Why Marvel Studios is Successful and Marvel Comics is Suffering! The Last word on Diversity!

Marvel Studios under the brilliant leadership of Kevin Feige has become an unparalleled success because of amazing producers, writers, directors, casting agents, and actors, who take material made often for a juvenile audience and made it work for an adult and non-comics audience, while also satisfying comic die-hards like myself.

And as movies from the 1st film (IRON MAN) to the 18th film (BLACK PANTHER) show, the reason for this is Kevin Feige’s willingness to embrace Diversity. Diversity is not just the makeup of America, contrary to the Trumpian and XM hate radio mob  who who would preach dissension. and hate, it is the makeup of the world. And when you stop running and hiding and sticking your head in the sand, trying to wind back the clock to a Jim Crow America, you realize it is also the makeup to success.

Marvel Comics however has floundered for decades now and continues to flounder with diminishing sales. And while the vocal minority of morons and closet Nazis and talk show radio supporters would blame diversity.

The truth, that common sense and reason would tell you is, appealing only to existing readership has led to a diminishing readership, that can barely get a hundred thousand people, to buy even their most popular book. The people who grew up in the news-stand and comicshop and subscription model of comics,, is an aging and diminishing audience. We are picking up new readers, in large part due to the diversity initiatives and book store and libraries, MS MARVEL and MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR being some of Marvel’s biggest books in collected format. Doing HUGE in Libraries. However while we are picking up new readers in book format, the periodical format continues to lose across the board, for all comics Marvel is producing, whether they put a White, Black, Asian or other character in the comics, and I would argue Marvel is making quality comics across the board, what they suffer from is pricing.

They have in an age of growing options for entertainment dollars, with options of tv, streaming, video games, virtual, and regular books and magazines, priced themselves out of the market. $4 retail for a 20 page comic, that typically is filled with ads and does not give you a full story… it is for most of us an insupportable expense.

Even Die-hards like me have to pick and choose, and generally speaking, the choice is to not support Marvel in the monthly format, not at their $4 and up retail price point. I have not bought a Marvel Comics in years, only their recent diversity push, a good thing rather than the curse word Rush Limbaugh morons would make it, when they finally had Black writers and artists on staff, got me to buy their monthly books again.

I’m speaking of BLACK PANTHER and the short lived POWER MAN AND IRON FIST which was a relatively self-contained title, by dream creative team of David Walker and Sanford Greene. But I stopped getting it when Marvel decided to try to screw with the success of that book by making it into three books. Trying to over-milk their audience. With BLACK PANTHER they quickly started additional titles and crossovers that you had to get to get the whole story. Better and cheaper to just get the collected edition. And when Power Man and Ironfist ended, so did my buying Marvel Comics.

So Marvel’s floundering sales, is a relatively steady study in decline, and has notching to do with diversity. That they have not floundered more is due to their talented and diverse creators and characters. If someone on Youtube or a blog or the media is blaming diversity, you are dealing with an idiot and a bigot and a liar. And you should unsubscribe from their channel and or feed, because stupid people are a waste of time.

Diversity is not Marvel Comics problem. Their problem #1 is pricing. $4 they charge per issue, or $3.99 as they like to call it, you have gone past the threshold the market will bear, or that even your die-hard already converted audience. Particularly when in comparison to other publishers who give you more for that same $4. Other publishers give you less obtrusive ads, letters pages, back matter. And some like CHAPTER HOUSE comics and even DC COMICS (prior to Bendis, hopefully Bendis doesn’t support the same price hike that he supported at Marvel) realize that $2.99 retail is the breaking point for comic book adoption and growth.

Marvel Comics is also big enough that they can support a price of $2.99 retail for their comics. That would take care of their major problem. their second problem,relying on Diamond totally for their periodical distribution. Marvel used to offer mail order subscriptions at a nice discount, that’s how I got some of my books, you would use the ad in the magazine and subscribe to get your comics in the mail. I loved this model as a kid. I used it in addition to the comic book stores.  I think it is a great model unfamiliar with dealing with the Diamond pre-order model. And the third and most important thing, if a title is successful as a single, standalone title, don’t break it by being greedy and stupid. See previous comment on POWERMAN AND IRON FIST.

All those three points come down to Marvel Comics being better managed and better run, if not, no amount of crossovers or character changes or fabricate storyline outrage, will correct Marvel Comics dwindling sales.

 

Here endeth the Diversity Discussion.

:).

 

Advertisements

BROTD: Binaural Recording of the Day! Installment One!

Binaural recording is a 100 year old, mostly underused method, for providing immersive 3D sound recording AND playback with no need for consumer post processing or decoding, ala Dolby Surround.

I discovered Binaural recordings probably 10 years ago, and have been a fan ever since. The early Stephen King MIST CD (love the story and audio book, hate the movie, mostly due to Frank Darabont’s changes and excesses in group dynamics, creating caricatures rather than characters) and Clive Barker’s INHUMAN CONDITION sold under the moniker 3D Audio, being my first introduction to the wonders of Binaural.

 

“Suspended in a haze of terror, humanity makes its last stand against unholy destruction!

Stephen King’s sinister imagination and the miracle of 3-D sound transport you to a hot, lazy day in a sleepy all-American town — where a sudden, violent storm leaves behind a mysterious mist that traps you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world.

The Mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. The Mist has you in its grip, and this masterpiece of 3-D sound engineering surrounds you with horror so real that you’ll be grabbing your own arm for reassurance. To one side — and whipping around your chair, a slither of tentacles. Swooping down upon you, a rush of grotesque, prehistoric wings. In the impenetrable mist, hearing is seeing — and believing. And what you’re about to hear, you’ll never forget.”

—THE MIST in 3D Sound

I immediately became hooked, but aside from those two audio books, and a handful of special effects and music CDs, Binaural never became embraced by the music or audio book market.

I always related that locking out of binaural with Dolby having defined the defacto surround standard for the theatrical and home markets; and receiver and CD and DVD and speaker manufacturers, having a vested interest in selling dolby post processing hardware and equipment.

Whereas with Binaural, you can cut all of that out, replace all of it on the consumers end, with nothing more than a pair of regular headphones.

Thankfully through the internet and other binaural lovers recording and sharing their city soundscapes, binaural has stayed alive. Allowing any person with the desire to download and a pair of headphones, the ability to experience, relive, a moment in someones’s walk through the streets of Paris, or Sweden, or New York; to experience what Alan Moore called “dream cities of the mind”.

And showing  everything old is new again, Binaural is finally being embraced (for its cost benefits and 3D soundstage) by virtual headset manufacturers and game designers, who are seeking an effective way to add surround sound  to their headsets without licensing or reguiring expensive post production decoding.

Add to that a new wave of affordable binaural microphones (the one part of Binaural that is not cheap, is cost of the recording heads. You can see some pricing here. So these new cost effective mics, come as a real boon.) and binaural recording is well on its way to being far more accessible.

VERGE coverage on Binaural for 2016!

So BROTD will be a reoccuring feature of this blog, shouting out impressive Binaural recordings or sites I’ve come across. And without further ado, this installments winner is (drumroll please)….

SOUNDLANDSCAPES BLOG – This website features various recording of Paris street life, and these are excellent recordings. You close your eyes and you are there, virtual reality of a sort, without the million dollar price tag. Just a stereo recording of microphones placed where the human ears woud be, and the motion through, or within a crowd, and listened to via headphones… and you have something not quite unlike magic.

 

Listen to this site’s great recording in your podcast player of choice using this RSS feed: https://soundlandscapes.wordpress.com/feed/

And a great recording to start with is the latest episode in their feed, described below by the Blog owner and recorder… Des:

Every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday an indoor market, housed in the 19th century Grande Halle, opens for business and an outdoor market appears on Place Jean-Jaures and in the surrounding streets.

Marché de Saint-Denis

The outdoor market is rather like an African souk selling everything from clothes and fabrics to a range of footwear, cosmetics, bags, clay cooking pots and other assorted household goods, tools and plants, as well as some high-end, branded goods at suspiciously low prices.

But for me, the indoor market inside the Grande Halle is the main attraction. With its sights, sounds and exotic smells, visiting the Grande Halle is a multi-sensory experience not to be missed.

The sound recording is fantastic, and i higly recommend you subscribing to Des’ site via the above feed. Oh and if unsure what podcatcher to use, on the tablet side PODCAST ADDICT is a good one, on the laptop/desktop side GPODDER is a very good one.

If you liked this post and want to see more Binaural coverage toss me some likes, and use the links below to get some great binaural recordings (every purchase helps support this blog and is greatly appreciated. You get introduced to great items, and we get a couple pennies 🙂 ).

 

The Mist Movie Tie-In: In 3 D Sound

From the Caves of the Iron Mountain

What’s Hot on the Web: THE FERGUSON THEATER


macked-poster-10

Lot’s of places on the web are catching my attention this weekend, among them…

FERGUSON THEATER- By Pulp Writer Derrick Ferguson features reviews of the films that are catching his attention these days, and helps introduce me to things to try. I like that he covers films that I may have missed or not put on my radar; and further he gives these eloquent dissertations on why the covered material works or fails to.

Some recent highlights for me his thumbs down on Tarsem Singh’s SELF/LESS (I think Tarsem Singh is a visually stunning and experimental director, but is unable to add to those visuals a coherent or compelling story).

I also quite like Ferguson Theater’s take on why Josh Trank’s FANTASTIC FOUR failed. I haven’t seen the movie, and have no real rush to see it; the trailers and posters alone just did not add up to good. I do find funny, for all the hoopla about casting, that Michael B. Jordan as the HUMAN TORCH, across the board it seems, is the only bit of casting that did work.

Also, it is so interesting to hear Josh Trank and Kevin Smith on Smith’s podcast FATMAN ON BATMAN for three weeks pontificate, and really have a little love fest, on the upcoming FANTASTIC FOUR movie, then when the movie comes out Josh Trank does not return to do the fourth planned episode. Go listen to those episodes, it is an interesting insight into how someone can feel themselves on the right track, and ultimately end up so far off the mark.

And FT also puts on my “must see” radar, the films SOMETIMES SALVATION and MACKED, HAMMERED, SLAUGHTERED AND SHAFTED. As a huge fan of David Walker’s defunct magazine BADASS MOFO (and congrats on David Walker’s recent success in the comic book scene) I’ll be buying the DVD of MHSS as soon as it is available.

But yeah, Derrick Ferguson’s FERGUSON’S THEATER is filled with such captivating observations on films old, new, and overlooked. Check it out for yourself at the link below.

FERGUSON THEATER

And I also direct you to Kevin Smith’s fun podcast FATMAN ON BATMAN.

SONG OF THE DAY: HEY GIRL by Sonny Knight and The Lakers

The spirit of Motown is alive and well in the groovings of Sonny Knight and the Lakers. Listen here to the title track ‘HEY GIRL’.

Courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio’s excellent web presence THE CURRENT and their song of the day project.

And for more on Sonny Knight and great music in general go to today’s Site of the Day: FLEA MARKET FUNK!

THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS – Exonerated Former Convicts Start a Detective Agency?!

I have about a 100 blogs in my blog and webcomic folder. Far more than I can check in on, anywhere near as often as I would like to. But today is the day I check in on some of them.

You lucky devils!

One of them for this post is the site SHADOW AND ACT. the stories they cover can be hit and miss with me, however one that grabbed me as a hit was the story of the Freedom Fighters.

This real life tale, reads in part:

“There’s a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas, started by a group of exonerated Black men who have all spent decades in prison… for crimes they did not commit.”

Not only is that a documentary in the making, I can see that premise making for a Fantastic television show. Probably HBO. 🙂

Read the story here.

More blog updates to come!

Blog News Update

Quick update on some of the stuff this blog has percolating:

**********************
I was quite pleasantly surprised to receive Oracom Editions GRAPHISTES WORLD ARTBOOK 01, beautiful French language art-book in the mail today. Just in time for tomorrow’s WEDNESDAYS WORDS. Mentioned in a previous WEDNESDAY WORDS, I’ll be bringing you a full review of this art-book of the fantastic.

***********************
I’m rounding the bend on finishing Norvell Page’s pulse pounding SPIDER novel, THE CITY DESTROYER. So far Page’s prose lives up to its hype. It’s intense and ambitious and writ large and moves at a breakneck pace. However, I’ve read warnings that that intensity comes at the price of the endings tending toward the train-wreck nonsensical variety. I’ll see if THE CITY DESTROYER avoids that pitfall, and then toss up my review.

***********************
I haven’t forgotten the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM posts, I’m trying to elicit funding to keep these posts coming. To that end you can do your part by utilizing the purchase links and patronizing the sponsor links. And definitely purchase the Epub articles when you see them listed ( such as the Sherlock Holmes one to your left)

In addition to the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM installments, funding would also allow this blog to pursue short story audio recordings of specific under-appreciated writers.

***********************
The comic book cover postings have been very popular, so I’m working up another one that should go up tonight.

************************
And I’m working up a favorite podcast post that should go up this week.

************************

And I’m working on a comic strip for the blog, a bit unlike any other strip you’ve seen.

So lot’s of fun stuff on the agenda! Keep checking in and supporting! Thanks!

FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS Episode #2


Well the first episode of FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS was well received, so I thought it was worthwhile to kick out episode #… TWO!!!!

This new segment basically will select four or five followers of this blog (thanks to all of you who are now following this blog) and/or blogs I follow and just promote particularly interesting things I find on their pages:

Okay onto the promoting :):

Derrick Ferguson who is a fantastic pulp writer, a podcasting guru (I gave praise to his podcast BETTER IN THE DARK last time, you can subscribe to it here), as well as a great supporter of this blog, runs his own fun blog that covers flicks old and new. And even when I don’t share his enjoyment for certain movies (Ang Lee’s HULK,CLASH OF THE TITANS remake :)) his reviews are informed and fun reads. Great reviews on current flicks such as JOHN CARTER and classic flicks such as BUCK AND THE PREACHER. Take a gander here.

Jill of All Trades who writes the blog EXPERT OF NONE, has a really great blog post, that I think is applicable to a growing number of people in this economy. Namely, adults returning to school to advance their career or change their career path.

In my Dad’s day you got hired onto a job, and you stayed in it, till you retired with a pension and the thanks of a grateful company, or you dropped dead… whichever came first. But times have changed, corporate America has for the most part done away with the concept of pensions and indeed long term employees.

It’s a far more mercenary market today, where employers feel adversarial to employees and often to their customer base. So in this market, an employee has to expect to spend more time in job transition scenarios.

So Jill of All Trades really sums it up in one incredibly informative post. Her post was just what I needed to come across. Excellent job Jill of All Trades! And to those of you out there, like me, thinking of getting in some more education, whether for credit or just for life experience… swing by and check out her post here.

MesAyah- – Norwegian rapper does a writing a day, and also lists some of his favorite music. Swing by the blog and take a look here. Good stuff.

Brad runs the popular blog JIVIN ME TURKEY and on his site he picks out a movie and a quote from it, to highlight. Always fun stuff, the Mark Twain quote being a personal favorite. Swing by here and give a gander.

Jackie runs the site GET READING NOW. She has a fun review of several books. take a look here.

And last but certainly not least for this installment, Lesley and her husband run the hugely popular travel and adventure website BUCKET LIST PUBLICATIONS. One look at her site will either make you want to run out and jump out of perfectly good planes or seek medical attention. I’m leaning toward the latter. 🙂 But in all seriousness it’s a great site for the travel and adventure minded!!

************

Thanks for looking and come back next time for more… FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS! 🙂 . Oh and here’s the link to episode #1.