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'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.


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?


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:


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:

About BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios ( 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 ( 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).