Friday, March 23, 2012

If You Like Music*...

...allow me to heartily endorse the following site:

Adrian: "I'm not expecting critical fucking acclaim...just let me know you give a shit."

How could you not click over there so fast that you risk injuring a digit? ;) Seriously, though, he's a passionate audiophile. Give it a read.

*I, however, hate music. It's all rubbish that assails my senses like nails on chalkboard. Though this could be due to only having listened to the stylings of Nails on Chalkboard, including several of their live albums. Maybe I should research this music thing a bit more...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dueling Justice League Teams? Or Dueling Batmen?

DC has seemed to pride themselves on consistency of editorial message with their relaunch. There's supposed to be great continuity.

Of course, that's questionable, as Justice League's opening arc, set five years ago, appears to conflict with other titles running at the same point in the timeline. But that's the sort of thing that can get overlooked.

Titles that are in the same line try to keep a pretty tight relationship. We've had Frankenstein and OMAC crossover, while Swamp Thing and Animal Man have been swapping background info in prep for their crossover. The Bat family is crossing over shortly. For some reason, Stormwatch, Grifter and Superman are all going to throw their lot in together on a Daemonite arc.

But the one place we don't seem to have continuity is in the Justice League franchise.

In the top right, you'll see a page from Justice League International, where Batman is clearly shown to be a member of the team. He's been in the whole time and rather publicly, too.

So why did Geoff Johns write the following exchange into Justice League?

He's a member of the team he calls a joke. It has only ever existed with him as a member in the current continuity. In fact, he's had chances where he could have let it crumble on its own, but he fought to keep them together. There's no one else as Batman in the current continuity and, even if there were, it'd seem silly for him to have one of his incorporated bunch on the team, but still deride the whole function.

So what's the deal? Johns and his editor can't really be that ignorant of the character's membership on the team he's actually shitting on, can they? I mean, he's on covers, for fuck's sake.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recaps Vs Reviews Ep 1

A while back, I asked if you'd all like me to review the reviewers. One of my biggest concerns was that recaps were masquerading as reviews. Having been a reviewer, I know the challenges of trying to discuss episodic entertainment while trying to avoid directly giving out a lot of the details (both in an effort to avoid spoilers or to be read/valued simply as Cliff Notes).

I embark on this journey not to shit on anyone doing reviews out there, but to encourage them to up their game. I'll state at the start that I'm unlikely to cast this eye towards BEST SHOTS, as I have friends there and I can't ensure impartiality.

For today's ep, I take a look at Jonathan Williams over at

His "review" of Superboy is four paragraphs, two of which are pure recap. In what is left, he reviews the character and concept, not the actual issue. The "review" doesn't truly aspire to be anything more than your average fan on a forum talking about his favorite characters.

Line most worthy of being included in something called a review:

"Some of his actions are certainly un-hero like but we can see the hints of the hero deep inside, especially with his care of the scientist and meta-human Caitlin Fairchild."

What he writes about Resurrection Man is even less of a review. Let's do the math:

 5 total paragraphs
-3 recap paragraphs
-1 paragraph suitable for the solicitation blurb (read the first paragraph of his "review")1 paragraph of indeterminate content that you might argue is review-ish

Again, what passes for the review in the entry is largely passing out general comments on the run of the book so far and hopes for the future issues being better.

Line most worthy of being included in something called a review: 

(space left blank intentionally)

The lack of meat for me to go through here leaves me feeling a bit too much like a recapper for my tastes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Any Other Examples?

I didn't put up my previous post purely to take a shot at one individual, even if I did need to vent about my personal experience in order to finally let it go.

It was meant to be the start of a dialogue. Unfortunately, I've not always been the savviest person when it comes to timing and made my post on the eve of a pretty big comic book convention. So, now that some of you have settled back in from the news, do any of you have any solid examples of where you feel that the lines have been egregiously blurred?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Won't Go Home Again

David Brothers ripped Newsarama pretty badly a month or so ago. While I don't agree with all of his points on the matter that led to the 'Rama editorial, I do tend to agree with a lot of what he's said about problems there and with comics journalism in general.

Allow me to put a finer point on it.

When the BLACKEST NIGHT finale came out, Newsarama wanted to do a feature article where as many Best Shots members as possible would contribute their review. Troy Brownfield had moved over to running Blog@, while David Pepose had taken over Best Shots. Due to scheduling concerns, Lucas Siegel was going to be handling the article on the day of release.

I had my review in hours before the article would run...yet my review was nowhere to be found in the article. Come to find out later that a fellow contributor had their review dropped, too.

We happened to be the only two voices in the crowd that had written negative reviews about the finale.

At the time, Lucas Siegel was actively pitching comic book work. I know for a fact that one of the publishers he was pitching to was DC.

To his credit, David offered to run the long review with day-after-release shorter reviews or with the Monday Best Shots column, but I really had no interest at that point. I didn't stop contributing to the site immediately, though I wish I had, since I wound up taking out a good deal of this frustration on Pepose at a later date (sorry, again, sir).

It should be noted: David Pepose made it clear that he disagreed with my conclusion that my review was left out due to the opinion expressed within it.

Brothers' piece and/or the comment thread it generated takes broad shots at members of the comics journalism community pitching while they're covering it. I can tell you that, despite later work towards careers writing comic books, neither Matt Brady or Troy Brownfield ever bumped my work or tried to dissuade me from a negative review (even with the headaches I would often cause Brady). I'd take a bullet for either of them. David Pepose never did such things, either, but I'm not aware of whether he plans on pursuing that sort of career and, if I'd worked under his lead longer, would probably feel the same about blocking the path between him and a gun.

I happen to very much enjoy the work of Marc Bernadin, who often positively covered DC Comics (Warner Bros) while writing for Entertainment Weekly (Warner Bros) before writing for WildStorm (Warner Bros). I wouldn't question the honesty of any of his work just because of that chain of events, nor do I feel it is fair to make assumptions about anyone in a similar position.

While I feel that pitching interests of "comic book journalists" can be a concern, I find the active pitching by site editors to be a larger one...dwarfed only by so many of the sites being beholden to the big publishers (for "exclusives" and "previews" to generate their income) that they make wholesale changes to how they do business. Articles blending right into message boards and comment sections become links to forums become suggestions that you friend them on Facebook and comment there, with the initial impetus for the movement being that publishers and creators didn't like seeing people criticizing them or their product right under their interview.

If not for the great friendships I forged along the way, I swear I'd wish I never wound up on the "professional" coverage side of the divide. Once you've seen behind the curtain, it all starts to lose its magic. And once you see how the sausage is made, it starts to turn your stomach.

Monday, March 12, 2012

DC Cutting Back On Subscriptions?

Heidi MacDonald's THE BEAT has noticed that DC has dropped the number of titles that they offer for subscription on their site. I posted the following as a comment there, but since it is something I've attempted to call attention to a number of times here, I figured I'd slap it in its own blog entry:

Funny, just about a week ago, they offered a drastically reduced subscription to Aquaman through Tanga. It was $11 for a full year. I've been skipping that book, but got sucked into subscribing at that price. I've linked to a screen cap of the offering if anyone doubts it. I've kind of wondered how happy retail partners would be about them offering a decent section of their books at a 67+% discount (and no tax). BATMAN, BATMAN & ROBIN and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT ($12) have all been offered (I don't recall DETECTIVE making it on the site yet). JUSTICE LEAGUE, GREEN LANTERN and GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS have, also, been offered.

I know the argument for the 30-35% discount not being an instance of them competing with the DM is based around the inconsistent delivery dates and possible damage, but doubling that discount (which is something no retailer can match) has to open that back up to concern, no?

Friday, March 09, 2012

Editor Antics

A certain Marvel has been trolling the interwebs of late. If you mention his name (once, not even three times), he seems to appear...and trolls.

I've been trying to wrap my brain around it a bit.

Forgetting the right/wrong of the debate, I'm trying to think about ramifications of it and, indeed, the thought process behind it.

There are few people more critical of that editor's behavior than me. Yet I don't find myself moved to take action on it beyond a few responses on message boards. I couldn't blame someone else for dropping a book he edits as a statement on how they feel about his behavior.

But for as much as his performance is based on the success of the book, his contribution to the actual end-product is minimal when compared to the writer and artists. On this more than other potential boycotts, I'd be ever aware that dropping the book would hurt innocents. I feel like publishers would take a loss of sales on a title as far more reflective of interest in a character or creator than ever pin it on the staff.

But, again, I'm not moved to boycott. Which is odd, because I'm normally one to take a principled stand over things that even friends of mine would call trivial. Quite honestly, if this was the talent on the book, I'd probably be telling my retailer, on every trip to the counter, "I'm not buying _____ because _____ is being a flaming asshole."

The flip side, though, is that I don't see what positive development this behavior brings. It's a shock jock angle, but, with the individual keeping the antics to the free internet and only contributing a tame column to his books, where does it benefit the company or the product? If you've ever watched Howard Stern's biopic, they boil down the commercial viability of the shock jock approach by going over the survey results that show haters tune in even more faithfully than the fans, because they need to hear what outrageous thing is said next. But, again, this absurd behavior isn't happening where he'd be rewarded for bringing the extra attention and it doesn't seem to translate to that much additional attention to the good product his office is generating.

I think the net results of his performance art, if anything, will lead to a slight decline in his readership, but not so much as to be a major concern. But I could be wrong...

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Not This Time, Tanga!

You already set me up with BATMAN and BATMAN & ROBIN, Tanga. Expecting me to fall for this offer is foolhardy at best, even at $11.99.