Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Death of Spider-Man" 2

So I talked about this story previously but I wanted to go back to it for a minute. I somewhat expected Marvel to spoil the story in the media and sure enough they didn't disappoint. But what I was a little surprised with was that they've come out to justify spoiling the story (even giving news organizations the last couple pages to post). I'm not surprised with the content of their justification, just that they went public with what we all knew. But it just reinforces to me so much of what I've come to hate about the Marvel, DC, and to some extent the other publishers like Image as of late.

First up, it's all about getting non-comic readers talking about it and coming in to buy the comic. Now I'm all for trying to grow your audience but I'd like to see them do it without screwing over those who are already buying your product. The ones who don't want to know how the book ends. This just feels like a kick to the crotch for them. And does this truly grow your audience? Maybe a bit. I see people coming in to buy the book who don't usually buy comics but why are they doing it? A lot are doing it in the hopes the polybagged comic will become a collectible to sell. They won't read it, they won't be back, and they just reinforce the idea that comics aren't really for reading, they are a collectible you can hope to make money on. Not very productive for the industry in my mind (and I think the 90's confirmed that). Then of course you get the regular reader buying more than one copy because they want a readable version and a "mint" edition to hold on to.

To me going out there and spoiling it is like telling me the story really isn't worth reading without the gimmick of the death. Now maybe the story is worth reading, I don't know because I didn't read it. Why? Because at this point death in comics always feels like a gimmick to me. And this spoiling just reinforces that. It's saying the story doesn't matter, it's the gimmicks that I should be interested in. And I think that's bad for comics in general. Does this make people think there is actually value in the stories that comics can tell? I don't think so. Does this make kids or their parents want to pick up comics? I don't think so. It makes comics look like they are still stuck in the same old "We're going to kill him or do something 'shocking' just to try to get your attention" methods of the 90's.

I really don't want to rant too much on this, because I know I can be shot down so easily ("You aren't even reading it so why do you care?", "The sale on the book were huge.", etc) but for me, this is just frustrating. With companies having so many tools at their disposal to get their product out there and get people interested in the actual content of comics they are going for "cheap pops" that make the comic industry look bad. I guess this was always the way and I just had all I can take of it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

25 Pages And Counting

So my latest webcomic, The Bluenoser, has hit 25 pages posted (with one "filler page"). Not really a regular "milestone" but that's how DrunkDuck works (to avoid people creating their own milestones to get in the news section they limit it to every 25 pages and finishing a comic) so I guess I'll follow along.

I have to say that it's been very different than my experience with my first webcomic. The reaction has been better and maybe one day I'll go into some rambling trying to explain why I think that is so (better art/writing, shorter stories that are easier for readers to get into, having some carry over from Divine Leap, etc). Though one thing that hasn't changed is that I have done almost nothing to advertise it other than letting readers of Divine Leap know. I'll just keep telling myself that it's okay as I'm not doing this to make money or get noticed anyways.

From my perspective it's been more fun to write and draw. I get to focus on short, condensed stories that are fun to come up with and draw rather than some 400+ page storyline. I was worried when I started that I would have trouble with it, to come up with a bunch of stories that still felt like they continued the narrative. But so far I've been pretty happy and I have a lot of ideas brewing in my little bedside notebook.

So I guess it's off to get the next 25 pages done... After I'm done at work that is. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spoiling the creature of the day

I've read a bit of reaction about people searching out spoilers for what the creature looks like in the new Super 8 film and it's got me thinking yet again about these movies being advertised as they are (Cloverfield and Godzilla are just two of the movies that come to mind). I have not seen Super 8 or Cloverfield so this is not a comment on them, just the advertising and set up around them.

Some people are pointing to the people who are posting these spoilers and those looking for them as ruining it for everyone. I disagree, as long as it's being done without spoiling it for those who don't want to be spoiled then I'd argue it's okay. And then some have said it's stealing money, getting to see the creature without paying. So are they admitting the only reason to go see this film is to see the latest CGI creation? Am I also stealing every time I look at a picture of Jason or Freddy and not buying Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street?

It actually does feel to me that the advertising pushes this idea that the reason to come see these films is to see the creature. We see the usual clips of government conspiracy, animals reacting (dogs barking, cats hissing, etc), and yes, we get some clips of a few actors reacting to something. It's all building the trailers to be "Ooh, we have a creature and look at all these people reacting to it but we aren't going to let you see it without paying." Of course, you say that to someone and the first thing they're going to think is "Oh yeah? Well I'll see it just to spite you."

The same applies to non-visual twists, etc. When movies get advertised with "You'll never guess the ending" or "Biggest twist ending ever, you'll never see it coming" then you've done two things:
- You've revealed to your audience that there is a twist (this has ruined many a movie for me as it becomes predictable what that "twist" will be).
- You're acting like the high school student who brags about a piece of gossip but won't tell, of course people will find any way to discover the big secret and the easiest way is to not pay you for it when you have so many people willing to put it out there for free.

I just hate advertising like this. Let the movie sell itself. Have a well thought out story instead of these gimmicks. Because really, I'd rather a movie I can watch over and over again 5 or 10 years from now and not just a picture of some stupid monster. That actually boils down my point, you're making a movie, if a picture/drawing of a creature ruins it or can sum up the movie in one shot then you're not making use of the medium and you should just release pictures of monsters instead.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Some Random Comic Reviews

I guess there hasn't been anything pushing me to do regular reviews since my weekly purchase of comics is gone. Instead, TPBs come in every now and then, I read them thinking I could maybe post a review or two but it just never happens. But before I start I'd like to point out Max Overacts is back!

So here's a recap of a few of my most recent reads:
Scalped volumes 1 through 3 -- I had been hearing great things about this series but I didn't really think it was for me. But as I was feeling a lull waiting for TPBs of other series to come out I decided to check out volume 1 and I'm really glad I did. Extremely well written, compelling story with interesting characters, and visually off the charts.

DMZ volume 1 -- This one was recommended to me by a friend, the same friend I got hooked on several books recently. It creates an interesting picture of the island of Manhattan becoming a demilitarized zone. I think it was to bring the feel of real world places to a more local place. Perhaps if I was more familiar with New York it would have more of an impact on me. It is pretty well written though and I've decided to check out a couple more volumes. And now that it's being cancelled I may be more likely to just give the whole series a try (weird logic I know but if I know there's a conclusion coming and it's not like I'll have to keep spending money on it I'm often more likely to spend the money).

Deadlands: The Devil's Six Gun one shot -- I was fortunate to get an advance copy of this. I'm not familiar with the game (not much of a roleplayer) but this was an interesting story. I think David Gallaher and Steve Ellis executed it very well, I think they've improved as a storytelling team since High Moon started (not that High Moon was anything to complain about). I don't think I'll be rushing out to pick up any more Deadlands stuff but this was a great story to check out.

Darkstar and the Winter Guard -- Speaking of David Gallaher and Steve Ellis, this book had been sitting on my Amazon wishlist for a while but I kept putting off buying it. I think reading their Deadlands one shot pushed me to finally order it. Other than a Hulk appearance or two I hadn't really cared about the Winter Guard. I'm actually not quite done (on the last issue now) but the characters are more interesting to me now that I've read this. It touches on a fair amount of Marvel history while still being readable if you're not an expert. I don't think I'd be looking to pick up a series for them long term but this has been good so far.

And I think that's it for now. I know there are a few I'm missing (Invincible and Fables, both very good) but I'll try to get back to posting reviews more frequently.

One last aside, I'm really looking forward to Fan Expo Canada again this year. I've heard a few complaints about things (higher prices, some people feel there haven't been what they see as big name announcements, last year's issues, etc) but I've really enjoyed myself the last two years and I'm happy with how this year's is looking. But then again, I don't really go for the celebrities as much as others.

Friday, June 03, 2011

DC's Big Thing

Well since everyone is giving their two cents on the big DC news I may as well throw my thoughts out there. My first thought was that DC was being pretty daring, revamping their entire comic run (including books that are doing very well like Green Lantern) to give a new status quo as well as going same day digital. My second thought was wondering if I'd be looking at picking up any of the books. I've never really been a fan of any DC characters. I've been mildly curious in the big three, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, from time to time but never really enough to get into their ongoing books (other than for an couple issues here and there). I have bought a few of the non-canonical books (Red Son, The New Frontier, Joker, etc) and enjoyed them but that's about it. So I had my doubts but I was also curious enough to keep listening. But the more I hear the less interested I am. But as I've said, I come in to this with a history of not being all that interested in these characters.

First up, the price of digital. I've given up on monthlies and I don't want to have to buy physical copies of these books just to try them out. So I was glad I could buy them the same day digitally, avoiding spoilers and being right there with everyone else as the books launched. But I just won't pay the same price for digital. I know there are expenses to be considered but with a physical book I am buying a physical thing that is now mine. With digital as it is I'm just paying for the ability to read it, and only so long as the companies will allow (or maybe until they are out of business). So yes I'll have the experience of reading it but it still doesn't seem like a good deal to me. I can wait until the price gets down but then what's the point, the wave of the relaunch has already passed me by and I'll have had weeks of everyone around me talking about it while I sit there and have to wait. And really, I'm just looking to test the waters of these new books. At least the first issues could be cheaper to attract me. So in short, the pricing just doesn't seem right to me.

Secondly, this whole "is it a reboot, a relaunch, a renumbering, whatever" talk, it's turning me right off. It doesn't help that they are saying it'll make sense when you see what happens in Flashpoint. So I have to be reading this series from the current DC universe and goes back in DC history to see what's going on with this relaunch? I may be proven wrong but so far that seems rather unfriendly to someone who hasn't already been reading DC comics. I get it, they can't really just wipe out the current DC universe, there has to be something going on. And they really want to advertise it but in the end it just seems unappealing to me.

Third, I'm cynical. Now you can say that this is my problem but I'm not the only comic reader who is thinking "How long until we're back to the status quo?" Yes, Crisis stuck (for the most part) but how many times have we had universe altering, status quo changing, Earth destroying events that lasted what, a year, before things were back to normal and we have Superman back to the way he was? We've heard wolf cried so many times that you really can't blame us for saying "yeah sure, this time it's a wolf".

So those are the big ones. But it's early and a lot can happen between now and September so I'll try my best to keep an open mind. Though DC may be making a lot of their current readers very unhappy I do appreciate that they are trying to clean things up and make their books more accessible to new readers or those who left and couldn't be bothered to try and get back into it.