Friday, May 11, 2012

Rants & Raves

I decided to change this up from some of my original Rants, as I feel like those topics have already been talked to death on the internets. Instead I'm going to focus a little on comics at first

Rant – I go to my local comic shop with my kids for Free Comic Book Day. We’re all very excited…only it’s not nearly as good as it was last year at this same store. They only had a few boxes of the free comics (last year it was a huge display that you had to walk around tables to check out all the books) – but ok, as long as they have everything we’re looking for… ah, no. No Star Wars (though Dark Horse was nice and posted it online for those who couldn’t get to the store). No Transformers. No Valiant. No Pirate Penguins vs Ninja Chickens, no Sonic, no Dangerous Animals… while we certainly walked away with a few comics, it was a bit of a disappointment. We each got some comics we were looking for, but last year we got everything we were looking for. And when I hear the comic seller saying “oh, no you shouldn’t take that book because it isn’t appropriate for kids” – and this is one of the Free Comic Book Day books, but they’re not stocking all of the actual APPROPRIATE books, it just makes me even more frustrated. Isn’t the POINT of this thing to get new (YOUNG) readers interested in comics? If you’re going to limit what books you’re going to carry – wouldn’t you at least choose the ones appropriate for kids? I can’t imagine why people are moving to digital (Jason Fry had an interesting article about that recently too).

Rant - this one goes out to the comic book publishers. Hey, I love that you're doing $1 comics so that people can check it out and get hooked - I think that's a great idea. But you know what would be even better? If you had a bunch of those comics already rolled out before Free Comic Book Day. I would have picked up Higher Earth #1 on FDBD if it had been out (instead, it came out this week - when all the regular comic readers/buyers come to the stores). It's a missed opportunity, the folks who have gone to the comic shop to get Free Comics might be willing to lay down some money for a few more comics too - but if I've got $5 to spend I'm more likely to want to try a bunch of $1 comics than one $3.99 comic. I could go on about how this is the same problem affecting this industry in general (there's a reason I used to be able to ask my parents if I could pick up a comic in 7-11 off the spinner rack on a random trip past the store - because the comic was only $0.75. They never hesitated at that price, but now I'd be hard pressed to give my kid $3.99 to get a single 20 page comic). 

Rave – I’m pleased about the announcement by Microsoft and Barnes & Noble working together to bring e-books to Windows 8 (the software platform coming soon for computers, tablets and phones). While I was a big fan of Android at first, the buggy software is really starting to grate on my nerves, so I’ve been paying attention to Windows phones with a keen interest. I’ve also been following a lot of the stories about Amazon, and I’m not loving when things head in the direction of monopoly (like Apple’s ecosystem), so I think having lots of strong options is better for the publishing industry in general. With TOR going DRM free, and Angry Robot offering their books that way – I just need to get myself the right eDevice and I’m about ready to start trying out books (and comics!) this way.

Rave – I need to mention the #SWEU (that’s Star Wars Expanded Universe) t-shirts that EUCantina is selling, and because they make a small profit on the shirt – they are donating all profits to Reading is Fundamental. Like the folks at that site, I think children’s literacy is very important – I’ve seen in my own kids the true importance of reading – and I think this is a great way to Star Wars fans to support that cause.

Rave – Joe Schreiber returns to Star Wars? Based on various tweets from the author and the Del Rey folks, I’m thinking we’ll be seeing more horror-type Star Wars stories in the near future. But will it be a novel or a short story for Star Wars Insider (or maybe it's related to Star Wars 1313)? Karen Miller is set to have a Star Wars short story featured in Insider soon, and I notice Jason Fry mention a story by Dan Wallace that got cut from The Essential Guide to Warfare – I can’t help but wonder/hope if that won’t be appearing in Insider soon as well.

Rant - Battle Beasts returns as a line of fully poseable figures? I think they went in the wrong direction with that one - especially with the success of things like squinkies and so on.

Rave - 007 returns to the 60s. Actually I don't really care either way what era the stories are set in, what I like hearing about is a new James Bond book. I thought the last one (which brought him into the modern era) was great, and the last one set in the 60s was terrible - but it had little to do with the era and far more to do with the plot/writing so I'm all about checking out the next title.

Rave - I enjoyed the Avengers movie. I'm not sure it's the "greatest comic movie ever", but bear in mind that I don't think The Dark Knight is that film either. I think I liked the original Iron Man and Thor better than Avengers, but it's probably my 3rd favorite of these films, and certainly pretty great. I loved seeing Thanos at the end, it makes me wonder if Thor will start sowing some seeds about that plot, leading into a Guardians of the Galaxy movie that keeps getting mentioned by the Marvel folks. That seems like a good direction to go in, and I'd love to see a movie featuring those characters.

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