L. Neil Smith's
Number 363, April 16, 2006

April is the cruelest month

Letters to the Editor

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Letter from James J Odle

Letter from Scott Bieser

Letter from John Steinsvold

Hi Pete:

Re: "Q & A: The New $10 Bill", by Pete Stephenson http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2006/tle362-20060409-06.html

I just read your article at TLE and thought you might enjoy this article.

I have no idea weather the FED is seriously going to 'pump up' the printing presses to the tune of $2 trillion dollars is true or not.

So far, this is in the rumor status.

Take care
James J Odle

Big Head Press to Launch New Web-Comics Site May 1

Big Head Press announced today that after months of preparation its new web-comics site, featuring three original long-form stories by both veteran and talented new comics creators, will go live on Monday, May 1.

"We have the stories ready, we nearly have the web design completed, we're putting together materials for a big on-line promotion, and it will all come together in three weeks," said Scott Bieser, general director and lead artist for one of the features.

"The stories will each launch with several pages' worth of material, enough establish the story and show the promise of graphic story-telling goodness to come" as more three new pages for each story are posted each week, explained publisher Frank Bieser.

The new BigHeadPress.Com will be a free site and remain that way for the foreseeable future, Bieser said. The site will be supported by a combination of display advertising and merchandising, including the sale of the stories in book form at the end of their respective runs.

The features to be launched are:

The Hook by Mike Baron and Gabe Eltaeb (with Mark Stegbauer), a space-opera in which music has been banned from "civilized" space and musicians have fled to a faraway world where they battle the harsh elements, one another; and black marketers. Hans Shazam fights desperately to protect his village and the values of Poptopia as "Granite Planet" falls into chaos and suffers missile attacks from interplanetary interlopers. The story will be 110 pages long when completed.

The Architect also by Baron, and Andie Tong, a horror story of betrayal and revenge based loosely on the life and work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Gil Hopper, adopted as a baby, discovers he is the heir to the famous Roark Dexter Smith, and inherits Bluff House, a secluded mansion which a mysterious fire killed Smith, his wife, and Smith's assistant. But there are dark secrets involving Gil's heritage, which may prove fatal to him and his friends as they work to restore the half-ruined Smith masterpiece. The story will run 70 pages when completed

Roswell, Texas, by L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser, is an alternative-history tale in which David Crocket survived the Alamo, and as a result Texas never joined the United States. The story begins in 1947, when a flying saucer crash-lands in the far western Texas town of Roswell. President Charles A. Lindbergh's best friend "Wild" Bill Bear leads a trio of Texas Rangers in a race against foreign agents from Mexico, California, the United States and the Third Reich to recover the crashed machine and learn its secrets. The graphic novel is based on a story by L. Neil Smith and Rex F. May, and newcomer Jen Zach provides the coloring.

The new, completely-revised BigHeadPress.Com site will include a forum where fans can discuss the stories, a merchandise area, and creator blogs in which story creators who choose to participate will discourse on whatever topic inspires them, Bieser said.

Legendary comic-book writer Mike Baron has worked in the comics industry for nearly three decades beginning with Nexus, created with artist Steve Rude and first published in 1978. Baron went on to write superhero stories for Marvel and DC Comics in the 1980s and '90s, and is currently writing various projects for Image and Dark Horse Comics.

Artist Scott Bieser began his comics career in 1985 and the following year began drawing and writing stories, coloring covers, and designing logos for Malibu Graphics' comics imprints. He left the comics field in the early '90s and returned in 2002 to script (based on a story by Susan W. Wells) and draw A Drug War Carol, an educational graphic story which is available both as a free web-comic and in print form.

Artist Gabe Eltaeb is a commercial artist and illustrator based in Colorado, offering his first foray into the comics field.

Author L. Neil Smith is a veteran science-fiction author who has published 24 prose novels since his first story, The Probability Broach, in late 1979. He scripted two short stories for Marvel Comics' "Open Space" anthology in 1991, and then adapted his first novel into comics-form with Scott Bieser as The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel in 2004.

Artist Andie Tong is young and fast-rising talent currently living in London and drawing comics for Marvel UK.

Big Head Press was formed in 2002 and has published two graphic novels, A Drug War Carol (the printed version) in 2003, and The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel in 2004.


(Note to editors: Big Head Press never sends attachments with unsolicited e-mail. We do have sample graphics available for inclusion with stories, please contact us and let us know what you can use.)

Scott Bieser
General Director
BigHead Press

In the original article "Home of the Brave?" (issue #361), it was proposed that a way of life without money would alleviate if not completely eliminate the following problems we have with our present economic system:

Needless poverty, unemployment, inflation, the threat of depression, taxes, crimes related to profit (sale of illicit drugs, stolen IDs, muggings, bribery, con artists, theft, etc.), conflict of interest, endless red tape, a staggering national debt plus a widening budget deficit, 48 out of 50 states in debt, cities in debt, counties in debt, skyrocketing personal debts, 50% of Americans unhappy at their work, saving for retirement and our children's education, health being a matter of wealth, competing in the "rat race", the need for insurance, being a nation of litigation, being subject to the tremors on Wall Street, fear of downsizing and automation, fear of more Enrons, outsourcing, bankruptcies, crippling strikes, materialism, corruption, welfare, social security, wasteful competition, sacrificing quality and safety in our products for the sake of profit, the social problem of the "haves" vs. the "have nots" and spending money to fix the problems that money creates and the inevitable family quarrels over money.

Chris Claypoole, in his article "Home of the Economically Ignorant?" (issue #362), took me to task. He noted that most of the problems are not new or are government controlled. If only his explaining them would make them go away.

Chris concludes: "Mr. Steinsvold then drops all camouflage and reveals his socialist "solution" to carry out our internal affairs without the need to use money. Wow."

Yes, there is a common denominator between a way of life without money and Marxism/communism/socialism; it is the goal of economic equality. However, economic equality will eliminate needless poverty and also eliminate materialism which warps our sense of value and corrupts our system. Of course, it was never achieved in communism for a multitude of reasons. Basically, it was because communism is a party dictatorship. The members of the party enriched themselves at the expense of the common people. The common people despised the members of the party. There was, therefore, no cooperation between them and it failed miserably.

Our government will remain the same as it is today. The Democrats will still do battle with the Republicans. Ownership of property will remain the same as it is today. Our free enterprise system will remain in place as it is today; but no money will be exchanged except when dealing with foreign countries.

As individuals, we will gain economic freedom. The only obligation an individual has is to find the work they love doing. They will be given a free education to develop their skills. They will be given a chance to try various types of work until they find their niche. There will be no economic fear whatsoever. You could argue that if everyone is free to do their "thing", how can we satisfy the labor needs of our country particularly if shortages exist in various occupations? However, it takes only a small percentage of our work force to provide the necessities and luxuries for 290 million Americans and that percentage is constantly decreasing.

Today, 50% of Americans are unhappy at their jobs. In a way of life without money, these unhappy people will be free to find the work they love doing. I believe everybody has some kind of talent or ability they wish to use for the benefit of society. If I'm wrong, a way of life without money will fail miserably. You could argue that there will be slackers who perhaps have given up on themselves; but they will probably be looked on as people with disabilities by their friends and neighbors. The proper balance between work and pleasure is essential to all.

Perhaps the most difficult problem is in the administration of a way of life without money. Yes, it may be necessary to create a network of "economic bodies" to monitor and carryout our economic needs. They will keep their finger on the economic pulse of our nation from the federal right on down to each individual. Modern technology will help. A balance of supply and demand will be achieved taking every conceivable factor into consideration. This includes the needs of the people and their craving for luxuries.

It is the purpose of these "economic bodies" to help people find the work they want to do and yet be productive in our society. These economic bodies will determine the economic needs of our country and call for volunteers to meet these needs. There will be no coercion. These economic bodies will be servants of both the nation and the people.

It is essential that a balance of power is maintained. These economic bodies will be empowered and controlled by Congress from above. The media will monitor the individual performance of each member via the media from below. If the public is not satisfied with the performance of a member of an economic body, a method must be devised to have him or her replaced. Surely, the balance of power can be maintained.

John Steinsvold

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