Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Xbox Live Info & Avatar

Gamer tag: OhSuperheroine

Come see the awesomeness that is my mediocre Ms. Pacman score!

You're Pressing All My Buttons

Via The Pink Samurai

Friday, February 27, 2009

CF: "Suck It, Wizard!"

My "Comic Book Club Live" Podcast!

My voice usually sounds about 2-3 octaves higher than I am used to whenever I hear it played back anywhere. But here it 'tis. Me in all my bubbliness. On Comic Book Club: Live. With the BF, no less!

My thanks to Pete, Justin, and Alex from CBC. And the BF, who always drags me to do things that vastly improve my life, my publicity, and, in general, are really kinda fun!

Animal Man, RIP

A new six-issue limited series from DC Comics entitled "The Last Days Of Animal Man" will feature, natch, the death of Animal Man. Gerry Conway writing and Chris Batista on pencils. The only thing I'm really excited about regarding this is that I think Chris Batista always wanted to draw Animal Man, and I know he'd do a really good job.

Soon-to-be-famously, in the last four pages of the last issue, a dying Animal Man jumps out of the comic, runs down the hall of the DC Comics editorial offices, and screams, "oh my God! I'm a comic book character!" Then he runs into Grant Morrison, who makes a startling confession to the classic superhero:

"Yeah. It was me. I put the hit out on you. It was part of my exclusive contract. I wanted to have the most awesome version of Animal Man of all time. And now I will."

Unfortunately, the character is being killed off just when he was enjoying an all-time surge of popularity. I mean, with the Darren Aronofsky "Animal Man" movie starring Jason Statham and all. And the line of children's toys.

Hat-tip: Paul

Val's Comic Book Notes: What I'm Reading!

Well, I really developed quite a stack of unread comics again. They really pile up! This past Wednesday, we spent a whopping $40 on comics. That's a lot of comics. To be fair, that particular shipping week is the biggest for us -- so other weeks, we may spend like $7.

I haven't been picking up any Peter David comics in a while, and I'm not sure why that is. I think consistently great writers like David are taken for granted, I really do. "Yeah, another well-written issue by David. What else ya got?" This week I read two: X-Factor #40 & She-Hulk #38.
X-Factor #40 was stunning. Haven't been following this book in a good long while, but plan to do some catching up. Artist Valentine DeLandro is *almost* there as an artist to watch for; I'd give him six more months & he's going to be another Mike McKone. Unfortunately, I have been remiss in following the adventures of the emerald giantess, and look what happens! Cancellation city. She-Hulk #38 is a great story about friendship. Jennifer is called on the carpet about her relationship with Skrull Jazinda, and Jazinda (almost) makes a startling confession. Steve Scott is another penciller to look out for. And does Peter David, figuring he has nothing to lose at this point, break that fourth wall? Perhaps...

Seriously, where does Marvel find these artists? These are like artists I've never heard of, each one ready (or almost ready) to take on a headline book themselves. Is it the portfolio reviews? Consider the work of Rodney Buchemi on The Incredible Hercules #126. This guy is ready for anything -- Avengers, a sprawling high-profile graphic novel, anything. This issue of Incredible Herc also boasts an adorable Amadeus Cho back-up story illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa that explores what happened to that puppy Kirby.

I'll be perfectly honest with you -- I'm not a big Bendis Avengers person. That said, I've been following Dark Avengers, and have recently read The New Avengers #50. This latest issue of New Avengers goes back to Avengers storytelling basics, at least in my opinion. The double-sized cover, pitting the New Avengers against the Dark Avengers, pretty much says it all. The scope is HUGE. Massive fighting. A classic ruse is set up -- and then a strartling turnaround! Did I say massive fighting? The structure reminds me of classic Avengers, and I appreciate that.

Also: though Lenil Yu is obviously a very talented artist, New Avengers #50's main art team, Billy Tan & Matt Banning, makes the book far more readable to me. I guess that goes back to the "Big Avengers" storytelling thing. Lenil Yu's art was too personal. I needed more splash. That said, there is a big lineup of guest-artists in this ish, everyone from Yu, Alex Maleev, Michael Gaydos, and Greg Horn. Horn, of course, illustrates the Ms. Marvel segment. So he is the "iconic" Ms. Marvel artist, then?

Nova is an oddball title for me -- at least, in the sense, that I would never think to read it. But the BF loves it. And the special cover was by one of my favorite artists, Juan Doe, so I decided to give the latest issue a try. Nova #22 is as big an homage to (and perhaps critique of) the Green Lantern Corps as you will ever see in a Marvel Comic. The basic plot -- "Nova Corps" members are being recruited all over the universe. But is that voice the new Nova-ites are hearing in their heads good...or the opposite of good? Well, Richard Rider calls bullshit on the whole thing, so that gives you some idea as to what's going to happen next. Nova #22's writers, Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, are fellow members of the Peter David tribe of consistently good comic scribes who don't get a big enough spotlight on them. If Abnett & Lanning are writing your sci-fi comic book, you will at least know it's going to deliver.

My main quibble with Thunderbolts #129 is the sight of President Obama talking with Norman Osborn. Okay, we've established in this issue that Obama is taking a "critical thinking" approach to Osborn. Osborn puts down SHIELD, and Obama reminds him that the organization has done many fine deeds. But here's my problem: NORMAN OSBORN IS A PSYCHOPATH!!!!! He's a psychopath. He has a shitty record. Yeah, I know he is a philanthropist. But it's like if Bill Gates did all these wonderful things for humanity but also shot two prostitutes in the head in 1997. Then again, sometimes this world is so screwed up, I can almost see the media trying to gloss over a crime like that if the person was powerful enough. And this new Thunderbolts team is led by one of my BF's favorite superheroines: the Yelena Belova Black Widow.

Oh, and there is more comics I've read...and am reading...will catch up with you w/more notes soon!

Characters I Kinda Dig: Multiple Man

Thursday, February 26, 2009

If Comics Don't Change, They "Could Be Dead In 18 Months"

Devin Faraci from the website CHUD has written a article that I find particularly shattering. Granted -- he is really "a movie guy," not "a comic guy," so some may find his opinions a case of "the outside looking in." But as a former comic collector, and especially as an outside observer, I think Faraci's apocalyptic prognosis for traditional comics bears a look.

Faraci basically believes that "the new depression may be the best thing that ever happened to comics." He predicts the death of the "superhero," and gladly welcomes it. He accuses the mainstream comic companies of catering too much to the hardcore fans -- especially by pushing said superhero genre -- and not doing enough to encourage readers outside the "clique." And he feels that the 22-page floppy format, with its relatively hefty $4.00 price tag, is too much for people to pay for in this economy.

He ends the piece with this stark prediction for the future of the medium and the business:

"When Marvel and DC fall (and for me it's when, not if. I guarantee to you that ten years from now the idea of going to a comic shop to buy part 17 of a universe-spanning crossover event will seem as bizarre to readers as it would be for readers today to go to a grocery store to pick up Night Nurse), the world of comic books is going to be in serious disarray. Local shops that haven't already branched out into geek interests beyond comics will be destroyed almost overnight; hybrid stores that offer everything from video games to baseball cards and maybe have a social element - coffee shop for instance - will be left standing, but barely. Spider-Man will go on to star in five more movies, and there will be some sort of comic tie-in for them, but that'll be tertiary marketing. The Big Two will still be publishing something, but it won't be monthly pamphlets in the way we know them today - maybe we'll get endless reprint trades and occasional new graphic novels.

The comic world will seem like a wasteland for a while, but those independent mammals will have positioned themselves perfectly for the next phase. I don't think these books will become suddenly profitable overnight; I know that many creators struggle to make ends meet while producing their books. That won't change. People will still have day jobs and will write and draw on the side. But suddenly, without the superhero choking everything, these books will find the opportunity to grow. The artistic drive that makes people want to tell stories will continue, and a new economic model for these books will be created - hell, it's already being created. And I don't think that this means comic books will suddenly become an endless series of stories about being abused by your dad or about having no luck with girls; there will be adventure and science fiction and horror and romance. Getting into writing and drawing mainstream comics today is like being in a cover band - you want to do your version of Aquaman. When the superhero dies, it's going to be like being in a garage band. You do it because you love it, because you have songs to sing. And maybe somebody will take notice and you'll make some bucks off it."

Finally, Faraci says that if the mainstream comic book industry doesn't radically change its focus and methodology, they "could be dead in 18 months."

What do you think? Is he full of it? Or is he on to something?

Hat tip to Vactor

Economy Sad Bear: Wizard Edition

Getting reports on Twitter that there are possibly more firings at Wizard Magazine.

I know a few people there, this sucks.


Not Wizard-specific, but an observation. With all these paper magazines and newspapers laying off people and transferring more and more content to the Web, don't they have some sort of protocol for transferring jobs as well for one medium to another? Job training, etc.? Surely, not everybody is ideal for the transition from paper to digital. But surely some of these companies are at least attempting this?

UPDATE: According to unconfirmed reports, the Wizard layoffs, if true, are one of the biggest single-day purges for the company.


With the massive layoffs and door-closings in the traditional media over the last six months, we cannot expect things will be any different for comics. I hear sometimes that "comics are recession-proof," and that "the paper comic will never die." Maybe that is true -- but there is absolutely going to be reshufflings and rearrangement and different schemata set up, and that is inevitably going to mean a loss of jobs.

The landscape for comics -- and those media sources that report on comics -- is going to look completely different within five years. Not like, five years ago, we had this comic trend or that, and we called it "change." I'm talking about complete and total revolution in content, format, and delivery. That's why, when some person or another asks me why I am not worked up over this or that DC Comics thing, I say: "in five years everything is going to be completely different anyhow. what does it matter?"

The Coolest People In LOST... my humble opinion:

I don't think there are are three faces from a TV show that have haunted me more than these characters. Proof to me that actors aren't just interchangeable line-readers, but the best of them literally build these characters from the ground up, defining them, breathing them into life.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Watchmen Condom "Sexist?"

Concerning the Watchmen movie giveaway condom, Annalee at the Bitch blog writes:

"While most blogs seem to be talking about this clash between the ideals of the comic series and the commercialism of this promotional item, I was first struck by the overt connection being made between sex and comics. The idea of the "fan boy" has been a topic that I have personally been really interested in lately, so seeing this opportunity for guys to essentially have sex and think of themselves as a superhero* is especially intriguing.

Some may think that a feminist discussion surrounding this condom is a little played out, since the idea that comic books are frequently a boy's club isn't exactly groundbreaking (neither is the notion of men being protectors). However, this does seem especially interesting, right?"

However, Ned at Manolith puts it all in perspective:
"Like most of America, I have a boner for the new Watchmen movie. Yup. I am so excited to see it, I have a boner."
Is there anything sexist about this promotional Watchmen condom? Is a certain gender being discriminated against? Is there a statement being made?

Or is it just that this blue Dr. Manhattan condom sufficiently deals with the massive fan boner?

(of course, women can't have boners, typically. so where does that leave them in this equation?)

(I'm all about giving away free condoms, btw. They are expensive. Though I have my doubts about that blue one.)

Joss Whedon: Most DC Heroes Can't Connect With Movie Audiences

Marvel vs. DC: which superheroes connect more with film audiences?

Joss Whedon, in a recent Maxim interview, explained why (in his opinion) Marvel characters "connect" better with audiences than DC characters:

"Because, with that one big exception (Batman), DC's heroes are from a different era. They're from the era when they were creating gods.

"And the thing that made [rival publisher] Marvel Comics extraordinary was that they created people. Their characters didn't living in mythical cities, they lived in New York. They absolutely were a part of the world. Peter Parker's character (Spider-Man) was a tortured adolescent.

"DC's characters, like Wonder Woman and Superman and Green Lantern, were all very much removed from humanity. Batman was the only character they had who was so rooted in pain, that had that same gift that the Marvel characters had, which was that gift of humanity that we can relate to."

Whedon also explained his side of the Wonder Woman movie fiasco:

"They didn't tell me to leave, but they showed me the door and how pretty it was. Would I like to touch the knob and maybe make it swing? I was dealing with them through [producer] Joel Silver who couldn't tell me what they wanted or anything else. I was completely in the dark. So I didn't know what it was that I wasn't giving them. I've moved on."

Between this interview and the ones he done for "Dollhouse," I really get the feeling that right now Whedon is a bit disillusioned by the whole Hollywood thing, period. He sounds really annoyed. He sounds tired and frustrated. I think "Dr. Horrible" has been his one pure creative joy in at least a few years.

Won't nobody think of Joss?

Comics: What I'm Buying This Week!

Well, to be fair, my BF often picks up the comics for me (because he's a sweetie) --
so it would be more like: What He's Buying This Week!

Follow along, won't you, with this handy Diamond Comics list for 2/25/09!

First, we have not one but two "Beetle-centric" comics:

Some superheroine action:

Perhaps I should pick up this Barack Obama issue of Youngblood drawn by my new Facebook friend:

But what? No love for Erik Larsen?

Some Avengers:

Some Hercules:

The last issue of She-Hulk before that new chick takes over:

Mutant choppy-choppy action:

At this point, after the BF balks at buying the Youngblood comic but buys everything else, the money has all been spent. Room for a few hardcovers, a manga maybe? Probably not. Not this week. For this the most crushingest week for our comic budgets, as everything we collect usually falls on it.

And what are YOU buying this week???

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Comic Book Junction: Updates!

From the Zuda webcomic "The Hammer"

Here is an update of the latest posts on my comic book site, Comic Book Junction:

Interview: “The Hammer” Fights To Be Zuda Champ

Kirby Krackle: Jonathan Coulton For Comic Fans

Blue Beetle: A Tribute From The Fans

The Coolest Marvel Custom Figure EVER!

Who Won't Be Watching The Watchmen

Is It Possible To Build An Iron Man Suit?

Hulu Beats YouTube: "Old Media Strikes Back"

"Old Media Strikes Back" -- not my headline, but that of Newsweek's, in a post dated 2/21/09.

Newsweek's sub-heading:
"Hulu, founded by NBC and Fox, has become a better moneymaker than Web darling YouTube. The moral: better content wins."

My blog, a week ago:
"Authoritative vs. "Amateur" is the general crux of the mainstream media companies' for pay-based content."

"The media companies are going to push "Authoritative" vs. "Amateur" within two years."

Again: my point is not that the YouTubes and Wikipedias of the world are amateur. My point is: big media will start to portray them as such though news reports and advertising.

From the Newsweek piece:

"Unlike YouTube, Hulu had legal access to great content—shows from NBC, Fox and others. And it had great technology—a clean, simple user interface and a smart search engine. Today, just one year after its launch, Hulu has gained the upper hand. "The empire is striking back," says Arash Amel, analyst for researcher Screen Digest. " (emphasis mine)

Now, the point can be made from reading the article that is making great money from their online advertising -- they are making money from *free content*.

But when we look closer at the advertising on Hulu -- it's resembling more and more traditional TV advertising!

"Hulu's team is trying new approaches to advertising that they hope will be more palatable to viewers, and more effective as well. One idea: a viewer can choose to see ads interspersed throughout a show, or can watch a single long advertisement up front. (But either way you can't skip through the ads.) Another example: a carmaker lets the viewer choose to see an ad for a pickup truck, a crossover SUV or a sports car—so the viewer gains some control, and the advertiser doesn't waste a pickup-truck ad on someone who wouldn't be caught dead in one."

Yes, it's placed differently. Yes, it's more "targeted" (which the media companies LOVE). But it's there, and you can't watch your Hulu show without watching it. Just like network TV. We've come full circle "This show brought to you by Lexus."

But then, can't the producers of independent videos -- like the ones on YouTube, for instance -- get these sweet ad deals too?

Big Media news outlet Newsweek pooh-poohs this idea:

"YouTube has lots of content, but from the perspective of advertisers much of it is utterly worthless. Nobody wants to tout their brand amid user-generated videos that could turn out to be almost anything..."

Yeah, nobody wants to see *amateur* stuff, the article is saying. They want to see "The Office." Right?


"Fun as it may be to watch someone's kitten playing with a piece of string, last night's episode of "The Office" makes for a more compelling experience."

Sure, because...all the clips on YouTube are just kittens playing with string, right? Sure.

One more interesting tid-bit. Again, from the Newsweek piece:

"Hulu insists it's not really competing with YouTube. In fact, its real victim might be cable companies. Why pay $100 per month for a cable subscription when you can get so much great stuff online at no cost?"

And again, from my blog:

"I always told the BF that once another Hulu-type streaming video service comes out, we were going to have to cancel the cable."

"We have media media media (inexpensive media) coming out off our butts. Which is awesome. Sucks to be the cable companies, though."

Next up? Look for sites like Hulu creating separate "premium" channels that you have to subscribe to. Just like the traditional cable model. Full circle.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Birthday Swag

What I got yesterday for my birthday...

Demo TPB
---> The complete set from Vertigo

Marvel Comics Presents: Wolverine Vol.1
Marvel Comics Presents: Wolverine Vol. 2
---> John Buscema art on Wolverine!!!!!!

GAP gift certificate

Bouquet of flowers

Bag that sings "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

Awesome dinner

Time with BF & friends? Priceless

Apparently there are some photos floating around, will post when I get them (maybe).

One More Try

"...the 'nethate over FC is unlike anything I've seen in a long, long time, and it's only fueled by the fact that DC editorial staffers were making fun of Grant in public ON THE NYCC DC PANEL, which is really reprehensible and unprofessional behavior. Really, you'd think Grant had somehow Destroyed DC Comics. I'm cranky about it on Grant's behalf, because I generally believe that hate and vitriol should be reserved for people who deliberately try to do you harm, not people who try and sometimes fail to entertain you."
-- Mark Waid, Boom Studios message boards.

hat-tip: Lying In The Gutters

Seriously, for Mark, I'll give the whole Morrison/Crisis/Batman thing another chance.

I'm serious, I'll actually sit down and reevaluate the entire thing, soup to nuts. As an organic whole. And evaluate it against any barriers said or unsaid to the final product.

This might take me a long time, as there are copious chapters and issues of said Morrison thing, and I am a girl of modest means. And I'm not being sarcastic -- it will probably take me at least a year to find, read, and digest (including "52").

Alan Moore On Today's "Edgy" Superheroes

"I have to say that I haven't seen a comic, much less a superhero comic, for a very, very long time now—years, probably almost a decade since I've really looked at one closely. But it seems to be that things that were meant satirically or critically in Watchmen now seem to be simply accepted as kind of what they appear to be on the surface. So yeah, I'm pretty jaundiced about the entire "caped crusader" concept at the moment."

Via Wired

"Young Wolverine"

This kid is the best at what he does.

Is "Dollhouse" Sexist? OR "Joss Gets Burned By Fox"

I came across this NPR article where female writers were asked to give their viewpoints as to whether or not the new TV "Dollhouse" from Joss Whedon is "sexist":

"...a welter of evidence suggests that Whedon is guilty here of the intellectual misdemeanor of wanting it both ways. Having indulged his desire to turn out a titillating, taboo-tweaking, publicity-gathering Fox-style escapism, he now finds this to be at odds with his reputation as a purveyor of positive feminist imagery in media and a supporter of human rights."
--Elizabeth Nelson

"I hate using the word "sexist" because it's overused and shrill, and, actually, it's not so much that I think Dollhouse sounds offensive to women; it's just that I'm sick to death of Whedon's "damaged female" shtick. He's done it and done it to death. It's become boring and unoriginal. Furthermore, he's gone back into his own damaged-female pond and cast Eliza Dushku (who played Faith, the ultimate damaged female, in Buffy) in the starring role! In essence, I'm not so much creeped out as I am totally bored, which is exactly why I deleted it from my TiVo wish list without watching a single episode."
--Stephanie Lucianovic

I think you can do a narrative about the exploitation of women and have it not be sexist. But when I watched the 2nd episode of "Dollhouse," which I enjoyed, this is the "Cliff Notes" version of the show that stuck with me:

"Women are rented out for sex. They have "no minds" except for the ones that are given to them. One woman is rented out for sex. After she has sex, the guy goes crazy and hunts her down for sport. We flash back to another time this mindless woman had her mind imprinted with unwavering trust for another guy. Then there is this girl with big cuts all over her face. We go back to the first girl, who has killed her pursuer and then clings to that other guy she was imprinted to trust. She has a childlike, blank expression on her face. I think she sticks her thumb in her mouth, but that was just a trick of the light."

I enjoyed the episode, but I enjoyed it the way I enjoy the movie "Grindhouse." You know, "Grindhouse" -- both movies -- is all about female empowerment. It is also about strippers and lap dancers. It's both. This may be an uncomfortable dichotomy for some. And for some, this dichotomy may fail miserably.

I think there is definitely an element of female exploitation in "Dollhouse" -- not just the one that Joss Whedon addresses because he is fighting against female exploitation. And I don't think that's so much Whedon's fault as it is a mix of the demands to make this sort of narrative "marketable."

Programmable sex dolls is a marketable concept for Hollywood. I'm sorry. It is. Eliza Dushku is a hot actress. When she wears layers, you know she is wearing layers because she's going to strip down at some point during the TV show. Which she did during this episode of "Dollhouse" -- I called it right at the beginning!

Echo sensuously strips down to the red tank top
under her shirt -- I called it!

If I had to guess, I would think Joss Whedon's not entirely happy about the way "Dollhouse" turned out, and/or how it was marketed by Fox. In a recent Rolling Stone article he pretty much said his experience on "Dollhouse" convinced him to quit TV and turn to producing independent videos for the Web. I think "Dollhouse" was, ultimately, a miserable and disillusioning experience for him. You don't announce in month your new TV show airs that you are "quitting" TV because of said TV show. It doesn't bode well.

That said, I still enjoyed that second episode of "Dollhouse." I don't give a crap either way whether it's sexist or not. But I probably didn't get out of it what Joss Whedon intended. And if he heard me pair this show with "Grindhouse" I think he would be physically sick. But hell -- Fox marketing did the same thing.

This Video Must Play At My Birthday Party

I have decided that this video, "Rainbow Brite: It's Your Birthday Party!" must play on my birthday today, preferably on a big plasma-screen TV, maybe at home, maybe at a sports bar.

Points of note:

1) This video was designed to be played during an actual birthday party; if you notice, sometimes the characters will stop talking long enough to give you a chance to respond. Then, whether you have responded or not, they will continue as if you said something. Don't watch this video alone for extended periods of time, as the effect will be akin to that movie "Videodrome."

2) That big mascot outfit with the freaky moving lips for Rainbow Brite was not necessary; they should have just dressed up some girl for the part. Cuz this looks kinda creepy.

3) For those who don't know, Rainbow Brite was a 1980s cartoon character with her own toy line (or, rather, toy with her own cartoon show). She was not as awesome as Strawberry Shortcake, but more beloved than Herself the Elf.

4) Twink the big white puffball did not, to my knowledge, have such a big role in the Rainbow Brite cartoon as he/she has here. I do not believe this is "canon," so when puzzling out questions of continuity regarding Twink, please refer to the cartoon (which is "canon"). Also, Twink had a tragic history, as he/she was tossed into a pit by Murky Dismal and had all his/her color stripped out; hence Twink being the only white Sprite in Rainbowland. If you watch carefully, you can see the pain behind the smiles.

5) My favorite line is after Rainbow Brite sings her version of "Happy Birthday." Twink says, "You made the song sound completely different!"

6) This video is a pretty good encapsulation of the kid culture that was shoved down our throats in the mid-1980s. On one hand, I think the children of the current generation have evolved past the point where they could enjoy this sort of pablum. On the other hand, it was the aesthetic of shows/toys like Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony and others that helped set the tone for a lot of the "ironically hip" pop-culture we currently enjoy.

7) Happy Birthday To Me! Ha!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Comics Recession "Doomsday" Scenarios

Get it?

We brought this up over brunch:

What if we had a "doomsday" scenario in the industry and Diamond suddenly folded (or massively scaled back)?

Would this interrupt the shipping of comics until it was all sorted out? Or are there backup plans?

Would the major players go through other, separate distributors to get their comics distributed & shipped? Like DC would turn to Random House for example?

When I was working at a comic shop in the early 1990s, I think we had several comic book distributors sending us books (though Diamond was the main one). Would things go back to this arrangement?

And would such an event rapidly accelerate the mainstream comic book industry's turn to digital? And if that is the case, what happens to the retailers?

One of the conclusions we made was that paper comics will always exist, but there will be a greater "prestige" factor to them. You own a "hard copy" of a comic book or collected edition/graphic novel because you really really like the content. Comics (the pamphlets, at any rate) become less "temporary." The product themselves become more elaborate with higher production values. Card stock covers. Higher-quality of design. And the prices rise on individual issues.

I see this approach extending out to all "hard copy" media. Like DVDs. The casual movie fan will probably choose to stream/download their movies in several years, not purchase them (unless the price point was really low). But the film buff will still want to buy collector's editions of DVDs. These will be more elaborate DVDs -- think Criterion Collection. And you wouldn't just get a DVD -- you'd get a book, film cels, collectible posters, etc. -- all in one package.

In the same way, paper comics would need these bells and whistles too. "Why should I buy this comic for $4-5 when I can download it for $1?" Well, because you get all this other stuff. Plus, you *love* this title, the creative team, the characters, and this is a way of tangibly keeping a piece of them.

Of course, when bells and whistles are packed in, you could in theory rise the price quite a bit.

Now, if the comic book industry can continue to build new readership through outreach and movie/TV/video-game adaptations, this would increase the amount of fans, which would send more of them to the direct market to spend $9.99 on "World of Superman" #1, a slim but trade-paperback formatted monthly/bimonthly book of all-new content that has a supplemental DVD packed in with a new episode of some cool Superman-related thing you can't get anywhere else. (I totally made up that comic, btw, just so there is no confusion)

So to save the Direct Market, then, you need more Fans and less casual readers (because the casual reader is more likely to opt to download). Does this defeat the "placing comics in Wal-Mart & supermarkets" theory of increasing readership? The idea that you make the comics super-accessible so they become something casual that everybody reads -- like newspapers?

I think you need to increase the readership by using these markets, but only with cheap digest-sized collections of the best and most new-reader friendly material. In terms of a $3-4 22-page comics in Wal-Mart enticing new readers? No way. That's too much money for a non-fan/reader-new-to-comics to spend on an unknown quantity. That boat has sailed.

I mean, I buy the paper edition of The New York Times every once in a while. It's kinda pricy, all things considered (considering I can most of this stuff free online). I don't buy it because I need to. I buy it as a luxury for a long train ride. I buy it for the brand. I buy it because I'm a "fan." Similarly, if I buy a copy of Fangoria -- which I think is up to around $8 an issue now -- I do so because I'm a fan. There is no way in hell I would drop anything more than $5 for any magazine unless I *loved* it.

Anyway, though the title of my post included the word "Doomsday," I do not see an apocalyptic end of the comic book, or paper comics, or comic book retailers. But I do see a change of focus. And I do think that you will see a drop-off in overall customers due to the digital downloads. The lost revenue from these customers might be made up by the higher-priced "collector" comics, and by increasing the # of fans through outreach and adaptations in other media. And, of course, there is the Ancillary Merchandise. Toys. Posters. T-shirts. Statues. Magnets. Etc. You can't digitize that stuff.

We've Bought Xbox 360; Now Let's Cancel The Cable

I bought Xbox 360 mainly for my BF. I'm not a big game person. Oh, I say I'll buy this or that game and "master" it. But I won't. Except for Miss Pacman. I'm totally going to kick that game's ass.

But I didn't think the Xbox 360 held anything of real interest to me. That was, until I realized that it was a proto-model of what the all-in-one entertainment consoles of the future are going to look like; if, indeed, that future is not already here.

I can stream #$%@% Netflix on the Xbox 360. For $20 a month, I can stream unlimited movies from our Netflix queue straight to our TV. Granted, they don't have every movie "streaming ready" yet. But they have a good portion (including documentaries, which are my fave). And the ones they don't have? We still have the option, on top of the unlimited streaming, to have the physical discs sent to our door.

This is on top of the fact that Xbox Live (Gold Membership, which costs $50 a year) offers more movies and TV shows on-demand. The option to play all of your Windows Media -- songs, movies, etc -- on your TV via your Xbox 360 (wireless connection). Or we could just use the console as a DVD player. Or we could hook up our iPod to it.

Oh, yeah -- and we also can play video games on it.

I always told the BF that once another Hulu-type streaming video service comes out, we were going to have to cancel the cable. Perhaps keep the basic of basic packages, just to watch the networks and NY1. But that cable was such an enormous expense, one of the biggest we have outside the rent each month.

That new streaming service may or may not be CBS. But, regardless -- the Xbox 360 more than takes care of all our media needs. We have media media media (inexpensive media) coming out off our butts.

Which is awesome.

Sucks to be the cable companies, though. And the movie and TV studios who have steadily been losing "hard copy" revenue from sales of DVDs. And the video rental stores? The ones I frequented not ten years ago, like the one I worked at when I was in my early twenties? Are they obsolete yet? Will they be? Even Blockbuster, eventually? And what happens to all the jobs connected with all those things I've just mentioned? Service jobs, and jobs lost by studios shifting their focus, tightening their belts?

But this is the march of time. And the hope is, that more jobs will be created by shifting focus to digital. The hope is, everything will figure its way out, find its own niche. That's the hope.

The big winner, at any rate, is Microsoft. We're canceling the cable.

Related article from Hot Hardware: "The Future of Netflix Is All About Streaming"

Friday, February 20, 2009

My New Favorite Quote

"If you watch the movie `Jaws' backwards, it's a movie about a shark that keeps throwing up people until they have to open a beach."

That's profound.

If you watched the movie of my life backwards, it would end with a man and a woman dressed in polyester meeting each other at a disco in 1974.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Call For Your Thoughts on Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle

With Blue Beetle ending next week, I'm planning an upcoming post on my other site commemorating the event.

If any fans of the series would like to participate with their thoughts about the Jamie Reyes Blue Beetle, feelings about the cancellation of the book, and hopes for his future with Teen Titans and beyond, please email me.

In the body of your email, please let me know that your writing is ok to post. I might edit some responses due to space.

Email Press Releases, Info, Etc. To This Address

Hi all,

I'm moving my posts on just regular ol' comic news stuff to Comic Book Junction. This includes link dumps, most previews, most interviews, etc. The OS will still serve as a blog that I run looking at comic books from a personal perspective, and I will still have posts like "what comics I'm going to buy today." But all the "non-denominational" ("bipartisan?" -- in terms of Marvel/DC/etc -- we will have a broad-based focus on a number of publishers with equal weight on each where relevant) no-frills comic book & toy stuff will be at CBJ.

"Watchmen" Writer Compares Fox To "Satan"

"Watchmen" movie writer David Hayter on 20th Century Fox:

“… My experience told me that they could shut down this movie, and lock it away in Rupert’s vault … and make it the most unseen desired cult movie of all time … but I was extremely concerned. Many producer friends of mine said the same thing as Alex - that they’re just going for money or whatever — but I was like, ‘Yeah, okay, but there’s something beyond money going on at that studio and it has to do with … Satan.”

Why is he such a Hayter?

Via Filmonic
Complete audio at Hollywood Outbreak

My Harvey Award Noms (first draft)

2009 Harvey Award Nomination Ballots Online Now! Anyone who has worked in comics can vote!

Download .pdf Nomination Ballot
Download .txt Nomination Ballot

Ballot Deadline March 27,2009

E-Mail Submission:

Snail Mail : Paul McSpadden
Administrator Harvey Awards
605 West Arapaho Road
Richardson, Texas 75080

All ballots must include the requested professional verification information.
Name :
Address :
City :
State :
Zip :
Email :
Brief List of Work in Comics :

My picks (first draft, I might be leaving people out):

1. David Gallaher High Moon
2. Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Guardians of the Galaxy
3. Dan Slott Amazing Spider-Man
4. Kevin Colden Fishtown
5. Gail Simone Wonder Woman

1. Steve Ellis High Moon
2. Bernard Chang Wonder Woman
3. Kevin Colden Fishtown
4. Jamal Igle Supergirl
5. Paul Pelletier Guardians of the Galaxy

1. Danielle Corsetto Girls With Slingshots
2. Bobby Timony Night Owls
3. B. Patrick Akimbo Comics/"Eat Shit And Die"

1. David Gallaher High Moon
2. Bobby Timony Night Owls
3. Peter Timony Night Owls
4. Brendan McGinley Hannibal Goes To Rome
5. Kathryn Immonen Hellcat

1. High Moon Zuda
2. Night Owls Zuda

1. Amazing Spider-Man Marvel
2. X-Force Marvel
3. Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel
4. Incredible Hercules Marvel
5. Wonder Woman DC


1. Fishtown IDW Publishing

1. High Moon Zuda
2. Night Owls Zuda
3. Girls With Slingshots Danielle Corsetto
4. B. Patrick Akimbo Comics/"Eat Shit And Die"

1. High Moon ZudaComics.Com/high_moon
2. Night Owls
3. Dan Goldman "Kelly"
4. B. Patrick Akimbo Comics/"Eat Shit And Die"
5. Danielle Corsetto


1. Bobby Timony Night Owls
2. Peter Timony Night Owls

1. Comixology
2. Alter-Ego

Joey Manley Is Wrong About Webcomics

UPDATE: Paul DeBenedetto has written a rebuttal to Manley's post that is more eloquent than anything I could have written.

Joey Manley wrote a post (which I am not giving the benefit of a link) that he says "isn’t meant to start a fight" --

"But her recent post about webcomics, and how the business should (or will) evolve in the next five years, is just plain wrong."

Disclaimer: Joey Manley's main business is in webcomics -- including the running of sites that host web comic creators.

From Wikipedia:
"Joey Manley is best known as the founder and publisher of the webcomics site Modern Tales,as well as numerous other web-specific entertainment properties. These properties include the subscription webcomics sites Serializer, Girlamatic, and Graphic Smash, and the webcomics hosting service Webcomics Nation."

So if I say that I think the mainstream will (at least try) to co-opt a large portion of the webcomic market within 5 years -- which I still believe -- this is essentially saying that Mr. Manley's own business is threatened. Which, if I had to guess, he doesn't take too kindly to.

Just to clear that up.

As for me -- I can hack it either way. If the mainstream co-opts webcomics, I'll do mainstream webcomics. If webcomics remain an independent uptopia of creator-owned opportunity, I'll do that. Either works for me. And I'll probably do both regardless, just to see how things shake out. I'm not holding on to one schema or another as the end-all be-all for my life and livlihood. Only fools (or people with a lot invested in one side or another like Joey Manley) do that.

But because I know this post will provoke another of those lovely ad hominem attack posts, let me just start it out for you:

"Valerie works for Marvel! It's part of a conspiracy to destroy us, don't you understand? And her boyfriend works for Zuda! Obviously, everything she says is finely calibrated to destroy our way of life! Valerie's words are dangerous! She is working for the vast fascist conspiracy! Valerie hates webcomics! How can he keep working for Friends of Lulu when...SHE HATES WEBCOMICS!!! Did I mention that she hates webcomics??? And hates creative freedom??? And hates puppies? She actually kicks puppies when she sees them. Don't you see that nothing she says has a grain of truth in it!? It's lies! All lies, I tell you! And she's's the rantings of a crazy person! Anybody who says that the business that I have an interest in might be threatened some time in the future -- must be crazy! That's it! That's what I will keep telling myself. Oh...oh look...that post I wrote, about how she's evil and just...gave me all these hits! Wow! I have to do this more often. It makes me seem relevant. It gives me a degree of extra importance in this little world we've created on the Internet. Oh, and before I forget: Zuda bad! Zuda bad!"

Oh, and whoever is going to do the bullshit "hit" post -- I never said in my post that webcomics were amateur. Just in case you thought you were going to use that for your pathetic article. I never said that. If you use that, you are an asshole, because it isn't true. But there are no "rules" for Internet "journalism" either, are there? So I guess you *could* make something up.

Hey Joey, let's all compare notes in five years -- and if I'm wrong about webcomics, I'll post a picture of a sad bear.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Late 60s/Early 70s Amazing Spider-Man...

...catching up on some classic Spidey stories in Bring On The Bad Guys and Amazing Spider-Man Family #4.

Is there anything better than this?

All the Norman goes crazy/Harry is on drugs stuff...

I love how Stan Lee paces the writing so it's pretty much 1/2 Romance Comic and 1/2 Superhero Comic. I mean, did hardcore Spidey fans at the time realize they were reading essentially a romance comic with action in it? All the reaction shots -- angsty faces, tons of introspective dialogue:

"She gave it to me straight! I don't mean a thing to her. But, it was different--before Parker broke up with Gwen."

And the scenes where Norman goes crazy and Harry is tripping on the drugs -- that stuff must have blown people's minds back then. It's really raw stuff. It wasn't the JLA turning into trees. It was stuff that really happened...painful, uncomfortable stuff.

But best of all, Stan would work out these really awesome fight scenes...everything, both the fights and the angsty stuff, was done on this really open playing field...the art could breathe...not choking the art with word balloons.

Great comics, and a pleasure to read.


Poor Harry, he's such a creepy-looking guy. He's so messed up.