Saturday, May 29, 2010

That's Gotta Hurt The Library Defense

So, the man behind is now being sued into forfeiting the domain names he used for his many acts of copyright infringement. I imagine this is just one of the many steps along the way when it comes to dealing with Gregory Hart.

But I find something funny and puzzling:

He told (copyright holders) he designed the website, and although he did not personally own the comics being displayed, he received digital image files from people who scanned the comics and posted them on his website, the lawsuit says.
I remember him saying it in previous statements across the 'net, but to state this directly to the publishers is to put it on record for any legal proceedings, basically. A library owns at least one legal copy of everything in their library. Any donation to a library involves giving up the legitimate copy of a work. If publishers had legally available electronic copies and those donating individuals gave the files to the site and then wiped them from their own computers, maybe the library argument would make a bit more sense, whether it worked or not.

(hat tip to Kevin Melrose over on Robot6 for the news link used)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't Let Your Cats Out On The Streets

I'm practically all talked out on how bad the Justice League of America books are lately. I am pretty much just as sapped when it comes to the Rise & Fall stuff.

But then this issue of JLA: The Rise & Fall of Arsenal comes out and, well, it's so bad that it is impossible to have nothing to say.

I still don't have the energy to really go and say a whole lot about how bad this is. Nothing can really top the blow-by-blow shredding of the book by retailer Brian Hibbs (that's right: a retailer shitting on the book on the date of release). But I'll share this image to give you a sense of how bad the book is.

And I'll, also, say this: for a book that doesn't have any reason to be especially timely, it sure had a lot of people scrambling to work on it. There are noticeable shifts in the art. Without this issue's deadline having major effects on other books coming out, my first guess would be changes. What I'm saying is, for one reason or another, it seems there was editorial feedback that guided and changed the final product...yet this steaming turd is still what hit the stands.

I think I saw one JT Krul book in the last few months that seemed passable, making me want to hold off on grouping his work with that of James Robinson's recent JLA stuff. All that did was delay the inevitable, because this Arsenal stuff makes Cry For Justice look like it deserves its award nomination.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

DC Comics 75th: Best Covers: Justice League Annual #1

Background be damned, I love this cover. I'll admit that Martian Manhunter being the focal point is a huge part of its appeal to me. How it fits the story and sells the desperation felt in the story are what I'd suggest as its real merits in the discussion of best DC Comics covers, though.

DC Comics 75th: Best Covers: Superman Annual #11

Maybe I'm letting my fondness for the story between the covers color my opinion of the cover, but as a kid who almost never bought Superman comics, this cover really caught my eye and made it a must buy for me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ryan Choi Lives!

Gotta love folks taking lemons and making a parody-filled lemonade out of it.

The Ian Boothby Rules Everything thread on CBR (in Gail Simone's YABS forum) is filled with many good examples.

(image taken from Tim Seeley's twitpic contribution to the meme)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Know, I Half Expected Them To ARMAGEDDON 2001 It

Mr. Anonymous had it right way back when I reported his spoilers about who the Red Hulk was. After they dragged it out and even had a scene or two meant to throw you off from thinking it was him, they actually stuck to it. That, in itself, is a bit shocking.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thiefs & Dynamite & Journalism

Before I start: I consider Troy Brownfield to be a personal friend. He conducted the interview of Pat Lee that appeared on Newsarama and has drawn a bunch of criticism.

Let's go over the points of criticism.

Why was Pat Lee was only asked one softball question about his past problems of using other artists' work passed off as his own and leaving so many people unpaid (covered by simply asking him about past controversy)?

Any more direct question wouldn't have been answered and may have resulted in the interview not taking place at all. While some suggest that not running an interview with Pat Lee was the better option, I question that. Why not run it? To avoid publicizing it? You mean like a few other sites (Broken Frontier, CBR, ICV2, The Beat) did by running full press releases with little-to-no editorializing?

So, instead of just copying and pasting PR straight from the publisher, an interview was conducted. A question that tried to introduce the topic was offered, giving us the chance that Pat Lee might answer it, rather than shrug it off.

Oh and a second "softball" was kinda put to him: "Nrama: At this stage of your career, does Pat Lee have something to prove?"

Seems to me like this was an attempt to bring up the fact that so much of "his" work hasn't actually been done by him. A subtle "do you need to prove that you DON'T need Alex Milne" if you will.

So Pat Lee gets 1-2 "softball" questions about his past fuck ups. That's 1-2 more questions on the subject than he's received and answered from other sites, so far. That's getting him on the record as trying to avoid his past instead of answer for it and redeem himself, which says just about as much as any bullshit he would have popped out with if he HAD been pressed and, through some miracle, actually answered the questions rather than killing the interview.

Yet, somehow, about 1/3 of the bitching post-interview from fans and the blogosphere is about Troy & Newsarama even conducting the interview, rather than Pat Lee being a responsibility-dodging douche and someone Dynamite Entertainment shouldn't have given another chance to.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Dodsons' Uncanny X-Men 526 Cover, In Stages



Colors (in progress)

Terry & Rachel Dodson are still one of my favorite art teams in the business. I always appreciate when they share their work in the different stages of the process so can see the metamorphosis from pencils to finished cover. 

RIP Frank Frazetta

I'd Love To Be A Fly On A DC Comics Wall

So, Timothy Callahan tweeted last night that folks wouldn't want to miss his Joe Casey interview today.

Boy, was he right!

Casey apparently feels he got fucked over royally by DC Comics on the last issue of his Superman/Batman arc. About half of the issue was done by a "co-writer". A new pencil artist (not the one solicited or named on the cover) was used and four inkers needed. In case you're new to things, cases of that many inkers are normally evidence of a rush job. Looks to me like the pencil artist change might have been after Ardian Syaf had started on it or, once they realized the cluster fuck that the re-write would lead to, they wanted to immediately move Syaf to a more promising project.

Casey doesn't call out exactly who the problem at DC Comics was. Assistant Editor Rex Ogle? Editor Eddie Berganza? Someone higher than that?

I've seen some messes come out of Berganza's office and read about some complaints, but nothing on this level. So I'm extremely curious what the full story is behind this.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Color Artists & Royalties

There was quite the discussion on Twitter last night. I took a small part in it.

The topic? Whether color artists deserve to be include in royalty payments for their work.

Erik Larsen asserted that they do not. While writers and pencil artists generate sales, color artists do not.

I'll probably put together a blog of highlights of some of the biggest contradictions from Larsen and best points from the cast of characters opposing him (Kurt Busiek, Dave McCaig, Alex Sinclair, Chris Sotomayor and more).

One of the problems with Larsen's position, from my point of view, that he keeps referring to art when he's only means the work of the pencil artist. He'll say that readers only care that the art looks good, without seeming to acknowledge that the color work plays a part in how good the art looks.

I asked: "Do you not agree that there are some high profile artists that rely a lot on the colorist's work? (w/o naming names)"

He responded: absolutely--BUT I think that rates a bigger page rate.

That seems to acknowledge that color artists sure make a really important contribution to the art that "moves the needle". For some reason, it justifies up-front payment, but not royalties.

Larsen at times "cries poor" for the hypothetical publisher, which I don't get. The up-front rate is completely out of the publisher's pocket, regardless of results. The royalties only pay out after a profit is made. Seems like it would be difficult for royalties to ever be the reason a publisher goes under.

He, also, uses a movie analogy that the artist (he means pencil artist) is the director while the colorist (color artist) is the lighting. Couldn't imagine a more insulting analogy, personally.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Erik Larsen: Pro-Piracy?

During the run up to the shutdown of HTML Comics, Erik Larsen stated on Bleeding Cool:

I hope this site is never shut down. It is awesome--and it's turned me on to several books that I never knew existed. I'm buying more back issues and trades because of it--and for guys who're working on books at these companies--it's an incredible resource to be able to go back and read the continuity of these characters.

Wow. Pro-piracy site statements from the man who ran Image Comics? After purportedly successfully having his comics pulled from the site by his own request to the proprietor?

You know, it is one thing when ignorant fans make the claim that the potential increased attention and sales that piracy can generate is more important than it being, you know, illegal. But a member of the industry as important as Erik Larsen? Wow.

While I was putting this together, Rich Johnston tweeted a link to his article that puts together all the positive stuff said about the site by Erik Larsen and details as to why Image wasn't part of the group that was mentioned in the press release.

He, also, says he apparently was responsible for the crack down, though it largely seems to be stated facetiously. In March of 2009, after Newsarama brought attention to it, the man behind HTML Comics was on FindLaw asking for more advice about his enterprise, mentioning that the publishers had been harassing him (link found on Colleen Doran's blog). So, to all of you calling Rich a douche for getting the site closed down, I say: find someone else to blame.

The Answer? About 20 Days

On April 3rd, I asked How Long Until This Gets Shut The Fuck Down about HTML Comics, a site making whole comics available for viewing in your web browser for free.

Then Rich Johnston covered it several days later.

Of course, Lucas Siegel covered it over a year before either of us.

But, according to a press release, it was only shut down on April 22.

I know a lot of you out there are pro-torrents and other illegal methods of reading comics free on the 'net and just think those of us who get outraged at this stuff are just tools of our corporate masters, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan. But as much as the profits lost for the corporations are the bigger numbers, the complete denial of possible royalties to the creators would be the more important factor involved. I know it is why this stuff bothers me, personally, when I see it happen in such ridiculous fashion.

Johanna Draper Carlson's angle seems to suggest that the publishers targeting such sites is a pathetic alternative to coming out with their own competing offering. Seems off the mark to me. If I were a publisher, I'd want to try to clear as much of the illegal competition out before ramping up my version.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Is The Monopoly Ending?

There have been a few rumblings of late regarding Diamond, Steve Geppi (the man behind the company) and the Geppi financial issues. Checker cited, as its reason for breaking with the distributor, the murky personal situation with Geppi that was likely to impact the business.

Now we see BOOM! Studios making their new releases available through Haven (previously only a backlist source) at the deepest discount available?

This is the start of something...

For Immediate Release:


Skokie, IL - May 5th, 2010 - Haven Distribution is proud to announce the deepest discount option available to Direct Market retailers for BOOM! Studios and BOOM Kids! titles.
Starting with BOOM!'s July-shipping books, Direct Market retailers will be able to buy the full line of BOOM! products at 50% off cover. Retailers now have another distribution option to receive the entire line of newly-shipping BOOM! Studios and BOOM Kids! titles and receive the best discount on these books available! In addition, BOOM!'s complete backlist of single issues and trade paperbacks will also be available to order from Haven with that same deep discount.  
Haven Distribution now joins Diamond Comics Distributors in offering the complete line of BOOM! products.
“I am proud to let the Direct Market know that they can order frontlist BOOM! titles at a steeper discount than our competitors and we have no 3% reorder penalty on backlist items," said Haven Distributors Director Lance Stahlberg. "Since we started carrying select BOOM! titles last October, Direct Market retailers have been begging us to expand our offering to BOOM's complete line. We are pleased to announce that now retailers will be able to get the best discount possible on newly- shipping BOOM! titles and be able to order BOOM! backlist single issues, and BOOM! trade paperbacks at a great discount also."
For July shipping BOOM! titles, Haven will be accepting orders starting May 5th. On that date, BOOM!'s full backlist of singles and trades will also be made available.
This newly-struck deal serves as an expansion of the distribution agreement BOOM! announced with Haven last October for second printings and specialty items.  
Haven Distributors is just one of a growing list of distributors offering BOOM! Studios and BOOM Kids! publications. This past summer, BOOM! Studios announced mass market distribution deals with Simon & 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, last 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 also 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 Haven Distributors
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.

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 Eisner nominated Philip K. Dick’s DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, The Henson Company’s FARSCAPE, and the Eisner nominated original Mark Waid series IRREDEEMABLE. BOOM!’s children publishing imprint BOOM Kids! publishes titles such as Pixar’s THE INCREDIBLES, CARS, and TOY STORY, as well as Disney’s Eisner nominated THE MUPPETS, DONALD DUCK, UNCLE SCROOGE and WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Obvious Viral Is Obvious

Look, I get that companies figure viral is where it is at for getting a buzz going.

But when it is obvious? When it isn't particularly well done?

Not so effective.

Anyway, here's the link to Radical's attempt to get some buzz going for a game. Apparently an iPhone game.

Radical is a fine company. I enjoy a lot of their product. But a fake "intern" sharing secret info using a link meant to mimic the "you send it" file-sharing sites? Not really going to fool many folks. Might as well just pass the info directly to the places you want covering it, without the charade.

Monday, May 03, 2010

A New Low (updated)

When an internet message board troll who has practically made Didio-bashing a profession gets written into a DC Comics issue to be beaten and embarrassed, I think the people who published that product should be more ashamed than the target.


"Harold Winer".

Who goes on to become "Herald".

A shot at a message board poster who obsesses over D-level and lesser characters on the 'net, with the user name of Herald.

Who happens to be black just like the character in the book.

Who has gotten into arguments with DC Comics creators and had one say that he is well known in the DC offices, where he is regularly laughed at.

Sadly, if you remove this thinly veiled shot at a reader from the equation, the writing involved in making this "Harold Winer" character is even worse. But the thought process behind actually using 5 pages (and possibly more to come) to take a shot at a hater is just impossible for me to come to grips with.

We want to argue that the online fan presence is a vocal minority, right? I've actually started to embrace that idea more over the last year. But when members within that group can have such an effect on you that you have to devote pages to taking them down? Makes me wonder how much the people behind the scenes believe it.

Addendum: Just to add in a few things based on all the internet chatter mentioning the long existing character named Herald and that they feel it is a bit much to draw the conclusion that this is a shot on an internet poster.

The original Herald is now called Vox and doesn't require a horn, this is true. It is possible that this character will become a new Herald in the DC Universe. Sure, the horn doesn't seem to be of the same origin as the one the previous Herald used, but anything is possible  (apparently, this is familiar enough to how Mal Duncan received the horn way back when). I did leave this character's existence open-ended.

But "Harold Winer" and protestations that he "would not change one thing" about a D-list character who is so wounded by the character changing, turned into a character named Herald...I'm saying there is a helluva lot of smoke there. Potentially being turned into a new Herald doesn't negate the possibility that this is a shot at Didio hater. Superboy/man Prime became a somewhat better constructed comment on general fanboy complaining; his continued existence and being some form of legacy character (depending on your definition) doesn't change the meta elements.

Tony F-ing Harris: My New F-ing Hero

I've always been a fan of work Tony Harris does. Haven't had any contact with him at conventions or anything of the sort. Might have read one interview with him on a site or in a magazine.

But tonight he vaulted to the top of my list of favorite creators on the strength of one word repeated many times: UNION.

we NEEd a fucking Union. I am sick of skirting this topic at cons in bars. we will FOREVER be treated like the Mentally Challenged, red
headed, step child who lives in the basement and is fed by sliding a plate of food under the door part of the entertainment Industry until
we step up and demand better pay, benefits, and all around professional behavior out of the same people
who demand it out of us. guess what John Q. Publisher? I aint turing in any more FUCKING pages until you pay me what you owe me.
But I don't think we will have a Union in my lifetime. Unions =fallout. Fallout of creators. nobody wants to be a Martry.
That was about 5 years ago. Nothing has changed. Comic creators are still Castrated bitches. I think we like big Dicks in our Butts.
Fame in the Comics Industry is so limited. you can be the biggest name in the Biz, and you walk out your front door, no-one knows you.
.....and they don't care. So don't let your "Fame" go to your head captain-suck-myself. Did I mention we need a FUCKING UNION?!?!!?
thay way we could get together at Union Meetings and vote out " people who think their shit don't stink".

This means I'm even more of a lock to buy The Further Adventures of the Whistling Skull from Harris and B. Clay Moore.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Bill Condon Writes Note To Twilight Saga Fans

So, the Twilight Saga keeps chugging along. I'll likely get dragged to see Eclipse when it comes out. OK, I say dragged, but, in all honesty, I go for the wife and then I wind up enjoying myself in an effort to "make the most of it". God help me, after New Moon, I actually took part in the post-movie discussion with the missus and the teen daughters of friends she took to see the movie.

But, anyway, here's the quote from Bill Condon:

Greetings Twihards, Twifans, Twilight Moms, Team Edward, Team Jacob and Team Switzerland,

I just want to say hello to all of you and let you know that I'm stoked to be getting underway on the adventure of making BREAKING DAWN. As you've probably heard, I've been given a very warm welcome by Stephenie and Team Summit - who are super-focused, as you know, on getting these movies right.

I'm pretty busy bringing myself up to speed on what you already know by heart: I've read BREAKING DAWN twice, rewatched Catherine's and Chris's movies 2-3 times each, have all four CDs playing in my car, and have Catherine's notebook, Mark Cotta Vaz's companion books, and even Volume 1 of the graphic novel here on my desk - a corner of my office is starting to look like Hot Topic. I realize that this barely qualifies me for "newborn" status in the universe you've been living inside for a few years now, but a guy's gotta start somewhere.

Like many of you, I've always been slightly obsessed with vampires, dating back to the prime-time series DARK SHADOWS, which I followed avidly as a kid. But that alone hadn't been enough to get me interested in making a vampire movie, even though my early screenwriting and directing efforts grew out of a great love for horror movies and thrillers. Since making GODS AND MONSTERS thirteen years ago, however, I've been yearning for a return to a story with Gothic overtones.

The wonderful world that Stephenie has created has obviously struck a chord with you, and I don't think it's difficult to see why. For me, her characters are simultaneously timeless, yet very modern. Rooted in a beautiful, real landscape with a great sense of place, Bella, Edward, Jacob, and the rest of the Forks/La Push menagerie, experience emotions that are primal, and universal: desire, despair, jealousy - and it all comes to fruition in BREAKING DAWN. This is a final chapter in the best sense; not just wide in scope and scale, but emotionally charged and intense throughout.

I'm a huge admirer of the already-iconic Kristen, Robert, and Taylor, and wanted to be the one to work with them as they face the challenges of bringing your beloved characters to the end of their journeys. Really, what could be more fun than that?

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below, and I'll do my best to answer them. I hope that this will be the first of many occasions I'll get to check in with you as we set to work bringing BREAKING DAWN to the screen. I am excited and grateful to have all of you alongside me for my TWILIGHT journey.

All best,

Bill Condon

P.S. Answer #1: No, there won't be any musical numbers

( Let's see if a bunch of Twilight fans wind up posting comments here for Bill to answer, just like they did over on I found the cluelessness and naiveté of responding fans there to be hilarious, so I couldn't resist taking a shot and seeing if it happened here.)