Currently Watching / Quote of the Day : PULP FICTION The Golden Age

I am currently watching PULP FICTION: THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCI FI, FANTASY AND ADVENTURE, courtesy of Youtube and Roku (the only way I watch a Youtube video), and it is just a riveting watch. If you are a fan of books and writers or simply history, and 20th century Americana, this deep dive into the early years of a uniquely American art form, pulp fiction, you will be riveted by this feature. It is less than an hour in length, and get past the incredibly hokey opening, it gets serious and informative and impressive, very quickly.

 

There is a line in the feature that, while being a patron of pulps and pulp writers and knowing this to be true, still actually gave me chills to hear it so succinctly laid out.

 

‘The fascinating thing about the writers who were working in Pulps, was they were writing what was considered disposable fiction, trash. I mean, most of these stories you’d read them and throw them out, and yet… the top writers in these fields, whether Westerns or Science Fiction or Horror or Mystery, they are now considered the literary giants of the 20th century.’

—Marc Zircee, Historian

That line gave me chills. And it is still the case. The writers who are moving the needle here in the still early days of the 21st century, are writers who wrote in under appreciated genre fields.

Similar to successful pulp writers Ray Bardbury, Issac Assimov, Harlan Ellison, Walter Gibson, HP Lovecraft, Sax Rohmer, Dasheil Hammett, L Ron Hubbard, Raymond Chandler, Norvell Page, Cornell Woolrich and Stan Lee (who as a kid started writing pulp stories in the comics, 20 years before he and a cadre of artists would give birth to the revamped Marvel Comics) and others who survived the brutal starvation years of the pulps, and did not join the mass of such writers… who died young and broke, but continued at it, to write, and write, and write, and transition their forward looking pulp sensibilities to the new mediums of radio, and television; that is what is happening today.

 

And not to be remiss the pulp artists, both cover artist and interior were equally important. They gave the astounding, jaw dropping artwork that got you to stop and pick up the story, and the spot illustrations that powered you through it. And like the pulp writers of the day, the artists were woefully underpaid and horribly overworked to barely eke out a living. Most died broke and unknown, with their work not even credited by the publisher, but a few rose above the carnage of those years to create work that is remembered, geniuses like Norman Saunders, J. Allen St. John, Elliott Dold, George Rozen, Jerome Rozen, Rudolph Belarski, Frederick Blakeslee, John Newton Howitt, HJ Ward, Virgil Finley, and the criminally neglected Barye W. Phillips who did one of the best pulp covers ever with FANTASTIC #1 from 1952. I will be doing an article on the artists in an upcoming installment.

The pulp work… wins out.

The perseverance and love… wins out, and those trash/pulp writers of the 20th century are the ones who are celebrated and rediscovered today, where the ‘serious’ writers are largely forgotten and unread by the masses.

The pulp writers who were pushing the needle in the 20th century, with fast, hard,ugly, brutal, and imaginative tales that did not fit the sensibilities of the ‘serious fiction’ of the day.

That unruly challenging and imaginative fiction they were writing then… about our basest desires and wildest hopes remains…. today, still relevant. The way Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN will always be relevant, the way Shakespeare will always be relevant, the way Chester Himes’ Digger and Coffin Joe, will always be relevant. Because people then, as people now, understand the extremes of hope and despair, and that is the place pulp writers evoked for us best.

Now the modern equivalent are writers such as Stan Lee and Alan Moore and Frank Miller and Pat Mills and Neil Gaiman and Mark Olden and Warren Murphy to name a few.  People who slaved away in the late 20th century in the looked down upon realm of Comics or Pulp novels, but wrote about our hope and our fears writ large, modern myths to reflect our modern fears. And like always men who define the conversation of the extreme (the dreamers), in their own time, end up defining the conversation of the masses for their children’s time.

And today we have a new generation of talented pulp writers. From Dennis Lehane to Walter Moseley to John Ridley to Derrick Ferguson to Thomas Ligotti to John Jennings to Joe Hill to Charles Saunders to Percival Everett to John Sanford to Collin Whitehead to Victor LaValle to Richard Gavin to Ed Brubaker to Christopher Priest to Warren Ellis to Brian Michael Bendis to Robert Kirkman to Al Ewing to Eric Powell to David Walker to name a few.

Serious Fiction talks about what is, Pulp Fiction uses the past, present and future as allegories to talk about who we can be, when we screw our courage to the sticking place. And as such it will always be a place waiting for us… to discover.

I hope you like this post. if you did subscribe, give a like or comment. 

A word about subscribing, there are a lot of demands on our time, too much for all of us to be aware of all the cool people and cool things, we might like to be aware of. Wednesday Words was a well received feature I did years ago, and it was just a quick touch on people whose name and work you may want to have on your radar. Subscribing will get you, every two weeks a very short, but very informative edition of WEDNESDAY WORDS.

So if you haven’t subscribed, please do, and bring a friend with you. Collaborating, especially in these oft marginalizing times… seems like the right answer.

And for now, go to Amazon or your local bookstore or library and check out the writers mentioned in this piece. Till next time… be well!

 

 

3 days left to PREORDER your comics in October! Here is how! The FINAL Part!

Here is the promised final part.

Just in time to order, pull the trigger by this Wednesday 24 July 2019!

 

Books worth pre-ordering by 24 July 2019, and save money off cover price, of books being released early October! Halloween!

Here then are the recommended books!

 

Books worth buying from Marvel:

While Marvel under the auspices of the great film division helmed brilliantly by Kevin Feige, are doing gangbusters on the big screen and television screens; the comic books are a train-wreck. I’m not talking talent wise, I think Marvel, The Comic Book Division has talented and creative people actually writing and drawing and creating the books.

Where Marvel falls down is in marketing and pricing their books, and over saturating a small market, with a lot of noise. I think Editorial and Marketing between the two of them are steering the company, periodical wise, at high speed right into a wall.

You do not have to be a genius to realize, Johnathan Hickman or any writer, is not going to revamp crap, if you are diluting and smothering a good idea, (in this case the ‘revamping’ of the X-men) right out the box, by comprising your jump on story 6 to 12 new titles, by that many creative teams. It is the moronic, diminishing returns crap, Marvel publishing has been doing for the last few years. Drowning whatever signal they may produce, under a crap load of noise.

 

One X-men title. One exciting creative team, writer, artist, colorist, letter. One steady price-point, $2.99. Not 10 mutant titles to dilute and confuse your audience. One title. One jumping on point. One easy brand to market to retailer and customers. If you are a Marvel Comic book company, with Marvel Studios having done the hard work of giving you a potential GLOBAL audience of BILLIONS. And you can not sell ROUTINELY hundreds of thousands, if not millions of EVERY issue of X-MEN, the issue is gross mismanagement.

It is not the customer, it is not people do not read, it is not competition from video games or movies, it is gross incompetence by your marketing/management and arguably editorial divisions.

Disney needs to farm out the marketing and management of Marvel Comics, to anyone but the people who are currently failing at it.

Books to buy from Marvel:

None

 

Books to buy from DC:

My above rant about Marvel periodical, also applies to DC periodicals. (With the exception of their $1 reprint line, one of which you will see below).They raised their periodical prices to $3.99 to coincide with hiring Marvel Poster Boy Brian Michael Bendis. And they were on an upswing before doing that. Following their price hike I dropped all of the books that went up in price, except Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE. And to this date, that is the only periodical book I am buying from DC Comics.

 

TWOMORROWS PUBLISHING

 

Alter Ego 161 - Click Image to Close

November 2019 – 100 pages (FULL COLOR)

ALTER EGO #161 (100 pages, $9.95) is a full-issue tribute to Stan (The Man) Lee and his contributions to comics! Roy Thomas writes on his more than 50-year relationship with Stan—and shares 21st-century e-mails from Stan (with his permission, of course)! Art by Kirby, Ditko, Maneely, Everett, Severin, Romita—plus tributes from pros and fans alike—and special sections on Stan by Michael T. Gilbert, Bill Schelly, and even the FCA! Vintage Galactus cover by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta! Edited by ROY THOMAS.

Diamond Comic Distributors Order Code: JUL192270

 

Order Books here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice?AffID=200301P01

 

3 days left to PREORDER your comics in October! Here is how!

‘Preorder? Preorder?

We don’t need no stinking preorder!’

Little bit of a bastardization of the famous line from the great john Huston directed, Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston led movie, TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE.

Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt, and Walter Huston in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

One of the best films ever made, and a must watch if you have, in an age of Disney Blockbusters, never seen this quintessential bit of Americana. From 1948, the film is as riveting as SICARIO or any other thriller you will see today, and amazingly still as timely and as timeless.

Pre-ordering is something unique to that weird world of comic books.

Not every comic store can carry every comic. There are a lot of publishers, coming out every month with new titles. Staying on top of it can be an initial learning curve.

But pre-ordering helps you save money, depending what online or brick and mortar retailer you use, the amount is typically between 10% and 50% savings.

The particular online retailer I use, and that I recommend, saves you 35% off the cover price of your comics.

Why do I use the retailer that saves you 35% as opposed to the retailer who saves you 40 to 50%? Well I’ve used that 50% off retailer in the past, and had issues with their customer service, as well as problems getting the issues I ordered, and problems with how i was being charged.

With the 35% off retailer, the customer service has been excellent, and I get the books I ordered in quality condition.

Therefore they are the ones I use, and the ones I recommend.

Okay this is part one of my comic book pre-order tutorial, the little trailer/preamble if you will.  I am hard at work on part two, with suggestions of what to order and the link you can use to order from my retailer of choice.

Give this post a like, and come back in about 4 hours to see the 2nd and final part of this pre-order for books shipping in over 2 months, in October.

Thanks!

News you can Use!… And a RanT.

DISNEY QUIETLY DELETES ‘TOY STORY 2’ SCENE AMIDST ‘ME-TOO’ BACKLASH.

https://frompage2screen.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/disney-quietly-deletes-toy-story-2-casting-couch-scene-after-metoo/

 

This is a bit longer than I intended it to be, so feel free to read in pieces. I think there may be some grain of wisdom in the wildness of it. It goes hither and yon, but its heart is in the right place.

 

First I have never liked Disney.

I don’t.

I do not like their stance on copyright. I do not like their stance on creator rights. And I do not like that they famously, or infamously bought a news station, rather than being the subject of the news.

I do not like any company that is above the law. All laws. And masks their absolute earth shaking power, behind this facile facade of familial values.

But you do have to respect Disney.

Respect what they have done, and how they have done it.

But cheer-leading is another matter.

I think people who were championing for Disney to buy Fox, or this company, or that company. the mass of people without a stake in Disney, championing Disney so they can see fictional characters share the same screen, are morons who do not understand larger issues of monopoly, and wage manipulation and price fixing, and law making, that comes with allowing a company to get that big. Real tangible issues that affect the people and the quality of life of the people, not at the very top of that economic pyramid.

I think people who take an ownership view of how much billions more, billion and trillion dollar entities like Disney make (oh we have to get the Avengers movie over a Billion or to 2 Billion) are ignorant slaves, cooing for their masters to build a bigger house, and expand their plantation, when you barely have a pot to piss in.

I like the Marvel and Star Wars movies and think Disney has done well by them  (However I would have been happier if neither Disney purchase was approved, and they remained separate companies, because competition and a free market and quality of life and choice… is more important than getting a specific type of movie), and I want entertainment I consume to be good, but as far as being a cheerleader for how much more billions these movies make for their global overloads. I sincerely could not care less. If the movies lose money they lose money, if they gain money they gain money.

The fact that studios have helped destroy local theaters and distribution, that 40 years ago, that money a  blockbuster made would go into the local economy,. Into the Independent theaters, the distributors, the retail companies. That money a movie made, a nice portion of it, went back into the local economy. Not so any longer. Now a studio owns a stake in everything from the distribution company, to the chain of theaters it is shown at, to the theatrical equipment and media used. The Billions a movie makes, is literally billions moving out of the pockets of the many poor, and into the pockets of the few rich.

Only if you are a stock owner should you feel some tiny type of fiscal ownership or incentive in Disney’s financials, and I guarantee you most of the idiots who are clamoring for a movie to break this record or that record, do not own a single Disney stock. They are penniless slaves taking ownership in their masters house, rather than any ownership in their own.

So that is my background on how I feel regarding Disney.

 

Now onto them cowtowing to ‘Me Too’ mob.

 

This is the reason DVDs and Blurays can not be replaced by streaming, because of this tail wagging the dog syndrome, this knee-jerk reaction companies and politicians and courts are engaged in of cowtowing to the mob, and acting and punishing at the whims of the mob, before thinking.

We can have great intentions, but the 2nd those great intentions transcend due process or replace ‘innocent till proven guilty’ with ‘guilty till proven innocent’; you become a mob rather than a movement.

And businesses and courts and the media, cowtowing to this witchhunt atmosphere become part of that lynchmob mentality.

Let us start with the big picture and some historical perspective and work our way down.

A lynch mob mentality. That’s the type of atmosphere, where people lose their job and livelihoods and lives before their day in court, where books get banned and burned, and in the age of streaming, films get… altered.

So that’s the reason if you have a movie you love, you only truly own it, if it is in a physical format. Any item you own in the ‘cloud’ or even on your hard drive (if it is accessible to updates) is subject to this re-writing of content, this editing of content, to placate the unreasoning, scared, power-hungry mob.

Most people have good intentions.

To protect their communities, to support democracy, to fight against discrimination, to oppose sexual harassment, to protect children, to defend women.

But we have allowed people with bad intentions to weaponize these good intentions, with unthinking rigid slogans that replace and usurp the rule of law, and dispense and enact punishment before due process, popular American slogans such as “Make America Great Again aka Keep America White” or “Better Dead than Red” or “Me Too”, when you become a knee jerk defender of slogans over reason and due process, you move from a defender against crime, to a committer or crimes. A lynch mob and a witch hunt.

And I’ll have no truck with that.

Too many people have been lynched in this country, both literally and most recently social media wise, to let anyone get away with mob justice, or mob punishment, as our new normal.

Someone is accused of a crime, guess what people… IT IS STILL AN EFFING ACCUSATION until proven in court. You should not immediately go from reading a headline to attacking that person, and calling for punishment and calling for them to be fired or banned or stripped of their earned honors.

(One thing on that — If an honor a university or organization has given to a person that has earned it, is removed at the behest of the mob, you do harm to the value of that honor. To the integrity of that organization.

What matters is not who the person you gave an honor to… becomes, or was in the past, but that you gave your word. If the reason the honor was given remains a fixed point in time, a fact, than that honor must likewise remain a fact, a fixed point in time.

We do not get to only immortalize a man’s falling down, his standing up, the reasons for those accolades must likewise be a fixed point. For accolades and honors to be removed with the mutterings of the mob, is to make those honors and the institution that gives them and takes them away… of no more value, than spit in wind. I’m looking at you Yale and Xavier and the Navy… to name a few.)

What we do not do, is 4 years before their date in court, pronounce them guilty, fire them, hound them, and generally destroy their life and livelihood on an accusation. That is the definition of a witchhunt and mob justice.

A man or woman’s bad, does not erase their good, and in this ME TOO slogan age, we seem to want to  make a person the one, and erase the other. And that is not how judgement works, or none of us will see the paradise.

Because if men who have done more good, than any twenty of us walking this planet, can be demonized by the mob in the blink of an eye, with none of that good taken into account, all those accolades edited out, and only the bad judged, then none of us, judged that way, will escape hell.

We must weigh the good a person has done against their bad, and only then can they be judged fairly. And they must be judged by people impartial, without axes to grind, or an agenda to put forward, else it is not judgement, it is crucifixion.

This censoring and editing of content, because ‘we’ no longer agree with an actor who is in it, or a joke that is portrayed, is a very slippery slope. And we have been here before, and it does not work out well for anyone.

A bit of an off-topic rant, but one that was brewing for a bit.

And shows how potentially widespread and damaging to every facet of our lives, cow-towing to the mob can be.

Final take away: slogans are for outside the court, not in place of it, and more trivial take away… if you have content you love, be it a book, a song, a movie, in this new digital/streaming age, while accessing it has become easier, so has altering and censoring it. So if you have something you love, own it in a form that can not easily be changed, a physical/tangible form.

 

Here endeth the Rant. 🙂

 

 

On JESSICA JONES Trailer, Tom King’s BATMAN, and DCs SWAMP THING show!

Let us start in the middle Tom King’s BATMAN.

I listened to a recent podcast where they were bemoaning the news of Tom King stepping off the BATMAN comic. All kinds of speculation on him being removed, etc. That he was doing a brilliant run on Batman, etc, etc. And they couldn’t understand how DC could not see what a great, innovative job he was doing, and that DC execs must not like great stories, yada, yada.

This very minor and relatively harmless rant from this podcast I watched, illustrates perhaps a less wholesome issue with our culture in whole. This inability to see or look for, or acknowledge, viewpoints other than our own.

The truth is out there, to paraphrase a show I was never a fan of, beyond the odd ‘monster-of the week’ episode.

The truth is out there, but we have to look, and we have to do our homework.

It doesn’t have to be controversy when we get news we do not expect or agree with.

It doesn’t have to be DC executives are stupid.

It could be as simple, if Tom King was removed, as simple as the books were not moving in the numbers they liked, or meeting with across the board praise.

A simple look at reviews of Tom King’s BATMAN run, whether podcasts, or Youtube videos, or blogs or websites, when you extend the search beyond your circle, your chorus, you see a run, a body of work, that from the first trade on, was conflicted. And grew more uneven and conflicted, in terms of the writing, and the response to the writing with every trade/issue.

I think a lot of people make excuses for Tom King”s work when they do not love it. Like they refuse to admit they didn’t love it because of Tom King, so they blame the publisher, or the editor, etc.

A writer is a lot like a director, you get the praise when a product is great. You should also carry the blame when a product isn’t. A lot of people like to give King the former, and make excuses to keep him from the latter.

Stop making excuses or trying to blame Editorial if you do not like a Tom King story. You do not try to give them the praise if you love a Tom King story. So let’s not be hypocrites.

And I am not anti-Tom King, I am not one of these knuckle dragging anti social justice warrior, anti-woman, anti-diversity, psuedo neo nazi nuts. I judge the work, on the work, and wait to read it, before having an opinion on it.

Tom King can be a great writer.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://amzn.to/2MAm9GC

His VISION series is one of the greatest things I have read in years. (And if you have not read it, I urge you to pick up the collected hardcover… it is that good.)

His OMEGA MEN very good.

https://amzn.to/2EZQGHG

His Batman, in pieces, standalone, I’m thinking specifically of ANNUAL 2, can be great. Annual 2 was great.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://amzn.to/2MzJsk0

However, specifically to Batman, other than that standalone story,  his actual run on Batman, the first 4 or 5 trades, I found awful. I mean… awful. “I am suicide!”As his take-away on the character of Batman. Really???!!

Batman: I Am Suicide (The Complete Story) - YouTube

The great flaw of Tom King’ s BATMAN (for me), was always Tom King’s take of the character. He keeps writing the same broken, suicidal, and ineffective character, over and over again. And while it worked for the Vision and Mr. Miracle, shoehorning that Hamlet type protagonist and calling him Batman or Kid Flash, does not work at all.

He keeps trying to tailor these heroes and archetypes to his ptsd framework, and it increasingly does not work. He needs to start writing to the character, than simply shoehorning them into his rigid story.

We get it,

Tom King brings a military background, and a CIA background, and an espionage background, and a background of those places where we all break under stress and pressure. And again telling that story with certain characters can work, however retelling that story with every character does not work.

There are more stories than that. And another reason we look to these heroes is because they are our aspirations writ large, they should not all be stand-ins for the places where we fall down, they should be the standards of how to standup. They should be our hopes writ large, not our insecurities. The VISION type stories should be the exception, not the rule.

I do not want to read a comic with a Superman dealing with PTSD. It starts to become one note writing, rather than great writing, to make all the heroes analogs for the common man, or the Hamlet in us.

So yeah, while I will not be picking up the individual issues regardless of who writes BATMAN, because paying more than $2.99 for a single Marvel or DC comic is insanity (Marvel and DC should both be ashamed of themselves for charging more than $2.99 for scant pages of comics. Now, smaller Independent publishers I cut them slack on pricing, because their page count and quality is usually higher. However Marvel and DC has the economies of scale to keep prices low. To not do so comes down to mismarketing, mismanagement, and short term greed, over long term sustainability and growth) , I will, if the word of mouth is good, check out the books when they hit the $1 bins of the secondary market or in collected edition at the libraries.

I look forward to a new take on Batman, and a new writer.

Okay… next topic…

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JESSICA JONES Season III trailer. Here is the thing, I was not interested enough to watch the 2nd season of JESSICA JONES. And by all reviews I did not miss much. But I went into the the trailer for season III hoping it would be good. I have to tell you, I found it incredibly uninteresting.

I can only take so much of brooding, not quite likeable, characters so, just with the way the protagonist is played, with a listless, can’t be bothered attitude, the performance of Jessica Jones is typically the weakest part of the show JESSICA JONES.

https://s15-us2.startpage.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Ft0.gstatic.com%2Fimages%3Fq%3Dtbn%3AANd9GcTfEODizVkEhjX5DTd2Fp-EKHQdU-yX9y0FllP-kS2TgqSH8JQEVA&sp=ced14d29e1bfd30e584288dacec803c5&anticache=124267

So that said, you need charismatic, interesting people surrounding her to make the show worth while. You need a Luke Cage, you need a Purple Man. You need dynamism to counteract the plodding, disaffected, and starting to get annoying, performance of the protagonist.  And unfortunately the trailer for Season III offered none of that. Offered an Antagonist, absolutely as uninteresting as the protagonist. A battle of who could bore me more.

 

So yeah the trailer to Season III of JESSICA JONES, a hard fail. That is not going to make my watch list, based on that trailer.

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https://s17-us2.startpage.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Ft0.gstatic.com%2Fimages%3Fq%3Dtbn%3AANd9GcRewaG-8fAXhxFf9lOTCExTuJSTRmAqCeY83ZOieU-7ZSR1JdRg&sp=2c79f4941178f19f38dc309b58dfd647&anticache=375506

Finally, the news that the DC Swamp Thing show has been cancelled before the 1st season really starts.

It has come out the reason DC/Warner Brothers pulled the plug is largely because North Carolina, an increasingly politically suspect state (excuses to my North Carolina Friends, but you are starting to be run by the pointy hat crowd. And I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. You know you need to start cleaning your house, much the same way the Nation needs to clean its house) basically bailed on their promise to help finance the production of SWAMP THING in their state.

It is a great shame, because I have to tell you, I absolutely loved the full trailer to SWAMP THING.

They looked like they had all the elements for a wonderful , long form story, worthy of the kind of eerie, brilliant, haunting storytelling that creators Alan Moore, Bissette, Totleben, Wein, and Wrightson laid the ground work for.

Such a shame.

Maybe someone else will add the additional funds so we get to see this vision of Swamp Thing, eventually played out.

Well that’s it guys.

Just wanted to put my 2 cents in on those 3 topics. Take two seconds and support today’s recommended comics.

You know when I was saying I cut Independent comics a slack, because of their quality of content and packaging. ALTERNA COMICS and AHOY COMICS are two cases in point. There are a lot of great writers/artists in comics, arguably one of the best of them is Eric Powell. I absolutely am enamored with his GOON and his HILLBILLY and his SPOOK SHOW. And ALTERNA comics addreses all the issues with price gouging that we are getting from the big two, Marvel and DC, while giving us quality products. So you can preorder comics from both publishers and get them direct mailed to you.

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice

 

Use the links above get great books, support these publishers, and earn a few pennies for this blog. A win-win!

 

“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. ”

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Filmic Fridays! AVENGERS ENDGAME early thoughts

While everyone is busy pondering and obsessed with how many Billions of Dollars AVENGERS ENDGAME will eventually take in, I find myself not really on that hype train.

I do intend to see AVENGERS ENDGAME (quick aside: that is a terrible title. While perhaps definition-wise apt, the actual use as a memorable, imaginative, compelling title… leaves much to be desired) and given the Russo’s track record in their past three Marvel movies I expect it to be great. But as far as getting into the speculation game is how much richer this movie will make one of the richest companies on the planet, I could not care less.

This sense of ownership comic fans show toward these films they own no part of, and corporations that 99.999% of them own no stock in, is very reminiscent of house slaves taking a sense of ownership in the gaudy trappings and parties of their masters.

I dislike Disney.

I have always disliked and distrusted Disney.

From a little kid there was something off about the company, an undercurrent always contrary to their seemingly family friendly/kid friendly fare. As a kid I always felt about all their product there was something so…. forced and insincere and cloying.

Time and egregious acts such as Disney being one of the first companies to buy a news division, (ostensibly to not be scrutinized by a free press, but to actually be the owners of the news) to now being one of the biggest monopolies in the world, has only strengthened my distrust of the company.

All these morons clamoring for Disney to subsume Fox, for no better reason than to see a movie with fictional IPs interacting, to have their Avengers meet their X-men, not understanding the broader real world implications of one less movie and TV company, one less alternative, in a world clearly running out of things not owned by Disney.

Disney has proven themselves historically to be an opponent of concepts such as public domain and creator owned, concepts that enrich culture, and move us forward.

And now that they in little more than a couple of decades have completely eaten any promising rivals to their claim of being the ‘Dream Studio’ from PIXAR, to MARVEL STUDIOS, to LUCAS FILMS, to now FOX, they are the textbook definition of a SUPER MONOPOLY.

About a 108 years ago the Supreme Court was RIGHT in breaking up Standard Oil. The Rockefeller’s monopoly of the oil business. Understanding a company with such broad reach could set prices, fix wages, even create and change laws. They were right to break Standard Oil all to pieces. And they are wrong to not actively be doing the same to Disney.

One company, especially one with as combative a policy on public domain and creator rights, should never have been made the owner (jailer?) of so many cultural and pop cultural properties, a large portion of which, like Shakespeare, like the writings of Mark Twain, Like the works of Poe, should already be in public domain. Batman, Superman, Captain America, these are concepts around long enough to become part of the cultural lexicon and conversation and hence, owned and own-able by all.

So just like any studio or TV station can put out Poe derived properties, the same should be the case with many of the early properties of Disney. Public Domain not keeping companies from making money off these concepts, it just keeps them from being the only entity to do so. it spreads the wealth, understanding that at some point, if a story lives long enough, it becomes the story of all men, and not the property of a single man or monopoly.

And Public Domain being only one of the rights of man trampled on, when a company grows too big. A company of sufficient size can set wages for an industry, effectively blacklist or put out of work who it chooses, suppress and eliminate competition/ choice.

Marvel Studios getting bought by Disney was not a good thing.

We are the poorer when viable competition to Disney or Microsoft or Apple or Google gets taken off the board.

So I hope for my own enjoyment that AVENGERS ENDGAME is a good movie, but as far as if it makes money, breaks even. I don’t have a dog in that fight. I’m not a theater owner, I’m not a studio stock holder, I’m not one of the people who worked in or on the movie, so in no way am i profiting from whether the movie does well or badly, anymore than as a film fan.

And for a fan to be interested in if he will see more of a franchise is understandable, but for a fan to be rabid about a film breaking records or how much billions it makes or its opening Weekend hall, is to lose sight of that money is largely going one way, out of many diverse people and  communities into a very few pockets.

In many ways those Billions a movie makes are further funds siphoned, to widen the gap… between rich and poor.

Now i do not fault a movie for doing well, but I will be much abused or maladjusted, before I cheer billionaires becoming bigger billionaires, when the bulk of people in this world, are getting poorer.

That’s my take on how completely, a monopolized media can skew us against our own best interests.

Here Endeth the Lesson.

🙂

 

 

 

The End of American Comic Books?

With the major two American Publishers (Marvel Comics and DC Comics) Marvel Comics (Real) | Spiderman animated Wikia | FANDOM powered ...Dc Logo Png Transparent - Dc Comics Logo 1976 - Free Transparent ...largely pricing themselves out of the periodic comic book market, ($4 for a 22 story page comic? Are you on crack?! 🙂 ) and failing to engage any sizeable readership in the sub-thirty market, and losing readers in their dwindling above 30 market, they are kept around largely to just be an idea space/loss leader for the actually profitable divisions of the multinational oligarchies that own them.

That is not to say there are not brilliant writers and artists that work for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, but unfortunately they are crippled by a few things.

First a pricing structure (over $3 for a couple dozen pages of comics. 10 minutes of reading entertainment is moronic. It is a poor value for dollar when compared to just about anything else) , second a quality structure ( abhorent paper and cover quality. Poor and obtrusive placement of ads, especially when compared to better Indy publishers. Marvel Comics is especially culpable in this) and third a flawed editorial structure/mindset ( lets inundate the MARKET, dilute the brand and confuse and frustrate the readership, with too much overlapping, and conflicting, and redundant books, and events, and storylines. Let us not give prospective readers one clear on-ramp to our comics, a single Batman book to follow, or Spiderman book to follow, when we can publish 20 poorly selling, and market-fractioning books instead. And let us not place the books or advertise the books, places where our demographic could actually find them).

All three of these ingrained ‘sales’ structures of major American comics, seemingly just designed by moronic frat boys, rather than capable professionals who really love and want to grow/expand the medium.

Marvel and DC comics for the last few decades since the 90s, proving themselves inept at selling American Comics to Americans or anyone else. Think about it, Marvel and DC comics, these publishers, their inability to sell 100 thousand comics in a nation of 300 Million people, is an unprecedented level of failure. Especially with the hard work of selling these characters to the mainstream already done by the movies and TV shows.

If I were the parent companies, AT&T and Disney, I would wholesale fire the Marketing and Editorial departments of both companies, and bring in fresh blood with fresh ideas. Because, clearly the people currently running these divisions have not the slightest clue how to sustain and grow their print model/readership.

Now on the Independent comic book publishing Front, there are still promising companies, IMAGE COMICS, and some of the smaller companies such as Alterna and Albatross etc. these companies are really challenging the ingrained pricing and content and quality deficits of marvel and dc. these companies resembling more the mad creativity and broad appeal of marvel comics in its bronze age glory days, before it lost its way. before the peter principle took hold of marvel and dc, and they grew past their best and most useful state.

WHERE I BUY JUST ABOUT NOTHING MONTHLY FROM THE BIG TWO (Exception being Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE) I buy just about everything from ALTERNA, and ALBATROSS and a bunch from IMAGE. Dark Horse, IDW, Ahoy, Aftershock, Titan, all companies putting out great books.

However a recent rash of buyouts of Indy comic companies, by deep pocket Chinese companies may bode ill for true Indy American Comics. and may signal an end to this current golden age of american comics.

AND YES, I WOULD ARGUE THAT LOW SALES AND OTHER ISSUES TO THE CONTRARY, WE ARE IN A GOLDEN AGE OF COMIC BOOKS, graphic literature, slims. cause when you get away from the reprehensible shenanigans and mismanagement and flooding the market tactics of the big two, the comics themselves, have truly never been better, or richer, with nearly every genre of book being published, and across the board, a higher level of story and art then ever before.

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Ahoy Comics | Expect More

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i grew up in the bronze age of comics, i love the bronze age comics, and there were some great comics. but across the board the quality and creativity is better today. you just have to push a lot of that noise of the big two out of the way so you can see eric powell’s hillbilly and goon, so you can see brubaker’s criminal, so you can see rucka’s lazarus so you can see walker’s bitter root, so you can see dingess’ manifest destiny, and the list goes on. and even in marvel, great comics are being made,  ta-nehisi coates black panther and captain america, jason aAron’s thor, montclare’s moon girl and devil dinosaur, g. willolw wilson’s ms. marvel and the list goes on, it is just marvel has made these books (for reasons mentioned) unpalatable to pick up monthly. it is better to wait for the collected edition and read the story that way.

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for monthly comics I really like the Alterna model in terms of pricing, and seeking old fashioned newstand distribution. And hopefully other companies can follow their homegrown lead so we continue to have American comic book companies not potentially censored by allegiance to foreign interests.

Hope you found the above slight tirade useful. It comes from a place of love for the medium, and love that a home grown, domestic comic book company… can endure.

If you want to buy the back issues of any of the books I mention, or subscribe to books (preorder new books, I highly recommend it) use the below link. You will get great books, and it will earn a few pennies for this blog. Enjoy!

https://www.mycomicshop.com/?AffID=200301P01