Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Because No One Asked For It: NFL Pro Bowl Picks

The NFL announced the Pro Bowl squads tonight, so I thought I'd share the picks from my last online ballot submitted (which I recorded to send into the ESPN Football Today podcast when they requested listener e-mails on the subject). Keep in mind, this was submitted about 2 weeks ago.

AFC QBs: Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub & Philip Rivers
NFC QBs: Aaron Rodgers (A-Rodg), Brett Favre & Drew Brees

AFC RBs: Cedric Benson, Chris Johnson & Ray Rice (though I think Rice would give CJ a run for his money if used properly (i.e. not McGahee-vultured))
Also, I know I'm a NY Jets fan , but Thomas Jones largely benefits from his blocking and is not nearly the all-around back that Rice & Johnson are.

NFC RBs: DeAngelo Williams, Adrian Peterson & Frank Gore (tough to find a back that really makes a case for being a dominant, consensus #1)

AFC WRs: Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne & Vincent Jackson (if I weren't a Jets fan, Wes Walker would have gotten it instead of Wayne, btw)
NFC WRs: DeSean Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, Sidney Rice & Marques Colston (much like the NFC RBs, this is a middling field; Fitz & Colston are better WRs in all around skill, but DeSean has clearly outshone them this season)

AFC TEs: Heath Miller & Antonio Gates (btw: Chris Baker is on the ballot for the Pats; so criminal that it makes me want to just go over league rosters to make sure I'm not missing clearly more deserving players at other positions. Oh...and to be fair: Dustin Keller quits/alligator-arms more often than Randy Moss)
NFC TEs: Vernon Davis & Brent Celek

AFC Cs: Kevin Mawae & Nick Mangold
NFC Cs: John Sullivan & Jonathan Goodwin (more for their teams record (Vikings & Saints, respectively) than observed production)

AFC Ts: Joe Thomas, Michael Roos & Ryan Clady
NFC Ts: Joe Staley, Jermon Bushrod & Bryant McKinnie

AFC Gs: Alan Faneca, Vincent Manuwai, Eugene Amano
NFC Gs: Chris Snee, Steve Hutchison & Rich Incognito (Incognito just because I want to see a personal foul in the Pro Bowl)

AFC FBs: Le'Ron McClain (out of respect for his having begrudgingly accepted the role when he could start at RB on so many teams)
NFC FBs: Leonard Weaver

AFC SSs: Dawan Landry
NFC SSs: Adrian Wilson

AFC CBs: DARRELLE FREAKING REVIS, Nnamdi & Johnathan Joseph
AFC CBs: Charles Woodson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie & Jabari Greer

AFC DEs: Robert Mathis, Richard Seymour & Mario Williams
NFC DEs: Jared Allen, Justin Tuck & Julius Peppers

AFC DTs: None. No one jumps out and Kris Jenkins was removed from the ballot due to injury.
NFC DTs: Sedrick Ellis, Pat Williams & Kevin Williams

AFC FSs: Jairus Byrd (breaking my unwritten rule of avoiding opposition players, but can't vote Rhodes based on how good I know he is instead of how he has played)
NFC FSs: Antrel Rolle

AFC ILBs: Bart Scott & David Harris
NFC ILBs: Jonathan Vilma & Patrick Willis

AFC OLBs: Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs & LaMarr Woodley
NFC OLBs: DeMarcus Ware, Clay Matthews & Brian Orakpo

AFC KRs: Joshua Cribbs
NFC KRs: Percy Harvin

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wow...CBR Mods Are Scary

I waded into the thread CBR had in its forums for their article about the Blackest Night #6 leak after I posted my blog that questioned whether the author of the article inadvertently revealed that he regularly reads scanned comic books downloaded via torrent.


The whole thread was nuked when, at last check, there was only a discussion about the following:

  • how it was questionable that they banned the member who originally posted some of the leaked images from BN #6
  • accusations that DC purposely leaked or put BN #6 in position to be linked to reap the coverage it would get
  • general discussion of the potential sales benefits of illegal downloads (not my position)
  • the future of street-dating for comic books
  • my question regarding whether the writer reads illegal downloads regularly.

To clarify: they nuked all user-contributed posts to the thread and then closed it. As of right now, there is still proof that a thread existed, albeit one that was closed days after creation without a single post.

Nothing posted today seems to be cached. But pages one, two (including where a member indicates the "lower quality" comment was off the mark), three, four and five are largely cached. Won't last for long, but it is proof that they destroyed a whole thread on a controversial topic generated by their own article.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jim Caldwell Is No Herm Edwards


Well, there goes that undefeated season. Funny thing is: there were a few comments before the game that seem to be contrary to the decisions the coach actually made during it.

Rachel Nichols had some interesting quotes from the coach and the QB. The links go to the original twitter posts that I grabbed them from.

From Jim Caldwell:

And yes, best outcome for Colts is to pile up a big lead early so he can just sit. Coach Caldwell says decision to be made "in flow of game"

In the flow of the game? I don't think pulling him in the middle of a competitive game with the outcome still completely in question is really a decision made in the flow of the game.

From Peyton Manning:

Clarifying Peyton's comments: I asked if he'd play thru 4th Q if outcome in doubt, his exact words:“I would certainly imagine so"

And, if it was in the flow of the game, I don't think he adequately prepared Peyton for it.


Manning also made it clear that if he gets tap on shoulder to sit, he will. He was too tactful to mention other QBs who might not.

But if you watched this game, Peyton looked either ready to cry or to punch his coach in the mouth. So I think it is pretty clear that the coach didn't prepare his best player for the scenarios he'd be removed from the game under. It seems obvious that there was more of a selected time for pulling players than a "in the flow of the game". Manning and others were pulled at about the most inconvenient time possible, so the only way "flow" mattered is if Caldwell had hoped to pull them even sooner if they were blowing out the Jets.

There was certainly no effort made to "play to win the game".

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why Geoff Isn't Publicly Fuming About BN6 Leak

You see, he can't control it. While he might be a bit mad about it, lashing out over it would make him seem just a bit too much like Superboy-Prime.


Which brings me to something that really bugs me. I'm not a fan of the overly angry fanboy, but the statement he makes about getting mad over something you can't control, even something you love, rings false in this example.

In the end, the angry fanboy is the consumer and a passionate one at that. The consumer will have control over DC Comics product long after Geoff's candle burns out. The amount of pull Johns has gotten at DC Comics owes more to number of fans buying the product than the quality of the work.

I'm a big fan of a lot of his work, but STARS & STRIPE went the way of the do-do, I'd imagine, more due to the lack of fans purchasing it than the skill he demonstrated on the book. There are, also, many times where issues or arcs of his books sold very well even when the finished product didn't read like he put forth his best effort.

It is all well and good if he wants to tell himself that the segment of the customer base that is most disgruntled with his work just has some control issues they need to get a handle on. But when he crafts an entire issue of a comic book around it and has the consumer pay $3.99 to read it, there would seem to be a bit of pride and arrogance on display.

In this day and age where more of the readers are migrating to downloading illegal bittorrents of the books that they feel addicted to reading but aren't so happy with that they feel guilty for stealing it, you might not want to poke some of them with a stick.

With how small the group still buying comics seems to be getting, I wonder whether a H.E.A.T.-level motivated group of readers unhappy with the direction Geoff Johns is taking the DCU would be able to put a big enough dent in the sales numbers of his books by encouraging folks to download and not buy his work? I doubt we'll ever find out, but I am definitely curious.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Blackest Night #6 Leaked

Update: From the comments in the thread on CBR about the article, it would appear less likely that the mention of the scan being "lower quality" was pulled from popular opinion of other readers of the illegally available comic book. Given that CBR banned a member who posted a few images from the book, it seems more and more likely that the comment may have been made to discourage others from seeking it out.


Original Post:

OK, we all knew that Blackest Night #6 would not successfully be embargoed when there are no proper checks and balances in place to keep it from getting out. There are no carrots and no sticks; any retailer who sells a few copies early to their best customers will likely be found out. Probably the only DM retailers that wind up following it are just the online variety (and even then, I don't think there are any that are STRICTLY online, so just the online segments of full service retailers).

But one of the things I found odd is the following in an article on CBR about the leak, specifically discussing the scanned book offered via torrents:

The scan itself was of lower quality than is typical of the pirated books, indicating that it was scanned, compiled and distributed in a bigger rush than usual.

The above quote was not placed in any context as being based on comments culled from the sites offering the torrent, but put forth as a statement of fact or judgment by the author of the column, Kiel Phegley.

If that statement is completely genuine, it suggests that a regular contributor to one of the top two sites covering comic books downloads and reads torrents on such a regular basis as to be able to compare and contrast scan qualities enough to make that assertion.

If that statement just isn't in its proper context (it WAS, in fact, made based on the opinions of others, not the author), then it runs the risk of people drawing the incorrect conclusion that Phegley is a connoisseur of scanned comics.

The third less likely option is that the statement is being made regardless of the real quality of the scan, only being there to serve as a slight attempt to dissuade readers from seeking it out.

I'd be curious to know which, if any, is true.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tiger Woods CGI Reenactment

I'm all for celebrities having the privacy they desire. But seeing how whatever went on between Tiger and his wife destroyed public property and could have put other lives in danger if it didn't happen in the wee hours of the night, any claims by Woods of making this purely a family issue just ring hollow. The FHP backing off is an example of unfairly applying the law, whether it is because of the fame of the suspect/victim or the gender of those involved.



That's part of why I had no problem clicking on this YouTube video and having a bit of a laugh, despite not being able to understand a non-English word.

Great: Now I Might Have To Abandon Amazon

Amazon is being sued over labor practices. Thing is: this is something basically every company I've ever worked for has done/gotten away with. Well, at least every non-union job I've had (which is all but one).

So many employers more or less require you to be in before your shift starts. If you clock in right on time, you're effectively judged as being late. While law prevents employers in most states for penalizing you for being just on time or less than five minutes late, it is well known that you are expected to be at your station (desk, fry-o-lator, what have you) and working several minutes before the start of your shift.

Similarly, there is an expectation that you'll stay a few minutes past your shift to wrap things up. There's normally a culture that discourages employees from trying to claim their rightful quarter of an hour, even if the time ahead of shift and after shift add up to a full 15 minutes, let alone just fall into the amount that should be rounded up to the nearest quarter hour.

There's always been this imperfect balance between the worker and the employer. To a certain extent, failure to pay for all those extra minutes here and there seems reasonable, as settling little disputes over this amount of time would cause lost man hours and tons of frustration. But, at the same time, these employers are legally obligated to pay for the time and exert a silent coercion against their workers, with most employees having the feeling that haggling over a few hours of pay a year isn't worth killing their chances at advancement or a merit raise.

In all seriousness, my patronage of Amazon won't be effected. If they lose this case, they won't be the only company in America having to change how they handle this sort of payroll issue. You'll, also, have no end of fiscal conservative railing against the decision as the death knell of American business, especially the small variety.

Friday, November 27, 2009

For All Its Hype...

Champions Online, the City-of-Heroes-warmed-over MMORPG that skews more towards action, couldn't even come close to selling out Amazon's allotment of half-priced copies of the game.


Selling for under $20, only 7% of copies were claimed by Amazon buyers. As video games go, $20 is as much an impulse buy price as a pack of gum in the supermarket checkout line. But on the biggest online retailer's site, they couldn't even move 10% of the stock set aside for the deal.

Is the game that bad? Has the market for MMOs not named World of Warcraft just dried up that much? Is this an indication that many dismissed it for its similarities to City of Heroes (including being made by the same studio)? Or is this a preview of how any super-hero MMO (cough DCU Online cough) will perform in the marketplace?

On a side note: they made Marvel change the name of a comic book for THIS?!?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Only Real Wizards Can Magically Make Mistakes Disappear!

As you can see in the press release below, Wizard Entertainment's CEO bought New England Comic Con. Apparently, it gets them into Boston in a big way.


You're shitting me, right? They already had a WIZARD WORLD BOSTON that they ran into the fucking dirt, but they want to laud this as a way to get into a market in a big way. It just shines a light on the fact that they fucked it up so bad before that they don't even want to acknowledge that it is their RE-ENTRY into the market, doesn't it?

You know, I shouldn't be surprised by this sort of thing coming from them...but when people won't learn from their mistakes, it is dumbfounding.


GAREB SHAMUS, WIZARD ENTERTAINMENT CEO, ACQUIRES NEW ENGLAND COMIC CON

Wizard World Comic Con continues Tour Expansion

New York, NY (November 20, 2009) - Gareb Shamus, CEO of New York based Wizard Entertainment, announces today that he has purchased New England Comic Con, in a move to further expand the Wizard World Comic Con tour.

"We've known Larry for many years, and his exceptional 35-year old New England Comic Con gets us into Boston in a big way. New England has a long legacy of cartoons and comics embedded in their history, making the fans there very appreciative of comics' impact on society and pop culture," said Shamus. "I'm excited to bring these discerning fans an even better Con experience and everything they expect from a Wizard run show."

Larry Harrison, owner of Harrison's Comics & Collectibles, and Jimmy Tournas, the former owners of New England Comic Con, will be intimately involved in the new show production to ensure fan favorite traditions are maintained.

"Working with Gareb is an awesome experience. The folks at Wizard World have a great sense of how to grow the show in a way that I've always wanted to see it flourish. This should be the best comic con the city of Boston has ever seen," said Harrison.

The New England Comic Con acquisition is the first of several Comic Con tour expansion announcements expected in the weeks ahead.

“We bring together more fans, in more cities than anyone, to celebrate their passion for pop-culture. We've had such a strong positive fan and industry reaction to our new show launches that expanding the tour just made sense," said Shamus.

New England Comic Con venue and dates will be announced soon.

About Gareb Shamus:
Gareb Shamus founded Wizard Entertainment in 1991. Today, Wizard Entertainment publishes consumer magazines Wizard, ToyFare, FunFare, and numerous books about pop-culture's top talent, comic books and toys. Gareb also produces a North American Comic Con tour.

Wizard World 2010 Comic Con Tour:
Toronto Comic Con, Direct Energy Centre, March 26-28, 2010
Anaheim Comic Con, Anaheim Convention Center, April 16-18, 2010
Philadelphia Comic Con, Philadelphia Convention Center June 11-13, 2010
Chicago Comic Con, Donald E. Stephens (Rosemont) Convention Center, August 12-15, 2010
Big Apple Comic Con, Pier 94, October 7-10, 2010
New England Comic Con, TBD

Monday, November 09, 2009

Quantcast Physics

I got the following from someone claiming to be Mr. Anonymous. It was a different address than normal, but what I fact-checked of the list seems to check out...so I'm running it anyway, in light of all the hub-bub that started recently around TCJ's tweaking of their web-strategy. Mr. A, if this isn't your stuff, my apologies...but it's worth displaying, regardless.

I compiled these on Quantcast. Post them if you want.


CBR 303,000 US
Newsarama 269,000 US

However, Newsarama led the month before; trending, they switch places about every other month.

At 183,000 US, Ain’t It Cool is still almost 100,000 US BELOW Newsarama in total readers; they don’t have a comics subdomain.

Now, the other "big name" sites and subdomains:

ComicsAlliance.com 86,000 US (benefiting from being part of AOL)
Blog@Newsarama 76,000 US (113,000 world)
Comics.ign.com 49,000 U.S.
Robot 6.comicbookresources.com 47,000 US (71,200 world. Yes, Blog@ has a higher U.S. than Robot 6's world.)
WizardUniverse.com 46,300 US
Comixology 37,600 US
The Beat 37,600 US
ComicsBulletin 33,600 US
Comicmix 29,100 US
SplashPage.mtv.com 26,400 US
Major Spoilers 19,000 US
ComicMonsters.com 18,700 US
ComicsContinuum 17,000 US
ComicsReporter 11,800 US
ComicRelated 11,600 US
Comicon.com (Pulse) 11,400 US
Broken Frontier 10,600 US
Comics Worth Reading 9,900 US
Bleeding Cool 8,800 US
4thLetter.net 6,000 US
SavageCritic.com 4,000 US
ComicNewsI.com 3,600 US
TCJ 3,400 US (Journalista doesn't chart as a subdomain)
Factual Opinion 2,700 US

Later,
Mr. A

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Champions Online: Shades Of CoH Issues?

Many of you will remember how NC Soft/Cryptic Studios got in trouble for how players could create virtual carbon copies of established IP from Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics in their CITY OF HEROES offering.


Well...Cryptic Studios is the group behind Champions Online. In IGN's review, they clearly show how they were able to create a Superman copy in the game, a character that seems to have been around for at least the first few weeks of the game being live without removal by the studio.

Their recent Blood Moon event?


It involved an undead villain raising fallen heroes from the dead to attack the heroes. Unless I'm mistaken, it appears those heroes are all wearing black versions of their previous costumes.

With DC Comics not only having plans for their own MMO involving their IP, but it nearing completion, one wonders if they won't approach this situation much the same way Marvel did last time. With some people having complaints that they can't be an existing DC character in the DC Universe Online game, there can be a legitimate argument that allowing people to recreate those characters on Champions Online negatively effects their ability to draw subscribers.

THE UNKNOWN: THE DEVIL MADE FLESH #2

I plan on reviewing this book sometime in the next week, so I thought I'd pop up this preview of the book that BOOM! Studios provided. Enjoy!








Wow, Has It Been Over A Week?

Sorry. Certainly didn't mean to leave the blog stagnant for so long. Been working on some side projects and attempting to be gainfully employed with what I lovingly call a "day job". Led me to be completely oblivious of how much time had passed since the last update.


I'll be posting more often, I swear.

Whoa...deja vu. It feels like I've said that before.

This time...I mean it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Totally Different Kind Of Scary


Wow. This is what an editor let's his assistant write into a short story that gets a green light?


This is the sort of thing that would pretty much be laughed out of the office if submitted by anyone else...and rightly so. A three-way (especially one involving a ring-generated woman) is the domain of porn-ish fanfic.

Friday, October 23, 2009

10 Reasons I Regret My Madden 10 Purchase


  1. They still haven't seemed to get it to where hitting the button to toggle to another defensive player gives you control of the defender nearest to the ball or with the best angle to the ball carrier. Despite knowing this, I continue to make moves as if I was given control of the player I expected to get...only to have my defender embarrassingly flop to the ground away from the play.
  2. I really don't see an improved presentation. Voiceovers are still choppy when they announce matchups. Non-game animations are still very obviously on a static loop. They've added some guy in a suit to introduce the halftime stats from other games. Whoop. Dee. Doo.
  3. The AI for presenting proper commentary during the game has actually regressed. The halftime show just said Baltimore leads New York 21 to 21. Collinsworth remarked how Mark Sanchez was playing just like he has for years in the league.
  4. They've added terrible, frustrating, time-wasting referee huddles on that are triggered even by obvious plays. It loses any charm and dramatic value it may have had when Dustin Keller catches the ball on the 5, trudges three steps into the end zone before being tackled and triggers the refs discussing if he was in or not.
  5. So far, hard counts by my QB are 10-for-10 on triggering a false start if they cause anything to happen. 7 of the 10 coming in one game. That's patently ridiculous.
  6. The soundtrack is disgustingly censored. "Jim" isn't allowed to be followed with "Beam". If I remember correctly, the word "dead" or "died" was censored out of Public Enemy's "Shut Em Down". The Cypress Hill track seemed to have the last word of every line by Sen Dog censored. I mean, what the (what the) is the point including songs that you are going to butcher that badly?
  7. The soundtrack seems to largely be a mish-mashed greatest hits collection of various acts. This is admittedly the most nitpicky of my problems, but I really grew to appreciate their use of newer acts. There have honestly been songs on a Madden soundtrack 1-2 years before they got solid radio rotation.
  8. In this day and age of the Wildcat, you still can't insert another offensive skill player into the 3rd QB spot on the depth chart. Brad Smith, for instance, has been used as a gimmick QB by the NY Jets even before the Wildcat. Heck, he and Cotchery were college QBs. I really don't get the point of limiting who can be slotted into those spots. This, also, goes for the inability to put a tackle-eligible player out on the field. Alright, I haven't tried that one on 10 yet, but if they didn't fix one problem, doubt they got the other.
  9. It appears to really be designed for people making the most of the PS3's HD capabilities. HDTVs are generally widescreen which, I'm guessing, would allow a presentation that lets you see all of your receivers on the screen at once so that you can see coverage for short sideline routes. Sorry if laying out $300+ for my PS3 didn't leave me with a lot of money to upgrade the rest of my A/V setup, fellas.
  10. And the most disappointing factor in my purchase: that the only reason I bought this product was because EA Sports has the exclusive NFL license. My continuing as their customer rewards them for that move, encourages them to continue renewing the license and dooms me to only have more lazy updates of this franchise to buy in the future. Oh, how I miss the ESPN NFL 2K franchise...
On a separate note, I'm kinda disgusted by EA's move to micro-purchases for add-ons. Thankfully, they're mostly for cheats I can live without.

I believe it is part of their moves to take some of the allure out of pirated copies. With other products, they are requiring confirmation codes from a purchased copy to validate your game and receive bits of the game they intentionally left off the hard copy product sold in stores.

With The Sims 3, it is a whole new town added to the game plus access to the Sims Store to purchase furniture, clothing, etc. With Madden, it is activating the Online Franchise mode and cheats for your franchise games. So far, there haven't been successful pirated copies of PS3 games that I'm aware of, so the only function this has specifically on the platform is preventing renters from participating in Online Franchises unless they pay $9.99 to EA. I guess that separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes to renters who want to join your online league; if they spent $9.99, they most likely won't be returning the game and disappearing from your franchise any time soon.

There are some benefits to micro-purchasing when it is done right, but so far it appears that EA is just seeing it as a better way to bleed their customers that cuts out the retailer completely without necessarily providing a cost reduction to the consumer. That never sits well with me.

Oh and FYI for the next time you bitch at a comic book thread being closed...

EA closed a thread saying Madden 10 sucked with the following message:

Everyone's opinion is different. Closing thread.

And I can't even seem to find a way to get to the post that shows the 10 reasons the guy thinks Madden sucks...

God Help Me: I Agree With Tabu


I bought a book I don't normally buy, lured in by the collection of characters on the cover. I know, never a solid reason to buy a book


In addition to normally not buying it, I'd also pretty much avoid reviewing it for reasons that you're either aware of or you're not, but I'm not going into here. Suffice to say you can find that story elsewhere on the blog.

But when I read this Hannibal Tabu mini-review of the book, I had to comment:

Hank Pym's role in "Mighty Avengers" #30 was one of the most insultingly stupid things to happen in comics in years. No question. He has a conversation ... let's just say that he chats with somebody who he should have no right to chat with, gets ascribed a title that makes no sense given that he was kidnapped and hidden away by the Skrulls for years, leaving the alleged role undone and untended. So even while Hercules has some fun lines ("As the Argonauts used to say to the ladies of Crete, welcome aboard!") the pathetic attempt at building Hank Pym up into being somebody past the whiny, identity-switching, wife-beating, wackjob he's been for years just fails.

Yeah, I don't know that I could add too much more to it other than it read EXACTLY like a fanfic by someone who has thought Hank Pym was just the bestest and favoritest of all Staggerin' Stan Lee's creations. You don't see this kind of four-color funny-book fellatio every day.

It's the laziest kind of "let me build up this character in an instant" garbage only seen in the aforementioned fanfic and the shittiest Silver Age books ever scene (particularly a Super Powers mini-series where they had to introduce a character that needed to impress all of the JLA).

It's an idea that was completely flawed from the start. The only thing Christos Gage could have done was just refused to be involved with it so he wouldn't be associated with such an amateur premise. But since Marvel seems to give him a lot of work substitute-scripting on books, I can't blame him for trudging through it.

But wow...other than having a talented Greek writer put a great line in the mouth of a Greek character...there was really nothing redeeming about this book.

(all of this the fault of the Wildstorm twitter account for linking to Tabu giving Ex Machina a "meh")

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Calling Mr. Anonymous

Spoiler haters, don't get your panties in a bunch. I don't plan on running any direct spoilers if I get 'em, like I did with Secret Invasion #1.


Spoiler lovers, relax...I might consider doing something like I did with the second batch of spoilers. Or, yeah, nothing at all.

But anyway...it's all moot unless Mr. Anonymous graces my IM or inbox with his presence again. I'm hoping he might be able to clear up a few whispers I'm hearing about what is on the horizon...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great Scott, The Economy Is Fucked, Isn't It?

So, I'm watching cable news and the Lending Tree commercial with the Adam West voiceover comes on. The idea is that Lending Tree somehow makes the average person a financial super-hero.




So, after shaking my head, once again, at how cornball it is, I start thinking about how over-the-top this country's current love affair with comic book properties is. I mean...using it to advertise something as stiff-collared as financial products?

Then it dawned on me that the last time super-heroes and comic book properties were this popular came about during the Great Depression in the states.


More than being simply something new, they were popular because the population really needed to completely escape from the reality surrounding them. They needed to daydream of being super-human or otherworldly enough that such trivial things as room & board didn't even register on their list of things to be concerned by.


Technology has caught up to the ideas contained in super-hero fiction, so this renewed interest isn't translating into sales of comic books, just licensing of their product for other media.

In 1940, the price of a comic was 10 cents and a movie ticket 24 cents. Today, comic books cost $3-5 a pop. Movie tickets? Well, much like they did in the Great Depression, some chains are finding that they have to reduce prices on tickets to lure in customers and hope they buy items at the concession stand.

Locally, the stadium seating Cinemark has dropped their full price tickets to $6.50 and the outdated one has been locked in at $6 for years (with a matching drop quite possible in the future). Both Cinemark locations have $4 tickets for their matinée showings (start times before 6pm). The AMC theaters in the area (and, I believe, many non-metropolitan areas) have all of their Monday-Thursday tickets (except for Wednesday debuts and 11:59pm Thursday first showings) priced at $5, regardless of showtime.

Now, I'm not trying to renew that ages old "movies/videogames/etc offer more bang for the buck than comic books" argument. I'm just saying that other media can and do offer the same types of stories, making it possible that the public can quench their thirst for escapism without having to change their entertainment consumption habits.

But hey kids: depressions (or really drastic recessions) make the rest of the country appreciate some of the same characters you've loved for years.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stunning What?!?!


I didn't realize this when I finished reading the book, but it hit me much later.


BLACKEST NIGHT: BATMAN #3 of 3

Solicitation reading: "The stunning conclusion arrives!"

While I will grant them stunning (albeit not in the way they meant), I call bullshit on conclusion. A conclusion suggests the end to a story. The issue in question doesn't present an ending, but a really questionable dodge to buy more time for the heroes without even wrapping up the character-specific-zombie subplot.

You'd have expected the mini-series to completely deal with the Blackest Night Grayson/Drake subplots...rather than have them fly away into the night.

Now I can look forward, with dread, to the Blackest Night: Superman final issue set to be in my box, where the subplot will, undoubtedly, fly up, up and away.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ryan Sook On The Atom & Hawkman, BN #6 Only To Ship 12/30

UPDATE: BLACKEST NIGHT #6 will be the only DC Comics book shipping for the week of 12/30. This is the sort of thing that is often done in events when they're clearing the field for major line-wide changes. Is that happening here?


ORIGINAL BLOG: As per Geoff Johns' Twitter account, Ryan Sook is the artist on his contribution to the Blackest Night skip month twist/event.

Johns is excited to work with Sook and I don't blame him. While Sook has had some trouble with getting his best work finished by deadline, he's almost a mortal lock to present something beautiful for a one-shot that gives him lead time.

It is great to see Geoff still getting geeked to work with particular artists. He's already had quite an impressive list of artists he has worked with, including but not limited to Gary Frank, Doug Mahnke, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Dale Eaglesham (anyone left out is an oversight, not a reflection of my opinion of them).

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Milk That Yacht



Sheesh, how much SDCCI footage can you have that you're still rolling out interviews more than two months after it ended?


You have to wonder how relevant and up-to-date a two and a half month old interview can be. I don't know if there was some info that couldn't be made public until now, but, for crying out loud, scrap it and go with something new. Jonah's a great guy and all, but even he says during the interview that this was just announced and Shooter probably didn't have the scope of the project yet.

But I guess it helps fill out the page or something.


Be on the lookout on July 1st, 2010: from the SDCCI 2009 CBR yacht, the interview with John Layman on his reaction to the Gold Key news! The Monday before the convention? An SDCCI 2009 CBR yacht interview with Fabian Nicienza for his reaction, as well.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Spot That Would Have Plugged HAUNT


HAUNT is coming out tomorrow (and with that, I guess I still did plug it here in some way). McFarlane's company sent out an e-mail to press/bloggers with a link to a media kit.


The media kit was over 50mb large. Given how high speed access is becoming more and more common (and probably even more so with people bothering to blog on a regular basis), not so bad.

But why was it so large? .psd files. (Edit: While the .psd files were larger than the rest, they weren't as huge as I would have thought. Still completely useless for posting on many blogs.)

What are .psd files? They are PhotoShop Documents. They are not compressed, so an image in a .psd takes up more memory than a .jpg, for example.

They, also, aren't possible to display on a web page without PHP coding, as far as I know.

If you want the unwashed masses of the blogosphere (like myself) to try to talk up your new release, you'd be best served giving them the goods in a format that will easily work for them.

(Above Haunt cover image included just because I'm a fan of Ottley, dammit!)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Diamond Policies Help Create Competition?

BOOM! Studios just announced an agreement with Haven Distributors. No big deal, right? Probably for one of those secondary or tertiary markets, eh?


Nope.

It's with the Direct Market.

When announced, many immediately recognized that Diamond's new policies regarding minimums would have an adverse effect on O/A (Offered Again) items. Many publishers that aren't moving as many units as DC Comics and Marvel would have very little chance at monthly orders of their back catalog conforming to Diamond's new standards.

Well, here is BOOM! Studios (starting to get recognized as having earned a place at the table with the big boys) striking a deal to get around Diamond on the policy and, it seems, issues with their timeliness of satisfying re-orders.

I could be making much more of this than I should (and I'm sure someone will tell me in the comments if I have), but this can only bode well for giving publishers and retailers more options. For a smaller (?) distributor, second printings of BOOM! Studios' titles (including their hot licensed properties) could be a big deal.

If there is ever going to be a change in the Diamond monopoly, moves like this can be the first baby steps in that effort.

Below is the press release on the move.

For Immediate Release:

BOOM! STUDIOS
ENTERS INTO DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT WITH
HAVEN DISTRIBUTORS




Los Angeles, CA - October 5th, 2009 -
BOOM! Studios is pleased to announce a distribution agreement with Haven Distributors to distribute all second printings of their monthly comics to direct market retailers, this includes not only the core BOOM! Studios line, but also BOOM!'s line of Disney licensed comics published under the BOOM Kids! imprint.


"Retailers have been begging us to get our second prints into their stores at a faster pace for the past year," said BOOM! Studios CEO Ross Richie. "We're happy to be able to offer retailers another choice in getting an important part of our product line to their stores and into the hands of their customers."


The addition of Haven Distributors adds to the growing list of distributors offering BOOM! Studios and BOOM Kids! publications. This past summer, BOOM! Studios announced mass market distribution deals with Simon and Schuster and HarperCollinsCanada, with Simon & Schuster distributing BOOM! Studios and BOOM Kids! line of graphic novels in the United States and HarperCollinsCanada distributing in Canada.

Previous to the addition of Simon & Schuster and HarperCollinsCanada, this past March BOOM! announced a newsstand distribution deal for their BOOM Kids! line through Kable Distribution Services, Inc., best known amongst comic book fans for distributing Archie Comics throughout North America in the United States and Canada.

The entire BOOM! Studios and BOOM Kids! line of publications are offered in the direct market by Diamond Comics Distributors.

Retailers needing more information on how to order from Haven Distributors can call 1-877-HAVEN-50 or sign up on their website here:http://www.havendistro.com/retailers.html

About BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios (www.boom-studios.com) is a unique publishing house specializing in high-profile projects across a wide variety of different genres from some of the industry's biggest talents, including Philip K. Dick's DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, The Henson Company's FARSCAPE, and the original Mark Waid series IRREDEEMABLE. BOOM! recently launched its youth imprint, BOOM Kids!, with Pixar's THE INCREDIBLES, CARS, and TOY STORY, as well as Disney's THE MUPPETS. This year, BOOM! Studios celebrates its fourth anniversary.

About BOOM! Studios
Haven Distributors (www.havendistro.com) was launched in 2008 with the mission of enabling independent comics to succeed in an ever-changing market place. They provide a wide array of comics and related merchandise at competitive discounts with low minimum orders to direct market retailers. They strive to treat both their customers and suppliers as business partners, providing a range of order fulfillment services from wholesale distribution to web store management.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

It's Good To Be The King


So, Dan Didio approved Dan Didio's pitch to handle a Bat-Family book (of sorts) in The Outsiders.


I approach this book with more trepidation than I would if it was a total unknown being handed the reins. Is it because I have that low of an opinion of Didio's writing? No. Well, I did find his Metal Men strip to mimic all the worst qualities of old school comics, but that may have been a function of him writing it as a Sunday-style strip.

No, the trepidation has nothing to do with how good of a writer he may be, but whether he's getting the gig because he has an interesting take that any other writer would have had an approved pitch from or if it is just that, you know, he's the boss of the people who judge the pitch.

Oh wait...I guess that does boil back down to how good of a writer he may be, to some extent. I guess you can say it is a concern on whether he is truly the right guy for the job or he could have transcribed the phone book, submitted it as a pitch and still got the gig.

Over on the above linked The Source blog post, I said in the comments that it is obviously Geo-Force and Steel, but on further inspection, I believe I'm wrong on that (unless I missed when he started rocking the utility belt).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Still Digging Terry Dodson's Work

If only Greg Land wasn't, also, on the title, I'd probably put this book on the ol' pull list. Pity.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big Brass Ones


Let's see...

You just lost your artist to a competing publisher. The writer was overworked and chose this book to drop. You move a writing duo on to the book that has mostly been writing Vertigo stuff and one of the group had their previous super-hero book cancelled for low sales.

Then, before you can get any real sales feedback from the consumers (via retailers adjusting their orders over a few months), you create a spin-off title with the least heralded of the two writers (he of the cancelled super-hero book).

It takes HUGE BALLS to try to bleed the fans left on that book by trusting that enough of them will stick around on the original and buy the new title. I didn't know they allowed wheelbarrows in DC editorial.

Will Anyone Help The Insurance Companies?


Still busy trying to recover, so posting on the blog or writing for the new gig are a bit on hold, but I thought I'd share the above video, seeing as how it reflects how I feel about the healthcare debate.

Hope everyone else is well and reasonably covered by health insurance for now.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

If I Didn't Know, I'd Think This Was Paul Pope Art


Ben Templesmith tweeted a sketch he did of Wolverine that he offered up as line art for any aspiring colorist to practice on. BleedingCool.com reported it here and guessed that it might be a future cover, which Templesmith later shot down.


I know we just had Old Man Logan, but with how much this reminds me of Paul Pope's work, I'd definitely buy a Batman-Year-100 style Wolverine mini with Templesmith on art.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another Comic Book Torrent Site Down?

It has been brought to my attention that Demonoid.com has been down for a few days. Checking throughout the day, I can confirm that it varies from registering as a non-existent site/broken link and having a maintenance message up.


The last time that Demonoid.com was down due to legal concerns that required relocation, they listed it as maintenance issues for a period of time, as well.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Damn Predictive Text

Sorry, Rob, I didn't catch that it defaulted to "Ron". My bad.

So I had the lung fluid drained. Oh, they tell you the lydocaine sting is the worst part, but that's not true. No, the thing they use to drain you that you can feel run against your rib cage is. "You're going to feel a bit of pressure." You fucking think?

They sell you on how it is going to make a miraculous difference.

That's before you get down to the ultrasound and they read you the laundry list of things that could go wrong and a downplaying of how big the difference will be.

I'm really starting to sour on how healthcare professionals inform us patients.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Re: Guess Where Schwapp STILL Is? Pt. Deux

Well, still here. Just found out that I'll be here a day longer than necessary because of incompetence.

I was supposed to have my lungs drained, but they called it off because of the blood thinners I'm on. They knew that when they made the original plan and could have changed it in time, but they didn't.

So now I have a whole new billed day for no good reason. Yes!

And to answer Ron: they explicitly forbid drugs brought in from home. Damn fucking annoying, but they have the slightest real excuse: they can't be sure what I'm really taking. Oh well. So it goes.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Guess Where Schwapp STILL Is?

Hospital? Yup!

1 liver abcess draining, 1 leg blood clot, fluid found on the lungs, 5 CT scans, 2 ultra sounds, 10 x rays, 8 specialists, 5 IVs and over 60 needle punctures.

Oh, and they keep trying to give me welbutrin despite my having told them from the start that I'll resume it at home. From what I can tell, they'd charge me over $6 per pill, which is two times as much as the pharmacy rapes me for on the monthly refill.

I just want to go home healthy and not see this place again for a good long time. I had tried to make payment arrangements for the first bill, but this second is going to make that useless.

Thanks for all the well wishes and, Lucas, as soon as I can not feel like white trash for spending $60 on a game when I'm having all these bills, I'll take that challenge. Might not take as long as you'd suspect since I have little shame. I'm sure there are plenty who can vouch for that! ;)
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Guess Where Schwapp Is?

If you guessed inhospital with worse pain and mostly useless morphine because he developed an abcess that saw his white blood cells spike to 25k (when they should be 10k), a 102 plus fever and chills that made me shake like I was doing the worm?

Give yourself a prize!
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Well, I Guess I'm Alive

A burst appendix, 4-5 days in the hospital, over $20k in medical bills and I'm just now starting to feel comfortable determining I'm actually alive. Not alive and well, but alive, nonetheless.


Last week, I went for my follow-up with the surgeon who saved my life. I figured I'd have to pay for the appointment. When I was given a sheet at the end of the visit that said NC (No Charge), I actually started to tear up. That's what this mountain of medical bills has reduced me to. I asked the admin assistant to tell the doctor that Huxford said he's the best doctor ever and it was all I could do to keep the flood gates from opening. Not having to pay $80 or so dollars led me to want to cry in relief. I can't express how much that is NOT me. Sure, I cry at the end of Old Yeller, but through all the tough financial times I've ever been through, I've never come close to being reduced to tears.

I think I've got a bit of the pneumonia. They warned me it was possible and I thought I did enough of the breathing exercises, but the lungs still feel full of something that shouldn't be there. Redoubling the efforts on the breathing exercises and buying some Mucinex in hopes that it will lead me to some productive coughs to get this crap out.

My contract was technically terminated for about two days. The manager at the company that I'm working my contract at decided that, when I left a voicemail advising him that I had spiked a 101 fever with shakes and chills, which my discharge papers indicated should lead me to return to the emergency room. I apologized for having naively thought I could make it back in last Thursday, but would prefer to stay home and recover a bit more. I acknowledged that, if this put him in a pinch, I would drag myself in and just hope having Friday-Sunday off would minimize any negative impact.

Never heard anything back from him. When I tried to inquire Monday about what the schedule looked like for the evening, I was informed by a colleague that he had been told I had been jettisoned. Gotta love living in a right-to-hire/right-to-fire state, stuck only being able to get work as a contractor and dealing with people that are not only cold-blooded but don't even have the decency to make sure you're told that you're done.

When I reached out to the actual contract company and a few colleagues, I was miraculously restored to being able to work that evening. And I was happy to attend. The sad truth is that I need any chance to generate income right now. That means just going back to work with the guy who was ready to fire me because I needed an extra day to recover from having an organ burst and be ripped out of me. That means not approaching him to try to get an explanation or explain how I didn't mean to leave him in the lurch, for fear of my Irish coming out and getting me fired...again.

I just came home from my second night working. 10 hours total so far for the week. I'm more than a bit lethargic at this time. I move slowly and deliberately right now, both due to babying my abdomen and the lesser lung capacity I feel I have. I was asked to come in early tomorrow and nearly had an anxiety attack over trying to figure out how to explain to them that I'd like to just limit my work this week to the main project I was hired for. It involves reimaging computers, which means I don't have to be all that ambulatory. Work during the day often involves quite a bit of movement and even lifting several heavy objects (like dual monitor stands with the monitors already attached). When I finally mustered up the courage to express my concerns, I had to wonder whether the "I understand: your health is the most important thing right now" would hold up as legitimate. It didn't come from the guy who apparently fired me, but I feel like I can't trust anyone to actually be sincere and understanding of the health issues I have right now.

All that to say: I'm reasonably certain I'm alive...and trying to figure out if that's a good thing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bump that

I'm taking the morphine again. Only negative is constipation, but while I've been off it, I shit the bed twice not my finest moments.
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I can never repay these people

I don't mean that in the high cost of healthcare way.

I came in with a burst appendix two days after the general pain started. Why? Because I was praying it could just be gas and not huge medical bill.

These people saved my life when I had no right to expect such results.

Now I sit here wondering what the world really has against Jello. Seriously, you try having nothing but ice chips for days and see if that doesn't impact your joy from the first spoonful.

I'm going on my first full day off the morphine right now, so I guess that is why thoughts of how long it will be before I can earn a paycheck again are popping up. Yeah, I don't know if I can ever repay them fully, literally or figuratively. I do know I'll never forget all that they've done for me.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

I've become a healthcare statistic

I started feeling the pain on Friday. I rode it out thinking it was gas.

Sunday afternoon, I could no longer deny it had localized to the lower right abdomen.

Sometime between three and seven, my appendix burst.

Working a Corp to Corp IT contract, I'm uninsured. Glad to have been making some money, but this will probably keep me from working for a month and send me to bankruptcy. Catastrophic illness has a way of doing that.

Gotta say I was lucky to have skipped Chicago, though.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm So Buying This


Jason Aaron had me at "I'll be playing with some of the cool toys Morrison created", but this cover art has me ready to stand outside the LCS a minute before the doors unlock.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

SDCC '09: BOOM STUDIOS' Eureka Signing

EUREKA TV SHOW CO-CREATOR
ANDREW COSBY
&
EUREKA'S “NATHAN STARK” ED QUINN
TO SIGN EUREKA COMICS AT COMIC-CON '09



BOOM! STUDIOS BOOTH #2543
FRIDAY JULY 24TH FROM 5-6pm

July 16th, 2009 - Los Angeles, CA— EUREKA TV show co-creator Andrew Cosby and actor Ed Quinn, who played Nathan Stark, will be signing copies of BOOM! Studios smash-hit EUREKA Vol.1 trade paperback and the follow-up EUREKA: DORMANT GENE mini-series at Comic-Con '09 on Friday, July 24th, from 5-6pm only at the BOOM! Studios booth (#2543.)

Told completely in continuity, BOOM!'s EUREKA comics, based on the smash-hit Sci Fi Channel TV show, were masterminded by series co-creators Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia. Ed Quinn starred on the series as the fan-favorite character Nathan Stark for EUREKA seasons one and two. His other credits include TRUE BLOOD, CSI: NY, and HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2.

The EUREKA TV show recently premiered its 4th season to record setting ratings. EUREKA has been consistently the highest rated TV show on the Sci Fi Channel.

EUREKA Vol.1 is by co-creators Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia with script by Brendan Hay (THE DAILY SHOW) and art by Diego Barreto. EUREKA: DORMANT GENE has a story by Cosby and Paglia with script by Jonathan L. Davis (THE DUKES OF HAZARD) and art by Mark Dos Santos

About BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios (
www.boom-studios.com) is a unique publishing house specializing in high-profile projects across a wide variety of different genres from some of the industry's biggest talents, including Philip K. Dick's DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, The Henson Company's FARSCAPE, and the original Mark Waid series IRREDEEMABLE. BOOM! recently launched its youth imprint, BOOM! Kids, with Pixar's THE INCREDIBLES, CARS, and TOY STORY, as well as Disney's THE MUPPETS. This year, BOOM! Studios celebrates its fourth anniversary.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blackest Night #1 Left Me A Little Flat

I know a lot of people are raving about it (which might have led to higher expectations to fall short of, on my part). But this first issue just didn't really come close to wowing me.

A few of the reasons:

  • That trademarked crossover tactic of "look, here are a few panels of what you'll have to read about in other books".
  • The other trademarked crossover tactic of "look, we're launching something here that you'll have to read about in another book".
  • The hurried introduction of so many bits, which is meant to demonstrate the chaotic environment but often just reads as rushing the setup.
  • Unnecessary two page splashes.
  • What feels like a lack of giving me something to grab on to about the source of the Black Lantern threat.
  • Being unable to forget the real world flip-flopping on the status of certain characters between Final Crisis and Blackest Night.
What it really boils down to is that, currently, I'm already as hyped up for this event as I could be. Teasers of what will be happening (much of which has already been spoiled by DC solicitations previously) aren't going to get me foaming at the mouth for the next issue. I'm burnt out on ominous, mysterious evil forces that aren't yet being slowly revealed to the reader, especially after how disappointed I was with Morrison's Mandrakk.

Through today's practice of way too much information about future work being put in front of the eyes of internet trawling fans and the standard practice of how to open the first issue of an event, I put it down being left cold. It feels like I went in expecting the first 1/8th of the "movie", but wound up just seeing an extended "trailer". My excitement/anticipation took a shot to the nuts, even though I feel pretty confident that subsequent issues will be better at living up to expectations. It's a head versus heart thing: logic tells me that this issue is just the necessary evil of setup, but emotion tells me that it should have been able to pack in something that still wowed me. Especially after building up my expectations for so many months.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Oh Dear God No!


Someone tell me this is a joke?

At first glance, I just thought he was returning to the art chores on Batman, working with Judd Winick.

But no: Tony Daniel, the man who made Battle For The Cowl read as even more unnecessary than I had expected, is going to be WRITING & DRAWING BATMAN starting in October.

Winick just got on the book. His previous Batman run was one of the few works from him in recent years that I can't remember anything I didn't like about it. But we're losing him to get Tony Daniel handling the writing and drawing on a book that is meant to be monthly?

Ugh!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Take The Invisible Woman...PLEASE!


Found via a retweet by Kevin Church.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Justice League: Cry For Justice


I was kind of hesitant to talk about this issue, because I bagged on James Robinson pretty hard at the start of his run on the Superman titles. He has since gone on to do much better work.

Justice League: Cry For Justice is not that better work. Reading Jamie Trecker's similar feelings about the issue encouraged me to express my thoughts about it.

This first issue is so formulaic and mechanical. I have a feeling it may have been written before Robinson got his comic book legs back under him. With the painted art and how long ago this project was announced, Robinson may have written this before he had shaken all the dust and cobwebs off.

The way he starts introducing the team's characters would fit better in an 80s book, not just an ongoing series as some have noted. It's, dare I say, hack. I mean, to have all of the characters come around to saying something about justice is just really bad paint-by-numbers stuff. The concept of being proactive (as this Justice League was billed as being when the project was announced) and wanting to focus on meeting out punishment on the criminals and villais of the world doesn't have to be summed up as JUSTICE! by everyone. It feels a bit lazy to do that...and a little too "on the nose" for the book.

The dialogue is really rough, too. I think, to some extent, James forced himself into this situation with some bad choices. He to quickly differentiate the members of this new league being more EXTREME! than the members they were ditching. Green Lantern's tirade seems to, continuity-wise, come from no where. I'm referring to his level of anger with his teammates. It, also, stems from a false premise. That he brings up finding Libra and his gang for what they did to J'Onn does NOT ring true as something that the rest of the league would be against.

It, also, is not "being proactive". In fact, none of the setups show heroes taking the initiative. They're ALL responding to somewhat fresh crimes. This is, of course, not something that makes the story bad. It is a neutral element by itself. But when compared to what the series was advertised to be and how we're to believe the main team wouldn't support going after these people, it stands out in a negative way.

All the heroes seem to be demonstrating is that they're going to be like a 90s "extreme" team. In fact, you might as well have named this Extreme Justice II: Electric Boogaloo. It would make more sense than "Justice League", when you have the leader of the team ridiculing the "League" and "Society" part of team names.

Look, I'm not saying this is how Robinson is going to write the whole mini. I do have some concerns, like others, that the pacing here is off for a seven issue mini. Two issues out of a seven to just introduce the team? Ugh. But if the meat of the story was written or updated after James Robinson got back into the swing of things, I'm virtually certain that the rest of the series will be much better.

These first issues might read better when they're part of a trade, but it won't improve the tactics Robinson has chosen to use. Hopefully, there will be something to demonstrate a believable reason as to why the same bad guys everyone else is going after would want to slaughter Congorilla's tribe...and that it won't just mimic what Gail Simone did with Catman for the Villains United mini.

The artwork is neither great or terrible to me. It is more than servicable to the story. Aside from maybe one panel of Superman, there's no point during the reading where I sit up and take notice. So...all you get about it is the preceding three sentences.

If I wasn't starved for some kind of Justice League story allowed to breathe better than they've let McDuffie or hadn't seen improvement from Robinson on other titles, this issue would NOT lead me to purchase the next. In all honesty, I still might not buy the next issue, but just wait for the trade. If the second issue is like the first, I can just see myself not enjoying it and then looking at $8 paid for misery, all in an act of faith that #3-#7 will be much better.

Monday, June 29, 2009

BleedingCool.com's JLA Scoop

Rich Johnston is reporting on DC planning to make Vixen the focus of one of the JLA titles, once they get to launch the Johns/Lee Justice League of America run (which will be the book boasting Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman).
 
My take, as posted in his comments section:
 
1. The previous times they had multiple JLA series, they were all filled with B Teams of heroes, for the most part. JL/JLI had Batman for a short time. They were successful despite having characters that generally couldn't keep their own series afloat (Booster, Beetle, Capt Atom, etc).
 
2. Other times when they have followed the "start with Big Seven, then begin diluting and replacing with minor characters", there was only one series and it became known to fans as JLDetroit. They had to add Batman back to the fold in a desperate move to boost sales, but it was too little too late.
 
3. This seems like, potentially, one of the best ways to try to popularize minor characters through the JLA brand. If Robinson stays on a JLA title after Johns gets his (or another writer that Johns has an excellent working relationship with), I can really see enough interweaving of stories and characters to help keep the B Team version from scraping the bottom of the sales barrel, much the same way that Johns/Robinson/Rucka/Gates have managed to have their tide raise all boats in the Superman titles.
 
I think this could work out really well, as I imagine even the title with the "Big Three" will have some "minor" characters peppered in. This bodes well for some underused characters that never really met their potential getting a chance to showcase in BOTH of the JLA titles. If Johns' run on JSA shows us anything, it is that he loves to reach back for old characters/legacies and reach forward for some, as well (Magog, Starman, etc). Robinson has shown a flair for the eclectic selection as well, given his Cry For Justice line up. Congorilla? C'mon...who can't get jazzed to see what off-the-wall pick either writer is going to strike gold with?

Friday, June 26, 2009

At Least Somebody's Lowering Prices...


ARCHAIA UNVEILS NEW QUARTERLY $9.95 HARDCOVER PROGRAM

BEGINS WITH THE AUGUST RELEASE OF ‘THE ENGINEER: KONSTRUKT’


Los Angeles, CA (June 29, 2009) – In a focused effort to give new readers an opportunity to discover Archaia’s unique library of titles, the publisher announced today a program to offer one new hardcover every quarter for the recession-friendly price of $9.95. Kicking off the venture will be the Vol. 1 hardcover collection of the acclaimed science-fiction thriller mini-series, The Engineer: Konstrukt, which will be available this August.

Keeping with Archaia’s tradition of publishing high-quality, high-concept titles, The Engineer: Konstrukt, co-created by Brian Churilla and Jeremy Shepherd, tells the story of a reluctant hero who frantically races to defeat an ancient creature eating away at the very fabric of space and time. To do so, he must travel across dimensions and put together the scattered pieces of the Konstrukt, an old-world technology that allows the user to manipulate reality itself.

Dave Baxter from Broken Frontier says, “The Engineer: Konstrukt is yet another out-of-the-park homerun hit for Archaia…the story is very, very fun [and] wholly entertaining.”

“In the great tradition that [Publisher] Mark [Smylie] started back in 2002, Archaia is still fully committed to bringing our fans the best quality product from cover to cover. And now with the $9.95 quarterly hardcovers, we are providing the best product for the best value,” boasted PJ Bickett, Archaia President. “We are very fortunate that scheduling allowed us to start this program with The Engineer. Churilla and Shepherd are an amazing team and the book is just pure entertainment from start to finish!”

Archaia plans to release the next $9.95 hardcover in the fourth quarter of 2009. That title will be announced at a later date.

The Engineer: Konstrukt Ordering Information

To see a preview of The Engineer: Konstrukt, visit http://archaia.com/the_engineer.php.
Diamond Item Code MAY090650
ISBN: 1932386548
ISBN-13: 9781932386547
The Engineer: Konstrukt contains mild violence and is recommended for ages 10 and up.

About Archaia

Founded in 2002, Archaia has built an unparalleled reputation for producing meaningful content that perpetually transforms minds. With a slate including such popular Eisner-Award winning titles as Mouse Guard and The Killer, as well as Awakening, Gunnerkrigg Court, Robotika, Killing Pickman, Artesia and the Publisher’s latest additions of Titanium Rain, God Machine,Roddenberry Productions’ Days Missing, and The Jim Henson Company library, Archaia has become synonymous with quality content. For more information on Archaia or any Archaia titles please visit www.Archaia.com.