ComicsPRO responds to Amazon’s acquisition of comiXology

comicsPRO
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.

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.

New comic retailer advocacy group named after a snake

New comic book retailer advocacy group named after a snake
Dennis Barger, owner-operator of Wonderworld Comics in Taylor, Michigan, announced on Facebook the formation of a new comic book retailer organization, the Comic Book Retailer Alliance, or COBRA for short. Here is the original Facebook post:

My frustration with much of what is going on in comics has at least in a large part been set in motion for a reversal. When the Beatles wrote “I get by with a little help from my friends” they had no idea the level of people that would one day join forces like a modern day superhero team to form a comic book organization like no other. This group of retailers are unsurpassed in their knowledge of the industry, fortitude of character and strength of their voices. It is my pleasure and honor to team up with Randy Myers, Dominic Postiglione, Larry’s Comics, Jetpack Comics, Jesse James, Chandler Rice, Aaron Haaland and Richard Nelson to start the Comic Book Retailer Alliance. An advocacy group for the protection of the local comic shop (lcs) and the for a future in print comics for all creators. Way more information to come.

There’s already an established comic book retailer advocacy group, ComicsPRO, but according to past Facebook comments made by Dennis Barger, ComicsPro is only looking out for themselves, whatever that means:

MY HERO Brian Hibbs, champion of retailers everywhere, has made a bold move (finally). He has come to the conclusion that ComicsPRO the “professional” retailers group founded by many of the biggest names in comic retailing is only looking out for themselves. I came to this conclusion 4 years ago and let the one year that I paid for lapse. They think that retailers cow-tieing to digital comics from ComiXology is the answer. I think groups like Comic Retailers who will NOT sign up with ComiXology or iVerse is the stance we should be taking. They say DC is our friend and Marvel is our enemy, they are clearly misguided. Brian has (as he usually does) restored my faith in him.

To some comic book shop retailers, individuals like Dennis Barger, digital comics are a threat to their very existence. When he’s not complaining about variant cover comics that he believes are too sensualized, Barger complains about digital comics. For instance, here’s something he posted recently on Facebook:

ahhh noooo ComiXology is still broken…guess what, my paper and staples didn’t get hacked, my bags and boards protected your passwords from getting hacked, my trade paperbacks aren’t going to attempt to spam you forever…how long before a hack wipes out your account and you have to conveniently rebuy everything? you are propping up a paper tiger that is giving you nothing in exchange that you can’t get for free on a bit torrent site. I SELL COMICS, Comics by comiXology for iOS sells 1s and 0s that can be taken away from you at a moments notice….good luck with that

ComiXology, the preeminent seller of digital comics, recently suffered a security breach and as a precautionary measure, urged users to change their passwords. ComiXology may have experienced a data breach, but at least they don’t run the risk of being condemned.

Like my local comic book shop.

Atomic Comics, located in downtown Hagerstown, was condemned by the city back in April of 2013. It still operates, sort of. There’s a note on the door (along with the official notice from the city inspector declaring that the building is not suited for habitation) instructing would-be customers how to get for their comics. The notice from the city stays in the window all the time. The note from the owner comes and goes daily.

Even before Atomic Comics was condemned, I hadn’t shopped there in years. It was freezing in the winter, hot in the summer, and smelled like cigarettes, dust, and Austin Powers action figures. If it wasn’t for digital comics, I probably wouldn’t read comics, at least not the monthly floppies. I read most of my comics in the collected format, purchased exclusively from Amazon.

Tasteless flyer promoting Capital City Comic Con offends the Internet

Organizers of Capital City Comic Con, scheduled to take place July 11-13 in Austin, Texas, created a bit of an Internet controversy this weekend when Richard Neal, a Dallas comic book store owner, tweeted a photo of a postcard-sized flyer sent to his shop, evidently by the con’s organizer. The flyer shows a close-up of Power Girl’s chest with the words, “Everything is BIGGER in Austin.”

Here’s the image tweeted by Neal:

capital-city-comic_con-power-girl-boobs

As far as flyers go, it’s pretty dumb. It’s trying to play into the worn-out cliche that everything is bigger in Texas. As if people in Texas would appreciate this. They live in Texas. I’m pretty sure they know things in Texas are sized the same as they are elsewhere. Also, the flyer is obviously going for a cheap boob joke. Power Girl, first cousin of Superman, has large breasts. She wears a costume that, in my opinion, unnecessarily accentuates those large breasts. Of the people the Capital City Comic Con wants to attract to their convention, how many are into cheap boob jokes?

I think boob jokes are stupid. Mostly that’s because I’m not 14 years old.

As bad as the flyer is, the initial reaction by the Capital City Comic Con organizer was even worse. Here’s a screenshot from Facebook:

Capital_City_Comic_Con_Facebook
What a terrible response to legitimate criticism. According to a statement posted later on Facebook by the Capital City Comic Con organizer, both the person who created the flyer and the person who left that dismissive comment on Facebook, logged into the official Capital City Comic Con Facebook account, are no longer part of the convention staff.

I’m not sure I believe that. I have a feeling whoever posted the initial reaction to criticism is the same person who posted the apology. It seems far too convenient to say someone else posted it.

Michael B. Jordan cast to play Johnny Storm

johnny_storm_michael_b_jordan
They are re-rebooting the Fantastic Four movie franchise, and in case you’re wondering if it was going to be any good or not, it’s being produced by Fox, not Marvel Studios.

Really, that should tell you everything you need to know.

The cast has been announced. Kate Mara is playing Sue Storm, also known as Invisible Woman. Miles Teller is playing her husband, Reed Richards, also known as Mr. Fantastic. Jamie Bell is playing as Ben Grimm, also known as the Thing. Michael B. Jordan is playing Sue Storm’s brother, Johnny Storm, also known as the Human Torch.

It’s really uncanny how much these actors look so much like the characters they will be playing. Of the four, it’s Michael B. Jordan that looks the most like his comic book counterpart.

Reading about the casting choices reminded my of the first time I watched HBO’s The Wire. Every time Walace, the character Michael B. Jordan portrayed, was shown, I wondered, why is Johnny Storm selling heroin in West Baltimore? I had to constantly remind myself that this young man just looks like Johnny Storm, he’s not supposed to be Johnny Storm.

It was just a weird coincidence that they looked so much a like.

The first Fantastic Four movie was so bad that it couldn’t be released, not even on home video or on the SyFy network. The reboot and its subsequent sequel were so bad, they shouldn’t have been released, not even on the SyFy network. Considering just how good the Marvel Studio movies have been and how bad the movies from Sony and Fox staring Marvel Comics characters have been, I wish only Marvel Studios would make movies featuring Marvel Comics properties.