ComicsPRO responds to Amazon’s acquisition of comiXology

ComicsPRO, the trade organization dedicated to the progress and development of comic book retailers, has issued an official response to the Amazon Purchase of Comixology. This was posted on the ComicsPRO Facebook page:

There’s always a concern when a huge corporation that shows little need to turn a profit tries to convert a niche market into a commodity. Fortunately there is a tactile element to comics that no deep-discounting web entity will ever be able to replicate. So as long as there continues to be fans for the real thing, there will be comics and comic book stores.

The real thing? It doesn’t matter if a comic is created with dead trees or instead, with ones and zeros. A comic is a comic. To imply that a digital comic isn’t a real comic seems more than a little… silly.

We live in a digital world. It’s ironic that ComicsPRO issued this statement on Facebook, something that only exists digitally. There is no physical, or in ComicsPRO speak, “real” version of Facebook.

Personally, I don’t care who serves as the distributor of digital comics. Amazon, comiXology, Prodigy, CompuServe, or anyone else, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is the actual comic, not the mechanism used to deploy it. Amazon seems to do a fairly decent job distributing e-books. I can purchase an e-book on Amazon with one mouse click and read it seconds later on my Kindle, iPad, or on a desktop computer using a Kindle app.

I see no reason why Amazon can’t succeed at digitally distributing funny books.

Why I wont be watching tomorrow night’s episode of ‘Raw’

According to all of the wrestling blogs, at least the ones I read, tomorrow night’s episode of WWE’s Raw will focus heavily on paying tribute the late James Brian Hellwig, AKA The Ultimate Warrior, who died unexpectedly at the age of 54, this past Tuesday.

I don’t think I can watch anyone paying tribute to The Ultimate Warrior.

I didn’t watch wrestling back when The Ultimate Warrior was a big deal in the WWF, now known as the WWE. He joined the WWF back in 1987 when I was in the Air Force and stationed in the Philippines. I don’t believe the WWF was shown on the Armed Forced Network, at least I don’t remember ever seeing it. I didn’t start watching wrestling until Stone Cold Steve Austin popped. I can remember seeing people walking around the Valley Mall here in Hagerstown wearing AUSTIN 3:16 t-shirts and I was curious what they meant. That got me interested in wrestling. I don’t remember exactly when this was, but it was sometime in the late 90′s. Whenever it was, The Ultimate Warrior was no longer a part of the WWF.

Everything I know about The Ultimate Warrior, I know from reading about him. I have no first-hand memories of him or what he did in the squared circle.

I read some very disturbing things about The Ultimate Warrior shortly after his death over on Deadspin. Not only was he an extreme homophobe, he actually felt hatred towards the late actor Heath Ledger even after his death, because he played a closeted gay cowboy in the movie Brokeback Mountain. Here is something The Ultimate Warrior wrote after Ledger’s untimely death:

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you I have watched Brokeback Mountain no less than 45 times and I own the Limited Edition DVD, signed by Willie Nelson a short time after he wrote that queer cowboy song as a tribute to the courage of the producers and actors who broke such incredible creative ground when they made their agenda-less movie. Serious. Until I saw Bendover Brokeback, Braveheart was my favorite movie. But the love scenes of Brokeback sucked me right in and I had no choice but to give myself over to the passion of its wide open range, if you get my drift. Such courage this young man and his colleagues have. Reminds me of the courage of classic movie stars, where during the War they enlisted and flew bomber planes and fought on frontlines, then came back and picked up their lives and careers right where they left off, without anti-American sentiment, whining and complaining, or self-destructive self indulgence. I’m equally inspired.

Apparently, Leather Hedger had sleeping troubles and anxiety and dealt with terrible mood swings. So do soldiers but they don’t self-destructively fuck up their lives. In fact, they don’t sleep, handle anxiety and mood swings while dealing with whether or not they might at any moment lose their life. And they do this all the while they are dangerously protecting the freedom of others to fuck up their own. By the way, how many 28 (or older or younger) year old soldiers met their death yesterday? It’s not easy to find out. None of them made the headlines of any news.

By today’s standard, though, I do have to agree that he was a great father. Perhaps even greater then the father of the year, Hulk Hogan. After all, Leather Hedger did what it took to kill himself. His kid is without a father, yes, but the negative influence is now removed and his own child has the chance for a full recovery. Hogan, on the other hand, won’t go quite that far. He insists on sticking around to keep further ruining, and profiting off of, the parentally mismanaged lives of his own children. It is sad and tragic….that we don’t demand attention be paid to greater things.

Just to clarify, The Ultimate Warrior is applauding Heath Ledger because he accidentally killed himself. The reason? Because Ledger’s child now will grow up without her father in her life. All this because he had the audacity to play a closeted gay cowboy in a movie. Furthermore, he denounces Hulk Hogan because he has not killed himself.

What kind of person does that? Nobody I want to see paid tribute to, that’s who. If the WWE is going to focus tomorrow night’s Raw on honoring a homophobic piece of garbage like The Ultimate Warrior, they can count me out.

Heartbleed is the scariest thing to hit the Internets since Y2K

Heartbleed is the scariest thing to hit the Internets since Y2K
It turns out that OpenSSL, the open-source toolkit for implementing SSL and TLS protocols, has a programming mistake that had caused a potentially, major security flaw. It’s had this flaw for over two years. Because of this flaw, it’s possible that sensitive information such as usernames and passwords, were exposed.

The bug got its name because it involves the handshake between two computers, or the heartbeat. It’s what allows two computers to sync-up and stay synced-up, this sharing of a common heartbeat. The bug is called heartbleed because it allows a leak, or a bleed, of memory from the server to the client and vice versa.

It’s hard to say exactly just which websites were affected by this bug. Just because a website is all patched up and secure now doesn’t mean they were last month or last year. If a website uses OpenSSL, and they kept it up-to-date, it’s safe to assume they were affected.

Because OpenSSL is open source, this type of thing shouldn’t have happened. It’s not just that there was a simple coding mistake that lead to a major security flaw, it was that it was somehow able to exist for two years. One would think that because of the collaborative nature of open source, someone, anyone, would have discovered this mistake and done something about it.

It shouldn’t have taken two years.

The fear is that someone did discover the coding mistake and instead of reporting it, used it to harvest sensitive information. Problems like this didn’t exist 150 years ago. People back then didn’t have to worry about SSL protocols, they only had to worry about grizzly bears, getting attacked by indians, or coming down with cholera.

They had it so easy.

Alex Ross does variant cover for ‘Life With Archie’

live-with-archie-alex-rossEvidently Archie Comics publishes more than one comic book series based on Archie and his friends. This July, there will be one less series in publication. Life With Archie, a series that takes place sometime in the future when Archie and his cohorts are grown-up and graduated, is coming to a close. Not only are they ending the series, they’re killing off Archie.

I don’t know how they’re doing it, killing off Archie, but my vote would be for Archie to contract Hepatitis C off a bus station restroom toilet seat. They could even work out a sponsorship deal with a company that makes those disposable paper toilet seat covers.

At least I’ve always assumed they were disposable.

To commemorate the final issue, and the death of its title character, Archie Comics commissioned various artists to do special covers. This cover by Alex Ross is kind of creepy. Archie looks like a serial killer, or worse, a Jimmy Buffett fan. Betty and Veronica look like are snarling at each other. Oddly enough, Jughead looks like the most normal person in the bunch.

Ultimate Warrior 1959 – 2014

Only days after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, The Ultimate Warrior has died. He was 54.

He was born James Brian Hellwig, but legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993. He’s survived by a wife and two daughters.

Warrior and the WWE had been on the outs for years. There were lawsuits back and forth, mostly over who owned the Ultimate Warrior persona. In 2005, the WWE released a video, The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, that basically trashed Warrior and his legacy. In his HOF speech Saturday night at the Silverdome Superdome and televised live on the WWE Network, Warrior referenced the video, among other things, and pointed out that the video was “just wrong” and that he wasn’t a bad guy.

He’s now dead.

I’m sure more information will come out as to why he died. No matter the reason for his untimely death, it’s sad. Not only did the WWE induct Warrior into its HOF, they signed him to a multi-year ambassadorship contract, ensuring that the Ultimate Warrior and the WWE were going to have a positive, active relationship for years to come.

Update: Deadspin has a article on James Hellwig and it points out that he was “basically a crazy jerk.”