Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So Sad

It's one thing when someone cracks open a Free Comic Book Day offering before the embargo is over and starts talking spoilers.

But having it scanned and up on torrent sites?

Just terrible. It is stuff like this that confirms that someone who would seem to have their livelihood revolve around people PAYING for their comics is involved in their online piracy.

So sad.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm No Good At Voting With My Wallet

So the Wolverine movie comes out this week.

1. Leaked copies have been SAVAGED by fans.
2. From what watchers of the leaked copies have indicated, they've turned one fan favorite character into a walking, talking (?) cluster fuck.
3. Rumors of multiple endings (ala CLUE) are somewhat worrisome when used as an indicator of quality.
4. Swine flu epidemic doesn't exactly encourage one to attend a packed showing of a blockbuster movie.

What will I be doing at 12am Thursday night/Friday morning?

Watching X-Men: Origins: Wolverine.

So, you know, they'll think I'm voting for them to do something exactly like this again. Sorta like X-Men 3 & Spider-Man 3.

Ugh. My addiction to seeing summer popcorn flicks

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If You See Wade Wilson, Give Him My Condolences

Friday, April 24, 2009

At What Point Will It Stop?

Putting a public figure into your story is one thing. You can argue for fair use and parody. Great.

But at what point do people realize a line is being crossed and a backlash start up?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lucas Has Inspired Me

Lucas Siegel put up an AMAZING blog post about how fucked up "comic book journalism" can be. If you haven't read it yet, please do so immediately and then please come back.

(in borrowing from Mr. Siegel's opening, though he inspired me to post this, nothing I say in this post is officially endorsed, corroborated or agreed upon by Lucas)

Let me add an example to just how fucked up the kind of control that companies want to have over content.

I was covering a panel at a convention. Let's say it was in NYC. It was a pre-public opening panel where the top dogs at major publishers were talking about the state of the industry.

One particular big wig made mention of plans to offer comics digitally online in the not-so-distant future. Someone nearby to me asked me to confirm that I had just heard the same thing (which, of course, I did). They, also, checked with a gentleman sitting behind him, who just so happened to be a marvelous PR representative from the same publishing company that was currently being represented at the podium.

And so it was established that three people heard the exact same declaration from a major publisher about their upcoming Digital Comics. Unbelievable, right?

What? You don't think it is unbelievable that three people confirmed hearing something that was clearly said?

Oh...I forgot to tell you: it wasn't said. Nope. I was informed by a third party hours later that what we heard said ON MIC AT THE PODIUM OF A PANEL ONLY FOR INDUSTRY INSIDERS AND MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA wasn't said. Nope. Damn that tinitis. I never knew it could make me hear imaginary statements of a publishing plan that didn't exist.

One of the worst things about this incestuous set up? That when, miracle of miracles, a site defies a request to pull something, because they received the info from a reliable source that was not part of any privileged information they received directly from the publisher...some publishers spread false accusations of that site breaking an agreement to some true believers that then take that info and Beat it like a drum.

That's right: there are plenty of people out there that are all too happy to shit on the next site on behalf of a publisher, both for how it might make them seem better in comparison and stave off the publisher from putting the screws to them for something in the future.

By the way: while I'm sure you can divine which publisher the particulars above refer to, I am in no way suggesting that other publishers don't pull the same garbage. I just don't have first person experience with it from them.

I'm A Dumb Ass (A Review Of CAIRO)

Yup. I make no argument against it. I really am.

Before getting too happy about that admission, you might want to know why I'm saying such a thing about myself.

I just finally finished reading CAIRO. I bought it shortly after it came out. I think I pre-ordered it purely on the basis that it was written by a muslima.

Sometimes I procrastinated in reading it. Other times, it got lost in piles of stuff in the living room or bedroom (I live in a cluttered hell of my own creation).

I found it to be an enjoyable read. Not all of the characters get a chance to be fully fleshed out, but they all get at least enough to serve the story.

One of the difficulties I had with it is, as a muslim, I've often thought about writing stories that use the fantastical elements of Islam. But I always cringe at how it tends to come out so weak.

I say weak because the concepts are not my own, as they come from Islam. I say weak because it often feels like I'm writing an Islam Primer, because I'm explaining concepts to a hypothetical reader that are so basic and common knowledge to any muslim.

Ms. Wilson shows me, with CAIRO, that it is my thinking on the subject that was weak. I was looking at it as if I was representative of the majority of the audience when I'd clearly be in the minority. Being a muslim, I believe that I may not have been as wowed by some of the elements of fantasy on display in CAIRO as a non-believer may have, but it did clearly demonstrate to me that what many would refer to as Islamic "mythology" can be utilized for a story sold to a mainstream audience without it being filled with cringe moments.

I was still pretty conscious of the moments where the reader had to be brought up to speed on some basic ideas regarding spirituality and mysticism in Islam. That's where the "I'm not really the intended audience" realization has to kick in and get me to get past it without losing/wasting any of the story's momentum.

Morality plays are another thing that often make me cringe. They're so hard to pull off with any subtlety. When they involve faith (and particularly your readers' chosen faith), the degree of difficulty is increased. And here's why I felt the need to write about this book (however ineloquently) tonight and felt like a dumb ass for having waited this long to get around to reading it.

I wept.

I wept at the same moment that tears streamed down Ali Jibreel's face.

I wept at the minimalist (yet direct) way that a talented muslima articulated a wish that so many a believer has had.

I wept as I had, in no small measure, my faith renewed. Inshallah, I'm not the only one.

It was then that I realized that maybe I was more this book's audience than I thought.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Must Buy This Wednesday

The second part of the Gaiman/Kubert "Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?" comes out on Wednsday. Finally. I hope to review the completed story sometime this week. Putting up some reviews on this damn blog is long overdue.

By the way: is it me or doesn't the above cropped panel look like it could have been drawn by Rags Morales? I know it wasn't, but I don't know that I'd bat an eye if I saw it in a Rags book.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Len Wein Update: Not Exactly What I Had In Mind...

I pledged to post an update as soon as I heard of anything organized to help Len Wein recover from the house fire that has taken so much away from him and his family.

Rebuilding his comic collection is a start, even if it isn't exactly what I was thinking of. But, the more you think about it, the more you realize that it is sometimes the little, intensely personal things that make the most difference to your mental health after such a loss.

Mark Evanier is doing the honors of handling the donation process. Take a gander over at the page dedicated to the project and see if you have any books on the list to send.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Josh Middleton On Cover Creation Process

It's pretty fascinating to see the different steps in the progression of a cover for Middleton and his advice to aspiring artists.

As If It Needed To Get Better...

Doug Mahnke added to the event of 2009, Blackest Night? You already had me. Now I need a Blackest Night bib to catch the drool.

Come to think of it, though, part of me wishes they put Mahnke on something else that could use the added attention. Of course, if they did, I might have just complained that they didn't put a big enough name on the book in his place. From finishing up Final Crisis to the heart of Blackest Night, maybe Mahnke is finally going to get treated

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wow. We're All Being PUNISHED.

That's just terrible. The only thing that could have been worse is if some magazine had done the same thing with Carlos Mencia.

(Hat tip to Kevin Church, who tweeted the link to Idolator)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Joe Quesada Tweets Submission Tips

These are tweets from Twitter, folks. Start at the bottom of the page and work your way back up.

  1. What form does that submission take and how long or short should it be? Therein lies your answer.
  2. Put yourself in the position of the editor who is overworked and getting hundreds or subs.
  3. If we like what we see, we'll ask you to show us the rest.
  4. But even with that, keep it simple, 11-22 pages or so. We don't need six issues, we just need to see your best.
  5. Artist and writers are coming together to show off their talents and printing their own mini comics. These make it much easier for Editors.
  6. Brian Bendis is the master of this, produced his own stuff and worked it well. Got read and got in. Now he is king ;-)
  7. Having something in comic form, an ashcan, what have you, is the easiest. Today with the global community, this is easier to do than before
  8. Now, all this said, sending in a writing submission like this is a very difficult way to get discovered. Having something in print is easier
  9. These don't have to be fleshed out but go a very long was as they show us just how creative and prolific you can be.
  10. If you consider yourself someone who has great high concepts, you can also include several high concepts along with you initial pitches.
  11. This will show us your range.
  12. I'd recommend perhaps two or three samples like this. Pick a different character or team of characters. Add variety to the mix.
  13. Then, give us a scene with panels, action and dialog so that we can get an idea of how you would handle scripting. About 3-5 pages of comic
  14. Follow this with a three-paragraph breakdown of the three acts in your story. If you can't do this rethink your story.
  15. If you can't distill it down to one two sentences, then it's not going to work. Trust me, this is very tough to do, you'll be surprised.
  16. Give us a one or two sentence pitch of your story. In other words, “The High Concept.”
  17. Start by thinking of a 22 page, told in one story. This is much harder than you may think.
  18. This is what our monthly writers have to do. Yes, they reinvent from time to time, but most often they're playing with the toys as they are
  19. This is what separates the men from the boys, women from girls. Work within the parameters, what can you do, can you make it interesting?
  20. Pick a character, lets say Spidey, and show us a pitch for a Spidey story as he exists in current continuity and current cast.
  21. If you get a gig at Marvel and steady work, then later we'll be interested in your higher concepts. But when breaking in, keep it simple.
  22. What we want to see is how you handle our characters as they exist right now. Example: don't redefine Wolverine, just write Wolverine.
  23. This is a waist of time. We don't want to see that from you at this stage in the game.
  24. Too often writers want to send us an idea on how to reinvent or interpret an old character, or a concept for a big event.
  25. In many cases it may never get read at all. My advice is the same as for artist, keep it short and sweet.
  26. No matter how you look at it, a Brubaker script will always be at the top of the pile of stuff to read.
  27. Editors are busy and have scripts that have to be published that take precedence over everything else, so your sub is going to have to wait.
  28. Okay, now that that's out of the way - -
  29. This is simply because a writer can produce more work in a given month than an artist can.
  30. However, while it’s harder to break in as a writer, if and when you do, you have a better opportunity to make more money than an artist.
  31. So, first and foremost, it's much harder for writers to get looked out. That''s the hard truth.
  32. We're trying to get our house in order and come back with a better submissions system and hopefully be able to avoid backlog in the future
  33. First let me make clear that because of a huge still unread stack of submissions, Marvel is currently not looking at new writer submissions.
  34. I'm going to keep this as short as possible and pick it up on another day. Consider this installment #1
  35. Okay kids it's time to give some tips for writers who want to break in. Get your pens and pads ready and call your pals, we're starting in 5

Blackest Night #1 Final Cover

God help me, I almost titled this "Final Night".

Cameron Stewart For Batman & Robin Co-/Fill-In-Artist

Sketch found over on Cameron's blog (and via tweet he sent out a few days ago). There's, also, an Umbrella Academy related sketch in his recent postings.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Reason 1,394,762 Why I Hate Reality TV

From Vulture over at New York Magazine:

FOX TO MAKE LAYOFFS ENTERTAINING Fox takes another bold step towards live televised executions today with the announcement of Somebody's Gotta Go, the first-ever reality show (as far as we're aware) that each week will visit a different small business affected by the recession and let employees vote on who among them should be laid off. "It's Survivor meets The Office," says Mike Darnell, the reality-TV asshole behind such classics as Joe Millionaire, Temptation Island, and the aborted O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here's How It Happened.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Dodsons' Dark X-Men Cover In Stages

Monday, April 06, 2009

SCHWAPP!!!@TheMovies: WALL-E

Just saw that Amazon has a great deal going on the Blu Ray version of the movie ($14.99 vs. $24.99 everywhere else) and thought I'd pass it along.

Update: Ugh...don't bother playing the review video above at the moment; just found out I have to clear a dispute over the audio track. Will update when resolved.

Update 2: Audio track restored!

The Cloak & Dagger Troll Situation

From Lying in the Gutters:

Last week, one particular troll spent some time masquerading identities online and stating that D’Orazio had got both Flores and Warren fired off the title. This was summarily dismissed by all parties. But there was something going on.

I didn't see where either denied it, but I probably just missed it. I did see Emily Warren deny that it was her that posted the comment on the Robot Six. Her Twitter simply said that she doesn't talk about business online at all, not that the claims weren't true.

I'm not suggesting the claims are or were true. I'm just saying that the comment I read was distinctly different than a summary dismissal. There must be some other source for Rich indicating it was dismissed by all parties, I guess.

Justice League: Cry For Justice

Gotta love whoever comes up with these titles. But here's the "prelim" cover (though the file is named coverfinal.jpg) for the James Robinson originally-announced-as-an-ongoing-series-then-mysteriously-made-a-mini-series Justice League book that feels about a year late. The art is by Mauro Cascioli, who finished up the Trials of Shazam after Howard Porter was pulled due to injury, I believe.

Tragedy For Len Wein & Family

From CBG Extra:

According to early reports from Harlan Ellison, a fire April 6 at the home of comics writer Len Wein and his wife, Christine Valada, has destroyed at least half the house, along with the original art for the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1 and the original pages from Incredible Hulk #181, the first appearance of Wolverine. The couple's dog was also killed in the fire.

A cause has not been officially determined at this time and no announcement of what anyone can do to assist has been made.

Thoughts and prayers go out, obviously. As soon as there is any word on a way to help out the Weins, I'll pass it along here.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Scalped #31 Cover By Jock (B/W Version)

Jock shared the cover via Twitter this morning and, as a fan of his work, I thought I'd pass it along.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Museum Quality, Eh?

Looks a little bit rough, to me. Of course, I think they may have limited their audience a bit by including the woodland creature green lantern.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Not What Marvel Had In Mind

Marvel released the above cover image in hopes of teasing one of their upcoming projects. Nothing was said about who was working on it or what it truly was.

This led to somebody (and it was primarily ONE somebody, as JK Parkin notes) decided to turn it into a smear campaign against Valerie D'Orazio. The appearance of Cloak & Dagger led people to say that the Cloak & Dagger mini might be scuttled and then to say that this morphed out of that project. Then someone pretending to be Emily Warren (but certainly not her) said that Valerie got her and Christina Strain fired.

Meanwhile, Christina tweeted to agree with one bit comment from the thread: "As I said, you can tell a lot from a person by their fans. Draw whatever conclusions from that you may."

So, a teaser image helps lead to accusations of a new female writer with a controversial blogging history getting two other females fired from Marvel. I'm thinking they wish they included just a touch more detail with that release.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

UPDATE: Does This Look Rushed?

I'm just saying: Batman...major event...variant cover...and you have your both-writing-and-drawing-artist producing the variants. You're probably going to get a loss of quality somewhere in the whole thing. Writing was a given. But when the cover doesn't look as perfect and shiny as you'd expect DC to use to sell a big project, that's a bit alarming.

UPDATE: The above was referenced in the comments section.

YKW suggests that this may have been rushed from the production side. I'd still contend that it might have gone past getting inked because of delays from the artist. There are other indication of pencil artist lateness in the book, I believe. I don't have it in front of me, but I recall there being multiple inkers on #2.