved in the autism community -- which, given that everyone we know has a niece/nephew/sibling/cousin/family friend on the spectrum, wasn't hard -- we came to see how rare that was. Each autistic kid is different, but one of the underlying threads is extreme social dysfunction. For our kid to love to interact with us as much as she did...well, fortune in the eye of misfortune.

Things are beginning to go well again. I've found incredible success in comics, first as a journalist, now as a creator. Monster Attack Network is set up at Disney. Genius won Top Cow's Pilot Season competition, and we're wrapping up the rest of that story, with lots of Hollywood nibbles. The Highwaymen is well on the way at another major studio; and Wildstorm was happy enough with that mini, as well as Push, to engage us for some really exciting things on the horizon. A couple of other out-of-the-blue opportunities will, if they come through, make this a potentially game-changing year.

But...I've been down this road with Fate. I can't help but think that a karmic nadshot already has my name on it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Thora Birch

As in, what the hell ever happened to. Remember her?

As a kid, she was Jack Ryan's daughter in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Made quite the grown-up impression in American Beauty. Rocked the house in Ghost World. And then...not much. John Sayles' Silver City. Some TV stuff. Dungeons & Dragons. A whole mess of dire direct-to-DVD crap.

She's pretty, talented (or talented enough), doesn't seem overly fucked up for a grown-up child actress...why did she vanish off the face of the entertainment planet? Hollywood has a tendency to grind up its young actresses, but it's always interesting to ponder why one girl gets through and 10 others get left on the side of the road.

Here's hoping that, when Matthew Weiner goes looking to cast Christina Hendricks' younger sister on Mad Men, he takes a look at Miss Thora. Those two women are similarly endowed...with gorgeous auburn hair.