Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Don't hate the player, hate the game" is the biggest fucking cop-out in the whole world.

It's basically a "Get-out-of-Jail" catch-prhase for being a douche, but not wanting to be called out for being one.

Those words are supposed to completely absolve someone of any and all wrong-doing...and I call BULLSHIT!

I'm not saying the that world should be fair and peaches and sunshine, but bad behavior should not be ignored because people say that is the way the world is.

Instead of acting on your worst behavior, why not step up and act with honor and integrity?  And if you do, maybe the next person will, and the next and the next?

Who knows, maybe life will no longer be considered a game... and we'll all be winners.

Okay... kniption finished.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

And Bendis gets it wrong... again.

Again I go back to Avengers Assembled, where Bendis has STILL not explained why the Hulk talks in the third person (unlike his own book) or how Thanos and Starlord made it out of the Cancerverse where they were trapped at the end of DandA's Thanos Imperative.  Pretty big oops in my opinion.

Now I have a minor quibble with a three page preview from Avengers Assembled #7... mainly that he appears to really not know who is an Elder of the Universe.

Here's the link to the preview in question: 

Here we see Thanos confronting the Champion, the Contemplator, the Collector, the Stranger and the In-Betweener (by the way, I did not make up these names).  And yes, all are cosmic entities and yes SOME are part of the Elders of the Universe...but NOT all.  The In-betweener has worked with the Elders but is not one of them. And the Stranger has as far as I can recall NEVER worked with them.

Oy, this is not brain surgery.  It's simple continuity.  Just know who is part of what group.

Bendis, seriously... read someone else work, know your comics "history" and I will stop calling you a douchebag.

Okay, kniption over... for now.

Update: Bendis DID address the Cancerverse.  No really he did.  The Avengers and the Guardians get attacked by Thanos and shunted into another dimension.  When one the characters asks where they are, Starlord answers "The Cancerverse".  Nothing else.  Just that.

Wow.  Great job there Bendis.  Really dealing with continuity there.  You frickin' douchebag!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Reason I don't like Bendis

My friends know that I am not a fan of Brian Michael Bendis.  And it is not that I don't think he is a good writer.  He is.  He has a great gift for dialogue.  He has gotten better at writing action.  And he has some very good story ideas.

My problem is that I think he is an arrogant SOB.  Now, why would I say that?  Well, because as good as a writer as he can be... he doesn't seem to respect anyone else's writing.  I mean look at what he does.  He doesn't write a story where the characters are able to be themselves... he has to make them fit the story he wrote, which is why many of the characters in his story, act out of "character". 

And for the most part, he does not pay ANY mind to what another writer has done with a character. Case in point, his current series, Avengers Assemble, which he has said IS in continuity, there are three things that are driving me insane.  One of which is blatant, but the two he still has a chance to explain, but I don't expect him to as he has never done so before.

1) The Hulk - In the current run of the Hulk, the Hulk is intelligent.  A thug, but intelligent.  Able to use pronouns and also not refer to himself in the third person.  Definitely not the "Hulk Smash" Hulk of yesteryear.  And how does Bendis write him?  Well, you guessed it.  He completely ignores what the current writer is doing, and we have "No one like Hulk, even when he try to help."  Oh come on!  To borrow a segment from SNL, REALY?!  He can't just write his dialogue as it actually is right now?  OY!

2 & 3) I'm lumping these two together as they pretty much stem from the same place, Dan Abnet and Andy Lanning's cosmic stuff: The Guardian's of the Galaxy and Thanos.  Now DandA, wrote some beautiful cosmic stories, which while going off in their own direction, paid homage at least to the continuity and history of the characters.  Now what is my issue and why am I waiting to pass judgement?  Well, it has to do with the Thanos Imperative.  In the last issue, DandA has Starlord and Nova (Richard Rider) stay behind in the "Cancerverse" to make sure Thanos couldn't make it back to the regular universe.  They make a heroic sacrifice to safeguard everyone, and which also ends DandA's Guardians of the Galaxy run.  And what does Bendis do in Avengers Assemble #3?  Well have Thanos show up?  No explanation.  Well, I was hoping that maybe he will give one in Avengers Assemble #4...and the answer was, "No".  And who shows up in the end of #4?  Well the Guardians of the Galaxy, lead by Starlord.  Maybe Bendis will explain it in #5.  Maybe.  But considering his track record or paying ANY attention to what other writers have done, I wouldn't bet money on it.

Okay, rant over...for now.  But there is another kniption coming... I know it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Consequences of Marvel's Ghost Rider lawsuit

Recently Marvel Comics won a law suit against Gary Friedrich's which you can read about on the Bleeding Cool website: Marvel/ Gary Friedrich lawsuit.

Personally I see this whole thing as a dirty lawyer trick, but if this stands, here is how I see the consequences going to the extreme

  • Say goodbye to Artist Alley at Comic Book conventions
  • See less artists going to Comic Book conventions
  • See there being less of a draw (no pun intended) to go to Comic Book conventions
  • See there being less Comic Book conventions
  • See there being less fan interaction with comic book companies like Marvel and DC
  • See less fans buying comics
  • See comic books, and by extension, comic book companies, like Marvel and DC, going out of business
  • See there being no comic books
Congrats on winning your lawsuit

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I think I finally figured it out... sorta

I think I finally figured out what is wrong with Comic books today and why there is trouble having new readers want to go look for back issues... they (Marvel and DC) do not make it easy to do so.

Used to be, if a past event was mentioned, there was a small footnote box saying where that storyline, or event took place.  You had the information so if you wanted to, you could go and ask your comic book store if they had that back issue.

Just read a book where they mentioned a past event...but no footnote, no nothing.  Um, what if I wanted to read that book?  How am I supposed to find it?  Go the comic book store and ask the person behind the counter if they know what issue this and that event took place in?  What if they don't remember... or just don't know?  They have just lost a sale.

And, let's follow this thought.  The footnotes would have a reader be able to look at a storyline they might be interested in.  And after reading that story...they would be directed to other stories, which might introduce them to new characters that they might want to read about and want to go find old issues AND new issues with that character, which would lead to... (Yes I know that this is a run on sentence, but I wanted to illustrate the connectivity of the thought, so, ppppbbbtttz).

I am not saying that this is the main reason that the comic book industry is shrinking, but I think it is one of them.  By making it harder, if not impossible for a reader to go and find older issues, the companies are not investing the reader in the stories and the universes, and therefore they have no emotional investment to keep on collecting.  They might collect for a while, but in the end, by just being shown this small segment of the history, and not the whole, they are not connected and can walk away from the stories as soon as the one story is over.

Just something to think about.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why is it so hard to do what you love?

Maybe it's depression, maybe it's anxiety... but I have to wonder why is it that so few of us actually do what we want to do?  Why do we all take jobs that barely pay us instead of finding a way to make the things that we love to do...make us money.  We all sit there (well, not the "we" that actually manage to do what they love to do) sit there and bemoan our fate.  What will it take to get "us", and at this time I mean "me", off my ass and actually do it?  <sigh>  I need to do something that will not only slightly fill my wallet...but also my creativity.  I am sick and tired of feeling creatively empty.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Just getting started..

I wrote this back in 2004 when I did not like the way the comic book industry was going and what I thought was going to happen.

Somethings I mentioned have changed, some not.. but I am glad that comics are still here.

Tell me what you think...and remember, written back in 2004.

State of the Comic Book Industry (2004)

The comic book industry has greatly evolved from its humble beginnings as two-cent throwaway pamphlets to multi-million dollar multi-media conglomerates.  The books that began as black and white morality plays have evolved into complex examinations of the world around us, giving us heroes with failings and foibles which accent their heroism.  While these changes in characters and stories have generally been a good thing, there has been a tendency to take the realism to an extreme.  By making these books and characters so dark and morally ambivalent, the books that began as juvenile escapism are too mature for the younger readers to which the companies are appealing.
That is not the only trend that comics books have adopted in recent years.  As the companies have become more and more interested in the financial bottom line, decisions on characters, the types of stories told, and the people hired to create the stories have changed.  While these companies have always been interested in making money and increasing the marketing strength of their characters, it seems as if the respect that the companies had for their fans has been replaced by greed.
Companies used to be open to more experimentation in their publishing, giving minor characters a chance at a book, or a story or two.   Books such as the Champions, the Atom, and Hellstorm, or alternate lines, such as the New Universe, Epic, Vertigo and Heavy Hitters used to be commonplace.  These titles weren’t necessarily very good, but they were willing to experiment with different ideas.   With the success that certain characters have been getting in other mediums, the companies seem less willing to take chances on untested characters.   They push these crossover characters everywhere, over-exposing them.   Spider-Man alone has six separate books devoted just to him.  While Wolverine has only one book, he appears in almost every X-Men related book, as well as having guest spots in other books.   These two characters are going to be even further overexposed when the new Avengers book is published.
In terms of stories, it used to be that story arcs furthered the plotlines and characters.  Because companies seem more interested in collecting the issues into trade paperbacks, a story that would have taken three or four books is now stretched to six issues.   This would be a good idea if all the writers were able to write compelling six issue arcs.   Unfortunately this is not the case.   Issues where nothing happens have become commonplace, just a filler to complete that all-important six issue arc.
Another point to address is the loss of continuity within the books.  While continuity can be burdensome and unwieldy, there are creators that have proven quite deft at handling it.   Others completely ignore it, with the blessing of the companies. Marvel Comics have characters that appear in multiple books, but act completely different with each appearance.   DC Comics has taken characters with strong continuity ties, and completely ignored them.   Long time readers generally like continuity as they have a sense of growth with the characters, knowing their history, and the trials characters have gone through.  By dismissing continuity arbitrarily, it is as if the companies are saying that these readers have been wasting their time reading and caring about the characters.   Not only is continuity being ignored, so are the loyal readers.
As far as creators are concerned, this has changed over the course of the years as well.   While comic book writers were primarily focused on writing comic books, the trend now is to use writers who have excelled in other forms of media.   The number of screenwriters in the industry has increased as the companies become more interested in having their characters crossover into mainstream media.   And while some of these writers do have a good grasp of these characters, a lot of what has come out seems like a Hollywood high concept pitch as opposed to a good comic story.    Most of these writers don’t truly understand these characters and force them to act contrary to the way their personalities have been established, ignoring continuity to write a story that may have actually worked with other protagonists.
This is not to say that all that has come before is not without fault.  The comic book industry has been making mistakes for years now.  During the 1990’s, companies began to cater to a speculator market, using multiple covers and other such gimmicks.  They began to over-publish their books for an artificially inflated market, and continued to do so even when the speculators dropped out.   Independent comic book companies have continuously made the same mistake.  From Malibu Comics to Crossgen, Valliant to Acclaim, each company published more titles than they had a fan base for, ultimately going bankrupt as a result.
The comic book industry is constantly changing, both for better and worse.  The stories are no longer simplistic in nature, and often address real issues, giving cause for thought.   Unfortunately, this realism also gets taken to the extreme, taking the once heroic characters and miring them in ethical ambiguity, destroying their iconic value.   Featuring popular characters in several books, can lead to a profit for the companies, but the over-use of characters threatens to dilute their popularity.   Continuity creates a rich history for characters, but can limit the stories that can be told.   Completely ignoring it though is degrading to loyal readers.   Finally, by making translation into other media a priority over the comic books themselves, the stories are derivative, existing not for their own sake, and come off as hollow.
If these trends continue as they are, longtime readers will leave as the characters they knew no longer resemble themselves, young readers won’t be able to read the books as the material will not be deemed age appropriate.  Whatever new readers have been gained will soon be lost, as the constant changing of a character’s personality will not allow them to identify with the characters.   Overall, the loss of readers will cause the comic marketplace to shrink even more than the speculator bust of the 90’s did.  Thankfully, these trends are not the standard.  There are stories, characters, and plotlines that do not follow the examples given above.   Hopefully, these will become the norm, and not the exception.