Posted on January 18th, 2023
NEWSFLASH: Major Layoffs Reported At Amazon And ComiXology.
I am a big comic book fan. I used to be a huge comic book fan. So much a fan that I have a small storage room devoted to housing my massive collection of books. Then the digital age was upon us... I was running out of room to store my comics... and so I made the painful transition from physical printed comics to the digital version that lives on the internet and takes no space at all.
It was a tough transition to make. There's something about the feel... the smell... the experience of reading a real comic book as opposed to staring at a computer or your iPad.
That being said, ComiXology made the experience as good as it could be. I mostly read my comics on a computer with a large screen so I could experience them as full page spreads as the artist (and God) intended. On an iPad I usually use "GuideView" which presents the comics panel-by-panel. Once I got my 12.9-inch iPad Pro it was a little easier to read full pages, but I often decided not to.
Then Amazon bought ComiXology.
And things were fine at first. You still went to ComiXology, you just signed in with your credentials from Amazon. Everything was fine.
Until it wasn't.
Amazon eventually folded ComiXology into their Kindle app, and it was fucking awful. Horrendous experience from start to finish. Even finding your comics was a shitty experience. I fucking hated it so much that I pretty much stopped buying digital comics. Now I only bother when something I want to read is on sale. Instead I wait for the trade paperback to be released and wither buy a physical copy or check it out from the library.
Amazon fucking destroyed ComiXology.
And though improvements have been made, it still sucks compared to the ComiXology experience that I bought into.
Now, to the surprise of absolutely nobody who has had to suffer through reading comics on Kindle, profits are down so Amazon is laying off a chunk of their "ComiXology" team (though why they call it that when they murdered ComiXology in favor of Kindle I have no idea).
I feel bad for the ComiXology team members losing their job because Amazon management fucked over their product so bad that nobody wants to use it. That's not fair. But that's Amazon for you. Jeff Bezos probably wants another super-yacht, so he's getting rid of a bunch of people so he doesn't have to dip into his $120 billion (or whatever).
And isn't that the way it always goes? People with insane wealth that they could never spend in dozens of lifetimes making life utterly miserable for people scratching out a living? Just look at Twitter.
Posted on June 11th, 2019
As I've probably mentioned numerous times, I was a massively huge comic book fan for many years. Now-a-days I purchase everything digitally and don't buy many titles, but I've got an entire storage room filled with the physical comics from my past.
Back when I first started collecting, I hated subscribing to comics from the comic book companies because they would arrive in a brown wrapper with no protection and often came damaged. Instead I'd go to the two local drug stores and hope that the comics I wanted were stocked. Popular titles like Batman could always be found. Less popular titles may not be. I'd show up on the day they arrived whenever I could so I could get a mint copy instead of one that had been mangled on the rack.
When the comics I wanted weren't available at the drug store, I'd have to beg my mom to take me to The Big City so I could visit the News Agency there. The Agency was a wholesale distributor of magazines and newspapers to businesses. But they also had a retail store. The general public had to pay full price, but they usually had a copy of everything available.
What I remember most about the News Agency was the smell when you walked in.
All that paper. Like a book store, but fresher and less musty. I loved it there.
Jack, the guy who owned the place, sold it in 1995. By that time I was actually living in The Big City and buying my comics at the local comic book shop that had opened a decade earlier. I think the News Agency maybe lasted another five years before shutting down. I have no idea where local businesses get their magazines now.
The News Agency isn't all fond memories though. Three or four years ago I read an article about an apparent unsolved murder of one of the News Agency employees back in the 70's. His car was found abandoned in a hotel parking lot and he was never seen again. The article was about his family wanting the cold case re-opened to see if anything new could be discovered.
I was thinking about all this on my walk to work this morning.
How even the things that build our happiest memories can be tainted by tragedy.
And I'm pretty sure it relates back to how David Ortiz, one of my favorite baseball players to ever play the game, was shot in the back on Sunday. I can't get it out of my head. The Boston Red Socks, something which has given me so many happy memories, has been tainted by tragedy.
The news is reporting that Big Papi is resting and in good condition after a second surgery, so here's hoping the tragedy ends with him being shot.
Leave it to The Universe to ruin comic books and baseball for me.
What's next? Ice cream?
Posted on November 3rd, 2017
I am going to do something I rarely do here at Blogography.
Post a comic created by somebody other than myself.
But I just can't help myself. This is such a brilliant, fully-realized piece of work that it must be posted here. Hat-tip to Levni Yilmaz for his genius. If you want to support his work, visit his website here or sponsor his animation project over at Patreon.
I've always pictured our current situation in this country as more of a train wreck, but... pretty much nailed it, yeah.
Posted on April 10th, 2016
Taco Tuesday let you down? No worries, because it's now Sunday, and Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Peanuts! The Peanuts Movie was pretty amazing. Very faithful to the source material and lots of hidden gems for Peanuts fans to find. And it was just beautiful. It LOOKED like "Peanuts" and had plenty of nods to the classic Schultz style that was the hallmark of both the strip and the animation.
Loved the film. Kind of disheartening to hear that there's no plan for a sequel.
• Hunger. We're all in this together, people...
One person can always make a difference.
• SATAN! Lucifer renewed for a second season?!? But... but... but... One Million Moms boycotted the show! Because: Satan! How can it possibly survive?
Oh... that's right... people can just change the channel if they don't like a show. And, in this case, people decided a fictitious interpretation of Satan was something they wanted to watch. NOTE TO ONE MILLION DUMBASSES: THIS IS NOT A SHOW GLORIFYING SATAN! IT'S A FICTIONAL CHARACTER... NOT ACTUALLY SATAN!
• SATAN? Ann Coulter is saying that Donald Trump is the only one who can protect us from "Latin Rape Culture!" Really? WHO IS GOING TO PROTECT US FROM THE SYSTEMIC RAPE CULTURE ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES? Oh... that's right... college campus rape is committed mostly by white men, so that's perfectly okay. Not at all scary. Not even worth talking about. And what the fuck is "Latin Rape Culture" anyway? Some new scare tactic designed to frighten women into voting for a misogynistic asshole who will make things even harder for them? I'm just dumbfounded that people are buying into this crap. Maybe I shouldn't be. Drumpf is on his way towards being a presidential candidate. Anything is possible.
• #RealMenLoveHearts. Amazing people can't like what they like and not be hassled for it in this day and age...
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!
Posted on September 23rd, 2015
The explosion of diversity in comic books lately has been amazing, but it's only been half-hearted. While there have been CHARACTERS coming along that are non-White, non-straight, non-Christian... the writers and artists BEHIND the characters haven't necessarily followed suit. But that's starting to change, and it's a great time for comic book fans because of it. By embracing diversity behind the scenes, there's going to be an even better mix of stories to read instead of the same old take over and over again.
DC Comics' Batman is my favorite comic book character. His equivalent on the Marvel side is Black Panther, also a favorite. In some ways, Black Panther is even MORE interesting than Bruce Wayne, as T'Challa is the ruler of the entire country of Wakanda, one of the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations on earth, and the sole producer of the rare metal vibranium...
And now Black Panther is going to be written by Ta-Nehisi Coates! I cannot wait to see where he takes the character, and am hopeful that it will be something new, different, authentic, and exciting!
All this and a movie too. A good time to be a Black Panther fan!
Posted on April 5th, 2012
I've been so busy that I haven't had time to play with the new iPad (third generation) much. That's a darn shame, because it's kind of expensive to just have sitting around on my nightstand. I had to get one for the apps I help develop, so what can I do but sink even more money into Apple's ample coffers? The latest iPad has an all-new hi-res screen, and I have to be sure that stuff I design looks good on it. Otherwise, the iPad3 didn't look to bee much different than the iPad2, so I probably wouldn't have bought one otherwise.
Except, now that I've had a chance to read my comic books on it, I would totally have spent the money on it. I've read a few reviews in the press bitching about how iPad3 wasn't enough of an improvement over iPad2 for Apple to have bothered... which I now know is a huge load of bullshit. If you do any reading on iPad, this is a complete game-changer. Four-times the pixels make for a hundred times better screen, and I am loving it more than I ever thought possible.
The screen is so crisp and clear that I can now read ComiXology "CMX-HD enhanced" pages full-screen without having to zoom in on the individual panels...
Now, when looked at on a "regular resolution" computer screen, the change may appear subtle. But when reduced four-fold, the "SD" panel on the bottom becomes a blurry mess that's a bit difficult to read. The "CMX-HD" panel on the top, however, is razor sharp on iPad3.
So now the iPad is a real option for reading comics. Yes, the screen size is smaller than a "regular" comic book, but it's bigger than a digest, which is perfectly acceptable. And, unlike a digest, you can zoom in and see details if you want without having to find a magnifying glass.
So, my hat is once again off to Apple for once again making an awesome product even more amazing. iPad2 was already leagues above any of the competing "tablets" I've had a chance to play with, but this is entering a whole new dimension, as this snapshot from Apple's website demonstrates...
A few things...
Otherwise, for the most part, iPad3 is pretty much the same as iPad2. Which is not a bad thing at all, because iPad2 was so kick-ass. Indeed, when it comes to comparing it with all the tablets I've seen, Apple has the only game in town. Sure iPad is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for, and what you get is pretty darn amazing.
It's products like iPad3 that make it so dang easy to be an Apple Whore.
Posted on October 28th, 2010
Comic book super-hero movies are a mixed bag. For every great film (like Superman, Iron Man, Dark Knight, and Spider-Man 2), there's a crapfest unleashed (like Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Elektra, Batman & Robin, Spider-Man 3 and any of the boring X-Men films).
But the latest round of Christopher Nolan Batman flicks and Jon Favreau Iron Man flicks are leading the charge in a new era of comic book super-hero awesomeness. Filmmakers are getting serious about making good films that are true to the source material because they realize there's a reason the originals are such enduring characters.
And there's every indication that even more great stuff is coming down the pipe.
I'm fairly certain that Thor is in capable hands with director Kenneth Branagh and acting talent like Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman onboard. I loved the comic during the Walt Simonson era, so hopefully Thor won't disappoint. Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern sounds almost too good to be true. The upcoming Batman film, The Dark Night Rises, is certain to be awesome. And I'm sure Iron Man 3 will be fantastic. I'm not so sure about the Spider-Man reboot, but surely it can't suck more than Spider-Man 3.
But it's Captain America that I'm holding my breath over. He's easily one of my favorite Marvel heroes, and I've followed his exploits for decades. The movie is set during World
And today Entertainment Weekly unveiled the World War II period costume on its cover...
Yep, that's Captain America alright.
This means there's only one of the "big guns" left who has yet to get their major motion picture...
I'll be really disappointed if Wonder Woman gets screwed out of a movie because she's a girl. Her origin and mythology are amongst the most interesting of any comic book super-hero, and she deserves a shot.
Posted on August 22nd, 2010
It's a boring day for Bullet Sunday, but here it comes...
• Read. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Curious George. It was George who ignited my life-long love of monkeys, and his books remain some of my favorites of all time (the best being Curious George Goes to the Hospital. For this reason, I was happy to see that the Library of Congress was using him to promote reading with a series of cool ads...
Books come and go, but the classics are forever.
• Digital. As a long-time fan of comic books, there's something... wrong... with the idea of reading them digitally on an iPad or computer screen instead of the wonderful tactile experience of flipping through the pages of a book. But, after downloading a bunch of freebies on my mom's iPad using the Comixology app, I have to say... I'm almost convinced. I'm growing to love the effortless navigation, brilliant colors, and distraction-free panel-by-panel "Guide View" that leads you through the stories. As if that weren't enough, you can store a lot of comics on a digital device, which beats having to lug around stacks of books and finding room to store them all...
However... pricing and availability sucks ass.
Take for example the acclaimed Vertigo series Y: The Last Man. I've never read the series, but have always wanted to. The first issue was FREE on Comixology so I snapped it up and was immediately hooked. I wanted more. So I click on the "Full Series" button only to find this...
WTF?!? They have just THREE issues of a SIXTY issue series... FOR A DOLLAR-NINETY-NINE EACH!! Even if the entire series was available, who is going to pay $120 when you can get PHYSICAL COPIES of all ten trade paperback volumes for $90? Heck, you can get all the OVERSIZED DELUXE HARDCOVER volumes for $100. This is insanity. Nobody wants to pay more for less. No printing. No shipping costs. No distribution. No retailer markup. No resale value. Nothing extra or special. Except the price, which just sucks. I would gladly pay $60 for the entire digital series, I may even pay $90, which is what the trade paperbacks would cost me. But $120? Screw that. Especially since there's no guarantee they'll ever release all the issues for digital sale in the first place. If this is the future of publishing, count me out. EPIC FAIL!
• Emmy. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Betty White won an Emmy for her hilarious guest host performance on Saturday Night Live...
To this day, I remain astounded at how she cut no corners... she appeared in every sketch, plus an SNL Short, plus all the MacGruber interludes plus Weekend Update. Truly one of the hardest working people in show business (she just signed on for a TWO-book deal!), this is Betty's fifth Emmy win and she deserved every bit of it. As always, I can't wait to see what she'll do next.
• Miyazaki. Good news for fans of Hayao Miyazaki (perhaps the greatest animator in history). Despite saying he was going to retire years ago, a recent interview revealed that he has no plans to retire. In fact, he's planning two films and is musing over a sequel to his underrated gem, Porco Rosso...
When I flew to L.A. and met up with Howard for a rare live appearance of Miyazaki-san discussing his career, I thought it was a kind of "retrospective farewell," and am happier than words could express that this is not the case. Next up, Karigurashi no Arietti (The Borrower Arrietty) based on Mary Norton's 1952 novel The Borrowers...
If there's anything you can rely on, it's that this movie will be yet another awesome Miyazaki work of art.
• Eggs. My fried egg sandwich was delicious. So far so good... but salmonella can take up to three days to incubate, so I could have a diarrhea explosion any minute now. I'll keep you posted.
Annnnd... I'm spent. This is going to be a loooooong week.
Posted on July 23rd, 2010
And so here I am at Comic-Con International 2010 or, as I refer to it, "The Bastion of Cruelty."
Make no mistake, Comic Con is not fun. At least, not the kind of fun you're used to. It's fun in an entirely different way, where the suffering is what makes it fun. Because once you've endured the crowds, the endless lines, the expensive food, and the many opportunities for bitter disappointment... what you have left is fun that you've earned. Which makes it just that much sweeter, of course.
I wrote in-depth about my Comic-Con experience when I was here last time, and this year is more of the same, so I won't bore you with another extensive recap... just a few things I took away from my half-day at the event...
• As expected, AT&T's service was complete and total shit. A lot of the time I couldn't get even remotely useable bandwidth speeds, which was still better than the many times I couldn't get service at all. Never mind that 3G service was absent more often than not and I was kicked back to EDGE, a huge chunk of my battery was spent just trying to get something... anything I could work with so that I could TXT or make a call...
Now, granted, 150,000 people all in one spot is bound to overload a cellular network, but I wasn't expecting things to be this bad. I wonder if Verizon and T-Mobile were in the same boat? Probably.
• Just like last year, Comic-Con was drastically oversold. There's just entirely too many people, which means that even if you stand in a line for hours, you're still not guaranteed that there will be room for you in the venue. I sure wish that the people running this thing would find a way to make this more fair so you don't wait in line for nothing... though I suppose if they eliminated lines and went with tickets or something, then all the people in line would be clogging up the show floor, so maybe that's why they don't.
• While I am excited about a number of movies being promoted at the Con, including Scott Pilgrim, which is based on a comic I really like, it's TRON: Legacy that has me freaking out. I loved the original film, and the sequel looks like it will absolutely amazing. If nothing else, the new LightBikes are cool...
• Just like two years ago, I had three comics people I wanted to see on the dealer floor. Eric Shanower, Sergio Aragonés, and Brandon Peterson. Shanower was easy to find, still promoting Age of Bronze, his epic retelling of the Trojan War in comic book form. Aragonés, whose work in MAD Magazine I've loved since I was a kid, was signing his latest Groo The Wanderer collection...
Peterson I COULD NOT FIND! Not from the booth number he gave at his website (which, so far as I could tell), didn't exist. Nor from his description of the area he'd be at. He had a new artbook I wanted to get too. Bummer.
• Speaking of comic books... it truly shocks me when I walk by the booth of some titan of the industry and see that nobody is there to see them. They've long since been replaced by some hot new talent, and now they've been forgotten as if their work doesn't matter. I guess it's just a facet of the industry, like all industries, but it just doesn't seem right.
• The costumes this year were better than ever, though I'm ashamed to admit that my favorite costume I saw wasn't super-hero related. It was Dr. Rockzo from Metalocalypse! "MY NAME IS DR. ROCKZO! I DO COCAINE!!
It's more fun to see people dressed up outside the convention. Like your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, walking down the street...
• After four hours, I had as much as I could take, and decided to get as far away from the crowds as possible. I hadn't been to the San Diego Zoo in decades, so that seemed like a good place. It's a remarkable zoo... probably the best I have ever seen... and it just keeps improving. The sheer volume of animals you can see it pretty impressive...
And lest we forget... they have THE BUCKETS OF DEATH available...
And that's pretty much it. I met up with quite a few friends and bloggers along the way, which was truly the highlight of my Comic-Con experience. I'd take that over meeting movie stars and comic book heroes any day.
All that's left is a redeye flight across the country, and my day is done...
Posted on July 16th, 2010
Tonight while watching television I fell asleep on the couch. Thinking that my body was finally willing to catch up on some much-needed sleep, I went and laid down in my bedroom around 8:30.
And promptly woke up at 10:17.
So now, on top of still being woefully behind in sleep, my internal clock is going to be messed up because I'm wide awake, and probably won't be getting any more sleep tonight. This is resoundingly bad news, because I start a series of back-to-back-to-back-to-back trips next week, and sleep even worse when I'm traveling. But no worries... I'm sure everything will be back to normal again by the end of August.
Just before I head to Europe and get all screwed up again.
Oh well. Insomnia is a great excuse to read through the incredible Wednesday Comics hardcover collection... again...
I sure hope that DC Comics does another series of Wednesday Comics... it's the most entertainment I've had with their characters in years. Many of the creators got really creative and experimental with their strips, and the payoff is a massive bucket of pure WIN! But even better than the uniqueness of it all is the FUN. So many of the stories are just plain fun which is exceedingly rare. I'd purchase every broadsheet edition plus the hardcover collection all over again just for Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner's Supergirl strip, where every panel is beautifully rendered... and funny...
If you love comics... or even if you used to love comics but haven't read them in years... here's your book. It originally ran for 12 consecutive Wednesdays with one page of each strip per issue (Batman, Deadman, Demon/Catwoman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Kamandi, Metal Men, Metamorpho, Sgt. Rock, Strange Adventures, Supergirl, Superman, Teen Titans, and Wonder Woman) all written and drawn by top industry talents. Amazon has it for $32, which is an absolute steal when you consider it's an over-sized 11x17" volume that runs 200 pages! Recommended!