Showing posts with label Editorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Editorial. Show all posts

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Digital Debate


THE DIGITAL DOWNLOW
If you've been following any of the comics news sources this last week you would've undoubtedly heard about Archie Comics' decision to go "same day digital" (previously referred to as "day-and-date"). This means their comics will be available on digital devices the same day as it comes out in paper. It has sparked a lot of controversy over whether or not it was a good move. And for who?

Before I begin with this let me say that I love paper comics and I've been reading them ever since I was a kid. I read countless comics before I understood the idea of "collecting" and it wasn't until Marvel's Contest of Champions back in 1982 that I actually started to keep up with them.

Back then you could walk into any convenience store or grocery store and spot a spinner rack of comics just waiting to grab your attention.

Things have changed a lot since then and comics have become more or less a "niche" medium after moving into stores that specialize in them. This happened around the late 1980s with the direct market.

The appeal of the direct market was that comic publishers didn't have to censor their stuff as much and they only had to cater to people who already knew what they were.

This also took them away from the general public.


HEAR THAT? THOSE ARE CRICKETS...
I live in a small town where we have three grocery stores and a Walmart Supercenter. There are no book stores or record stores for at least fifty miles.

When I was a kid and I made my weekly (or even *daily*) trips to the convenience store I did so by either walking or riding my bike. No kid can walk or ride a bike that far. At least not safely.

I recall last year I had a lady in my store with her two daughters. I would guess they were around 14 to 16 years old. I asked if they read anything. They replied, "Yeah... text messages!"

The thing is... in areas like mine kids don't read. They haven't in years. Unless they're told to for school.

The books and magazines sold at Walmart are not geared towards them. There's the workout mags, the gun & ammo mags, the cooking mags, the celebrity tabloids... but nothing for them aside from the Harry Potter books. And if there hadn't been a movie, they wouldn't be there either.

The digital age of comics may be what will entice new readers to check them out. It's a format that the current generation understands. Almost everything today is either smartphone-friendly or making moves to jump on before they get left behind. Comics are no exception.

A lot of people worry that it will bring an end to the direct market and cause more problems than it's worth.


BUY NOW OR WAIT LATER
One major change will be availability. If you happen to walk into a comic shop, you may see twenty copies of the latest X-Men book and maybe even a random issue of John Doe's indie comic.

What happens when the indie comic has the same reach as X-Men? What happens when a reader who passes on X-Men #3 and 5 because #4 isn't there has all three available..?

One of the biggest complaints I've ever had with the direct market is that if you discover something... You're already behind because -even though you have the latest issue- the next available issue to pre-order is months away. This means if there's no local comic shop you have to wait and back-order them or hope that you come across them at a later time.

Another complaint is the whole "buying on faith". Anyone who's ordered from Previews knows this. A new book is coming out and you think you may be interested. But all that's available is a short blurb and a cover (done by someone other than the regular artist). You could go ahead and pre-order it but... you'll have to order the next two issues before the first one even arrives at the store. And then you get it... It sucks... but you've already ordered two more...

Granted, you can flip through a whole comic at the shop and not buy it at all. Or pick it up if you like it. The sampling before you buy aspect is one of the best features of comic shops.

However, a lot of publishers are releasing previews that you can get for free before buying digital.


ME ME ME
Sometimes, I think it's funny how comics went from being something a select few were constantly advocating their relevance and shouting "Read these! They really are good!" to folks withdrawing and recoiling adding "But only if you get them from me!"

We shouldn't be fighting over who gets the privilege of bringing the art of comics to a new audience. We should be embracing the new audience and be excited about where the future can take us.

Self-publishers, especially should take note because the people who are coming to read digital comics are coming fresh with only DC and Marvel's movie-related characters holding any advantage. The average Joe doesn't know Booster Gold from Captain Universe.

Walking Dead is already a digital hit that was spurred by both the excellent AMC series and the move to same day digital.

The digital comics field is a more level playing field right now and it's really anyone's ballgame.


ALL IS NOT LOST (OR... LOOK- READERS!)
Here's what I think the end result will be:

1. Yes, shops will be closing. Not all, however. The ones that are smart will move online or focus more on trades and comics/video game related merchandise. If they do that they will actually thrive. A lot of comic shops already put less money into single issues and only do pre-orders for customers.

2. I see more comics being moved to "same day digital" and even more titles being released "digital only" to see if they have an audience before printing. Something like Top Cow's Pilot Season would be a great candidate for this kind of approach.

3. I expect "floppies" (single issue comics) to slowly fade out, with the digital editions replacing them and then being collected into trade paperback (to be sold by that direct market). And then, if someone really wanted single issues "print-on-demand" could be incorporated here.

4. You'll get more impulse buys. Hell, I bought several comics digitally (that I probably wouldn't have planned to) in the last month just because they were accessible.

5. Kids (and adults) that before were too afraid to be seen reading a comic can read something on their phone without being criticized... And then if it's good they may even talk about it.

6. It may actually lead to more sales of paper comics. For example, I tried out Artifacts #0 and 1 on Comixology and I've ordered the actual comics up to #4 because of it (including a physical copy of #1).

Honestly, if the comic publishers really wanted to hinder the move to digital, they'd put the comics back on the newsstands and stop limiting the viewership.

Further reading:
Archie Going Same Day Digital
Comixology - the current leader in digital distribution.
Marvel's own digital store.
2000 AD Digital

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mini-Comic Mayhem


Is there still a future in mini-comics? I think so.

However, here's a couple of interesting thoughts on the subject. One from Comics Comics and one from The Beat (that was inspired by the other).

The comments in the first one are particularly of note.

(The image above was found on Chapel Hill Comics, who apparently support mini-comics.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

ComicSpace... Phoenix? Or Dodo?

So it appears that ComicSpace is down for "a major site upgrade".

What's ComicSpace, you ask?

Well... several years ago... when Myspace and Facebook were starting to become all the rage... someone thought "hey wouldn't it be cool if there was a social platform for comic creators? someplace where they could show their stuff and do some networking?"

And bam! There it was!

It was a hit when it started and everybody was joining up.

Unfortunately, it was short-lived as creators slowly wandered away from it. Recently, the sound of crickets would give an idea of the activity there.

I, myself, had an account there. For me it started as a place to host my comics. But with fewer and fewer people on there it eventually became a cheap alternative to image-hosting.

Today I read some other folk's thoughts of ComicSpace and I wonder if it ever did any good.

I think it would have been better if the updated comics page was on the front page. At least then people would see that there was a little activity. If you uploaded a new piece of art or comic page no one would know as the front page was mostly used to sell original art.

I'm curious as to what will become of ComicSpace and I'm glad I have the originals to my art since they're all inaccessible at the moment. As I said I've been using it mainly to host images for posting on message boards and outside my blog. I could switch to another.

I guess we'll see when the ashes settle. And I wonder if anyone will be upset if we get a dead bird...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Big Brother's Watching...

Oooohh... Look at the cool lil' toy I found...

Some of you may notice that I now have a tracker at the bottom that shows where people are coming from. It's called a referral listing program.

I saw one of these over at Psychbloke's website and over at
Loki's website so I just had to get my own. :-)

Not only will it allow me to give credit where credit is due, but also points me to sites that I wasn't familiar with, myself.

Also... something else I found out about through Psychbloke a while back was a place called Kinja. Kinja is a weblog guide that you can set up to track specific blogs for you. As the blogs are updated it shows an excerpt of the post with a link to it. And it's free.

One of the easiest ways to stay up to date with as many blogs as you want.
Here's mine.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy New Year!!!

I was hoping to get some stuff done around the house but just got called into work again.
I'm really starting to understand the phrase "all work and no play".

Anyway, enjoy the new year and plan for something positive. I know I am.

And pray for the victims of the recent tsunami. And if you can, send a few dollars to help.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Sweet Christmas!



Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy Merry Christmas!
And here's something for reading. It's someone's study on the origins of the customs of Christmas.

Enjoy. And be safe.

Oh... almost forgot... a present for
Psychbloke!

:-)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Comics With Soul

It's been a while since 'Nuther World Comics #1 was printed. Almost a year now. Work on #2 was halted around July when I went through a couple job changes. Everything seems to be settling down and I'm starting to get back into the groove of things.

During my downtime, I spent a bit of time trying to determine what my target audience is. Previously, 'NWC was targeted towards college-level readers. A little alternative. I like the freedom of doing an anything goes independent comic.

I've also been taking the time out to see what exactly my influences are. What made me the way I am? What do I want to see more of in comics?

To which I discovered that there's a lot. More than I can really mention. Of course, there are some that are more prominent than the rest. And it changes constantly as I'm subjected to different ideas and styles.

I still list the Hernandez Brothers as an influence, with Love and Rockets. Love and Rockets is one of the most well known independent comics ever, with a long history. It's been going for just over twenty years now. My most treasured item of theirs is the "Ten Years of Love and Rockets" special. In it, both Jaime and Gilbert give pointers on doing a comic, detailing their methods. It's this book that really opened me up to their work.



I also still list Mike Allred. Granted, although I haven't read anything he's done since he started on X-Force, I still think he's a very talented artist and writer. The reason why I like him so much is that when he's doing both, writing and drawing, he's awesome. His art is a poppish, clean style, not too far removed from the Hernandez Brothers. Madman Adventures was my first introduction to his work, and I highly reccomend it and Madman Comics. Still looking forward to that 105 issue run he had planned. ;-)



Other artist/writers (also known as cartoonists because they do both) I've encountered that had a similar style as the above quickly found me liking their stuff. Most notably Jay Stephens with Atomic City Tales and David Hahn with Private Beach.

Oddly enough, the reason why I got into the styles of Los Bros Hernandez and Mike Allred was because of my exposure to Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis' Justice League International comics. These were the comics that in light of such comics industry changing books such as The Dark Knight Returns and The Watchmen (both really great tales which revolutionized comics in the mid-'80s) still held onto the concept of "fun" comics. Not entirely silly but hardly serious, the book kept a tongue-in-the-cheek approach to super-heroes. Eventually a core group of characters surfaced that made the book feel more human than anything else at the time. With art by Kevin Maguire or Adam Hughes (before he resigned himself to doing just covers), JLI lasted for sixty issues, with a sister magazine, Justice League Europe, running thirty-six issues. Both were changed the month after Giffen and DeMatteis' departure to a more commercially acceptable format. But with fan response, the team has come back to do two follow up stories that reunited most of their signature characters.



So, I really must give credit to Giffen, DeMatteis, Maguire and Hughes for introducing me to the idea that comics really can be fun. Even without a punch being thrown. And they in turn need to thank ABC's Moonlighting tv series for my quick acceptance of their approach. Moonlighting was the first time that that I was exposed to tongue-in-cheek humor with snappy dialogue. It was a show that was fueled more by dialogue and characterization than anything else. Adam Hughes even did a Moonlighting-type comic, called Maze Agency, before he was brought into JLI.



Peter David had a short stint with this sort of storytelling with Marvel's X-Factor. Unfortunately, Marvel wasn't as excited about the approach as would have been liked.



Recently, I've discovered Gail Simone's Birds of Prey and it's every bit as fun as the JLI. It's nice to see at least one current title that keeps me entertained on that level. Gail gets alot of my respect for breathing life into a medium that has almost forgotten what "fun" means.



Joss Whedon, with Buffy and Firefly, has brought the snappy banter back with mixed results. Although his Astonishing X-Men is taking a while for me to get into (perhaps because they're not his creations), I find his dialogue the best in comics or television.

Another side of comics that has in some way clicked with me the most is urban crime. When I first really started reading comics (back in 1982) I read mostly Marvel. Of those the ones I liked the most were the vigilante types, Daredevil, Spider-Woman, Power Man and Iron Fist. And once I found him, Moon Knight. These comics not only had a similar feel but they had one key thing in common: They were all edited by Dennis O'Neil. Dennis O'Neil had set the comic world on fire when he was writing Green Lantern for DC Comics. In his stories, with the inclusion of a vigilante character of DC's (Green Arrow), Green Lantern was brought more down to earth with subjects such as urban crime and drugs. When I discovered, years later, that Daredevil, Spider-Woman, Moon Knight and Power Man and Iron Fist were all edited by one person and who that person was, I started paying much more attention to not only writers and artists but also to editors of comics. Generally speaking, if you like one comic, you'll often find that you'll like another book that they edit.



The urban crime influence has continued, however as mostly a spectator thing. I enjoy 100 Bullets, the current Daredevil series and Gotham Central. I like shows such as Sopranos and anything by Quentin Tarantino.



Quite a contrast to the "fun" comics that I listed above.

But these all have one thing in common: they all focus on character. The stories are character driven and their characters are as human as you and me (well, except for the few aliens that may appear in JLI -although most of them still come off more human than your average comic character).



Another influence currently is my fascination with the Silver Age of comics. Especially the 12-cent era. The simplistic way of storytelling. The way they were able to tell such entertaining (and fun) stories in just one issue. And somestimes fitting more than one story in a book. The idea of a free continuity, one that followed the same as a tv sitcom. Where you could come into it whenever you wanted and still enjoy it. The stories usually brought the characters back to where they were when the book opened. With special character specific stories often that did change a character in some way whenever a book needed to be freshened up or energized.



And it could be argued that my interest in the Silver Age comics could be a result of my fondness for Mike Allred's Madman, which is heavily influenced, itself, by that period.

So after much speculation over my influences and what I like currently in comics, I would like to say that whatever the outcome, these are the people who I have to thank. They are the ones who have driven me to where I am. I may never become a big name creator, but I would be thrilled if someone was to one day list me alongside any of the above.

Stocking Stuffing Made Easy

This is where I take the time out to list all the things I would love to be getting this Christmas.

Note that I don't list things like huge plasma tvs or fancy sportscars... I have very little chance of getting things like that with the economy the way it is.

Let's see now... the list...

A new video card for my computer would be nice. One with pixel shading, so I can play EQ2.
But then if I got one, I'd spend even more time playing games... Maybe I don't really need that at the moment.

I have just gotten into the Adult Swim shows on Cartoon Network, so any related DVDs would be great. I already have the complete Cowboy Bebop, however.

A year's subscription to Comics Revue would be cool. Comics Revue reprints adventure comic strips like the Phantom, Flash Gordon and Prince Valiant.

The Twilight Zone ('60s) box sets would be a perfect choice, as well.
So would the second and third James Bond sets.
And any volume of the Emma Peel Avengers box sets.

As far as comics go, the Doom Patrol archives would be a good gift. As would the Golden Age Sandman Archive. Or just grab about ten DC comics from the '60s.

Music: I'm still missing for some reason (read: I just haven't gotten around to buying it, yet) Tori Amos - Strange Little Girls.

And if they ever get made: the Blade Runner Special Edition DVD (with all three versions) and the Kill Bill Special Edition (with both films put together).

There we are.

Now it's time for me to go and spread holiday joy!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Ah, Settling Down Again...


Now that I'm finally getting adjusted to my new schedule, I've started finding time for entertainment.
I'm going to be adding Adult Swim and Comedy Central to my weekly viewing habits.

And I'm actually moving forward in my Alias consumption. I'm now eight episodes into the second season.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Super-Heroes in the 21st Century

In light of the Super-Hero Happy Hour fiasco and the recent City of Heroes lawsuit, one has to wonder if there's still any room within the boundaries to create characters with remarkable ability.

I remember when I was a kid and I'd run around with a towel clothespinned around my neck, pretending to be Superman or Batman. Or times when playing with action figures, Boba Fett made a pretty cool Iron Man. Why did I do it? Was it because I wanted to infringe their copyrights? Or was it because I enjoyed reading about the characters so much that they found their way into my imagination and inspired me to be creative?

There are times that I hum old songs or sing lines from them. Like Billie Jean or Prince's Kiss. I don't own the originals anymore. Should they be paid a fee for my use of their songs? Or is it just a sign that their music had touched me in such a way that I'll never forget it? Shouldn't they be proud of it? Doesn't it speak volumes for someone's creation when someone else finds such joy in it?

And then there's City of Heroes. I have not played CoH, and I probably won't due to the fact that I'm already playing a MMORPG (massive multi-player online role playing game), but it's a shame that people getting together to share in the joy of their love of comics and super-heroes can cause so much grief.

I'm pretty certain that the main reason behind Marvel's decision was that it wasn't their game and that in some way they should be getting money out of something that allows players to pretend to be super-heroes. Especially when "super-heroes" is defined by the comics that Marvel (and DC) have been publishing for over sixty years.

Sixty years!

Know what sixty years does to a property?
It makes them sort of idolistic. Think about it. Anyone that is under the age of sixty has come into contact, in one way or another, with DC and Marvel's super-heroes. The concept no longer is the result of any kind of social or storytelling movement. It is now a foundation. It is the norm.

Everyone knows what the term super-hero means. And there's a lot of potential for stories and characters within that concept. But writers have to be careful that the characters aren't "super-heroes", don't have "energy blasts" and don't use "utility belts".

This may be one of the leading reasons that non-super-hero genres are quickly picking up steam in comics. It's easier to write a story within a western or crime context than within a super-hero context where you spend most of the time struggling to make sure your hero (or heroes)'s name, powers, origin and city don't resemble any characters owned by the Big Two. Not to mention villains.

But it wasn't always like this. In the '80s and '90s, several independent comics companies made their own universes of super-powered characters, to varying degrees of success. While there were similarities to DC and Marvel's characters, it wasn't much of a matter at the time. For two simple reasons: the state of the comic industry at the time and how small the indy companies were (they didn't last long).

Nowadays it's a bit different. The comics industry is more rutheless as there's way too much product being produced and way to few readers. Anything that can be done to remove a possible opponent will be attempted.
And there's a massive influx of independent comics creators as it has become relatively easy to make your own comic. Creating comics has become second only to making music as the most inexpensive way to express yourself or be creative. And with internet and free webhosting, web comics (which cost nothing to create) have become one of the biggest trends for writers and artists.

I imagine that we're coming to another point where the people who are eating the fish that the big two are giving to them will learn to catch fish for themselves.
And that's what they're afraid of.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Comic news - December 07, 2004

Well... let's see...
I think I'll start off by listing the books I was previously listing as my "current must reads" back in September:
100 Bullets
Daredevil
Gotham Central
The Ultimates
Birds of Prey
Manhunter
Black Widow
Bloodhound

Now to see how things have changed...

100 Bullets is still going strong. I generally won't read it until each story arc finishes, though. A habit I got into after reading the trades for the first 30 or so issues. It reads much better in large doses. Very engrossing and requires a lot of attention to detail. Something you really can't do waiting a month for the next part.

Daredevil is starting to wind down as both the writer and artist are slated to leave the title at the end of next year. It will be a shame to see them go. Especially if they can't find someone of at least equal talent to replace them.

Gotham Central has just lost their main attraction: Michael Lark, who has struck an exclusive deal with Marvel Comics. Brubaker and Rucka are both really capable fellas, but I just can't see the book lasting without Lark's distinctive look.

The Ultimates has just started Volume 2. While I haven't picked up the first issue, yet (I'm two months behind), I'm eagerly awaiting sinking my teeth into it.

Birds of Prey has been a fun title and it's mostly due to Gail Simone's intelligent writing. The book is a breath of fresh air at times. The last story was kinda anti-climatic but I'm still sticking to the series. The characterization is just great. I could probably do without all the t&a, however... Well... some of it...
;-)

Manhunter and Bloodhound are suffering the most from my alienation from comics. Both are brand new series and neither are really begging for my interest as I'm restructering my list...

Black Widow stays just because Sienkiewicz is doing it. And it helps that the first issue was just awesome.

The Legion of Super-Heroes are making a comeback and what I've heard so far is really impressing me. I may have to check it out.

Waiting for the return of Thor. Funny thing about Thor... I never really cared much for the character. I like mythological themed stories and characters (I think Wonder Woman was best when George Perez relaunched the book in 1988 steeping it in Olympian mythology). Why I never connected to Thor is beyond me. And it wasn't until recently that I felt compelled to pick up Thor. Dan Jurgens and Tom Raney were doing a fantastic job mixing fantasy and super-heroics. Until Jurgens stretched out a good story plot for waaaay too long.
Then, with Avengers Disassembled, Thor was given a new look and feel with a new creative team (Michael Oeming and Andrea Di Vito). Shit really hit the fan and things started to move forward. And then the book got cancelled.
I started to despair.
But it looks like Thor is only on hiatus as the story's being continued in a six-month comic, Stormbreaker, that appears to be branching the previous series with a new one that is coming soon.
You better bet that it's on my list of things to watch for.

Monday, December 06, 2004

It's been a long time...

Damn! It's amazing how changing jobs can really suck you out of energy and creativity!
Not to mention having to adjust to a whole different pay schedule...

I'm no longer playing Star Wars Galaxies. I decided to get Everquest 2. But then, my computer didn't like it as much as I wanted it to. So I have gone to Dark Age of Camelot.
I like it, but I may be taking a break from online games altogether so I can get everything back on track around here.

I've missed the last couple months of comics and a friend is begging me to finish watching the first disc of Alias Season 2 so he can borrow it.

I picked up an issue of "Comic Book Digest". It's a new monthly book put out by Lamp Post Productions that has samples of comics coming out, as well as articles and a 22-page ongoing story -all for less than $2!! Definitely worth checking out if you have an interest in finding comics that are less commercial.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Origin of the Blue Light Special?

A friend of mine shared this joke with me. And since I'm terrible at remembering jokes (especially at those times when I'm expected to tell one), I've decided to post it here.

One day God came to Adam and said, "Adam, I am very pleased with you. You've named all the animals in six days and you've tended to the land in a diligent manner. I feel I must reward you."

"How so, my Lord?"

"Adam, I shall give you a mate. And she shall be called Woman. She will be the most beautiful and caring creature I have ever made. And she shall be put here to serve you as you have served me. Your every wish will be carried out by her. You will never be lonely again."

"Wow, God, that sounds amazing! But what's it gonna cost me? An arm and a leg?"

"Precisely," God replied, "An arm and a leg."

"Uhmmm...", Adam said curiously, "What can I get for a rib?"

Monday, November 01, 2004

Vote!!!

Tomorrow is election day. Many people have early voted. Some even told me they early voted so they couldn't change their mind again.

It's gonna be a tough race, folks. Even I kept bouncing back and forth between Kerry and Bush. Even after posting the blog entry where I announced my decision to vote for Kerry. The debates were very intense this year.

Ultimately, I did what each of us should do. I imagined myself as president. What would I do? Where would I direct our country? How would I bring America back to being a country of freedom and not elitism? What issues do I think are important, from living my life?

These are the important areas.

Here is a message that I received that is being relayed throughout the blogging community, via Music Bloggers for Democracy:



Hey!! Stop what you're doing! You're not going to find that Arcade Fire live bootleg today, nor will you be stumbling across the b-side to "Hand In Glove", and there's no way you'll be finding that unreleased Pixies album. What you need to do is get ready to vote in the most important
election of our lives. Figure out where your nearest polling place is and make sure you are registered. Tell your friends to vote, tell your enemies for that matter. But just vote.

Worried that you're not informed enough to vote? You're on the internet - the information is out there waiting for you. Not a U.S. citizen? Then please call or email all your American friends and make sure they plan on voting. Many artists/organizations are stepping up and helping with the Get Out the Vote campaign, and now so are many of us in the music blogging community. Below are some links but please continue to add your own.

Moveon.com
RockTheVote.com
JohnKerry.com
GeorgeWBush.com
MusicForAmerica.org
DeclareYourself
JustVote
MyPollingPlace
GetEducated

And since this is an mp3blog we've added a song or two as well.
Vote by Chris Stamey w/Yo La Tengo

Get Out And Vote On Novemeber 2nd. Regular Blogging Will Commence On November 3rd.

Thanks,

Music Bloggers For Democracy
and everyone that has agreed to post-
the big ticket
songs:illinois
last sound of summer
moerex
kingblind
bradley's almanac
scissorkick
republic of replicants
mystery and misery

Monday, October 11, 2004

Well... That Lasted Long...

As you may remember, I recently prrchased an X-Box. Along with Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and XIII.
Unfortunately, the system has been doing nothing but collecting dust as I spend most of gaming time playing Star Wars Galaxies. I've even gone so far as checking games out from work, such as Ninja Gaiden and Chronicles of Riddick... both really great games... but I just can't invest the time into those games that they require.

So, I've decided to make a change.

I'm going to trade my X-Box for a Gameboy SP. Why? Because it's more accessable to me.

If during Star Wars Galaxies I find myself waiting for a planet to load, I can conveniently pick it up and play for a bit. I can keep it by the bed and play there before going to sleep. If I was to get up and sit to play the X-Box, I'd just turn on the computer. They're at the same spot.
And I can take it with me. Wherever I go.

I think I need a little hands-on for a while to really make a decision, though.

Friday, October 08, 2004

A Patriot Act



Well, November's almost here and I was originally considering not to vote. Not because I don't care about the future of my country. But, rather... because I just wasn't sure which candidate would be better for the position of President of the United States.

This is a very stressful time for my country, where a President has done great on one hand and poorly on another. And to replace him with someone who is yet to be tested is just as worrisome as keeping him.

I have friends who are voting for Bush and I have friends who are voting for Kerry. And they all have legitimate reasons. So, I'm sure they'll respect me for my decision as I respect them for theirs.

I'm voting for John Kerry.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Devastation Begins



Let's all take a moment to pray (or whatever you might do to wish well for others) for the people that are having to deal with all these hurricanes.
The picture above is Ivan as he's making landfall. As you can see it's almost as big, if not bigger, than the states it's slamming into.

"Two people were killed and more than 70 homes were damaged when at least five tornadoes roared through Florida's Bay County." one report says. Here in East Texas, we get more than our fair share in tornadoes and I've had come very close to one or two. It can be a very scary thing.

Also, "More trouble lingered out in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Jeanne could become a hurricane late Wednesday in the Caribbean as it moves westward across the north coast of Puerto Rico. It could be near Florida's east coast as early as the weekend."

Damn.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

"...Internet Killed the Video Star..."



Perhaps you're familiar with The Buggles' song that became MTV's first video ever played. The same video that spearheaded what would become the Video Age of music.
Previously, only musical talent ensured success for an artist. Listeners associated themselves with the songs more easily and found something easy to relate to.

But then came video. And with it a whole new way of selling music. Images bombarded viewers with already fashioned interpretations of the songs. Artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson learn to manipulate the art form, quickly becoming superstars as they learn that they have an extra boost to get attention and express their ideas.
While artists that have a good sound, but hardly any video presence, are left on the wayside.

The same thing happened to the movie industry when sound was introduced. Silent film stars suddenly found themselves out of work because they didn't have a good enough voice. Some found a way around by having someone else dub over them (kinda like Milli Vanilli).

Now we face another change as internet has made lesser known artists get the same strength as mainstream musicians by playing on the same battlefield where everyone's equal.
You can easily find an internet radio station that plays genre-specific music that you like. Top 40 slowly is becoming the next elevator or grocery store music as it fades into the background of thought. Will Top 40 ever go away? Not likely as it's the one form of art, besides movies, that we as a society relate to each other.
Cable TV has pretty much done away with the daily water-cooler talk about the previous nights' network showings. With as many choices as we have now, hardly anyone watches the same thing.

This is where the internet thrives most. It allows those people who do share common interests to interact. How many people at your job has seen Aeon Flux? Or Bubblegum Crisis? Or even care about such things? Who at your local bar watches anything on the Independent Film Channel?

Anyway, as I step off of my tangent, I'm going to introduce you to two nice internet radio stations I've found this week.
Limbik Frequencies (Ambient Electronic)
Deviant on Ice (Ambient Chillout)

Enjoy!

Friday, August 20, 2004

The Grind



A short piece today, as I'm getting ready for work. I get off around midnight tonight and have to be back at 10:30 tomorrow morning. Ack!
Oh, and I just found out that one of my taillights is out. Guess I'll be doing that tonight, as well...

Talk about weird things happening... I just discovered after working the last three weeks with this girl at one of my jobs that we were on a blind date together, about fifteen years ago!
We both kept having this strange, "don't I know you?" attitude. Matter of fact we made friends pretty easily.
Now it all seems weird. We laughed for over a minute because we couldn't believe we hadn't recognized each other. We only dated once, and had never talked since.

I'm slowly moving the content of my old website over here. I'll be bringing over some of my pages from my comic that I had posted online before going to print. And I'll be posting my role-playing game conversions that I'd made back when me and some friends were into Super-Hero and Cyberpunk RPGs. Hopefully I won't bore anyone here.

And thanks to those who have either posted comments or sent me e-mail. It's great to hear from you.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Assimilations



A week has now gone by since I started this blog. I really don't know if anyone's reading this (other than a few friends that I keep forcing it on).

I'm about to re-install photoshop (something I have to do every time I re-format my computer), so I'm getting that much closer to working on my comic again. I've been tossing around ideas for 'Nuther World Comics #2. But first I need to finish work on another story, called "Godboy", that I'm doing for someone else. This job I have right now is really kicking my butt. But I'm sure once I get settled in I'll have more time to work on what I want to.

I just saw Alien Vs. Predator this week (look on this site for my review) and one of the trailers was for Shaun of the Dead, a whimsical take on zombie films. Turns out a zombie infestation breaks out in Britain and the only person who can stop it is this guy Shaun, who has a hangover and is more interested in getting his ex-girlfriend back. The trailer was hilarious. Can't wait to see it in September.

There was a show called Amp that used to play on MTV. I mentioned it previously in the Tori Amos post. At one time I had found a website that had listed all the episodes and the videos that were played on each. I've since lost it. If anyone knows where I can find it, shoot me an e-mail.

Also, there was a band on MP3.com, called Acidage. MP3.com has recently folded. I think it was bought out by c-net. If anyone knows where Acidage now keeps their music, let me know.

Many wonder how my fascination with cyberpunk came about. And you know? I can't really tell you. It just so happened that I was introduced to a lot of similar things around the same time. During this time I hadn't found my favorite genre yet. Blade Runner helped start it rolling. Then I found the Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2020 games. And the radio shows "Hearts of Space" and "Musical Starstreams". All of these came to me at about the same time and left a lasting impression. MTV's Amp and Aeon Flux helped cement it in. And Bubblegum Crisis, Akira and Ghost in the Shell meant there was no turning back.
Then I found the chatsubo usenet group.
And then, after all this, I read the book that started it all- Neuromancer.
As science-fiction comes closer to being science-fact, cyberpunk is starting to take on new meanings. Some would say that cyberpunk is dead, since we've reached the plateau in real life that was first established in the early days of the genre. And I think they may be right. But the mindset, the original attitude of cyberpunk is still here.
Just about any story now days has a bit of technology involved. How can you tell if it's cyberpunk then? You can't. But after you read it or watch it, you'll know. Cyberpunk is more about attitude and the overall atmosphere.

Another genre that I took a liking to is pulp fiction. I'm not talking Quentin Tarantino here. I'm talking guys with guns and femme fatales. Mystery men fighting deadly criminals. Detectives searching for that elusive case-solving clue.
This also came to me at one big bang, as I found both the Shadow radio shows and the Shadow pulp stories on-line in my early days of internet. I also had found Doc Savage and the Avenger.
I then found a magazine, called "Pulp Adventures", and quickly subscribed.
And to help even more I discovered The Sandman Mystery Theatre from DC Comics. Serving stories in four-part segments, the book was for "mature readers", which meant it had no restraints. And because of that it allowed the creators to write some damn good stories.
I also came across a website that was devoted to bringing back pulp fiction as a marketable genre. It allowed new writers to submit stories to be shown on their website for free viewing. I read plenty of good stories there, as well.
And two of the best book compilations I own are "The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction" and "Tough Guys and Dangerous Dames". Both books are huge and collect stories from old detective pulp magazines. If you see either of these, check them out.
When I did my Moon Knight fan-fiction, I fashioned it as a pulp story, with chapter breaks and cliffhangers. I even found a note from Lester Dent on how he came up with a "formula" for writing pulps. It did give me nudge in the right direction.

But I have to say one of favorite readings about someone else writing came from The Twilight Zone Companion.
In it we discover just how Rod Serling worked. And how obsessive he was over his show. It's great to read about other people being creative- Eavesdropping on them when they have that big "Aha!". And the Twilight Zone Companion gave me that feeling.
Now if I can just afford the dvds.