Division and Rush

The Cult of Low Self-Esteem, Chapter 5: The Reports of My Death Weren't Exaggerated

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

When last we left Detectives Division and Rush, they'd finally gotten to speak with Opa!, though the talk show diva was proving quite full of herself.  As the interrogation went on, Dr. Od (yet another Opa!'s endless spin-off talk shows) was about to find out he wasn't in Oz any more.

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The Cult of Low Self-Esteem, Chapter 4: The Diva Interview

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

When last we left our heroes, they had two dead talk show hosts on their hands: Dr. Swill and Wendy Wave.  At the scene of Wendy Wave's murder, Zukovsky the lawyer mysteriously appears... this time with Opa! in tow.

Will Division and Rush get to talk to the talk show diva?

Will the killings stop?

Will Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network start writing grants for local comics creators?

OK, maybe we can't answer the third question, but you might find out something of the first two if you click on the panels below.  It's time for Chapter 4 of the Cult of Low Self-Esteem: "The Diva Interview

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The Cult of Low Self-Esteem, Chapter 3: Drowning in Support

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

Come to find out Anthony Bourdain is writing a graphic novel.  The celebrity chef is penning "Get Gyro," which concerns some "ultraviolent food nerds."  Why is this interesting for The Cult of Low Self-Esteem?


Well, rumor has it Bourdain is none too fond of Rachael Ray.  Rumor has it Bourdain once said "I wake every morning angry at Rachael Ray. Can you help me?"

When last we left Division and Rush, they'd failed in their attempts to interview Opa! after the murder of Dr. Swill Guffaw and shadowy figures were closing in on Wendy Wave, yet another of Opa!'s legion of spin-off show hosts.

We're not saying that Mr. Bourdain will find similarities between Ms. Wave's 30 Second Liquid Lunches and Ms. Ray's standing motiffs.  We're just saying he may not be first to market, if something related to a foodie were to get ultraviolent in this chapter.

The Cult of Low Self-Esteem, Chapter 3: Drowning in Support starts below.

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The Cult of Low Self-Esteem, Chapter 2: Old Friends and Lawyers

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

As Oprah Winfrey prepares for her 25th and final season, we bring you Chapter 2 of The Cult of Low Self-Esteem, "Old Friends and Lawyers."

When last we left the story, talk show diva Opa! had announced her intent to leave Chicago for sunny California.  Soon after, Dr. Swill Guffaw, a head shrinker with a spin-off show was confronted by shadowy figures that didn't take a shine to his attitude towards Opa! and her fans.

This week, we learn about non-disclosure forms, their place in the world of talk show divas and see the return of an old friend Division and Rush would have preferred left behind them.

Gosh, I hope Opa! doesn't have any more annoying spin-off shows that might attract unfriendly attention...

Click an image below to start chapter 2.

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New Story Arc! The Cult of Low Self-Esteem - Chapter 1: A Sense of Abandonment

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

As the curtain raises on the second Division and Rush graphic novel serialization, we turn our eyes to the television screen.  Oprah Winfrey has been threatening to leave Chicago for years, in what seems like an annual crisis, sending her fans in a tizzy.  How predictable have her threats to move been?  This story was one of two pitched as the opening Division and Rush parody, in June 2009.

And so, we turn our eyes to Opa!, a talk show diva who has announced her intention to leave town.  Alas, not all decisions are universally respected and it seems that Opa! may have attracted the loving attention of... The Cult of Low Self-Esteem.  Click the art below to find out about Opa!'s announcement and learn the fate of Dr. Swill in Chapter 1: A Sense of Abandonment

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Is DC Comics moving to LA? Yes, the DC Comics to LA Rumor Just Got Real.

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

As we're prepping the second Division & Rush story arc, "The Cult of Low Self-Esteem," it's time to take a break for some news from the comics world.

Over at ChicagoNow's sister site, the Los Angeles Times, their "Hero Complex" blog has an interview with DC's Diane Nelson (DC Entertainment President) and Geoff Johns (Chief Creative Officer)... and a bomb was dropped:


No attribution on if Nelson or Johns actually said something about it, but there it is.  On the record.  I've been hearing rumors that this was being discussed for quite some time.  And I'm going to let you in a little secret:

If you were to go to the Warner's employment site, click on search openings and then select DC Comics as a unit, you're not going to find any jobs posted.  DC usually has at least one or two jobs posted.  Want to know what a company's planning?  Take a look at who they're hiring.

I first noticed this around the beginning of July, so near as I can tell, DC hasn't had a new job posted in about a month.  This would be consistent with a company getting ready to pull up stakes and switch cities.  You don't hire somebody to fire them a month later, you get a temp.

And maybe they're still trying to make up their minds if they're moving and HR just cleared the decks while waiting.

And maybe this is all just a coincidence.

Ian Fleming wrote in the novel, Goldfinger, "Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago.  Once is happenstance.  Twice is coincidence.  The third time is enemy action."

Where I'm sitting in Chicago, that empty job board is happenstance, the LA Time piece in coincidence and I'm waiting for an official announcement about enemy action.

(Hat tip to Heidi at Comicsbeat for noticing the Times piece.)

Division and Rush at The Printer's Row Lit Fest

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

It's official: Division and Rush is a literary work.  How's that?  Division and Rush writer Todd Allen is on a panel at the Printer's Row Lit Fest, so it must be literary.

Here's Todd's Printer's Row schedule:

Saturday, June 12th

12:30 - 1:30 "Graphic Novels and Mysteries" panel.

Dearborn Station/Lower Level (47 West Polk Street, Chicago)

Other panelists are

Moderator: Tim Broderick (Odd Jobs)

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"The Murder Professor" Finale - Chapter 16: Caught in a Mustache

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

At last, the final chapter of "The Murder Professor."  Has Amanda gone too far?  Will Stu ever get caught?  Will Division and Rush get fired?  Should Stu's mustache be illegal?  Will this story end before the Drew Peterson trial starts?

The answers reveal themselves when you click the panel below.  

Need to catch up with the comic?  Click here to start from the beginning.

Are you somebody who prefers books?  You're in luck.  The Murder Professor is now collected in a handy book form (and available for the Kindle, too).
With that, we thank you for sticking with us through the first arc of Division and Rush.  The last act starts now:

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Chapter 15: Women Over 30

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

When last we saw Amanda Janus, she'd convinced herself she'd figured out what acquitted murder suspect Stu Peterman really liked and opened her trenchcoat prove it.  Ah, there's nothing like someone dedicated to their work.  How far is Amanda willing to go to get her story?  Will Division and Rush find a charge to pin on Stu before Stu's lawyer has them thrown off the force?  What is it that gets Stu's attention and what does it have to do with "women over 30?"

The answers to the questions, or at least some of them, lie in Chapter 15 of "The Murder Professor."  Click on an image below to find them.

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Now Part of the Mystery Writers of America

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

I am pleased to announce your humble scribe has been inducted into the Mystery Writers of America as an active (read: full) member on the basis of the Division and Rush webcomic (start here).

"What?" you ask. "Membership in a professional writers association for writing a webcomic?"

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Chapter 14: What Stu Likes

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

The question of motive is an important one in a criminal case.  What motivates Stu Peterman?  It seems Amanda Janus thinks she knows, and she's ready to exploit that to get her story.  Then again, sometimes pushing buttons can have unintended consequences...

In the meantime, Division and Rush are left to ponder how long before Stu's lawyer sues the department for harassment and whether they can kiss their pensions goodbye.  Click on the image below for the Chapter 14 of The Murder Professor, "What Stu Likes."

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Chapter 13: The Drinking Game

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

They say drinking has its sinister side.  That it isn't always fun and games.

Have you ever negotiated a contract at the bar, hoping your business partner held his liquor worse than you and few points of concession would slip through?

Are you one of these people who think you'll get a more truthful answer if the person you're talking to is blitzed?  (And yes, the bar is a favorite point of interview for gossip columnists hoping for, if not more truth, at least loosened lips.)

In "The Drinking Game," Chapter 13 of "The Murder Professor," Division and Rush take Stu to the bar in a desperate attempt to get some answers.  We also find out what sinister plot Stu has been hatching with his lawyer.  Click on the images below to start reading.

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Chapter 12: Rear Dorm Window

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

You never know what's going to go on in a dorm room and you don't want to know what goes on in off-campus housing.  College kids can be into some pretty wacky things.

When last we left our heroes, Stu Peterman had climbed a ladder and entered in through the window of a dorm on the campus of Devotional College with Division and Rush chasing after him.  Can our heroes intervene before something uncouth happens? Click on the images below and find out in "Rear Dorm Window," Chapter 12 of "The Murder Professor.

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Chapter 11: A Meeting With the Mayor

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

Mayors can have a rough job.  Since they can hire and fire department heads and the buck theoretically stops with them, they can catch the heat for anything that goes wrong from littering to literacy rate. 

Ever heard Mayor Daley react to bad news?  He tends to get a little hot under the collar.  Ever wonder what it's like when the Superintendent of Police (that's what they call the Police Chief in Chicago) has a meeting with the mayor?  Ever wonder what would happen if a case got hot enough the investigating officers had to take a meeting from on high?

Division and Rush find out the hard way this week, in Chapter 11 of the Murder Professor: A Meeting With the Mayor, so click on an image below to start reading.

(Incidentally, if you're a regular comics reader -- as of today -- Heidi MacDonald's "Beat" blog has moved from Publisher's Weekly to http://www.comicsbeat.com/)

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Chapter 10: The Player Revolt

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

In sports, the coach really doesn't have much job security.  They're prone to being second guessed on that 4th down call.  Their strategies are called into question after the fact.  And then there's the relationship with the players.

We've all seen a team quit on their coach before.  Sometimes the lack of a positive relationship with players can do in a coach.  The media sometimes calls it a "player revolt" or a "player uprising."

Did you ever wonder what would happen if professional athletes had a good old fashioned "storm the Bastille" kind of revolt?  It's the end of the professional football season, when many coaches meet their final destiny with their current employer.  Click below and find out what happens when some pro football players find inspiration from Stu Peterman's Seminars in: The Murder Professor - Chapter 10: The Player Revolt

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Chapter 9: Making Stu Sweat

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

Sometimes the police hit a brick wall.

What happens when you run out of ideas?  Perhaps it's then time to sit on a suspect and make him sweat.

But can you make Stu Peterman sweat?  Click below and find out:

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Chapter 8: The Fringe Benefits of Fame

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

What do people get out of fame?  Easier access to dinner reservations?  Better treatment at airports?  An ego boost?

This week we witness an ecounter between Stu Peterman and local reporter, wherein we're given a hint about what Stu gets out of his celebrity.  It may or may not involve swimwear.

Click below and read "The Fringe Benefits of Fame," Chapter 8 of "The Murder Professor."

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Chapter 7: The New York Media Tour

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

Ever notice how people famous for doing something allegedly sketchy always end up getting the royal treatment on the talk show circuit?  White House gatecrashers Tareq and Michaele Salah on the Today Show.  Our dear, indicted ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich on the Today Show, The View, Bonnie Hunt, Letterman and just about any place that would have him.

Click below to read Chapter 7 of “The Murder Professor” wherein Stu Peterman takes another media tour to New York and his lawyer discusses the nature of media exploitation.

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Chapter 6: Death of a Reality TV Star

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

Chicago's had it's fair share of reality television.  The Real World filmed here.  elimiDATE filmed a few episodes here.  Currently, our reality show fame is the stuff of which tabloid articles are made.  Could it get any sillier?  Oh, indeed it could.  Click below and start reading "Death of a Reality TV Star," Chapter 6 of "The Murder Professor."

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Chapter 5: The Proper Use of Misdirection

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

This week, Stu Peterman shares his vast knowledge on the use of misdirection... and not just with large containers.  Click below to read Chapter 5: The Proper Use of Misdirection.

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Chapter 4: The Business Lunch

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

What would happen if you had lunch with someone who gives seminars on How Murderers Get Caught?  Would you talk about your spouse?  What kind of advice would you get?

That's what the next chapter of our graphic novel is all about.

Click below to read Chapter 4: The Business Lunch

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Chapter 3: How Stu's Wives Died

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

Many villains are known for the origin stories.  Doctor Doom's face was scarred because he wouldn't let Reed Richards correct his equation.  The Joker fell in a vat of chemicals and emerged a changed man.

And then again, some villains just are.  We're not going to give you the secret origin of Stu Peterman, but we are going to find out how Stu's wives died.  Or at least what the court has to say about that.  Click below for Chapter 3: How Stu's Wives Died.

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Chapter 2: Death Takes a Bath

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

Welcome to Chapter 2 of our first serial, "The Murder Professor."  Some of this week's action involves taking a bath, so before you read "Death Takes a Bath," you might enjoy watching one of our greatest actors, Morgan Freeman, sing about taking a bath in a casket while wearing only a sash.  (He used to play Dracula on "The Electric Company")

Having seen that, below is Chapter 2: Death Takes a Bath

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It's Not Drew Peterson...

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A technologist/professor/journalist/humorist, Todd has appeared on MTV and in the Rockette's dressing room. (The latter was more entertaining.)

What's the definitive Chicago comic strip?  For my money, it's Dick Tracy.  (Sorry, Brenda Starr fans.)  Did you know Dick Tracy always had an eye for pastiches?  The first Dick Tracy villain, Big Boy, was a pastiche of Al Capone.  Not too long after Big Boy showed up, Dick
Tracy took on something that looked an awful lot like the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby.

It's with Dick Tracy as touchstone, that we now bring you "Division & Rush."  Cartoonist Chester Gould played Dick Tracy as drama.  Division & Rush is a satire.  Using the crime comic as a vehicle, we're going to poke a little fun at Chicago crime and Chicago personalities.  Law & Order doesn't have a monopoly on current event driven plots, after
all.

Our initial serial, "The Murder Professor," contemplates the public's reaction to Drew Peterson (and we should hasten to add Peterson is innocent until proven guilty) and puts a satirical lens over the scenario of what happens when someone the public and police are convinced is guilty walks away as a free man.  It's not Drew Peterson.  It's not OJ Simpson.  No, our boy is "Stu Peterman."  Click the comic panel below and we hope you get a chuckle out of "How Murderers Get Caught," the first chapter of "The Murder Professor," below.

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