Friday, February 06, 2009

Peabo Ruins it For Everyone.

You know, Peabo, when I ask for people to indulge their dreams of avarice, saying you would spend your $20 million taking a "trip to one of the poorest orphanages in Mexico or Central America, spend a week there to see what its like for those kids" sort of makes me regret my "Skybox for UT football games" reponse.

Screw you and your forcing me to have a moment of introspection.

Confessions of a Shop-a-Holic

Here's a movie that already seems like a relic from a by-gone era of about six months ago.

Ha ha ha... remember when people had money?

600,000 people lost their jobs last month. Suddenly some bobble-head taking up a job so she can bankroll her shoe fetish instead of someone feeding their three kids doesn't seem so adorable.

Also... stop it. We don't need third generation photocopies of "The Devil Wears Prada" meets "Sex in the City" for tweens. Just... stop it.

Anyone using the phrase "holic" always reminds me of this Onion article.


Jamie recently took a look at our expenses versus my take-home. We're doing okay, but it does do quite a bit to slow you down in your tracks.

I guess the part that's tough is figuring out how much I can actually spend on comics per month. I mean, what's food and shelter, right...? But I am going to have to curtail some expenditures, and comics are the obvious luxury item.


I need to figure out how I can get comp copies that reviewers receive. So, I guess look forward to The League's transformation into an all-comic reviews site heavy with advertising. Not really.

But that trip to Hawaii seems incredibly far off at this point.

We may have to sell Jeff the Cat.


I found this strip well suited to my tastes.


is no longer at our house as she's gone home to Jason after a few days at the cousin-dog house.

I shall miss her enthusiasm at my appearance each time I descend the stairs.



J.S. said...

I thought the question was "what luxuries would you indulge yourself in"? Visitng orphanages doesn't really strike me as a luxury. Peabo just wants to go down there to make fun of those kids, anyway. ;-)

Michael Corley said...

Jennifer noted I spent $100 in movies in the previous month (when you take food into account, and with a daughter it doesn't take much).

Stupid real life! Can't I just defeat some skeletal jackals and root through their bones for Ruppees?

Michael Corley said...

Oh, and yes, I must agree, the rules did state "luxury" as in "crap I would only spend if I was a selfish mo-fo" which I was pleased to put to paper.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm no saint. I'd spend plenty of those millions selfishly and on things that nobody needs (I've always wanted to learn how to sail really well for example, probably would get me a J22 sailboat).

But I always thought that the first thing I'd do if I ever happened to fall assbackwards into money would be make sure I get some perspective and keep it.

Also, if at all possible to keep my newfound inheritance a secret, I would. I can't imagine how getting that kind of money that fast would change your relationships with people.


The League said...

Well, firstly, I'd rob you.

NTT said...

Comics are getting to the point of irrelevancy as their costs outpace inflation and their entertainment value encounter diminished appreciation.

The avg. price for a monthly is now $2.99. We will see $3.99 become more and more common in the next 2 years. $2.99 for a 24 page floppy with ads. That's insane. Especially with writers like Bendis and J. Michael Straczynski who engage in extreme decompressed storytelling. This is fine if they are writing novels, not monthlies that you can devour in 8 minutes.

Not to get nostalgic, but I remember when $2.95 was a premium price for a monthly and it was in square binding with 48 high deluxe pages. I went from 20 monthlies to now 3 since beginning of 2008. I realized that I was paying for sloppy writing, sloppy editing and books that could not even be published on schedule. The editorial clusterfark that was Final Crisis was the last straw; I'm not going to pay for writers and editors who can't even follow their own outline.

I didn't mean this to be a rant but the comics industry is going to realize five years from now that comics are meant to be cheap entertainment, not premium entertainment. The base will be reduced to narrow-minded niche fanboys who are adverse to experimentation. Unless DC and Marvel come up with a web-based solution, the monthly publishing industry will cave in on itself.

And oh yeah, believe me, it's easy to give up monthlies. I don't miss them and just wait for the graphic novel. You just pick one title every few months to drop. You don't miss them.

The League said...

What's most odd about the digital comics issue is that I honestly don't think its the fans who are the problem. Its the publishers lacking understanding of how this could work.

Honestly, I figured it was something else until I started working at a library, and the bottom line is that I think the people holding the reigns are so entranched in paper, just as many librarians are entrenched in paper, they don't want to do the work that the jump would require, no matter how much better it would be for the industry.

I've been undergoing a major shift of late in how I think of my comics consumption. I'm cutting out most ancillary titles in a "wait for the trade" mode.

But I find on certain titles I'm not interested in giving up my monthlies at this time. I'm having a great time following Superman, Green Lantern and a few other titles as the stories unfold. But those titles are aimed at us-narrow-minded-niche fanboys, anyway. (And I actually liked Final Crisis. In no way perfect. Not even close, and not my favorite comic story... but I would rather read that than whatever Secret Invasion was supposed to be (I gave up after issue 4 of that series).

I hesitate to put too much stock into any future-theorizing any more about what comics MUST do versus what I'd like them to do. Five years ago it was "They must follow the model of manga, from soup to nuts, or they are DOOMED". But that hasn't really been the case, and these days its the manga publishers who are suffering. That's not a dig at manga. That's a "who knows?" statement.

NTT said...

The manga publishers overreached by trying to move into movies, animation and ran out of good properties for licensing. The model of concerted distribution away from the Direct Market though is still sound.

Looking at the numbers, the best selling floppies today don't even come close to the heydays of the eighties Teen Titans or Claremont's X-Men. DC is being bankrolled by Time Warner as a subsidiary of a conglomerate; their job is to put floppies out to preserve the IP assets as a going concern. Likewise, the profits from Marvel are generated by licensing, not the numbers through publishing.

The Direct Market is dying with increased competition from movies and videogames. I play more games than I read floppies. Readership isn't going to expand by having the publishers make readers go to the Direct Market just to get issues. Online distribution is the fastest, cheapest way to build an audience that is consistently shrinking. I used to work in a comic book store back in high school and mainstream america is not going through the doors. Women and young females are completely adverse to entering a comic book store because of the extreme niche and subtle hostility that is prevalent. They completely ignore the Direct Market. One day Geoff Johns is going to wonder why his JSA run is down to 10,000 floppies a month and it's because the Direct Market model does nothing to expand the readership base.

NTT said...

Also, on the subject of digital distribution, it's not that the publishers lack an understanding of how it works, it's more that they are mortally afraid of uncontrolled copying.

Any sort of protection digitally is going to be broken in a matter of days. Therefore, if they release like say the entire Lee/Ditko classic Spiderman run, the DRM will be stripped and then thousands of free copies will be torrented within the week, thus losing any profits from a sale of a copy.

The problem is it's happening already. There are hobbyist scanners out there already that archive entire runs of classic titles because Marvel and DC are stubbornly not releasing out of print title runs which is a travesty. For example, Walt Simonson's Thor run is out of print. Specifically, volume 1 is available but volume 2 is completely out of print. Volume 2 is so scarce that a used copy is going for at least $150 on the used market! Therefore, no one can get a complete copy of Simonson's Thor arc even if they have the money unless they pay outrageous auction prices. So the scanners have stepped in and filled a niche.

So Marvel and DC will huddle down and continue to print floppies until somebody with some muscle like Diamond will take the reigns of a digital distribution model.

The League said...

I'm more or less aware of the trending in floppies, and it isn't pretty. And I do agree with your points regarding the necessity of (a) a mainstream audience - which you DO NOT see in comics, and (b) that a digital distribution model would court younger readers.

There's certainly a fear of loss of control of the material once they legally put it online. But at the point, as you mention, control is lost and they REFUSE to provide a viable alternative for readers, when, honestly, the technology has been available for years. And then going off and making your digital offerings a competition (see Zuda)? Or the wonkiness that is the Marvel Digital offering?

As someone who has worked in digital media for over a decade, my mind runs to digital distribution, too. And it wasn't until I worked with people whose entire understanding of information and the world was based around hard copies (and who see no reason to change), its sort of something to behold.

The music industry has decided to play ball and get some money out of the easily abused DRM issue, and perhaps overfocusing on ancillary product. And bag on DC for being a subsidiary of Time Warner, but they do make bank on those ancillary products. All the more reason to not care a whole lot if those comics are being passed around online (if it moves shirts, action figures, etc...).

I think the Direct market worked best when it was a location you came to after the supermarket aisle. And, in that same manner, I believe the direct market could benefit from digital comics. If they can get kids interested in comics again, some of those kids will eventually want to see a store dedicated to the product. Maybe.

Again, its a pain to try to guess what the heck some 12 year old is going to do.

As per Marvel and Diamond's order and print policies... you got me man.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Am I evile for downloading all my comics these days? With 12000 in the basement that I did pay for and the 'diminished returns' for most of the dreck that is out there today, how can I be blamed for finding the cheapest way to enjoy a hobby that keeps me off the water tower with a rifle?

The League said...

In general, I'm against illegal downloads. At the end of the day, it means that money is not going back into the industry to sustain it.

But at the same time, DC and Marvel have pretty much failed to give comic fans any reason to NOT illegally download their content as they've provided no alternative of their own.

I know its not hip in comic circles to nay-say illegal downloads, but I don't see a lot of difference between getting the latest from BitTorrent and walking into a store and sticking comics in your pocket because you've decided the comic wasn't worth the cover price, but you want to read it, anyway.

And, of course, the terrific irony of "stealing" stories about people fighting for justice has not escaped me.

I also haven't illegally downloaded music since 2001 or so, btw. And if someone burns me a copy of an album that I like, I will go to iTunes and purchase it.

But that's me.