Saturday, January 15, 2011

My 2 Cents On Digital Comic Books.

My partner in crime and best friend has already commented on this issue and being the neophyte that I am, I am barely qualified to speak my peace, but I'm going to anyways.

I'm sick of printed comic books. There I said it. I'm sick of all that goes along with it, but mostly I'm sick of the price I have to pay for my addiction. Marvel and DC are like drug dealers, they have a bunch of addicts who can't live without their stories and they are taking advantage of that. But even addicts know when to stop taking the drugs that are killing them. In this case it's robbing us of our hard earned money, but someday soon, we'll stop buying comic books altogether.

When I was in High School I remember going to Shinders (a local book store that sold comic books) for my weekly comics in 1988-89. I think books were either .75 or $1 at the time. That was reasonable in my mind. I could afford that. It was still expensive in the long run, because I still needed to by my bags and boards, plus long boxes and I had to find a place to store them all, but I was okay with all of that. Luckily I gave up on books within a year or two and didn't collect a great deal of them.

Now it's not the same thing anymore. Nothing has increased in price as much as comic books over the years. In 2000 books were $2 and in 1990 they were $1 and in 1980 they were .50 cents. That's $2.50 more in 30 years. And in some cases $3.50 in 30 years. Sure you are going to say "but that's thirty years", well the only thing I can think of that has increased that much since then is gasoline. In 1980, gas was like $1 a gallon, now it's basically $3 a gallon, so that's a good comparison. That's the only comparison I can think of. But the big one for me is the cost from $2 in the year 2000 to $4 in the year 2010. That's a 100% increase in ten years. Holy shit, we should be super pissed about this. And for some reason we aren't really.

I know we complain about it all the time, but we don't seem to be doing anything about it except gritting our teeth and straining our back accounts to buy our books. I don't want to do that anymore. I am sick of it. Does this mean that digital can save us from spending too much. Well it sure could if Marvel and DC were smart about it.

I am going to break this down as best I can with the limited knowledge of math that I have. Here is how the cost of comic books breaks down with the best of my research can tell me. I might not be perfect with this, but I am VERY close to getting to bottom of this.

We are going to use a $3 comic books, because lets face it, selling those books to us at $4 is just plain gouging and they don't need to do that, they just do it because they can.

Here is how I will break it down. Diamond gets a 70% discount on the retail of the book, so that leaves all the rest of these numbers totally irrelevant because if we eliminate Diamond, then we eliminate all the rest of the costs. 70% of $3 is = .90 cents. Did you see that number? .90 cents. That means Marvel pays their talent out of the .90 cents. That means a digital comic book has the potential of easily being able to be sold at the .99 price point. Sure they won't do that, because they are greedy sons a bitches, but perhaps we can settle for a still reasonable $1.25 a book. That's a .35 cent increase in profit for Marvel ON EACH BOOK! That's pretty huge.

Plus lets not forget the potential market out there. Sure this all boils down to NEW READERS, I hear this all the time. The current readers are never going to switch over, we are too old to change our ways, which is our fault and we'll have to live with it, but a newer generation just might be interested in comic books if it were convenient to buy them. Just like iTunes took over the market on music, I think it's time to take over the market on comic books.

The big problem I see here is the cost of a reader. Right now we have devices that aren't made for reading comic books, but work in the short term. We have the iPad at $500 and the HP slate at like $700. Both way too expensive for a comic book reader. What we need is a device/reader that is the same size, within 5% or so, of a comic book page and about as thin as a Kindle. A battery life of around 24 hours and a ton of storage space for under $150. Is that something possible right this instant, well not really, at least to my knowledge, but we are awfully close. If we used buttons to turn the page I think we could pull it off, but if we want a touch screen, pinch and zoom and other features, then that cost point is unattainable. Give it a couple of years and we are definitely there.

Let's round the cost of a reader/device up to $200 to be fair in this comparison. We can easily do that price point within the next year and have all the features we need for a comic book reader. Now let's put our current comic book allowance per week at $15 (I'm being frugal on purpose, but many of you spend WAY more than that). So that means we get 5 books each week for $15. Now lets break this down if they were digital. I'm going to go with the $1.25 price point to help make my point, but some books might be only .99 cents (if Marvel and DC are smart about it). Let's take $1.25 x 5 = $6.25 right? Now that's a $8.75 savings per week and we are still getting our same stories. So $8.75 x 4 = $35 a month. Okay so now we are getting somewhere. So that means in 12 months we would save $410. Surely enough to buy a decent reader; and that's just in one year. I'm not even going to mention the $20 or dollars in bags and boards we spend along with buying a long box for $12. But I will because I'm a super big cock. That's a total of $442 a year in savings going digital. Minus the cost of a reader at $200, so a grand total of $242 in the first year. Then each year after that, we start saving $442, or we can translate that to like ten more books a week. I pick the more books thing, but you do what you want.

I'm not saying that digital comics WILL save the industry, but I think they are our best bet in the long run. We have to face facts, the sale of comic books is dropping every year and we have to do something about it. Either we lower the prices of printed comic books to $2 and get more readers in the doors, or we die a slow and painful death. OR we sell digital comic books for $1.25 each and Marvel makes more money, we save more money and we don't have to deal with all the shit that goes along with storing are paper products.

Will it make me sad to see my LCS go out of business? Hell yeah it will. I literally cried one day, well my eyes welled up, when I realized that my Shinders was closing. That place was like an institution for me. I went there just to get out of the house. It was my hang out place. I loved that place like a good porno mag. If Shinders would have had pages they would have ALL been stuck together. But I would rather see my LCS go out of business then the whole industry which I love.

I've given my two cents and I feel better about it. I'm sure I've missed a few things, but if you want to hear more about my digital comic book rant, you can listen to our 175th show as we talk about this for at least 45 minutes.

Michael

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cop Out? Come On Man, Seriously?

Yeah sure this is late; this movies been out for nearly four months, but let me tell you, I'm really fucking glad I didn't pay to see this movie in the theater. Let me start out by saying this is a really terrible movie. I mean horrible. Does that mean I didn't enjoy myself, well not really. This movie is goofy, it's immature and it makes about as much sense as Bobcat Gothwait banging Nikki Cox, but it's all true.

Tracy Morgan really gives it his all in this movie. He's too over the top and it really detracts from the "funny" by trying too hard. Everything he says is forced and poorly written. There were literally ten moments in this movie when I looked over at Ryan and we both went, "What the fuck is that about?" This movie looks like it was edited by a sixty year old with turrets, but it was just edited by Kevin Smith himself. Now I LOVE Kevin Smith and I really wanted to love this movie, but all I can say is that I enjoyed myself, but this was NOT a good movie.

The editing was so bad it looked like things were missed while filming. One moment in particular really sticks out for me. Bruce Willis/Jimmy is on the roof of this house and he has to climb a fence to jump down to the ground and normally you would show him do the whole thing, but Kevin just assumed we would know he climbed the fence, swung over it and dropped to the ground. But all we see is Jimmy advance on the fence and then land on the ground. Something was missed and it left a gaping hole in what I was watching.

There were funny moments in this movie for sure. I laughed many times and laughed pretty hard. If you rate this movie on laughs alone, at least as far as I am concerned, I would say 7 or 8 out of 10. But if you rate this on it just being a good movie to watch, it gets a 3 perhaps a 4 out of 10. If you have to pay more than a $1 to see this, take a pass. It'll be on TV in about three months.

I think the problem is that Kevin Smith is not comfortable directing something he hasn't written. It's a vision thing. When someone is writing a movie or thinking of a storyline for a movie, they can see how it should be filmed. Kevin has always worked with things he's written. He knows the "movie" he's making like the back of his hand. He could direct that in his sleep. This movie was written by some moron with terrible dialog skills and Kevin Smith had to make something funny out of horseshit. I give him credit for trying, but it just fails well short of being a good or even decent movie.

Ryan said it best, "There's a good movie in there someplace, we just didn't get to see it." That clears things up for me. You can tell the movie could have been decent, but the mix of Kevin Smith and a script he didn't write, just didn't work for me. I had a good time, but for those of you whole are not gluttons for punishment, don't watch this movie, it's 90 minutes you will never get back.

-Michael

Friday, August 20, 2010

Is Sly Stallone Expendable?

Last night I went to see the new action packed, never before seen, over the top adventure flick from Sylvester Stallone. Now I'm like the next guy, I love a good Sly Stallone movie. I loved Rocky, I thought Rambo was cool in the eighties, but it's been a while since he made a movie that I really liked. This movie was pretty fucking cool. It's not going to change cinema with acting and or script writing and honestly if you thought it would, you're a fucking idiot. This is a shoot 'em up action movie with little to no plot and lots of shit blowing the fuck up. And did I mention there might be some action in this movie? Well there was.

Thursday night, two friends and I took my new truck up to the theater to see The Expendables. I went in with low expectations on acting and script and high expectations on actions and 'splosions. I wasn't surprised or let down in any way. This movie has plenty of stars in it. We all know that Rocky is in this movie, but there are plenty more action stars filling out the rest of the cast. Terry Crews, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yeah Arnold is only in it for like twelve seconds and Bruce is in it for forty seconds, but their both there. It's really too bad that Chuck Norris and Steven Segal had to be such douche bags, but I guess it's their loss.

This movie has action, LOTS OF FUCKING ACTION. It's pretty much non-stop from the beginning to the end. I went to a theater with a sound system that could make you shit your pants with bass and volume, so this movie was going to be a test of my man diapers. I wore a plastic shield to keep my shorts from getting a bacon strip and that was a good thing. This movie was turned up REALLY LOUD!!! I have never heard a movie this loud before. The gunshots were as loud as real gunshots. The explosions turned my stomach to jelly and it was awesome. I loved it.

The movie is fairly basic in nature, hell who am I kidding, it's fucking juvenile as far as script, but you know what, who cares. It's an action movie with explosions, muscles and fight sequences. It's not "The English Patient" and it never claims to be. The Expendables are a geriatric group of mercenaries that do what needs to be done for the right price. Sly is the leader and he's approached by a man who calls himself "Mr. Church", Bruce Willis and is asked to kill the leader of a drug cartel on some fake island in some jungle infested area of the planet. Yeah we've heard this before, about twelve million times, but again I say, who the fuck cares.

Sly decides to recon the island with Stathom and after investigating they decide not to take the job. However Stallone meets this really hot chick and gets a boner for her. Why he doesn't just take most doctors advice and seek a doctor after a boner lasting more than four hours is beyond me, but again it's not a logical movie, just a action flick. The hot chick, who really cares what her name is, gets stranded on the island as they leave in a flourish of action and bullet casings so when Sly goes home, he feels guilty for leaving her in such danger. At this point he decides to go back to rescue her. I'm leaving out a tiny plot twist here for good reason, it's really the only thing that might surprise you at this point, but one of the group members that Sly fires comes back in a big way.

After having a heart to boxers face discussion with Rourke, Sly decides he loves this chick and wants to dive into her pink umbrella, but if she dies on the island, he won't be able to do that. He plans to go back by himself and fix that problem. Meanwhile his group is so loyal to him that they all volunteer to go with him. It's one those choke up moments where you pretend it's not emotional, but those kind of moments in movies give me the tinglies. So they all go back and kill the fuck out of everyone. They destroy things that don't even need destroying, but hell they make great explosions, so they blow them the fuck up. Eric Roberts, who shockingly is playing a bad guy, gets a knife the size of harp shoved through his chest and the movie ends. I think I mentioned it before, but by this point in the movie, I have crapped myself at least three times from the sheer volume of the movie, but during the last twelve minutes of action, the volume somehow seems to get even louder and now my bowels are just leaking out of control. Do I really care, well not really, because the action is damn good.

This movie suffers from a lack of script, but it makes up for it with tons of kick ass action. There is also a small part in the movie that reminds me of "True Lies" which focuses on Stathom and the always ugly Charisma Carpenter. For some reason she left Stathom and he wants her big breasts back and finds out she's dating someone else. This other guy ends up hitting her which ends up being a bad decision on his part. During a basketball game Stathom finds the guy, along with like five of his friends and really messes those fuckers up. I mean it's really bad, something you would surely get arrested for, but Stathom just rides away on his motorcycle and leaves them broken on the court. It's really awesome.

Overall this movie scores a strong B for me. It is what is it and never claims to be more than that. It's a fun movie, with incredible sound and action. Did I also mention the gore in this movie, it's approaching "Rambo" in the amount of blood that comes out of people. Is the blood almost completely CGI, well yeah, but I can look past that. If you like action films and don't expect much substance to plot, this movie is fucking awesome. If you want "The Pianist", then don't see this movie. I think this movie is better than the A-Team though, which I know isn't saying much, but that movie really bombed in my mind. -Michael

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A New Device To Help Cull The Herd

I think we all know this, but lasers are fucking awesome. From the little ones that we use to entertain our cats, to the large ones that James Bond has to stop from destroying the world; they all rock. The coolest thing about this one is that it's shaped like a fucking lightsaber, how cool is that? Yeah it might be able to burn your skin and cause cancer, but that's a small price to pay for a fucking beam that you can see from space.

Most industrial lasers, the kind that you can really impress your friends with, produce about 10 Mw of power. This one produces nearly 1w. That's approximately 1,000 times more powerful than the most kick ass one you have held in your hand before. Unless of course you work for SPECTRE, then this is about the same as you guys have. This thing is bright. I mean super bright. Check out this video.



The while laser is like the strongest you could get on the market before this one was produced. It's pretty fucking bright and you can almost see the beam as it shines on the wall, but man the lightsaber laser is intense.

Now we get to the question of "should this thing be legal to buy?" Well of course it should be. This is 'Merica. The land of the free and the land of super dangerous toys that we can own and operate in our backyards. Just because it can blow us up, pierce our skin, slice our legs off or give us cancer, doesn't mean our government is going to stop us from having a good 'ol time with it. Yee Haw!

Seriously, people think this laser should be illegal to own and to that I say, "order me one". If I can go buy a shotgun at Walmart with just my license, then this laser should be sold in a vending machine. Sure we don't need this fucking laser, that's a given, but we didn't NEED to go the moon either and yet we did. This thing could cause cancer, well so can car exhaust, cigarettes and breathing in some areas of the country and yet we do all that stuff. I can buy a razor sharp Katana online with no age check and get it home and attack my kids with it, but yet I can do that with my iPhone while waiting in line at the DMV if I want. It's all good in the neighborhood people.

I look at the Walmart shotguns, Katanas and Super fucking cool lasers as more devices to cull the herd. The people that will shoot themselves, slice themselves or burn their fucking skin to look like George Hamilton are not buying this shit to rob or hurt me. They are getting illegal, non-regulated firearms and knives, not cool ass fucking Lucas inspired lasers. I love this fucking thing. Should it be sold in the isle with Tampons and Condoms, probably not. Should I be able to pick one of them up at my local 24 hour gas station, not really, but I should be able to walk into Bills Gun Shop, Cabellas or Fleet Farm and pick up a laser that I can shave with. That seems reasonable. Let the idiots get their hands on things like this, either they will learn some respect and smarten up, or they'll kill themselves with it. It's not like someone can't go to the gas station and get a can of gas to pour on themselves and get the same sort of skin disorder. It's called Culling The Herd and at times like this, we need more ways of that to happen naturally.

-Michael

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This is great!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Who should play Cassie Hack?

Hack/Slash is a great comic book series. It really is fucking good. Sure, it's not going to change the genre or re-write comic book history, but it's a hell of a lot of fun and needs to be made into a movie or HBO series. It could easily work in a series format, since the stories are pretty cut and dry each and every issue. That kind of storytelling would make a long running gory, sexy and funny series which would fit perfectly alongside shows like "True Blood". If that show can make it, this show would surely find it's niche crowd, that is if it was written as well as "True Blood".

I've just finished the 2nd Omnibus and now, even more than before, I have been convinced this really needs to be made. But the whole thing is, who is going to play the role? We can say an unknown, but if it's made into a movie, you almost have to go with an established actress, otherwise it's going to flop. You need someone to draw in the audience. However if it's made into a series for HBO or Showtime, then going with an unknown would be the best bet. This role calls for nudity, lesbian sex, lots of gore and a very troubled soul. Not to mention the girl needs to be young.

At first I thought, as did Ryan, that Eliza Dushku would be perfect for the role. And yes, if this were 2003, she would be perfect. She's tough, she can kick some major ass and she can act. Then there's Jessica Alba. Now I know what you're thinking, but she did play some badasses in the past, she played "Dark Angel" and was pretty decent at it. The show was terrible and the writing was even worse, but she was decent in it. She definitely has the body to pull off the Cassie Hack character. However, she's a little old now. I mean she still might be able to do it, but if it's not made in like the next two years, she'll be too old. No one would believe her to be 20 years old anymore. So she's out...well sort of.

Then there is Kristen Stewart for the role. As far as looking at her goes from Twilight and shit, yeah she doesn't seem to fit the role too well. However once you see her in "The Runaways" and see how tough she can actually play, well maybe it's not that far off. Does she have the body to pull it off? Yeah I guess she does. Cassie Hack doesn't have to be super hot, she just needs to be hot in a punk rock type way, which Kristen Stewart looks like at times. I am not sure she could pull off the acting needed, but then again I'll argue that point later on when I mention the obvious choice.

Of course we can't forget Megan Fox. She looks the part almost perfectly. She's kind of a tough ass and she's definitely young enough. I don't think she's afraid to show off her body and have some decent lesbian sex. She's basically perfect for the role, but can she act deep enough for this character. Cassie Hack is damaged goods man, she's been fucked emotionally her whole life. If the movie is written correctly and I believe that Tom Seely would never let it be written poorly, then Megan Fox would have her work cut out for her. Since she's model perfect for the role, she should be given the chance. She might have a "Heath Ledger" moment. We all thought that was going to be a disaster and we were wrong. He was brilliant as the Joker. Megan might be able to pull off Cassie Hack.

Another thing going for Megan Fox playing Cassie Hack is that she'll draw in the crowds. She's hot, lets be honest, and she'll sell this movie. Picture the movie poster now, with her in a short skirt, showing her panties, holding a baseball bat with nails in it. That would sell that movie to like every teenage raging hormone case and fans of the comic book. What we need is a movie that sticks to it's guns and holds true to the comic book, yet appeals to everyone. I think this kind of horror film would work. It's funny, dark, sexy as hell and full of lesbian sexual thoughts, what can be wrong with that?Who's going to play Vlad though? Michael Clark Duncan? I don't think so, he needs to be taller than that. I think an unknown could play that part quite easily. It's a very important part in the movie, but it's easier to fill because of the mask and the makeup behind the character.

P.S. Other honorable mentions. Jennifer Love Hewitt from like five years ago, Rachel Bilson, another girl that fits the character physically almost perfectly, but is a little too cutesy as Ryan would say.

Overall I think the movie could be really good if written as well as the comic books and cast appropriately. If Megan Fox acts as well as she did in "Jennifer's Body", she just might be able to pull it off enough to make it a great movie. Let's just hope the stars align and this movie is made with as much care as the comic books. If not, Cassie Hack is going to beat someone down with her baseball bat full of nails. Either that or lesbian kiss the whole film industry, I like the sound of the second one better.

-Michael

Monday, May 31, 2010

This is how you do it!

Holy crap, this video might be long, NOT like my wiener, but this is how you fucking open the world tallest building. I guess if you spend $1.5 billion on it, then it's worth it to blow literally 10 million on the celebration to open it. I was impressed and I don't even like heights.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Trash I read this week

Batman Vs. The Undead
DC Comics

Scripts - Kevin VanHook

Pencils/Cover - Tom Mandrake

22 Pages for $2.99


I don't read Batman at all, so when I saw this title I was intrigued, don't ask me why, but I picked it up. I have to say that I was a little surprised at how crappy this book is. It's not terrible, it's just not really good either. It starts with Bruce giving millions of his hard earned family money to some hospital in New Orleans. But Bruce is really in New Orleans as Batman, looking for some cat named Combs. I have no idea who this character is, but he reminds me of Doktor Sleepless for some reason, besides all the raising of the dead and shit.

So yeah, Batman is there to see what this crazy fucker Combs is doing and he runs into Dimeter the Vampire. He's also hunting Combs for some reason, which I am still not clear on. I do know that he's there to fuck this hot chick for a while, so that rules. If this is something that happened in earlier issues, then I apologize, but in this issue, it's really not addressed.

Combs is in New Orleans for sinister reasons of course. I guess he was released from Arkaham and is still kind of insane, go figure. He's there to raise some dead folks from this museum. He tricks the curator into believing he's some sort of investor, even though he looks SUPER creepy the whole time, with these weird ass glasses on which make his eyeballs look downright full of lunacy. Anyways, Combs kills this fucker and sets about using his body to conjure up some evil mumbo jumbo to raise the dead posing in this museum. Little does he know that Batman and Dimeter are already in the museum on his trail. That's when all hell breaks lose and Combs sends the undead after them for a balls to the wall fight to the death.

This could have been written by a twelve year old. I'm not saying it was, but it could have been. There is no substance in this book that makes me feel like any care was taken to actually write it. It's basic, benign and too straightforward for me. I was expecting something interesting to happen and well it didn't. It's just some crazy fucker raising the dead to fight Batman at this point. Perhaps in later issues we might find out a better reason for him being a huge dickwad, but I won't be sticking around to find out. This is officially off my radar, onto the next book please.

Michael

Thursday, May 27, 2010