Slims vs Comic Books! Diamond Preorders for books shipping July 2014!

The internet has made buying anything, a process far easier than I think we truly grasp. The technological leaps ahead that we have done in a few scant decades, taken for granted, underplayed and underacknowledged by a population seeking to numb itself from its horrors, by conversely meeting with jaded cynicism its wonders.

Reading is likewise much changed in the age of the atom.

This post particularly, concerns itself with reading slims (my name for the product hard-headedly referred to as a comic-book. Hardheadedly because it is neither typically humorous or a book).

The term ‘Slim’ poises it correctly as something periodic and sleek and a bit sexy and just as well suited for grownups as Dvds or books or paintings.

Today’s recommended Slims are:

Slims suffer from a bit of a distribution issue. For the most part you are not going to find them in the spinner racks of convenience stores any longer, nor in the big box superstores of say a Target or Walmart. So while Graphic Novels have never been more popular or influential in our society, the serialzed, periodic form of the Graphic Novel, the Slim, suffers from a visibity issue. They are hidden away for the most part in niche stores, called “direct market comic stores” that our misnomers that will not attract anyone but those already in the know, or nostalgia seekers.

It is an insular inbred model that does not shine its light beyond its own living room, and as such is not new reader friendly. Which is a shame, because as someone who has grown up with this oddest of hobbies and artforms, here in 2014 the width and breadth of story and art of the medium has never been better.

From scifi to mystery to historical drama to horror to humor to instructional to spy thriller, you name a genre and there is a writer, artist producing great work in this medium of Slims, of graphic literature.

That said there is, as in any medium, a lot of garbage out there, particularly in the most visible genre of Slims… the Superhero comic. A genre hampered by monopolistic collusion to the point the very term Super-hero has been jointly trademarked by the colluding companies of Marvel and DC. An idiotic trademark, attempting to own a term as much a part of the cultural venacular as God or myth or justice. But it is the choices of fawning to uncreative monopolistic interests that results in flooding the medium with a lot of noise, a lot of bad books.

The rising popularity of digital gives new options to find books, which is a great thing, however it also increases the odds that the books you come across will be bad, will be the noise rather than the signal.

And with Slims being $2.99 at best and $3.99 on the worse end, you can’t afford to experiment at this price point. This is no longer the day of 25cent comics, so each purchase of $2.99 or $3.99 has to justify itself. The $2.99 or $3.99 has to earn its value against a world rife with options from gaming to streaming to dvds to itunes to traditional books.

Which is why preordering is a pretty fantastic idea. Diamond is the monopoly that distributes Slims. Retailers order from them two months in advance. Customers like you and I preorder from Retailers. The benefit of preordering from your retailer… discounts of typically 35% to 40% off!!! WooHoo! Sign me up! :).

Now that said, that discount only means something if you’re ordering a great book. For a crappy book even getting 99% off is not reason enough to get the book.

So the following are books you can order by the end of May, at a discount, for July shipping. I’ve done the homework for you! 🙂

MAY140044
*
1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 MIND MGMT #1 (O/A)*
MAY140047
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1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 STAR WARS (O/A) (C: 1-0-0)*
MAY140048
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1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*1 FOR $1 THE MASSIVE #1 (O/A)*
MAY140050
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1 @ $0.60 = $0.60*GOON OCCASION OF REVENGE #1 (OF 8) *Special Discount*
MAY140010
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1 @ $1.75 = $1.75*GHOST #6*
MAY140062
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1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*GREAT PACIFIC #18 (MR)*
MAY140707
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1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*MANIFEST DESTINY #8*
MAY140712
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1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*MERCENARY SEA #6*
MAY140713
*
1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #2 (MR)*
MAY140719
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1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*REVIVAL #22 (MR)*
MAY140723
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1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*SAGA #21 (MR)*
MAY140726
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1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*STAR WARS #19 2013 ONGOING (C: 1-0-0)*
MAY140085
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1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*WALKING DEAD #129 (MR)*
MAY140744
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1 @ $1.79 = $1.79*SIMPSONS COMICS #213*
MAY141127
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1 @ $1.94 = $1.94*LOW #1 (MR) *Special Discount*
MAY140566
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1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*RAGNAROK #1 *Special Discount*
MAY140444
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1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*USAGI YOJIMBO COLOR SPECIAL ARTIST ONE-SHOT *Special
Discount*
MAY140055
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1 @ $1.99 = $1.99*TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #87 (MR)*
MAY141233
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1 @ $2.07 = $2.07*BLACK SCIENCE #7 (MR)*
MAY140696
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1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*LAZARUS #10 (MR)*
MAY140709
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1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*MANHATTAN PROJECTS #22*
MAY140711
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1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*MASSIVE #25*
MAY140071
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1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*SKULLKICKERS #29*
MAY140730
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1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*SOUTHERN BASTARDS #4 (MR)*
MAY140731
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1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*STRAY BULLETS THE KILLERS #5 (MR)*
MAY140734
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1 @ $2.10 = $2.10*HALLOWEEN EVE ONE SHOT CVR A (O/A)*
MAY140640
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1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*MIGHTY AVENGERS #12*
MAY140795
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1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*MIND MGMT #24*
MAY140070
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1 @ $2.39 = $2.39*BEAUTIFUL WAR #2*
MAY140447
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1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*CALIBAN #4 WRAP CVR (MR)*
MAY141073
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1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*SIMPSONS ILLUSTRATED #12*
MAY141129
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1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*WEIRD LOVE #2*
MAY140541
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1 @ $2.59 = $2.59*ENORMOUS #2 CVR A CHEGGOUR*
MAY141626
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1 @ $2.79 = $2.79*TUKI SAVE THE HUMANS #1*
MAY141240
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1 @ $2.79 = $2.79*BLACK KISS 2 XXXMAS IN JULY SPECIAL ONE SHOT (MR) (C:
1-0-0)*
MAY140601
*
Go here to order : http://www.dcbservice.com/
Tell em HT sent ya!

Crazy Rambling Short Story of the Day?! The War on the Public

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a mad tirade is a complete coincidence. 🙂

Quick update, we have the WEDNESDAYS WORDS installment scheduled for tomorrow, that’s going to be a rough one, to get out on time. And I want to get up the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interview with Charles Saunders for Thursday, which will push part two of 15 FAVORITE PULP HEROES into the weekend. So yeah just check back this weekend for part II.

But to give you pulp fans something in the interim, I bring you… The War on the Public! A mad, slightly quixotic rant (for those of you who’ve never seen me rant before… run away. The water is deep here, and in the words of Alan Moore, “the idea of a God… a real idea.” :)) :

CONDE NAST vs BLACK MASK – This is an oldie but an interesting read nevertheless about the first significant volleys in the war to eradicate public domain.

Here are some additional public domain links:

“Supreme Court Lands Final Blow Against the Public Domain! In Golan v. Holder (Jan. 18, 2012), the Court upheld the power of Congress to withdraw works from the U.S. public domain”

and

“What do we do now if Congress adopts a term of, say, life + 1000 years, or seeks to award a new copyright in Huckleberry Finn to Disney or to the Mark Twain estate?”

Public domain, public domain, public domain. Why is it disappearing? And Why should you care?

Well the first question is simple, it’s disappearing because people with money can make it disappear. It’s disappearing because of greed.

‘But’, you say, ‘there have always been rich people. and there have always been greedy people, so why is it disappearing now?’

Well it is disappearing now, because business has made such inroads into having the ear of our senate and house, and our courts, that the people who previously were elected to represent the citizens, are instead representing corporations.

The second question, “Why should you care?” I can’t answer that for you, I can only tell you why I care.

Now as a creative person and a writer, and as a friend of writers, I believe in copyright. I think it’s a great thing. But I also believe in Public Domain, and I think that is an equally great thing.

And I think before big business stepped in with their “more, more, more” mindset we had a perfectly workable compromise.

When I was coming up, public domain was very simple, after 50 years, a concept went into public domain

It became the property of the people. Of we, the people.

The writer doesn’t stop being the creator, he is still the creator, his or her name is still on the work. It’s just that after fifty years, his creation can be used by others.

The idea being that if an idea or concept has survived for 50 years that a/ it’s enough time for the creator to profit, sans competition, from the creation and 2/if people are still talking about a character or an idea 50 years later it has become part of the cultural conversation. It has become like an urban legend or a myth or a tale of Grendel and Beowulf, something that transcends the teller. Something that is part and parcel of a larger conversation and the basis for new creations.

(And notice I said people, Public domain is about insuring people, creators get compensated in their lifetime, it is not about ensuring the perpetual unending market share for an undying corporation. Why are companies, that don’t even have the welfare of this country at heart, given the right to lobby our representatives like citizens?

Companies that I can assure you don’t pay the percentage of tax that I do. I’d love to see Disney and Exxon and Shell paying 20% of their income a year in taxes. This nation would not have a deficit.

Corporations shouldn’t in a civilized world, have more rights than citizens. They don’t care about creators, they don’t care about this nation or any nation, they care about themselves. Which is fine if they are not drafting the laws for an entire nation, but they are, so their lack of concern for what is best for anyone besides them… becomes a problem.

A corporation without a sense of cultural and social responsibility… is a mob, to be watched, to be feared, and ultimately to be put down.)

That’s how culture and art works. New things building upon the old. And old ideas being re-imagined into the new. But the coming of the 21st century saw greedy companies rather than earn customers through the new, instead adopt a policy of profit through protection rackets, through intimidation.

So you get corporations lobbying for aggressive changes in the laws of copyright and trademark and patents. And suddenly public domain is an enemy for corporations to avoid and destroy at all cost, instead of what it should be, a necessary part of making old ideas the birth ground for the new.

Art doesn’t get made in a vacuum, it’s part of a continuing conversation. And we are made better for that open resource, for Universal Studios being able to do their version of Frankenstein or Dracula, and for Hammer Studios to be able to do their version, and for any writer or indie filmmaker to be able to do their version.

Without having to clear the usage of Mary Shelly’s concepts with Disney, or Bram Stoker’s concepts with Time Warner, anyone can do a Frankenstein children’s book, or produce a Dracula song or stuffed animal. And that’s wonderful, and cute, and beautiful, and healthy. So it’s about creativity, but it’s also about healthy commerce, and true free enterprise. Companies that want to generate wealth in a country, rather than just taking wealth out. And by Wealth I mean more than money, I mean the ability of people to be able to produce and own products of cultural recognition and interest, without having to pay tribute and protection money… to monopolies.

It’s especially galling to hear from these pompous companies, when the characters they are looking to lock down are, in many cases, popular inspite of them.

Who has kept the Shadow and Doc Sampson and even Spider characters viable? It wasn’t the bloody companies. The pulps and old time radio shows exist not because of the companies, that couldn’t erase the tapes and dispose of the pulps fast enough, it was the bloody collectors. These insane, lovely human beings, who threw together out of their own pocket, these things called conventions, at a time when a company’s initial response was, “Why are they talking about that lame, dead crap, come see my latest Disco Ball action figure! Look at the nerds still talking about the Shadow and Doc Sambo, or whatever his name is! Hey Nerds, the 1930s called they want their hero back! Ha! Ha! Ha!!”

🙂 (I just made myself chuckle)

Unfortunately much to businesses’ amazement, this old stuff, due to the passion of fans, actually had staying power. And if anyone has been to a movie theater in the last couple decades, monetary value.

However, as I’ve said before, it was the people, the collectors, the very obsessive types who corporations seek to criminalize today as filesharers, infringers, etc.,, that have saved and preserved much of the culture we now are able to still enjoy, that without them would have been lost.

I love the Old time Shadow radio shows, along with many other radio shows. Those shows, those great pieces of not just entertainment, but of art and culture and history largely exist, not because of Conde-Nast, or insert corporation here… those shows exist because rabid collectors, copied them off the air, made copies, and shared them down the years.

Same with the pulps. Same with silent movies, and sound movies, and film noir.

In the absence of companies finding a monetary value for something they destroy it. They erase over the tape of Doctor Who, they throw out the audio tapes of the Shadow, they burn original artwork of cartoonists.

Why? Because the number crunchers at companies, are not the creative people, they weren’t then and they aren’t now. They make decisions based solely on dollars and cents, and that tunnel vision is always flawed when dealing with work that is also about the imagination of man.

An ‘only Dollars and cents’ mentality will let what is quirky, and manic, and fun, and childish, and challenging in this world die. So these gentle angels of our nature survive because of people who love them. People like the owner of BLACK MASK. Rather than suing that man, Conde-Nast should have got down on their knees and thanked him.

Because he and his kind, collectors preserve these things, when Conde-Nast could not see financial gain to them. But in the wake of renewed interest from Hollywood at the end of the 20th century, and the gangbusters showing of comic and pulp related properties, suddenly everybody wants to sweep in and be the owner of old things made new.

Here’s the thing about public domain. It doesn’t stop you from making money if you have a good idea and a good product. So you don’t need to take Doc Savage or Shadow or Spider out of public domain, to do a book, or a movie, or a audio drama or a cartoon.

No one is stopping you. Build it and they will come. I don’t need to buy Spider Books or Shadow Books, however I do so all the time, when I see a great packaged product. However, if you’re a morally bankrupt company, that has no intention of putting out an attractive product, I can see how competition may not be for you. And you try to sue yourself into business rather than earning business.

And that is where we are at with these companies. They are so petty and greedy for every single penny, it is sickening.

Those…. bloodsuckers!! (Sorry, couldn’t resist! 🙂 )

Disney’s one of the biggest companies in the world, they can throw around 200 million dollar movies, like you and I throw around nickles, and yet they are afraid to death if a grade school kid creates and passes out her mickey mouse comic.

You can not have it both ways. You can not want something to be culturally iconic and generational, yet remain proprietary and exclusionary. No. We are creatures raised to spread stories over an open flame and for that story to travel from person to person, being changed by each person, owned by each person, passed on by each person, and becoming changed and new and different with each telling.

If you look at all the martial arts, they are pretty much the same art, changed over time, and over region. And we as a culture are better and stronger and richer for that migration, that cross pollination, that cross ownership… we are better for having silat, kung-fu, aikido, hapkido, capoeira, savate, kenpo, krav maga, systema… etc., we are better for free association, no fences, open source, public domain.

We have always been better for it. But now in the last few decades, fences are being put up by a few gatekeepers, on everything. And that cannot stand.

It is an unsupportable policy/mindset, utter control of the culture, art, and interactions of a mass of people by a few outside those people. There is a name for that, and it has always been the same name.

Because if you think that it is a nightmare and an outrage just getting rights to a song to use in your film or project or play, imagine wanting to do your short film of Poe’s TELL TALE HEART, and being told you have to get that approved through Disney, and if they approve you, fees start at $500000.

You wouldn’t have a filmmaker like Roger Corman, if the copyright and trademark environment of today was in existence yesterday. And then you lose all his Poe films, you lose all his collaborations with Vincent Price, you lose his part in the ascension of creators like Nicholson and Howard and Coppola. And who knows what we all lose for loss of those mad, creative cranked out Gothic films.

All that because one man was allowed to follow his muse without crippling interference or exorbitant costs imposed by ‘rights’ holders. How many possible Cormans are we killing, in multiple fields, today? Killing them because we are allowing dinosaurs to sit on our shared cultural conversation and art like a dragon sitting on eggs.

Doc Savage is public domain. Superman is Public domain as much as Robin Hood. Batman is public domain. The Shadow is public domain. Fifty years is a good run for exclusive rights to profits. None of this nonsense about renewal of copyrights, or trademark used to get around expired copyright.

[And speaking of trade-mark. MARVEL and DC have ‘jointly’ trade-marked the term ‘Super-Hero”. What is that about? So tomorrow do you trade mark the term ‘hero’ or ‘myth’ or god’? Do you trademark the term God? Who is at the trademark office just handing out the rights to every word in the dictionary to the highest bidder?

They haven’t begun invoking it yet, their ‘super-hero’ trademark, largely because I think they are waiting for some of the smaller comic companies to fold up shop, and don’t want a challenge to come up when their hand isn’t strong enough. But Like Microsoft, make no mistake, they will give it away for free today, to set themselves up to own the market share and charge you through the teeth tomorrow.

All you small comic-book companies need to come together and publish one big omnibus anthology called ‘Best Super-hero Tales’ or something, and get that trademark challenged and thrown out today. Now while the challenging is good. and all the old creators they are waiting to die before they can bring evidence, are still around. Because if you don’t, mark my words, ten years from now anyone who wants to use the term ‘Super-hero’, in the title to anything, will have to pay for the pleasure.]

I’m not saying companies can’t continue to sell and market their items past the 50 year mark, but what I am saying is that everyone else can produce their take on that idea as well.

(Quick aside here… A word on this copyright extended to 70 years after a writer’s death nonsense. Who the heck does that benefit, if not the money grubbing corporations? Did someone just say ‘the family’?

This isn’t about your family, fool! 🙂

Your family can make money, sell books, shoot movies, whether or not your book is in the public domain. We all know, the rights to a writer’s work ends up snatched up by the publisher. And with only about half a dozen conglomerates owning all the book publishing divisions as it is, that’s a troubling proposed consolidation of intellectual property.

See, what we’re talking about is every work after 1923 [that is the date today, tomorrow they might push it back to works in copyright being only stuff before 1823], all the accumulated wisdom, and hopes, and dreams, and pathos, and joy, and horror, and striving, and yes fighting against oppression of millions upon millions of writers, being owned, with this continued push toward extermination of public domain, the wealth of the world… owned by half a dozen oligarchies. What greater betrayal could there be? To any writer, to every writer. To have the work of the most imaginative, and moral people (which is what on a whole, I find writers to be), owned by people bereft of either imagination or morality.

And to that plan, of mad, sick twisted companies, their dream of a world devoid of public ownership, I say the only thing I can say, the only thing a life-time of loving books has taught me to say to such over-arching presumption and tyranny. I say… no. )

Public domain can work for all

Disney will still have Mickey Mouse, but if Tarantino or Seth Green or anyone wants to do a Mickey Mouse movie, they can. I’m not saying DC/Time Warner can’t still make Batman or Hulk comics or movies, but I’m saying past 50 years from date of creation, so can everyone else. How about a Batman movie by Werner Herzog or a Superman tv series by the Hughes Brothers?

Both those ideas just made me chuckle.

I can’t say you won’t get your share of train wrecks with such freedom, but you’ll also get get your share of wonders. You’ll get Baz Luhrmann’s Shadow next door to Branagh’s Doc Savage. And we are made richer when we can build on the culture we grew up in, rather than this new corporate policy of paying tribute to entrenched monopolies, Disney’s Culture or Time Warner’s culture.

This is very much a land grab, but not land rights this time, not water rights, not airwave rights (which they recently removed from Americans), this is about dreams… being fenced off.

We are on a perilous path. When I think of how much we have lost in the 6 years since Conde Nast sued BLACK MASK out of existence, it gives me pause. Because it is very much a culture where only the few will own anything, that we are pushing toward.

Not software, not hardware, not books, not houses, not music, not comics, not land, not our airwaves, perhaps not even our food or our air, do we get to own. Where everything we interact with is rented to us, is timed, our reactions to it… judged, to insure they are in acceptable non-infringing levels.

That is the end of culture my friends.

Fiction you say?

Yes… Fiction, I say.

Want to learn more?

Want to fight? You? Want to fight? After all I told ya Boy, ya want to fight the dragons of the world?! Swing at windmills like your uncle HT?!!

Aye, you bring a tear to an old man’s eyes. Aye, if I had five more like ya, I could ride into hell and put out all the fires! 🙂

Well get ya some education first boyo, read the following takes on public domain:

It’s a start.

OPEN RIGHTS– Ah, I love these passionate, mad Brits.

CR Fight ArticleYet another Brit! Where the hell are the Americans working to repeal copyright extension! Hold on, I’m still looking.

EFFAh, here’s the beloved Yanks! Over there! Over there! And the Yanks are coming! The Yanks are coming! Over there! WHAT??? Don’t you guys watch James Cagney musicals?!!

Stanford Overview of copyright

CR article

Public Domain info

OKFN

Great, Awful and Inexplicable Comic Book Covers of the Day! and The Mouse cries out No Hiding Place!?!

    Great, Awful and Inexplicable Comic Book Covers of the Day!

Let’s start with the great which there aren’t too many of in the last 30 days. In fact there is only one:

Dynamite’s BIONIC MAN. A great Alex Ross cover. Plus while I’m no fan of DYNAMITE ($3.99 is too much to charge for a comic) I think they are getting shafted in this lawsuit. What lawsuit?

Dynamite is being sued for selling John Carter comics. Yeah, yeah I know officially it says ERB, the Burrough’s estate, is suing Dynamite, but the timing begs to differ. This has Disney’s fat fingers all over it. Those books have been out for nearly a year, odd that ERB would only get a hair up their nose once Disney’s movie was hitting theaters.

I don’t believe in coincidence. Not when greed and money are in the air. Smells like a big company leaned over to ERB and said sue em… we got your back. 🙂

Here’s the thing companies like Disney are trying to gut the concept of public domain. Sure Dynamite didn’t pay the Burroughs Estate to use John Carter. Here’s the thing… they shouldn’t have to. John Carter is public effing domain. The fifty years is ended (now extended to 75, utter bs) that means anyone and everyone should be able to produce John Carter of Mars books or comics or movies.

This doesn’t stop the heirs from producing their version and continuing to leech off their ancestor’s creativity. But neither should it stop Dynamite from producing their version. And may the best version get the readers. That’s free enterprise.

But nooooooo, companies like effing Disney, that owns ABC and everything else under the frigging sun just make up the laws as they go. Whatever happened to monopoly laws?… huh President? huh Congress? huh Supreme Court? Damn sell-outs!

Disney should have been put on the rack and broken into an effing million pieces years ago. But it’s never too late for a good idea. 🙂 .God I hate that company, I’ve hated it since I was a little kid, they are everything that is wrong with this country. Greed First. Uber Alles.

(ohhhh, I remember the first time my parents took me to Disney World and I saw that damn Mouse! All the other blind simpering sheep were cooing over the fat Rat. Not me!! Seven Years old I grabbed a brick and went after him! “Run B*tch! Run!!” You should have seen that rat run—- Ahh, Good times , Good times! :).)

So these companies are using bogus trademark to undermine copyright laws. It’s utter bs, and if allowed to stand it will just rob us of any shared cultural history that we do not have to pay a corporate entity to use or even mention. It is utter garbage. I hope Marvel/Disney chokes on their greed and dies. Goddamn Disney! I’ve always hated that Mouse!… Okay, I’m calm now.

NOT!

Moving on….

    Under the heading awful:

Any comic book that has AVENGERS or X-MEN on the cover. I have never burnt a book in my life, but seeing the glut of AVENGERS and X-MEN titles, I can see the appeal of a bonfire. And no doubt it’s some of my Disney hate still filtering down.

I’m working on it.

Most racist company on the friggin planet… and it makes children’s entertainment. Please, spare me. Anytime people mention Disney to me I want to hurt em.

“But didn’t you like BAMBI?” Hell no! Waste good Venison? What are you… stark raving mad?!!

Okay….

Now I’m calm. 🙂 .

    Under the heading of Inexplicable is the following:

What the heck is going on in this cover? And what ever it is, the person on the cover seems a bit young looking to be in that pose. Maybe it’s just me.

Well that’s all for this installment of GREAT, AWFUL and INEXPLICABLE. Yall come back now ya here?! Except the mouse lovers…. I still got the brick!!! :).

WARNER BROTHERS, CASABLANCA, PIRATES, and The Rights of MAN?!

You know, after a hellacious week of giving people what for, nothing relaxes me more than curling up with a nice nature DVD. Attenborough’s LIFE, or in this case the documentary SHARKWATER.

So here I go, I put in this DVD to relax, while planning the latest update for the blog, and more mundane things like bills, when what the heck should come on the screen than one of those pirate warnings. You’ve seen these idiotic videos, that if anything only makes me want to do the exact opposite just to give it to them for interrupting my damn movie.

However I had not seen this one before.

This one used scenes from CASABLANCA to make an anti-pirating commercial. Excuse me? WTF?

You’re going to use one of the greatest movies ever made like a 2bit whore to sell your political or corporate viewpoint?!!

(And it is worth noting that the FBI warning on these DVDs, having very little to do with any sane legal system. A sane system would say to the studios “It’s not our business to ensure your corporate profits or protect your corporate losses. That’s a civil case… at best.”. Instead in the corrupt America we live in, the FBI warning is a product of studios making their commercial and corporate whims into laws. Using a system, not designed for corporations, to pass corporate whims and lunacy as Federal laws. Such a thing can not be looked at, by anyone rationally, and not see it as something… obscene)

You want to show violating rights is wrong, by using a commercial where you violate artistic rights?

Is the paradox lost on the studios?

Where do we draw the line? Next we use Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s images to praise one candidate for President and put down another? Where do we draw the line?

Both Bogart and Berman were deeply humanistic and activistic people, Bogart stood up against the McCarthy Witch-hunts. Bergman spent her days, after the lights of Hollywood, feeding and fighting for the poor.

I don’t think either one would have signed on in life to do a commercial for some companies new generation witch-hunt. And I don’t think they sign over those rights in death.

Because they did a popular movie, and you own the movie, should not then translate into you re-purposing their images to sell either your political agenda, your new vacuum cleaner, or your poorly made or counter-productive pirating campaign.

Those actors didn’t sign off on that, and weren’t paid for that. And this push to extend ownership beyond the exact product they created… to ownership of their likenesses… reeks. It is immoral. That, if anything, is true pirating.

They purpose not this end, when they purpose their services.

It sets an ugly an abhorrent precedent, an argument that flies in the face of Warner Brothers Anti-Piracy message. Warner violating with impunity the artistic integrity of their own film, and the rights of the actors.

Unless you’re paying them, their images, not their likenesses but their actual images, should not be re-purposed to create a new item, inherently different from the item they signed on to produce.

In many ways it’s like rewriting someone’s autobiography or a writer’s novel. For an actor all they have is the work, the images they leave behind. So to then insert them convincingly in a commercial, is just as wrong as inserting them into a porno.

It’s a violation.

And to not understand that, is to be very young, or very stupid. Or an executive.

Is piracy wrong? First I think it is an idiotic term, unless you’re at sea. Now if you’re talking about the copying of copyrighted DVDs, I think it’s a tempest in a teapot. If Warner Bros and other studios embraced their customers rather than criminalizing them all in advance (which is what me having to sit through an FBI warning or one of those stupid commercials on a DVD I just bought or rented… is doing. It’s saying to the consumer we’re going to treat you all as guilty until proven innocent) they would realize most people are happy to pay and own, a quality and reasonably priced product.

But there’s the rub, quality and reasonable prices. All companies want to do today is give you the least they can, for the most they can.

I’ll tell you what is wrong… Warner Brothers and all the studios like them are wrong, they are dinosaurs trying to survive in a changing technological society where big studios are increasingly superfluous. Rather than try and survive by being better and winning customers through innovation and great products, they instead want to survive by removing from you… choice. By scaring, suing, legislating, themselves as a law that we must fear, and bow down to, and pay tribute to because they are using the FBI and the courts like their personal thugs,

Warner Brothers should be glad people think enough of their work to desire it. Because the alternative is… people stop wanting… ANYTHING from them.

The consumer may start saying “You know what, there’s a lot of choice out there, despite Warner Brothers attempt to eradicate choice, why don’t we just stop buying or supporting anything Warner Brothers?”

Can you imagine that. People just get fed up of being treated like dogs by Warner Brothers, and just say to them, ‘you’re that worried about your intellectual property? Well you keep it then. You keep it all. We already have the memories of all the decent movies, keep anything new. Keep your DVDs, keep your games, keep your movies, keep your books.’

And after a few months of them not having to worry about patron or pirate, I’d love to see how their effing tune changes. They’d be crying for someone to think enough of their movies to sell bootlegs on the streets of Nepal.

It’s about perspective. And the perspective the studios and record companies and media oligarchies must come to, is that of earning customer business and customer goodwill… rather than attempting to lock in customers through terror.

Because here from these subtle fights, do great things grow.

And they are things the studios will not like at all.

As simple a thing, seemingly insignificant a thing as a tax on tea changed the face of the world, Today’s corporate atmosphere of pushing and prodding, with every move a crime, and in every hand a club… cannot do less.

There is a war of terror coming, that much the media ‘talking heads’ have right. But it’s not one of religions. It’s one between the mindless stupidity and greed of corporations… and the very rights of man.

And it is a war, that in the waging the rich will lose. And the poor, who have only lives to lose…and pushed to it… can only win.

So a wise man would say to the rich… ‘now may be a good time to stop pushing’.

Something to think about. :).

Microsoft, Apple, Marvel, DC, Boom Studios, FBI, HTML Comics and suing customers to own them

On my mind

A few things.

We’ll start with 2:

1/Marvel and DC trademarking the term Super-Hero and 2/The “Task-Force” of comic companies that unleashed the FBI on HTML comics.

Stick with me, we’ll get to the other stuff. But a lot of it begins here.

With comics.

On the first point, Marvel and DC trademarking the term Super-Hero, yes, as quiet as it is kept these 2 companies have trademarked that term. Originally done in 1978 an odd time, when the field was looking ripe for the plucking. With Charlton on its last legs, and soon to sell their superhero interest to DC. and Time/Kinney/Warner in all its various names having owned DC since 1967, with the Superman Movie on the horizon, the TW/Kinney/WB suits smell… that finally they can make some money from these stupid comic properties. And bringing that studio mentality of trademark everything they’ll let you get away with, they do just that, even partnering (out of necessity) with the only other big player on the field, Marvel Comics, to push their trademark claim through. And having recently (smelling a new generation of superhero money in the water) renewed that trademark.

Trademarking the term super-hero when both companies are quite aware they have no claim to that term. Here is how you know the validity of that trademark. Would DC have been able to trademark the term Superhero without Marvel objecting (and I think successfully spoiling any trademark attempt)? No.

Would Marvel have been able to trademark the term Superhero without DC objecting (and successfully spoiling any trademark attempt)? No.

So if individually neither company has a valid trademark claim, why together should their claim be any more valid?

Answer: It’s not.

I understand they are thinking in terms of 25 year plans, and the new money-making viability of concepts such as comics and superheroes, that were considered, just a decade ago, as beneath notice.

But that mindset taking into consideration, it still takes some fing balls to try and trademark that term, just as it takes a monumental amount of ignorance (or greed) on the US Trademark Office’s part to actually award such a trademark.

But make no mistake, these companies have no more right to trademark that term then they have to trademark the word man or dog or adventurer or witch. It’s part of the popular lexicon and is used by companies besides the so-called “Big 2”. Used before the so-called “Big 2”., and it is used by other companies today. Small startups like Marvel and DC used to be.

If I’m a comic company in the business today, Like BOOM or IDW or Dynamic Forces or Dark Horse or Image, then one of my goals would be putting out a superhero book every other month, or something with superhero on the cover every other month.

Not because you particularly care for Superhero books or have any real interest in that market, but because you one day may have an interest, and you don’t want to, on that day, have to beg Marvel /DC to use that term. You make an issue if it now, because you do not want to roll over for that ideological land-grab by these two companies .

That trade-mark is bs, and any creative person at marvel and DC, is aware it’s bs.

But it is a funny thing, we tend to cede our better natures to the storms that carry us. So while a company may boast talented, creative, and astute, humanitarian people, the actually company they work for may be one step away from barbarism. And because of the storm, they don’t even think of questioning their companies policies (providing they are in positions to do so. Though none of us should be so lowly at a company that we can’t share a constructive viewpoint on that company. If you are unable to, that may be a sign you need to find a different company).

So whether that storm is Marvel or DC or Germany of 1937 or America post 2001, what is best and rational in us, tends to remain quiet to the insane storms that decide to see how far they can blow every so often. But I find that you have to hold your ground, sometimes I think that’s even what the wind is looking for, a man who will stand up to it, until it can put its heavy weight of howling down.

So comic book companies of today would be well served by challenging that particular trademark and getting it thrown out while there is still plentiful proof of prior art, and living reminders to the fact that Marvel and DC did not invent, nor do they own the term super-hero.

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But it never fails, companies that only gained popularity and market share due to certain freedoms, use those freedoms as a ladder, than start outlawing and destroying those freedoms, they burn the ladder, for others. Like robber barons of oil, or rubber or transportation who only gained their status by taking liberties of the most heinous nature, now having the temerity to use their clout to get declared illegal the very practices they used to gain market share!!

Amazing, and predatory and nothing remotely resembling free enterprise, at least not in any sane definition of that term.

In a free enterprise system Linux and not Microsoft would be the major operating system being used. It’s benefits over Microsoft are just staggering, and on a side by side comparison, the best Linux distros, blow Microsoft away!

But what does Microsoft do when they can not out innovate a problem, or buy it out? They get in bed with the movie studios, and they lobby to make various codecs (software) illegal. Like record companies, and every other company these days, they don’t want to earn your business by creating a better product, they want to force, sue, intimidate, and lock, you… their supposed customer, the person they are supposed to be working for, into paying.

21st century companies have become some twisted version of protection rackets selling liquor at the point of a gun. You have to buy their overpriced, and shoddy product, whether you want to or not, or else.

And corporate talking heads, suits, will justify this predatory and clearly immoral business model, as being true to their responsibility to increase revenue for their shareholders.

Anyone who tells you that is full of utter crap.

Fuck the bs about working for shareholders, the purpose of even having shareholders is only to earn money to better innovate and serve your customers. Your real customers! A shareholder is only a means to an end, not the end.

The satisfaction of your customer, and continued improvement of your product is the end. And the fact that companies and wall street have lost sight of this is why, particularly, the American economic outlook is so dire.

It is run by people who increasingly have no fucking common sense. People who lose sight of why they even started a business to begin with.

It wasn’t to crush other companies, and to stifle and outlaw innovation and civil liberties.

Was it Jobs? Was it Gates?

No you started the paltry startup, because it was the fucking wild west, and there was no Microsoft or Apple to legalize you out of the game, and because you were young, and you were having fun, and you had a product you thought was the bomb (yes, I did just say Da Bomb :)), , and the world looked like an endless tomorrow. I was there, I remember.

Microsoft and Apple.

My God, from where you two began how did you get to where you are. Into someplace, odd and petty, and somehow while grandiose and large, somehow… stinking of fear, and afraid of tomorrow.

So that fear at work, Linux basically is legalized into being a crippled system. Competition is legalized away. Law enforcement and the legal system again as thugs, always as thugs, for the deepest pockets.

Companies seeking to take an adversarial approach to their customer base. They seek to maintain and grow their dominance by governmental protections and indeed enforcement of their status qua. That is not free enterprise, this concept of grandfather clauses, and law enforcement and the FBI as the attack dogs of companies from Movie Studios, to Apple and Microsoft, to now the comic book companies.

This recent case of comic companies siccing the FBI on a bloke for offering scans of comics online. And everyone is rushing to roll over or attack or disparage this person’s claim of being a library, or to call it immoral.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I heard someone on a podcast saying “you can’t just call yourself a library.” Why the fuck not? You just called yourself a podcast didn’t you?

Where is your license to do that ?

You don’t need one right now do you? Same with a library.

So shut the fuck up before you do.

It’s getting to the point in this world, because of people who roll over like these fucking podcasters (and yes I like podcasters. But for the love of God, think before you talk), that you are going to need a license even to breathe.

Even to breathe.

The dictionary definition of Library is (if you need one. Or here’s a thought, be original. Define yourself) : A collection of books and a place where books are collected.

It says nothing about you having to be licensed by any particular governmental agency.

It pisses me off when people just roll over and take the side of whoever can pay the press to tell you something. Just cause someone with a badge says it’s wrong don’t make it wrong. Been a long time in this country since the law and right were the same bloody thing.

So the man says he had a library, that’s good enough for me.

Now that said, that definition of his service, does not free him from his responsibility to remove material others feel they have a right to. If indeed he received cease and desist letters for particular works he was holding (that’s another thing that pisses me off, lawyers and their fucking cease and desist letters. Come to someone like a person, before you turn the fucking lawyers loose. You might get someplace that is better than where we’re going, if we can settle things without lawyers first) he should, finding the request valid… comply.

But from what I understand a lot of the site was public domain comics. So I’m not seeing a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and go after this dude civilly and criminally for, bottom line, being a collector.

Maybe not the brightest of collectors, but a collector none the less.

And the lawyer who commented on this case, like lawyers do, is trying to say it’s about sending a message, and a moral victory. Don’t ever say the word moral and the greed of companies (or the culpability of the FBI) in the same sentence. A lawyer has nothing to do with morality.

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I like collectors, always have.

I come from a people who believe in Sineaters. Believe there are those who perform a vital, if not always loved or lauded duty, to the health and functioning of a society. For the Sin-eater it was assisting with the passing of the spirit, clean, into the other world.

I think the collector, while no such spiritual heavyweight, still serves still a most significant function in our culture. Particularly the American culture, because we’re in such mercenary hands, where everything is in flux. Buildings, neighborhoods, stadiums, all having a relatively brief life before they are torn down for something else.

That’s not healthy. Never has been. Never will be.

A collector, seeks to maintain things, that the bankers of a culture, may not find value in, but things that should persist, and still have a life, beyond a mercenary and fleeting view of value. Things that in and of themselves… are beautiful or artistic.

In the words of a long remembered poem, “Against the day of trouble, lays by some trifling thing, a smile, a kiss, a flower, for sweet remembering”. That’s what a collector does. It’s an odd calling, neither loved nor lauded, but necessary. Oh so necessary.

This guy was/is a collector.

It’s because of guys like this that we have today copies of films such as Metropolis or The Third Man or any number of beloved Film Noir movies, saved from the bonfires of Studios that did not forsee a financial worth to old films beyond their cinema release, Companies that burned their films, and ordered theaters to do the same, when the films cinema life was up.

Thank god, for collectors, who gave a finger to big companies back then, and said, “you know what, I like this movie, and I want to keep it around, regardless if you think it has no financial value anymore”. Fast forward a few decades and those saved films now become money making DVD releases by studios that in their short sightedness would have let them burn.

Same thing for Old time Radio shows. I love listening to Old Time Radio. I was not around when that stuff came out, but today I love listening to it. I love listening to stuff like THE SHADOW, or SUSPENSE or ESCAPE, etc.

These shows didn’t survive because of the companies that produced them, or the stations that aired them, these shows survived because of collectors.

Because of collectors.

So when people start ragging about so-called “bootleggers” or “scanners” or whatever, I’m always very mindful that it was these often single minded individuals that kept alive much of what otherwise would have been lost to time and neglect.

When the production companies were erasing old tapes because they could not foresee a financial value to them, it was collectors who often, copying this stuff off the air, preserved much of these classic radio programs, and by so doing preserved not just entertainment for a new generation, but a historical record of a time, and a place in a younger America. The same goes for music.

And the same with comics. The comics medium, has survived extremely lean years, because of rabid collectors like this man they have loosed the FBI on.

“A task force to protect their rights.” really?

A man and his family being raked over the coals, because the suits smell money in the water. And they want to play RIAA. And sheep like you just bow your heads, and say “yes massa” and regurgitate words like “copyright infringement” like dogs being taught to beg.

You make me sick. And you know who you are.

Hell the companies finally caught on, years after the fact, to the viability and need for scanning because of collectors. Now I understand companies, finally pulling their head out of their ass and seeing the viability of digital distribution, may see free labors of love, that offer comics for free, as a barrier to their money making schemes. I get that.

I don’t necessarily agree with it.

I think much of the product companies claim is owned should be in public domain.

I think this continued erosion of public domain, by companies that continually push for extension of copyright is utter crap.

I think all concepts that have persisted for 50 years, should be in the public domain.

Because it means these concepts have been around long enough to be part of the cultural language, the cultural conversation and as such, have been both enhanced, diluted, and changed by that conversation.

I think there is a great beauty in anyone being able to do an Edgar Allen Poe story, I think the world is invaluably richer because we have a million different takes on Edgar Allan Poe tales, From Roger Corman to Marc Olden to Jan Svankmajer and the list goes on. We are enriched as a society by everyone being unhindered to use this common concept, that has made its way, survived as part of the cultural conversation.

So I think Superman should be in the public domain, it is a public domain concept, period. So is Batman, and Mickey Mouse, and Captain America, and the Shadow to name a few. And the fact that companies are disputing the public domain status of concepts such as these is just plain criminal.

They all need to join Frankenstein and Don Quixote and… it shows you how bad the 20th century was for the concept of Public Domain, in that you really have to go back to the 19th century to get unchallenged concepts that are in the public domain. And we as a culture and a society are poorer for it.

All that brings us back to the law being used by companies… poorly.

It is being used to deprive the individual and the culture of rights, at the behest and to the benefit of corporations.

When the last days of America are written, that will be the reason. Is the reason.

Corporations are lobbying our supposed representatives to deprive us of rights, so they can make a nickel more.

Comics were immune from this attention for a long time, but with Hollywood dollars focused on the medium, it means we now get Hollywood type “protection” or “hired thugs” whichever you prefer.

We get the F of the B of the I.

We get one of those pleasant acronyms, designed to make us… relent.

Never relent baby.

Never relent.

So in closing my support is always with the Collector. Not the companies, and not the FBI. Because these companies, these bankers of our age, gray men, with gray souls, seeking to make a gray world, do what they do for petty monetary reasons, no different from their earlier versions that burnt films or smashed records, they do nothing for beauty’s sake.

And because of that, nothing these gray men do… will last. Because in the end, even if beauty fades, the things we do for beauty’s sake… will not. These and these alone… persist.