Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Secret Origin

I originally quit blogging back in 2004 because I had lost interest. Just didn't see the point in being one voice among thousdands of others. I was more focused on applying the principles of what I'd learned from comics into real life by using my talents to do good in the world (a subject I explain here) and that was that.

And then, at the end of 2006, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphona. It was a hard time as I went through chemo, particularly for a young person going through the cancer experience. There were many days I couldn't do much more than sit around the house. It was during this time, when I was ordering trades of Aaron Williams' great PS238 series (I actually ordered them directly through him because it's frickin' HARD to get them in Canada). One of the little background details I loved in the first few books were the faux motivational posters he had and I asked if I could have full sized jpg files. He gave me the link where he made them instead. So I began tinkering; it was a good way to pass the time at the computer. Even after I finished treatment (successfully - it has now been four years and no sign of any problems), I found myself using the poster macros and images from the monthly solicits or other sources to express my thoughts on various characters or ideas or for commentary.

I started sharing these posters with the few online friends I discussed comics with, and virtually all of them suggested the same thing - put them up on a blog (Special thanks goes to Jens H. Altmann, Paul F.P. Pogue, and Mario Di Giacomo). And so I reopened the blog, and started putting up the posters, along with some commentary and thoughts.

And here we are now. At rough count, I've made over 3000 posters since I started, and over 700 blogposts since then. Which, while not prolific blogging, is not bad either. But something has happened - and it's been about two months since I've had anything new to posterize. Furthermore, I found that I have little new to say about comics - I could keep telling you "Atomic Robo, PS238, Love and Capes and Farscape are AWESOME DUDES!", and I will actually still be blogging for most of the rest of the year, and taking on a most positive tone, but...they really just don't inspire me anymore.

I believe that it is an individual's moral imperative to develop their talents to the utmost and then to apply those talents in the real world as best they can. Care to guess where I got this silly notion from? So that's what I'm going to do, and that means that redirecting and refocusing this energy means that I'll be leaving blogging behind. But again, I still have hundreds of posters to put up, so you'll not be rid of me just yet.

The changes in corporate comics don't make me happy, but at the same time, I'm not going to waste the time and energy to shout at them about how poorly I think they are doing because - well, there's lots of people who do that already. I choose to strive for the example of the heroes I read about as a kid. Furthermore, I think that moving forward in the real world is more in keeping with the example of the real people and real heroes behind the stories I love; Creators like Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and Dwayne McDuffie and Will Eisner, and on and on. It's one thing to say you like superheroes - but your actions in the real world are what matter.

This is all part of my moving forward. I started making posters because I needed something to get my mind off the things I was dealing with, and it was my old childhood heroes who led the way. Now it's time to return the favor, and do my best to live up to those standards.

I end today's post with two of my favorite hero moments of all time - moments that helped inspire me during my treatment, just to give you an idea of my mindset. Share with me your favorite hero moments. And don't worry, more posts to come.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quick show of Hands

I'm debating doing an actual in-depth comic review of Action Comics #775, one of my favorite Superman stories of all time. Any interest?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Possible world to come?


"Hey Joe."
"Hey Bri."
"Last day."
"Yeah. Yeah."
"You want a-?"
"sure if you got-"
"Cool. "
"So, you're going back to Image?"
"Yeah, well - if - "
"Still got the legal thing?"
"Yeah, it's no biggie."
"Sorry Bri, couldn't help with that."
"No biggie. So, you got that thing set up yet?"
"The thing?"
"The Dark Horse thing."
"Oh, yeah. Mostly just the Buffy comics, maybe a couple other things to start."

"Cool. Cool. You heard from Mark?"
"Yeah, Mark."
"Not since he said he was flying out to LA."
"Oh. Me neither."
"Anything on the others?"
"The others?"
"Yeah the others - Matt, Ed, Jason-"
"Oh. Nope."

"No one's at DC?"
"Maybe a couple of the artists - heard they picked up Colleen."
"Colleen Coover."
"Huh. Cool."

"Guess it's part of their new policy."
"New policy?"
"Yeah - they only want people with YA experience-"
"Young Adult."
"Young Adult? You mean like Harry Potter ?"
"Wow. That's a new direction."
"You figure that's what-"
"Probably. Explains things."
"We better finish up. Lot to do before closing time."

"You think there's anything we could have-"
"about what?"
"I don't know - seen it coming?"
"Seen what coming?"
"I don't know."
"Exactly. We coulda gotten rich if we'd seen it coming."
"I guess.'
"Weird though."
"Yeah. All new people going to be in here. Guess it's best not to stick around."

"I guess."
"Good Luck Bri."
"Good Luck Joe. I'll text you in a couple days."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On the DC Reboot

Honestly, I'm still not sure what to make of it. At all.

One theory that's out there on the internet is that it's ok for old fans to be disenfranchised, because that will lead to new fans replacing us. The template those people look to is the successful Doctor Who revival. And you know, I'd be OK with that, honestly. If DC doesn't want to produce a product I like, then I'll take my money elsewhere; no harm, no foul, it's just business.

But....exactly how are they going to get these news fans is my question. Where will they come from? Using Doctor Who as the reference, I got into it with the revival because it was heavily marketed in a media I have easy access to (TV), was easy to find (check the listings), cost nothing to check out (provided you were already paying your bills), and was produced by a group of new creators who had little if any involvement in the franchise, and the product was made easily accessible.

Contrast this with the Reboot; how are they marketing it? Multimedia advertising - internet, TV, radio, newspaper articles. OK, this is good - but it's casting a wide net, assuming that people are going to check it out because the recognizable characters (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern) are there. Which might do well...for those titles, but probably won't help say, the Blackhawks book or Birds of Prey or Stormwatch or Mr. Terrific, which is to say, the majority of the relaunched titles. In order for that to work, there would have to be advertising within the "high profile" titles for the other books. I don't see that happening. Nevermind that trying to target a diverse line of comics for a general audience is a tricky thing, and would have to be sustained over a long period of time to see long lasting results.

Then there's the accessiblity - there are effectively two audiences to the reboot wants to get - people who will go to the brick and mortar stores, and people who will buy digital. For the digital purchasers, they have to have the app, and they have to be aware of how to use the app and then, they have to pay on a per-issue basis the same as the brick and mortar store customers. The potential brick and mortar store customers are limited by the fact that A) there may not be a comic store anywhere near them (such as myself) and B) they need to actually FIND them, which isn't as easy as say, checking your local TV listings for a show. The store owners also have to be willing to risk ordering lots of extra copies months in advance how much of an increase in business they should expect, otherwise, they aren't going to get much in the way of new customers.

In addition to this, while the histories of the characters are being refreshed/relaunched/rebooted or whatever term you like, the people making them are, for the most part, the same group of people who have been part of the franchise for the past decade. Much like with "Brightest Day", it's hard for things to change substantially if it's the same people doing the same kind of work that has been rejected in the past. In fact, much like the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths that this relaunch is compared to, the relaunching is highly selective - Green Lantern and Batman are staying the same while Superman and Wonder Woman are getting new takes, which, incidentally, is exactly what happened Post-Crisis.

This is all a very long way of saying that you can't really compare the DC reboot to the Doctor Who revival because the marketing isn't as targeted, its not as easy to access, it costs more, and the "freshness" of the take is questionable.

As a sidebar, I find it interesting that the relaunch really doesn't address (and really can't address) one of the rumored reasons for it; to more effectively tie-in with the use of the characters in other media and to develop more adaption-ready material for multimedia use. Trying to make a successful multimedia franchise ready for adaptation is difficult to start with, and it's compounded by the fact that it limits the creators to try and achieve a style that can be easily adapted, which works for some properties, but not others.

Of course, I also try to imagine what would happen if DC had to bring their comics inline with their existing multimedia adaptations. For example, getting rid of all the Robins and most of the supporting cast to put the Batman comics inline with the Nolan films. And you'd have to replace the entire writing and art groups of DC to try and emulate the aesthetics and storytelling style of "Batman: the Brave and the Bold". Or (my personal favourite) making a "Big Seven" Justice League comic with John Stewart and Hawkgirl, with a Dini-inspired house art style and Dwayne McDuffie-style storytelling.

Actually...yeah, I would like to see that last one.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Non-Comics Posters!

ALF was my favorite TV show as a kid.

Make something of it, I dare you.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

All the Evidence you need

For whenever you need proof that more female creators in comics can only be a good thing.

You're welcome.