Friday, November 16, 2007

Chronological Snobbery

If you are not reading Chronological Snobbery, you hate America. and Freedom.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Marvel DCU

It's probably not a good omen for the new online effort from Marvel, but they've named it Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, aka: Marvel DCU. Keep in mind, DCU is also how DC Comics (Marvel's prime competition) refers to its entire line of comics: The DC Comics Universe. Sadly, I doubt anyone at DC ever thought to copyright "DCU", or else they couldn't. Apparently DCU is also the stock ticker for Dry Clean USA.


In addition, Marvel hasn't made it clear what you're actually buying if you sign up for their annual subscription service. It's a $60.00 investment for a year, which... when comics are going for $3.00 a pop, that's not a bad price for access to thousands of comics. Especially when you know it's less than $5.00 a month.

The problem is that I'm not sure which comics they're making available. I'm certainly not interested if Marvel is placing all of their failed series online, but only a few issues of a series I want to read. If they're placing a bunch of their content online and planning on keeping it there, that's great (think Netflix comics).

Right now the entire first 100 issues of FF, Spidey and X-Men are online. Buying collections, that might set you back over $100. But what about newer stuff? What if I want to read all of Annihilation online?

It seems almost as if Marvel is using the online effort as more of a marketing effort than a new way to approach comics. They seem interested in providing back stories, etc... but they seem overly concerned with treading on the toes of their current distribution model (ie: 32 page comics followed by trade collections).

Marvel isn't going to want to step on the toes of their distributors. It doesn't behoove them to lower the number of folks walking into comic shops and killing the golden goose, so it more or less makes sense that they aren't putting new comics out online. The fact is, had Marvel or DC gone online in the 90's or early 2000's, they probably wouldn't be as worried about cutting into the comic-buying/ paper collecting audience. However, with an audience that only ever expands to about 150,000 for a best-selling comic (and down to about 20,000 before it faces cancellation) losing any sales from comic shops is a major problem. Especially at $5.00 a month.

Whether Marvel learns to offer their newer comics online at a premium rate remains to be seen. It certainly seems like a possibility.

Despite the better arguments of Scott McCloud for how comics were going to go online and change the world, comics don't work terribly well online. clicking to reach the next panel doesn't necessarily jive with the composition and gestalt of the comic page (and I am not limiting comics to the usual folded tabloid size here). There's no flow between panels as a passive experience when you have to engage the page.

That said:

Either a very good sign or very bad sign, the site has been so busy that Marvel hasn't actually made this work. In two days, I have yet to see an online comic. Not exactly awe-inspiring from a technical standpoint. I can understand the problems in the first few hours, but...

For collectors like myself, I'd like to not have a house full of comics or graphic novels I've read once, and I'd like the option of not dropping $20 to read reprints I may not find I enjoy. But mostly, I am sure Jamie would like it if I found a way to NOT bring more collections and comics into the house. I think that's easily worth a handful of shekels per year.

I'm still pondering the Marvel subscription. I'm never a first adopter, and this is one more case where I'm waiting to hear more before I jump on board. That said, if anyone is wondering what to get me for Christmas... a Marvel Digital Comics subscription would be swell...


I finally got on to try a sample. I did find their interface to be straightforward and easy to use. I'm still not sure all of what is available to the subscriber, but any fears I had about how the pages would be formatted is no longer a concern. You just need a decent sized monitor set to a decent sized resolution. I guess buyer beware on that count.

Monday, November 12, 2007

More time killing links

No matter how poorly written, I see no way in which this book wouldn't be a good read.


Poorly thought out comic strips


Marvel makes a move they should have made years ago. DC still trying to figure out if they can put comics online now or must wait until 31st Century (I love Superman comics, but I know DC will not be the first to make sense of late 20th century technologies like PDFs)


For whatever reason, these Jack Kirby monsters and pages have never been reprinted.


Also, New Spock. Same as the Old Spock?


Super Time Wasting Clips

Lady Super Heroes have better theme songs:

I admit, I do not know what to make of this clip

Ultimate Cap?


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Check your local listings

Austin City Limits is now broadcasting a few episodes recorded during ACL Fest this September. This doesn't mean they're showing the live shows from Zilker Park (which I seem to recall them doing in the past). However, they are showing sessions recorded during the festival while the bands were in town.

I watched the Wilco episode and am waiting to watch Arcade Fire for a time when other folks who might want to watch that episode might be around.

Nova recently had an interesting episode about the American space race, and that maybe we weren't as behind as we led the public to believe.

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace
seems to be broadcasting during Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Not a cartoon, but highly recommended by us here at LoM.

I think I am done again with Smallville.

Friday Night Lights, unsurprisingly, seems to be struggling in its second season. Two of the main plots seem simply too far fetched for the realistic spirit of the show.

Meanwhile, 30 Rock managed to handle the "green week" on NBC the best of any of the programs I caught. It also gave us Al Gore and restored some of my respect for David Schwimmer.


UT soundly defeated the Red Raiders of Texas Tech on Saturday. It was actually a great game, even if the Horns defense allowed 40-odd points. Colt McCoy played, possibly, the best game I've seen him in. Charles, Cosby and Nate Jones all looked really good. I hope Colt can remember how this works when he hits the field again next year.

Cowboys beat the Giants, which is always a welcome victory. I only really don't like the Giants when they play the Cowboys, but I am annoyed with Shockey every day of the year. Man, that guy is annoying. He's awesome, but something about him is so... very... irritating.

And, man... Green Bay clobbered Minnesota. Sorry, Reedo. Brett Favre is playing so well, one can only assume he's drinking again. No idea what happened to the amazing Adrian Peterson. Someone had his number.


Special Thanks to the Shoemakers for Meatfest 2007. Holy cow, not only was the meat fantastic, but there was more of it than the entire assembled party could possibly consume. I need to go get some of those sausages from Whole Foods.

I am also horrible at Guitar Hero III. You know things have gone south when someone tells you "Wow, after you did so bad the first time, that really took courage to get up there again and do just as bad."

Officially much more together on this whole "retirement dreamhouse" thing than my parents, Jamie's folks were in San Marcos this weekend working on their new place. It sounds like they're enclosing the porch to add what should be a really nice sun room, and adding a raised porch elsewhere off the house. The Father-in-law is still not biting on my idea to add an observatory.

Anyway, we saw them Friday night.

OCD and Comics

This is going to sound weird, but I sorta like bagging, boarding and inventorying my comics. I missed my calling by not working at that big warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where you seal stuff up and lock it away forever.

The huge downside to the bagging and boarding of comics is that, I think, most people assume it doesn't take that long to deal with. Also, most folks don't realize that in order to accomplish the task, you need (a) space, and (b) time. While space is important, in order to get things really sorted, getting a few hours uninterrupted to just knock out the various portions of the task (yes... hours), its also hard to get the task done when other things are vying for your attention. Worthwhile, fun things.

The problem, of course, if that if you don't handle the task on a routine basis, you have just made the process take that much longer. You have that many more comics to deal with.

With our Holiday party coming up, its sort of imperative I not have piles of comics just strewn across the living room, so the day of reckoning is at hand. Now is when I have to tell people "No, I cannot go to Slippy Village or whatever fun place you're headed off to. I have to sit on the floor and put comic books into polymer bags with non-acidic backing boards. I must then place each individual comic into my database where I may track the value of the comic and size of my collection. After that, I will place each comic in publishing release order in a specialized box which will help preserve the integrity of the comic. These will be placed in a (a) by publisher, (b) by character arrangement of my choosing. No, I am not completely OCD."

So, I apologize to everyone in advance if I drop out of site for a few nights while getting this task completed. I am not being a misanthrope, I am trying to clean up the living room.

Norma Rae!

Not much content being generated of late here at League of Melbotis. It is time to reveal that my writers are on strike.

Yes, when contracts were originally negotiated here at the League, nobody anticipated the gold mine that League of Melbotis would become. Especially not the basement full of elderly Philipino women I keep who write most of my posts. I tell you Leaguers, when you want to write musings on the Man of Steel, you can do no better than to hit the canasta parlors of Manila. Those ladies like nothing better than playing games while chatting about Superman's latest adventures.

Unfortunately, the contracts we negotiated never took the internet or merchandising into account. Neither they, nor I, ever really guessed that downloading LoM from iTunes or selling full seasons of LoM on DVD would become so very profitable. I'd like to say that I was paying more attention to the wants and needs of all the gals, but, really, when you're distracted with the multitude of needs that an operation like LoM brings to your attention on a daily basis, soothing the fears of the investors and Board of Directors, sometimes the most important people of all get lost in the shuffle.

So it was that last week, while I was putting out fires, Norma Rae Sarmiento, one of our staffers (she usually covers super-hero related movies), put out her cigar, stood atop her folding chair beside her Smith Corona type-writer with the words "UNION!" typed out in an 11-pont font. Eventually someone wandered over and saw what was typed on her page, and word spread like wildfire. Indeed, it seems Norma Rae had brought in the WGA. And the WGA was on strike. Thus ended production on League of Melbotis.

As a responsible CEO, I took the only step I could to try to find middle ground with the folks on strike. I immediately set a gang of toughs upon Norma Rae to soften her up.

Nonetheless, it seems my erstwhile gang of writers has gone on strike, so I'll be stepping up to the old keyboard to take over until the strike comes to an end.

In the meantime, can someone tell me who this Randy person is?