On FCC vs Comcast vs AT&T vs TimeWarner vs NetFlix vs Hulu vs DVD vs Bluray!

I’m someone who is not enamored of the godawful mess the FCC has made of the airwaves.

By this I refer to the FCC basically giving away the Analog spectrum, previously allocated to the people, to big business and government interests, and saddling the American people with a shoddy and crippled digital delivery method, that necessitates paying a cable provider if you want anything approaching viewable service.

And even then you are still not guaranteed against occasional picture dropouts or pixelation, as the provider continually adjusts bandwidth to maximize profit.

Yes, most people had cable prior to the forced digital switch-over (land-grab), but not all. Some of us were content with our rabbit ears.

Now, post the forced digital march to our new digital reservations, try and look at TV without a cable provider and just using your digital converter. Go ahead… try. I’ll wait.

Hum,,,, hummmm.

See? Atrocious isn’t it? It is a national embarrassment.

If I stop in, anywhere where they have TV without cable (homes, auto shops, waiting rooms, you name it) and you look at what has become of ‘free’ tv, in the wake of this governmental stickup… it makes me… angry.

Really, really not happy.

As I said, I didn’t have cable before the FCC sold America’s airwaves to the highest bidder, and I don’t have cable now. And no I don’t do Hulu, or online viewing of mainstream shows, because that’s poised to be as big a rip-off as the cable companies.

Because just as it’s nonsense, that you are getting DVD (much less HDTV) quality service with the cable companies, it is even more of a fallacy with the online providers. Because those companies are not trying to offer you the 4GB of Data that constitutes a DVD, or 10+GB of Data that constitutes the bandwidth for a Bluray disc, they particularly are not trying to offer this bandwidth per program/per customer. You are talking easily hundreds, if not thousands, of GBs of Data per month, per customer, if they were trying to offer you real disc quality (DVD/HDTV) programs.

In an age when broadcast providers are trying to limit service past 5GB a month?

Heck no.

They are cutting costs, which means cutting bandwidth, which means they have to compress whatever programs they send you well below the levels you’ll find on the physical media. Which is why even with HDTV, the quality varies wildly, not just from channel to channel, or program to program, but from moment to moment as the bitrate is adjusted on the fly, and that bandwidth steals from Peter to pay Paul.

And worse comes to worse, you even get drop outs, which is horrible on ‘free’ digital, but is inexcusable when you’re paying for the service.

So watching anything on cable… is a crapshoot at best.

And online, be it Hulu, Netflix, whatever is the same. And with the few major broadband providers all talking about capping traffic/bandwidth limits, it’s only going to get worse, particularly as the number of users increase.

So sure, watch your movie or television series via cable or online if that’s your cup of tea, and you’re not bothered by paying for spotty and sporadic quality.

It bothers me though.

DVD and HDTV/Bluray being a bastardization of film, is a compromise which I can live with. But online and cable, by the time they reach the end user, is like stated, variable and unreliable, numerous compression and toggling tricks imposed to the point it becomes something I refuse to pay for.

That and not being a TV guy to begin with, for years I’ve just done DVDs, and recently Blurays.

But that said, I’m not a fan of Blurays.

I find Blurays , which I find quality-wise to be a very minor improvement over a well mastered DVD (examples being ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and CLIMATES), to be not worth paying more for.

The only reason I pick up a Bluray over a DVD, is if they are the same price, AND the Bluray offers more features (recent examples being WATCHMEN DIRECTOR’S CUT [this is the version to go with, not the Ultimate cut], Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS dual format limited edition steelbook, and SPIRITS OF THE DEAD… all three on most reviewers 2010 Best Bluray list).

Don’t get me wrong. Bluray is an improvement, mostly in clarity over DVD, but it is a minor jump, compared to the major leap in quality from VHS to DVD.

It’s just not big enough of a difference, for me to really get excited about or pay more for. But I acknowledge it’s an improvement.

Now, what is not a Bluray improvement over DVD, and something I really hate about Blurays, is the slip-shod packing.

Even the so-called high-end SteelBook cases for Blurays, to put not to fine a point on it, are garbage; such as the aforementioned METROPOLIS Steelbook.

And regular Bluray packaging is even worse. It’s a shoddy, inconsistent form factor, with garish ugly colors (yes, I know you call yourself Bluray, but take it from me… lose the garish blue color on the packing ), and cheap, damage prone slipcovers/materials (SPIRITS OF THE DEAD anyone?), and pithy non-existent back cover description.

Package wise it lacks the aesthetic strengths, elegance and simplicity, and to an extent beauty of the 13+ year old medium of the DVD (the year 1998 generally regarded as DVDs wide-release on the world stage).

And by the time that is ready to change, we (the whole entertainment/electronic market) will be onto our next media storage format. So yeah, I generally say no to cable, and will be sticking with DVDs to catch up on tv shows people are recommending.

And as far as Blurays, as it currently stands I don’t see them making up more than 1% of my DVD purchases, anytime soon. They need to be at least the same price as a DVD, and offer more features, otherwise I’ll stick to the DVD, a tested and versatile medium, that doesn’t suffer from idiocies such as zone lockdowns, and “so-called” digital copies(nothing more than a way to erode fair use, and get you to install nothing more than a glorified rootkit virus on your computer).

Did I mention I dislike Blurays? :).

But on a serious note, make technology yours. Use it and don’t let it… own you.

Here endeth the rant. :).

2010 The Year in Review: BEST/FAVORITE MOVIES

Okay, okay

Early AM , February 2011.

Been meaning to get this Best of 2010 list compiled, so without further procrastinating:

Best movies I saw in the theaters in 2010:

BOOK OF ELI- Great film by the Hughes Brother. Finally a film to live up to the promise of their masterful debut, MENACE TO SOCIETY. And people know what I think of the King James Bible specifically, and organized religion in general, and I thought the film transcended my problem with both of those things, to be ultimately a visually amazing, and dynamic film, about the need to… walk with faith.

WOLFMAN- Contrary to many, huge fan. Check out my review posted seperately.

AVATAR- I saw this in IMAX 3D, and it was the only film of the year that was TRULY worthy of that expansive format. James Cameron’s return to the big screen has been much discussed, much praised for its success and much, in hindsight it seems, a bit railed against for its success, however I thoroughly loved the experience of the film. Technically James Cameron again advances technology and film, creating a 3D that is an actual evolution over the six decade old technology. Plus I quite enjoyed the story, as a story, and the fact that at its heart, underneath its futuristic trappings, it’s a simple parable about the issues that face us today. Which is what scifi, at its best does well. Scifi when its good, endures, because it uses our tomorrows to highlight our todays. And AVATAR does that. That said how it is told, the effective and immersive IMAX 3D aspect (accept no other 3D) is part of its allure, so much so that I don’t think the film is particularly rewatchable outside of an IMAX 3D theater. The story while good, isn’t particularly nuanced or novel once removed from its 3D heart, the imbibing of the world created, doesn’t really lend itself to repeat viewings, but I will probably still get the DVD for the extras, as I’m a huge fan of DVD commentaries particularly.

IRON MAN II

TAKERS

EXPENDABLES

TRUE GRIT

SALT

RESIDENT EVIL AFTERLIFE IMAX 3D- The 3D was okay. Not great, not AVATAR immersive, but okay, and well done in places. Plus I surprisingly, enjoyed the movie.

GREEN ZONE- Very well done film.

Movies I saw in the theater that I liked the least in 2010:

PIRANHA 3D- Always nice to see buxom babes, however seeing buxom babes die horribly… not really a fan of that. It is what it is, a relatively mindless t and a horror flick/dramedy. Not horrible, just not particularly good or interesting,

INCEPTION- Another Nolan Film, that just doesn’t particularly engage or interest me.

PREDATORS- Brody doing that stupid gravelly voice is just horribly miscast as a tough guy, and the movie– just by rhe numbers plot, and uninspired direction.

DAYBREAKERS- Okay, but relatively uninteresting and forgettable.

Wow. I saw a surprising number of movies in the theater in 2010. Didn’t realize how many until wrapping up this list. Mostly I thought it was a pretty damn fantastic year.

Okay next post we’ll cover best DVDs/TV of 2010. See you then!

The first year of the 2nd Decade of the 21st Century… IS ENDED!

Closing out the 1st year of the 2nd decade of the 21st century (which is what 2010 was, if you didn’t know) I find myself once again at that odd summing up place:

“I’m an oooooddddddd

And Vicious man but I’m still

Stan Ding

And the dark is all around

But it’s a

Lan Ding”

Copyright 2010-2011

That little refrain of mind sums up me making it through this year. A battle of inches, a grueling ground war, every well-fought over piece of foot forward, weighed against every crushing foot back

A year of successes: Travel some, Publish one, secure peace of hearth, those quiet places internal, discover roots unknown, E & V, Celebrate generational additions, Syd. try hard, steps definite. Lots to celebrate.

But all weighed against this sense of treading water… not well. Of real, personal connections and “opposition to save us from ourselves” always… not quite realized.

Of a whole world of people having conversations about the meaningless, while the meaningful is blown to hell.

An odd,summing up year.

“You’re so filled with inconsolable rage”
— QUANTUM OF SOLACE (Good if flawed movie, but excellent opening title/credit sequence and surprisingly good song by Keys and Black)

Current Comic Book Reads Fall 2010: Jonathan Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D 1-3

SHIELD 1-3 by Jonathan Hickman published by Marvel Comics. Jonathan Hickman, of NIGHTLY NEWS fame, has an interesting premise in this book about the secret history of SHIELD. Unfortunately the book’s promise, three issues in, is hampered by art that is a bit too reminiscient of 90s image art (if the cover art was indicative of the interior art, that would help a lot), and also by a central character who has yet to emotionally connect with the reader in any way. The praise for this book was heavy, but it hasn’t quite earned it yet. Plus the white ancient Egyptians/Nubians… uh yeah… that never works for me.

In many ways it seems a weak precursor to the far better illustrated and, to this point, more engaging EARTH X in terms of seeking to create a conspiratorial, larger historical tapestry for the Marvel Universe.

But it is only 3 issues in. And Hickman is an interesting and innovative writer, so I’m willing to give this a couple more issues, before jumping ship. One of the reasons I picked this up in issues rather than waiting for the trade, was that I thought the issues would have detailed backmatter/letters pages, and unfortunately that, so far, is not the case.

So if that trend continues there is no incentive for me to pick up the individual issues. And if Hickman doesn’t begin to invest his story with some type of emotional resonance, ie characters we care about (the one failing I do notice about Hickman’s work… it’s cold), there won’t be any incentive to pick up the trades either.

Grade:C.

New York Comic Con 2010 Breaking News!!!

New York Comic Con 2010 News!!!

Unfortunately because my butler with the bat-helicopter is too lazy to get me out to the con on time, I am not not going to be making it!

I’m so annoyed that i could scream….

KAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNN!

Ugghhh.

Feel better now.

Not really, however the good news is a lot of people with reliable butlers are on the floor of the con, and bringing you the love!

Most of them of course, not being me, do a pretty bland job at it.

I mean come on, there is only one Lex Luger of blogging!!!

However, I search out the guys who are bringing the news with some personality and fun! I’ve searched and saved you time, by finding the best current coverage on the NYC CC 2010! and they are all pretty damn great!

So without further ado… Here are sites bringing the news on the mania that is NYC CC 2010!

First Showing brings the Thing Love! With this coverage on this weekend’s sneakpeak on the upcoming prequel to one of John Carpenter’s best films… THE THING!

Comics Beat is ROCKING the NYC CC 10 News! Dark Horse announces $1.49 comics via new app! Marvel Cutting back titles! (About time. See my earlier posting on DC flooding the market with titles). There has never been a harder partying comic con than NYCC 10. Comics Beat is much easier to navigate than Newsarama! Recommended!

New York comic Con 2010 Banner coverage from Media Bistro? Interesting.

And to get a real feel for the greatness those of you who didn’t make it to the con… missed (sigh); check out this fantastic post by Techland.

Criterion cast has a nice page on the highlight events for each day of the con!

And for sounds from the Con, Comic Timing recorded a podcast at the show!


Along with THE COMICS BEAT, and of course my site (Hey! I saw that look! :)) the site that’s a must for breaking NYC CC 2010 Coverage is Comics Related! Those guys just rock it.

Fantastic pics by OVER THINKING IT!


And IFanboy also is a must stop for all the con news you can use! :)

Eff it. I’m buying my airline tickets to New York Comic Con 2011 Today!!!! Alfred… YOU’RE FIRED!

On DC Comics New york Comic Con 2010 News! Zuda Comics and Milestone comics! Price changes and more! Pt 1 of 2!

Well had hoped to be partaking of New York Comic Con goodness today, I had even prepped a nice itinerary of panels and events, but some last minute snafus got in the way. But (hopefully) that just means I get to bring you the Sunday perspective rather than Saturday, and with Sunday typically calmer, it should allow me to bring you some interesting coverage.

Plan is to head out in the AM so I can crash the Sunday Convention doors when they open. We’ll see how well that plan pans out. :)

But what I can bring you in the interim, is a bit of feedback on the first 2 days of the New York Comic Con (coverage/news has been surprisingly light), and following that offer a slightly sleep deprived, yet heartfelt questioning on what’s going on with DC Comics. Okay… onto the ranting :) :

Home and the Grace of God

ComingSoon.Net- Has a 5 page gallery of pictures from the con. Uhhh— don’t know who their photographer is, but you are at one of the nations biggest cons and all you can think to take pictures of is toys and props???? Wow. Either that’s the most boring con ever, or ComingSoon needs a new photographer. :). Judge for yourself.

Newsarama- True to their name is on the ball with coverage of various panels. Though the bit of news that got my attention was DC’s price drop, dropping their price from the insane $3.99 price point back to the nearly as insane, but just this side of acceptable $2.99 price point.

Now the following stance is primarily regarding the physical form of comics. But drop a $1 off the pricing and the stance is valid for the digital form of the product. For more on my take on tangible versus digital, go here.

I guess their shrinking sales figures woke them up to the fact (a fact that just about everyone told them before they embarked on the path) that $3.99 (ie $4!!) for a couple dozen pages of paper that will take you ten minutes to read… is not good value for your money.

Ideally I’d like to see the big two comic book companies (Marvel owned by Disney and DC owned by Time-Warner) pick up and run with Warren Ellis’ Slimline/Fell model of pricing… $1.99. That’s the price-point you need, particularly in this economy where the Average person’s salary is stagnant or decreasing, to not only maintain existing reader interest, but to create a viable entry price point for new readers.

Now I’m not crazy that DC is cutting 2 pages of story, 20 rather than 22 pages, to bring the price-point back to $2.99. So they are pretty much screwing the people who were just getting $2.99 books, which was pretty much everybody. So to look at this another way you’re still forcing an across the line price increase by reducing the content for the regular $2.99 books, while still asking a $2.99 price tag for them.

Crap! That makes me mad.

Leave it to DC, to make a necessity, lower prices or lose market share, yet another way to screw the consumer.

I think it reeks of unhealthy quibbling from one of the more public faces of a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. I mean seriously, you’re going to stiff us across the line for 2 pages.

Johns, Dido, Lee, Wayne… (a company with entirely too many titles, and too few people really willing to steer the ship), are you watching this?! Great Caesar’s ghost! If we’re losing 2 pages across the line, kick the darn price down to $2.50!

Sigh.

I was taken in by this announcement until I really started thinking about it.

I mean don’t get me wrong it is a start. It’s a start… an underhanded, devious, greedy, backstabbing, slimy, smarmy, odious and stinky start. But it’s a start.

Now all they have to do is publish some books worth buying, and I might jump back on the DC bandwagon.

Oooh, riled a few of you huh?!

Here’s the thing, I’m not a DC basher. I like DC.

While Marvel was the comic company that, like most kids my age, galvanized my attention in my youth; heading into my teenage years it was DC who had picked up the coming challenge of the direct market and a more mature customer base and gave us a very sophisticated and yes literate body of work, in an amazingly short amount of time.

Wolfman and Perez’s NEW TEEN TITANS (look at that great cover! We’ll discuss in a minute how current day DC comics have a hard time producing great covers), Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen’s LEGION OF SUPERHEROES, Moore, Bisette and Totleben’s SWAMP THING, Miller’s DARK KNIGHT and YEAR ONE, Baron and Guice’s THE FLASH , Englehart and Joe Staton’s run on THE GREEN LANTERN, O’Neil and Cowan’s THE QUESTION, DeMatteis and Giffen’s JUSTICE LEAGUE, (preceded by the equally good run by Gerry Conway and Luke McDonnell on the closing issues of the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA) and of course Wolfman and Perez on CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. All those books in relative spitting distance of each other and in many ways they still define what is best in this medium we call comics.

Those runs are memorable touchstones to a lost holy grail, that to this day, companies are still mining for, still trying to recapture. Not least of all DC itself.

DC

Here’s the thing I’m aware from podcasts that DC has quite a few talented creators out there, and some are doing good books. Some are doing FANTASTIC books! DC has one of the best creators, in my opinion, working in comics today in Mark Chiarello, Art Director (as of this writing) of DC Comics. His SOLO and his WEDNESDAY COMICS, in a time where the height of creativity or thinking outside the box in comics, was Zombie variant covers, or killing/resurrecting characters, are two projects, that continue to blow my mind. Just inventive, thinking out the box audacity. And that he’s also am amazing writer and artist (His Negro League cards are STUNNING!) in his own right, just makes it all the more odd that DC doesn’t just turn over the keys to him.

But they don’t.

Instead DC seems to be retreating from very innovative concepts and growth, growth that seemed to have been building up to a watershed of creativity perhaps akin to that 80s period I mentioned, but seemingly forestalled in what can only be seen as a homogenization of what was becoming an ethnically diverse line.

DCs problem today is the same problem that has always been an Achilles heel of comics. Braindead marketing, and over-saturation/flooding of the market.

“Oooohh. One Batman book is good. That mean’s 16 Batman titles would be great!” No you stupid, stupid men. Multiple titles of the same character introduces confusion into your consumers and into the brand. While you will always capture the one moron, with too much disposable income, who will buy, and probably not read, all 16 titles. Historically, and today currently, what happens instead is for that one who will buy into your gouging ploy, you have 600 people like me who will look at these 16 different Bat titles, scratch their head, and say I can’t be fucking arsed to figure out what title is the ‘good’ Batman title.

And I understand, that with so-called 2nd string titles not selling as well, the impetus is to go with a name, go with a name, go with a name. The problem with that is at $4 a pop, no one is going to experiment on a 22 page comic. At 60cents and 75cents I could take a risk on something called SWAMP THING or $1.25 on something called THE QUESTION. But DC, all comic companies have largely priced themselves out of the impulse buy market. At $4 the book has to offer a definite great experience for the reader’s money. In terms of both story, art, character, and payoff. And typically that’s a lot to ask of a new character where the first several issues is about building the character. And that’s a lot to ask of Dc, in particular, because DC cover artiist, for the most part, not very good. Anytime DC gets a halfway decent artist, Marvel swoops in and steals him away, till you look at today, and DCs covers for the most part look like garbage. The tradedress, the actual art, it’s just not something that wouls impel me to stop, pickup the book, and flip through it. If the cover artist sucks, I can only imagine how bad the interior art is.

I refuse to believe Mark Chiarello is signing off on these covers. But whoever it is, needs to tighten up the ship, because fault Marvel for what you will, but their books, their cover artists… are AMAZING! Like I said, I don’t even buy Marvel Comics with the exception of Brubaker’s CRIMINAL, but if I did I would be drawn to these marvel books.

Why is CRIMINAL the only Marvel/Icon book i buy?

Well, because I don’t buy individual issues that don’t come with a letterspage and/or backmatter/ additional conversational type material. One of the reasons I was such a huge fan of books such as FELL and GUTTSVILLE (Holy Hell I miss that book! Two of the most innovative, beautiful and brilliant books of the 21st, smothered to death by that little flooding the market thing I’m talking about) is because they offer this deeper insight into the material. in the case of Brubaker’s CRIMINAL it’s even more amazing material.

So yeah that’s why. If you can’t be bothered to put together a Stan’s Soapbox style bit for your readers, or do a letters page, I can’t be bothered to pay for your effing book.

However all things being equal, if Marvel and DC were to reinstate letters-pages/back-matter, and get the ads out tof the story, based on the quality of the Marvel artists and to some degree writers, I would clearly be buying Marvel comics.

While it’s inane to let a cover be the sole judge of a comic, this is a graphic medium, so the cover means a bit. It’s the resume that gets you in the door, or the hands of the reader, and it should impress.

Marvel Comics, from trade dress to actual artist, typically rocks.

DC typically sucks.

Examples?

Damn take your pick of nearly any DC comic released this month. Such as:

This is your flagship title, right? You couldn’t tell it by this cover. You could barely tell this is a JLA title. You make the title all but invisible? Really? It’s just piss-poor trade dress design. And the central image conveys and illicits no interest what so ever. No art director should have signed off on this.

This is a good artist, however the central image doesn’t really convey much. The Rebel’s title and trade dress doesn’t help to give any kind of interest to the cover. It’s the type of cover that in the old days would have been saved with a word balloon or caption, but evidently DC can be bothered these days with little things, like making their covers sell-able.

Honestly do I even have to point out how bad this cover is. And me not reading DC comics, this is my first time seeing the costume all the podcasters were talking about. I really have no stake in the character, so change away. But make it good, that costume is utter garbage. Beyond that the art just looks… awkward. I’m not sure if she’s preparing to fight or having some type of hemorrhoid attack. :).

Here are 3 more cover images, that just don’t cut it.

The DOOM PATROL central image is actually good, but the trade dress just does nothing to make it exciting. It’s just floating in a sea of boredom. The FLASH image is busy, but busy in a bad way, it’s just not engaging or interesting, but at least the Trade Dress, typography brings some interest to the image. Just not enough to overcome the weakness in the central image.

THE FLASH has some of the best covers ever, it has to do with artists with a great sense of design and placement, as well as a great color scheme, and finally fantastic typography, captions, and word balloons, a life and energy that is mostly missing from this modern issue.
So DC has only itself to blame that it’s new characters find a steep slope to acceptance. Even at $2 I’m open to dropping $5 and picking up 2 books a week. But when $5 will barely get you one book/story, and typically that $5 experience of piece of story is unsatisfying at best.

SUPERGIRL- I’ve heard nothing but good things about this Super-Girl run, but based on this cover alone, I would never pick up the book. Again the central image itself isn’t particularly bad, it’s just not particularly anything. And once again DCs lack of trade dress, typography, just calls attention to the fact that something is lacking.

How is it with nearly 80 years of comic covers to learn from, people still can’t get it right?

Marvel however, really has not only great artists, but as importantly they understand typography and the effective use of typography and cover organization. Bendis was well known for this with his POWERS work. Some examples of Marvel getting it right? (these are from the same month as the DC ones above):

The above Marvel images speak clearly for themselves.

Marvel just kicks ass on these covers (and this statement comes from me Heroic Times, someone who for the most part has turned his back on Marvel monthly comics)! Marvel has those stunning, painterly artists, such as Simone Bianchi that DC simply can’t hold onto.

Marvel is no less culpable than DC with their 6 THOR or 8 AVENGERS titles, but each issue looks orders of magnitude better than their DC counterparts. And Marvel seems, to come to each cover witn a sense of design and layout, for the most part lacking in the DC titles.

George Perez is still cranking out some masterpieces for DC. Relative newcomer Sami Basri , is knocking it out of the park with POWER GIRL (And if DC doesn’t pay this guy, I predict he’ll be the next artist Marvel takes away from them. He’s that good. Look at his cover to issue #16 of POWER GIL, a great use of negative, a great understanding of creating images that speak), as well as Alina Rusa’s attention grabbing cover to BOP.

But these are exceptions to DC’s rule of rather tired, boring, uninspired covers. Marvel on the other hand, while no less event heavy, and just as guilty of flooding the market, you get the sense it’s a rather cohesive vision driving the Marvel machine, and for the most part it really is creator and quality driven. With DC you get the sense it’s mostly editorial mandates, that tend to be a scattershot approach, and that quality across the board is more miss than hit.

Yet given all this, DC still looks to the consumers for the reason their books aren’t selling. The books aren’t selling first and foremost because they are too expensive. And two because, the DC comics I’ver read in the past few years, individual issues, just aren’t very good, even if they were $2, for giving you a good reading experience. The JLA is supposed to be the flagship title for DC, and in the last few years, they’ve been unable to get anyone excited or interested in these comics.

Part of this, most of this is, particularly with Dwayne McDuffie… editorial interference. I have yet to interview Dwayne McDuffie, but the sense I get was he was courted by DC, following his HUGELY successful JLA UNLIMITED series (which got the JLA absolutely right and is the best they’ve been in any medium in years) and given JLA, mainly to weasle the rights to MILESTONE away from him (more on Milestone in a bit). And once that was done he was pretty much saddled with crippling editorial interference, and a less than stellar art team, until he was pretty much shooed off the book.

So when a company’s flagship books are saddled with high prices, and poor, unsatisfying story and art, very few are going to risk dollars with secondary characters or untried characters from this company. It’s why I think ideas like Chiarello’s SOLO and WEDNESDAY COMICS, somewhat of a reinvention of the company’s SHOWCASE roots, are potentially the future of the medium. A monthly flagship title, containing a mix of classic and new characters, with letter pages, and back matter, and a real conversation like comics of old, with popular characters being spun off into their own titles.

The alternative is the diminishing returns model of current comics.

To be continued….

2010 Movie Trailer Reviews! Studios vs Directors?!

Okay, I checked out a bunch of trailers so you don’t have to. I’m going to seperate the best from the rest to save you downloading time. This is definitely the year of the first time director, as quite a few movies are by Directorial virgins, and I’ve noted that where I felt appropriate:

Favorite trailers:

EXPENDABLES- nuff said
PIRANHA 3D
THE AMERICAN- see earlier rave about it
RESIDENT EVIL 3- Not really sold on the director, or any of the previous films in the franchise, but the fact that it’s shot in 3D, and the preview looks serviceable, I’m willing to give it a chance. Matinee showing, not full price.
THE WILD HUNT-interesting premise. One of the few non-remakes/adaptations, an honest to goodness original looking flick.
RED- based on a Warren Ellis Graphic Novel, looks fun
MONSTERS- Trailer looks good. However 1st time director, and a CLOVERFIELD vibe have me slightly concerned. I hated CLOVERFIELD.
FASTER- Dwayne Johnson stars in this George Tillman Jr Directed flick. Looks a lot more interesting than the Cage parody, DRIVE ANGRY (which I admit isn’t saying much, but we’ll see)
TRON:LEGACY- Yet another first time director, with as far as I can tell NO EXPERIENCE, and Disney gives him this and slated to direct three other high profile items?! I understand everyone has to start someplace, but usually you don’t start with one of the bigger movies of the year. Someone’s nephew perhaps? :). Or is it more insidious than that? Much as the boom of reality TV was about breaking the back of the writers and not paying them an equitable share (or any share) in new distribution models, is this fad of first time directors, about breaking the back of established directors? Bringing newbies they can pay less, and control more? Perhaps the reason directors of the caliber of Edward Zwick and Carl Franklin (two of my favorite directors)work infrequently at best.

I’ve always followed directors. It is directors more than stars, that get me interested in a film. I would be far more interested in TRON if an established director was helming it.

I think producers will find they are diminishing themselves, their own returns, if they try and diminish the status of the director to films, if they try for a hired gun approach. Cinema is about visions. It’s about Hitchcock and Peckinpah and Fincher and Snyder.

Always has been.

Always will be.

But my tirade aside, getting back to TRON, the trailer looks nice, and it is in IMAX 3d, which as I’ve said before is the ONLY 3D worth your money. .

Least favorite trailers/Trailers that I have no interest in seeing the movie:

THE LAST EXORCISM
SCOTT PILGRIM- not a fan of the comic, and not remotelyt intrigued by the trailer
THE TOWN-looks interesting, just not a fan of Affleck’s previous
YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER
THE SOCIAL NETWORK-The only thing this movie has going for it is the name of its director, David Fincher, but even he can’t get me interested in this life-time special masquerading as a movie. A movie on Facebook? Really?

Films I haven’t seen a trailer for but have me intrigued is the remake of RED DAWN. I didn’t think the first RED DAWN was a good movie, so like I said, if Hollywood insists on doing remakes, remaking a flawed movie is the way to go. Another first time director, Dan Bradley, helms this, but he brings a wealth of experience as a 2nd Unit Director and Stunt Coordinator. So visually he has me intrigued to see what he brings to the table.