Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Nerd Cave Idea

So I don't really have my nerd cave anymore but I sort of used to. I was watching this commercial with that dirty player who happens to be likable that plays in the NFL, Clay Matthews, as opposed to Suh or Harrison from the Lions and Bengals.

I got rid of my "Nerd Cave" in a few moves towards being an actual grown up who could a) play a video game in a dining room and b) have a big ass flat screen TV that my wife could watch HGTV on without needing me to deactivate my "Non Geek Destructo Ray".

Now that I don't have a Nerd Cave though, I'm imagining remaking one (when I buy a house) and I think I have the rough workings of a plan. I want to know what yours will be (5 details) but here's mine (media server and big screen TV are obvious).

1. Location: A tree house

2. External Logo: A giant block letter "4" in each cardinal directions

3. Furniture: Gaming table shaped like the letter "A".

4. Refreshment: Cold Jameson on tap

5. Other: Some of those display cases where I can display the outfits of my fave dead comics characters or dead wrestlers.

Bring it!

If you like this sort of odd stuff I'll be doing more of it here since i think I'm doing heftier topics with my other blog:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pirates Can Be Useful...Sort of...Maybe

You ever have those moments where you're just not sure what to put in one of your blogs so it just sort of sits for a bit? Well this is one of those moments and one of those blogs.

So basically a study was done by Social Scientists in Europe that confirms a thing that I have been hearing for about the last year from people around the shop. Now our conversations surround the downloading of printed material but I think the conclusions reached matter.

I get asked how much impact of digital comics has impacted my Brick and Mortar comic cook retail business. My quick and dirty observation is probably about as much as broke customer "moving back home" does.

People have been telling me that instead of primarily shifting all of their comics purchases to digital download, they sample things they aren't sure they''d want to own a physical copy of and if they really like it SOMETHING HAPPENS.

There was a point about a year and a half ago where people told me the thing that would happen was they'd keep buying the series digitally. NOW we've reached a point where people are trying a series online, hearing their friends talk about a series and then coming into the shop to buy the collected versions of that series.

Apparently there is so much competition for their eyeballs on a screen that they can't wait to have that experience of buying SOMETHING in it's collected form. Now this is not according to my barely scientific research, a slam against digital. It seems like it's more of a move to ensure that if a consumer who may be prone to buying digitally is going to own something, then it had better be considered really good by the community. Community in this case is a group of peers and recommenders.

How does this relate to the study mentioned above? Simple, we're not idiots. We all know damn well that everyone who talks to us about their digital comics isn't buying them legally. Some of those folks have got to be using some swank (and at this stage in the game, rather simple) piracy skills to stay abreast of what's going on in comics.

Currently there are upwards of 150 different monthly comics titles on my shelves. a full 30 of them are Batman or X-Men related and while retailers and fans alike would live for all of these comics to be home runs, retailers and fans alike know good and damn well that this is not going to happen. Of the books on my shelves I'd only count about 25 of them as HOME RUN titles. That leaves a lot of room for doubt in the minds of consumers. Room for doubt and a lack of depth in the pockets is room room for piracy.

Since not every pirate hangs out with only pirates, the pirates talk about comics with non pirates and they themselves become recommenders. Having a few less places to pirate COULD delay piracy and alter the established trajectory of SEE> TELL>BUY.

I guess my ultimate point here is that I think it's plausible. No one wants to give pirates credit for anything positive because they are pirates but everyone uses them for something or another.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Super Character Draft Pt. 1 (Betsy's Team)

On Saturday night, the Chicago Comic Book Meetup group met at Third Coast Comics in Chicago. Generally we just have comics related discussion over beers but this time we did something different.

We held a Super Character Draft with the idea being that when we were done we'd pitch a comic to the group. There were 13 participants and 15 rounds.

The Rules:

Each team must have a supporting character.

Each team must have 1 real life person who has appeared in a comic book at least once.

Note: During the draft players were precluded from picking me as I have been in a comic book. Points to you if you happen to own one of those rare works of art.

The 1st pick was Betsy and here is her team:

Muhammed Ali
Power Girl
Judge Dredd
Gene Simmons
Atomic Robo
Guy Gardner
Fin Fang Foom
Devil Dinosaur

The Pitch:

Justice League meets Lost.

Sinestro gets a new ring, an iridescent  "Time Ring" and uses it to manipulate the timeline.

The Justice League is tries to stop him, but he uses the ring to send several members (Guy Gardner, Superman, Power Girl) "away."

"Away" is the Land of the Lost, Sleestaks and all. Objects and people from different timelines have been displaced here by Sinestro (including legendary/literary characters like Dracula). A few people/creatures, like Kamandi and Devil Dinosaur, are natives. 

Currently Fin Fang Foom is the ruler and uses an army of dinosaurs to terrorize the land. 

Our heroes have to find each other, avoid getting eaten by monsters and find a way to defeat Sinestro and get back to their own timelines.

The first cover would be Mohammad Ali  punching a Tyrannosaurus Rex. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Problem with Orson Scott Card writing Superman

While this topic has been beaten to death at this point as it relates to "Should DC have hired Card or not", I'm feeling like the real problem with DC hiring Card is that it looks to me like DC is treating Card's detractors the same way it treats diversity in general.

DC knows that there are only so many members of of it's buying public who are not straight white males but that isn't news. This is comics. MOST comic book readers/buyers are going to be straight white males but given the efforts of publishers and fans even on smaller scales, this is changing and faster than DC seems to be willing to admit.

DC didn't just hire a famous writer who annoyed people to write Superman. Comic book companies seem to troll Hollywood for leftover plot ideas, leaping from the minds of vain celebs all the time. That could have been Kevin Smith or Michael Bay. People on the Internet and in comic shops would have had all sorts of gripes but everyone would have gotten past it pretty quickly.

These guys went for OSC and I have to believe someone in a meeting said, "You do know this guys is ON RECORD as a champion anti-gay bigot don't you?" I'd be willing to bet someone then explained that OSC and some other more desired writer shared an agent or something and if they hired OSC, they could get BIG FISH X to come on board for a Batman GN in time for Christmas!"

Note: Mark the date down so that when the announcement happens, you know I called it.

The problem with OSC goes beyond bigotry on the part of the politics and finances of the writer. The problem goes to the alleged efforts the publisher has made towards respecting and promoting diversity. it's as if DC has said, "Come on people, it's not like we've been cancelling comics starring minority characters, which we KNOW tend to have a hard time maintaining traction in a market dominated by white male reader dollars."

DC is hiring people and making business decisions as if each one takes place in a vacuum but for how much longer is this a viable option or way of approaching the quest for sales?

Friday, February 22, 2013

We the People vs. Bigotry

(posted here because the FB link on twitter just goes to the HRC)

I'll try and make this simple. With all the publicity Orson Scott Card has gotten for being a bigot and getting to write a Superman story, Challengers Comics decided to give the proceeds of any Card Superman stories sold to the Human Rights Campaign.

Apparently some folks on Tumblr and FB don't understand how fighting bigotry works and have been giving Patrick a little bit of lip about it (in typical Internet fashion).

I happen to think Challengers is on the right path with this and fuck bigotry so therefore Third Coast Comics will also donate 100% of the profits of any copies we sell of Orson Scott Card's Superman to the Human Rights Campaign.

Personally this is why we read the exploits of superheroes, right? To be inspired to fight against injustice and inequality wherever we see it.

I don't see this as mixing business with politics. I see this as mixing business with human rights.

The damn books is gonna blow anyway.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mission: Be Better Fans

Recently quite a bit of attention has been given to so comic book industry professionals who have found ways to simultaneously toss a nerd hand grenade and then throw themselves on the same hand grenade.

I'm finding it all to be sort of tiresome and I'm not posting links. You can find it yourself.

One minute we're all having a good time bitching about the quality of our comics and the next we're making each other prove their loyalty to the genre itself.

One minute we're pissed that Magneto is breaking up threesomes and the next, we're mad that some little know film maker said a few years ago that he'd love to have sex with some fictional characters but not others, in a way that makes me pretty sure I never want to see his search history or look in that box in his closet behind his old luggage.

I'm pretty sure there was a time when these things didn't happen in public but I can't tell you when that was.

I'm not really one to want to take a bullet for jack asses in our business but I will say it might be time for us all to help kill this before it grows.

Can we become better fans?

I own a comic book retail shop and when I hear someone in the shop making juvenile comments about characters (or worse, actual people), I pretty much let them know that we're really not in the mood for it.

There's a certain level of discourse I can deal with and believe me the bar is NOT very high but I don't need to constantly hear jokes about Power Girl's boobs or Batwoman's sexual orientation.

If you have friends who read comics and all they want to talk about is having their way with Thor, feel free to  change the conversation to something like the current market value of Avengers Mansion or whether or not Nightwing is the sort of guy who'd get to a crime scene in a hybrid.

I already have standard responses for when someone tells me DC hates women or that the comics industry hates Black characters and people.

I do realize for us to all be consistent, we'll have to cut our fanfic consumption WAY down. You fans of Sherlock are SCREWED if you want things to get better.

Make no mistake, I like when we fans can think outside the box. I like when we deconstruct our favorite hobbies and cobble them back together in our own image. Ask me how often I recreate wrestling stables of the past with current wrestlers! We love to engage in dumb navel gazing nerd pursuits. It just seems that now we've hit a point where the things we'd have just said to our friends when drunk in the back yard are coming out of our mouths sober and on the Internet.

Can all of you help all of us be better fans? When you see a chick cosplaying Zatanna, Phoenix, Black Cat, American Maid, Batwoman, Maria Hill, Spider-Woman, Harley Quinn, Misty Knight, She Hulk, Firestar, or Dawnstar, just respond like you do when you see that dude cosplaying Fat Punisher or Fat Superman, Fat Shazam or Granny Goodness:

"Hey, nice job."  - Meaning it

"Hey, nice job." - Totally faking it

"Scuse me Bro, can I check and see if there's a decent copy of Legion of Super-Heroes #294 in that box behind you?"  - Meaning that shit because that's really what we're all at the show for.

At the next C2E2, I'm gonna post up somewhere and thank all of you geeks just for showing up. I won't even talk mad shit about that giant ass statue of Lorne Greene as Adama that you are wheeling out of the show or call too much attention to the fact that you stood in line for 2 hours and paid a lot of money to see "Celebrity X" when for the price of a martini you could have waited and met them at the bar.

I used to think that we needed to do all we could to make sure we even had a generation of comic book fans after us. Now I'm a bit more concerned about whether or not we can have decent conversations with the ones we still have right now!

Lets be better fans so I don't have to see people openly declaring that NOW they can't BARE to pay actual money for Guardians of the Galaxy while at the same time asking me if there will ever be a hard cover for All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder...

Yes...I'm leaving that right there....

Me and you...better fans...for our FUTURE!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Recent Reads #2: Earth 2 #0

I can remember when this particular wave of DC New 52 comics was announced months ago, being told by many people that they didn't think it would work. I know some folks just aren't so happy with James Robinson in the last few years and I have been defending his work for I can't even tell you how long.

The most common comment is that everyone LOVED Starman. My most common follow-up is Get over it.

I really thing James Robinson is an amazing writer that I'd love to see work with a small core cast and get the space to tell sprawling stories about everything from Legacy to Regret to Acceptance of the roles of heroes.

Please, Mr Robinson, take me through the 12 steps of becoming a super person!

Full disclosure: I couldn't get through his JLA run. I felt it was wordier than a latter day Chris Claremont Comic and that penciller Mark Bagley was not the best fit.

Not trying to bitch about it  but I will do another post about what I;d have LOVED to see in that run.

On to why you should be reading Earth Two (start at #0 if you have to).

The New 52: Lemme Splain You -

Multiverse - It's a concept that's been around as long as any of you have been reading books aimed at nerds.  There are many universes. The writers focus on one and sometimes bounce you over to another where shit is just different. Like the Star Trek Mirror Universe or the Cosby Show after Lisa Bonet slept with Mickey Rourke.

DC has one of those again. There are 52 Universes in their Multiverse (so far) and Earth 2 is...the 2nd one...yeah...

Now, on this Earth, in this Universe, SUPERMAN, BATMAN, and WONDER WOMAN are DEAD!!!!

They died defending Earth and that left Earth with a void of heroes and SO Robinson is reintroducing characters from DC's past as modern day heroes who develop sans a Holy Trinity of Heroes!!!!

Here's why you should pay attention:

In a "normal" Multiversal situation the differences are generally rather subtle. Superman has salt and pepper grey and Batman has a dog named Ace.

In THIS Earth 2, Their new version of Terry Sloane (Mr Terrific) has adopted an Ozymandias like role of "I know what's best for you and yeah you may have to die" which is a perfect background for this title.

Think the Other Universe in Fringe!!!

I LOVE` this book and you should budget for it!