66 Comments | Posted: February 28th, 2009 | Filed under: Meta, Thinking About Comics | Tags: scans_daily
So, apparently if you run a LiveJournal community in which members post scans of big chunks of comic books that are on the stands right now and then whine about the spoilers those chunks contain, it’s not actually a marketing device, despite any remarkable powers of disillusionment you may have. Yes, a lot of vocal people have said that Scans_Daily helped sell them comics, but do you really think that the people who read the juicy bits to stay on top of things and ignore titles the rest of the time are really going to raise their hands to be counted?
No, the 5-page previews Marvel and DC send to Newsarama and CBR are not the same thing at all and everyone should know better than to even use that argument. Should the companies look at ways of marketing themselves to the LJ demographic? Perhaps. Should people feel it’s their right to post entire issues piecemeal to talk about how off-character some people from X-Factor were? No.
I can’t believe people are defending someone telling Peter David to die in a fire. Yes, it’s a too-common piece of internet hyperbole, but if a community is going to act like a group of internet brats, they’re going to be treated as such. Surprise, kids, welcome to the real world, where actions like being a complete dick to another human being have consequences.
“It’s just the internet” doesn’t cut it when it’s directly connected to copyright violation. If you’re going to act as a unauthorized, evangelical marketing device, you’ll also have to act like a responsible group of comics fans sharing some scans (we all do it, that’s fine) while respecting the creators and copyright holders. This is especially true when you are posting scans of comic books that are in stores and available to purchase.
Yes, I tried to be an active part of Scans_Daily for a while, because a few people in that community seemed to genuinely love comic books old and new and wanted to share that enthusiasm. I stopped when people told me I wrote the characters of my own webcomic incorrectly.
Edited To Add: Brigid Alverson did a good roundup of the Scans_Daily closure and made some points that I think are worth discussing. I also disagree with them, hence my comment there.
2 Comments | Posted: February 27th, 2009 | Filed under: Shameless Self-Promotion | Tags: the rack
Just go read the latest strip.
We’ll be waiting for you right here.
3 Comments | Posted: February 26th, 2009 | Filed under: What I've Been Reading | Tags: camelot falls, superman
With all of the recent hullabaloo over New Krypton, it seems like the set-just-after-One Year Later story Camelot Falls has been forgotten completely. This isn’t that surprising, really, as DC decided to release the story very slowly with their now-standard hardcover-to-paperback program that means that for a while, you could get the softcover version of Volume 1 of the story with the hardcover of volume 2. Despite being pretty interested in the contents, I opted to be my usual stubborn self and waited until this week’s release of the second half in softcover. Great job, everyone involved! Get that last half out while any interest in the book is a dying ember, alone in the dark night.
In Camelot Falls Busiek’s straightforward, mannerly scripting works very nicely with Carlos Pacheco’s classically-nice art while the plot reminds me of an extended riff from the Superman books of the mid-70s, with the titular character fighting a threat that falls outside of the normal punch-them-until-they-stop oeuvre and dealing with the some previously-unknown repercussions of his arrival on Earth. I really like how Busiek balances his comics in general and he’s doing his best in this one, managing to make the huge (the villain Khyber and the ramifications of his battle with Superman) and minute (Jimmy Olsen getting bawled out by Perry for taking pictures of birds when they’re at lunch) work side-by-side very effectively. It’s a lot of fun and doesn’t require an intimate knowledge of the Superman mythos to get into. In that way, it reminds me of what I like about Up, Up, And Away – any trivia you might know about the DC Universe adds to the experience, but not knowing it doesn’t detract from the story being told one bit.
Buy This And Keep Me In Whiskey Money:
Volume 1 • Volume 2
20 Comments | Posted: February 26th, 2009 | Filed under: Outbound Linkage, Thinking About Comics, Thinking About Movies | Tags: watchmen
Variety‘s review of Watchmen:
Yet the movie is ultimately undone by its own reverence; there’s simply no room for these characters and stories to breathe of their own accord, and even the most fastidiously replicated scenes can feel glib and truncated. As “Watchmen” lurches toward its apocalyptic (and slightly altered) finale, something happens that didn’t happen in the novel: Wavering in tone between seriousness and camp, and absent the cerebral tone that gave weight to some of the book’s headier ideas, the film seems to yield to the very superhero cliches it purports to subvert.
1 Comment | Posted: February 25th, 2009 | Filed under: Shameless Self-Promotion | Tags: the rack
Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.
26 Comments | Posted: February 24th, 2009 | Filed under: Reader Participation, Thinking about Comics Marketing | Tags: buffy, dark tower, the stand
This article from Publishers Weekly has me thinking about outreach efforts like this, and I’d really love some anecdotal evidence from the funnybook slingers out there. This quote stands out to me, from Marvel’s David Gabriel:
Again the comic shops have the ability to reach a huge number of consumers as well. Look at the amount of fans driven into stores for the Death of Captain America, the unmasking of Spider-Man, the Dark Tower comics launch, and recently the Amazing Spider-Man #583 featuring Barack Obama on the cover. Weâ€™re pretty certain that this book has the potential to bring thousands of new faces into comic shops and from there be introduced to a whole new world of graphic novels.
In my (admittedly very
narrow, as I am extremely part time) experience with the buyers that come in specifically for property-oriented works like The Stand
, I’ve seen a distinct disinterest in anything that’s not
those books. My local shop maintains a pull-box just for these customers and even mentioning good, accessible work like Whedon’s stint on Astonishing X-Men
or the future-Slayer book Fray
when they pick up their books has been met with a collective cold shoulder. Those readers seem to just want their Buffy or their Stephen King or Angel or whatever. Have there been retailers that have been able to to convert these readers into real customers with an interest in the medium at large? What’s their secret?
Comments Off | Posted: February 24th, 2009 | Filed under: Shameless Self-Promotion | Tags: the rack
In case you were wondering, here’s what the staff of Yavin IV have decided is worth a look this week.
1 Comment | Posted: February 23rd, 2009 | Filed under: Wacky Out Of Context Panels | Tags: ads, advertisements
(Taken from three tiny, tiny ads in an old Fantastic Four comic.)
3 Comments | Posted: February 23rd, 2009 | Filed under: Art Appreciation | Tags: chip zdarsky
1 Comment | Posted: February 23rd, 2009 | Filed under: Shameless Self-Promotion | Tags: the rack
Birdie had some family business that needed attending, so here’s a look at Lydia Park’s latest project.
9 Comments | Posted: February 22nd, 2009 | Filed under: Art Appreciation | Tags: cathy leamy, j jonah jameson, jjj
36 Comments | Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Filed under: Reader Participation, Thinking About Movies
I was talking to sometimes-writing-partner Josh the other day about satirical films and how so few of them have seen any massive box office success. Off the top of our heads, we listed Robocop, Dr. Strangelove, and Starship Troopers*. Thank You For Smoking made a nice profit for itself ($24m on a $6.5m budget,) but that’s where my list ended. Discounting our love of movies like Idiocracy, what social** satires can you name that have made significant money for “the suits”? I feel like I have to be missing something here.
(Or am I overestimating people again? I am, aren’t I?)
*(The two Verhoeven-directed films from that trio feature sequels and ancillary material that replaced humor with po-faced, science-fiction clichÃ©, reminding us that nerds ruin everything. I came close to including Total Recall as well, but it seems to be more in the Commando end of big stupid action movies that occasionally wink at the audience.)
**Thanks to MW from The ISS for pointing out that I was discussing social satire more than narrower, more genre-intensive versions.
Comments Off | Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Filed under: Shameless Self-Promotion | Tags: the rack
It’s what it says in the title, really.
71 Comments | Posted: February 19th, 2009 | Filed under: Thinking About Comics, Thinking About Movies | Tags: alan moore, dave gibbons, watchmen, zak snyder
Despite being an avid fan of Watchmen, purchasing multiple copies over the years and tracking down issues of magazines like Amazing Heroes and The Comics Journal from the period of the series’ release, I can’t help but look down on the upcoming cinematic version (you know, the one with the action figures, coffee, condoms, ad nauseum.) If you know me, you’ve heard me scream that Watchmen is at its core a comic book, much like Citizen Kane is a movie. It uses its medium’s strengths and weaknesses to the story’s advantage throughout, doing things that can’t work on screen, even if you take each and every panel from the book, carefully edit the voiceovers into it, and ensure that each line of dialogue is exactly as it appears on-page. I can go on and on about the technical aspects, but there’s a more important element that’s sitting at the core of my misgivings about this slick-looking piece of superhero cinema.
Watchmen is at its core a drama. Yes, there’s a mystery that brings its main cast of players together, but it’s really about broken people and the fucked-up lives they lead. Laurie and Walter’s respective relationships with their mothers; the way Dan’s nostalgic values and fierce devotion to an intellectual ideal leads him down a lonely path; Adrian and Jon’s parallel devotion to logic, with the first becoming more alien as the other is held aloft as the height of humanity – all of these make the book work, and that’s where the real power of Watchmen lies, not in the (elegant and rewarding to be sure) investigation into the murder of Edward Blake. Even as they peel apart the superhero meme, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons devote a considerable amount of the book’s pagecount to exploring the common man in all its diversity (the newsstand vendor and the kid who reads pirate comics, the lesbian couple’s relationship woes, the psychiatrist who becomes obsessed with Rorschach.)
It’s this elegant dissection of people that allows Laurie’s realizations about her father to have a greater impact that the multiple pages devoted to Veidt’s final solution and its implementation. Moore is telling a story about everyone while Snyder, with his video game cutscene aesthetic and the stilted, too-mannered performances that pervade the clips available of the film, seems to have missed that point entirely, focusing on the costumed identities and the mystery. Yes, these are a few short pieces of scenes from a movie with a 2+ hour running time, but they seem quite telling. The riot scene from the 70s becomes high camp thanks to music by KC And The Sunshine Band and a jump that takes place in slow motion because it looks cool. Laurie and Dan’s re-emergence as superheroes is positively generic in its execution, lacking charm and tension entirely. Perhaps in the context of the film, these scenes have more power, but as someone who has read the book at least a dozen times over the years and knows how each beautifully-constructed simulacrum of a scene from the book fits into that story, I can’t help but pre-judge.
The more I see of the film version of Watchmen, the less I like it, and perhaps more importantly, the more I dislike what it represents: the dumbing-down of something greater for the sake of a false “authenticity” that’s apparent only to those shallowest of readers of the source material. Zack Snyder may have a made a movie that’s called Watchmen, features a cast of characters directly from the book, and liberally makes use of the book’s contents, but I’ll be very surprised if it has any of the original’s heart.
Comments Off | Posted: February 19th, 2009 | Filed under: Shameless Self-Promotion | Tags: the rack
Lydia and Aaron have a heart to heart and no blood is spilled. This is what we refer to as a “miracle.”
Comments Off | Posted: February 18th, 2009 | Filed under: Meta | Tags: karen ellis, planet karen
Karen Ellis, who has been doing the quite-good autobiowebcomic Planet Karen over at Girl Wonder has lost her home in a fire. Please visit the Planet Karen homepage and donate what you can through the button on the right side.