Quotable 04/05/10

April 5th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Kiel Phegley: How significant an impact does Marvel feel the iPad and similar devices will have on Marvel’s bottom line? Any predictions as to when – if ever – comics go completely digital?

Joe Quesada: Are you kidding, the significance could be…well, significant. The iPad could be the new feeder system for brick and mortar stores. Ever since the newsstand really died for comics, that element has been missing in many ways. Trades in bookstores picked up some of the slack, but the newsstand used to be huge. I think the iPad will be that and more and will improve the sales of comics in all areas, especially at comic shops. That’s why we have the comic shop locator built into the app.

Joe Quesada, Cup o’ Joe 04/02/10

I don’t know that I agree with Joe Q’s answer. When I stopped buying CDs, getting an iPod didn’t send me back to Best Buy. It sent me to AmazonMP3. What’s much, much more likely is that mainstream digital comics and comic shop comics will split into two separate, but complementary, revenue streams. I try to minimize the floppies I buy because I vastly prefer trades. I buy mp3s and ebooks at a wholly irresponsible pace due in large part to the fact that I don’t have to worry about storage. If I start buying comics on the iPad, I’m not going to click the little “Go to a comic shop!” button to start filling up my house. I’m going to click the “Buy digital comics” button to fill up my iPad with every issue Hypno Hustler ever appeared in.

While it’s nice that Marvel is attempting to maintain favor with the retailers, and stressing that in their press releases to an almost absurd degree, but I can’t see any iPad revolution sending people to comic shops without Marvel self-sabotaging their digital sales. Remember when DC Comics announced that there’d be no trade of Identity Crisis until at least a year after the series ended?

Yeah, that’s self-sabotage. It’s stupid. You’re leaving money in wallets. It’s nice that retailers make bank off floppies, but there’s a large subset of readers who don’t care to buy a 32 page pamphlet. Manga used to come out over here in floppies, remember that? Now it comes out in fat little trades. The market adjusted to the demand.

I hope Marvel goes all in. I’m talking simultaneous releases on Wednesdays, fat packs of classic stories, freebie issues to get people caught up on characters… go big or go home. DC is asleep at the wheel, as anyone who attended the terrible DC Nation panel this past weekend knows. They have vague platitudes about how stuff is on the way, we’re looking into it, really, and asinine anecdotes about how digital comics can’t replicate the experience of folding out pages in Blackest Night #8 and wah wah wah plastic doesn’t feel like paper.

Pop quiz, hot shot: who cares? You aren’t trying to sell digital comics to people who already buy your books and care about whether or not you use crappy paper that smells bad. You’re trying to sell digital comics to people who don’t already buy your books. If some fanboy loves paper so much, let him buy the physical product. Shoot, push a variant out there and let him buy two. You’ve got us, all two hundred thousand of us. We’re there, hook, line, and sinker. Now, go get them. Get my mom, get my grandparents, get my cousins. Get people who have never, and will never, step foot in a comic shop, whether that’s because they can’t find them or because they don’t exist in their area.

Marvel is big enough to force a change in the industry, for good or for ill. Coming hot out of the gates on the iPad is great. Now keep it up and break out of the crap complacency and one-upsmanship that defines both companies and start throwing some weight around. Put the boot in.

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On the Unlikely Whiteness of Imhotep

March 30th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Last week, I wondered aloud about the skin tone of a character in Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver’s upcoming time-spanning SHIELD. In short, Imhotep, Egyptian doctor and Agent of SHIELD (Officer of SHIELD?), was modern-day white, rather than ancient Egypt brown.

I emailed Dustin Weaver with a link to the post, and he wrote back pretty quickly. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially, it was a mistake in the production process. He’s done a lot of research on the book to try and make sure things make sense, and that’s something that slipped through the cracks when doing color tests. He’s gonna try to get them fixed in the trade, if Marvel’s amenable to it. He’s a pretty cool guy.

Just an update!

edit: I asked Dustin to quote a bit of his email and he agreed. In his own words:

Oh, man, you’re right! I’m embarrassed and shocked that I didn’t catch this mistake before it was finished. I’m surprised nobody caught this mistake.
The 2 page spread of the Egyptians fighting the Brood was the very first thing that got colored for this book and it was the testing page for the style of this whole series. I think it went through 4 different versions before we got something we liked. I think with all this back and forth with the style of the thing we missed the fact that they were white. I feel pretty stupid. I seriously did a lot of research to get a lot of the details right. To miss something so blatant is embarrassing.

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I’ll Tear My Heart Out Before I Get Out

March 30th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Why is this example of a monkey and a robot making out stuck under a sad line from “Today?” It doesn’t make sense! After all, this panel from Doom Patrol #34 has everything. Action, adventure, someone being a jerk, and it’s all in a title that is epic, overwhelming silliness. Also, as I said before, a monkey and a robot making out.

Why, because it’s DC, of course!

Marvel, it’s about time you had some “crazy, reprogrammed robot” on “talking, violent monkey” characters blatantly made for rampant and gratuitous fan service. Vision and Gorilla Man, separately and together, are half-way there already. And they’re good guys! Get on that! I have faith in you!

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When I’m Stuck With a Day That’s Gray and Lonely

March 29th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Why is this example of dudekissing stuck under the only sad line from ‘Tomorrow’?  It doesn’t make sense!  After all, this panel from Dark Wolverine #84 has everything.  Action, adventure, someone being a jerk, and it’s all in a title that is epic, overwhelming silliness.  Also, as I said before, dudekissing.

Why, because it’s Marvel, of course!

When David told me about Daken, Wolverine’s freaky son/clone who had mind-control sex powers that he used on everyone, I did not entirely believe him.  Now I see that it’s true.  Too bad he’s such a psychotic jerk (Daken, not David.  David is nice.).

DC, it’s about time you had some crazy, love-power-having bisexual characters blatantly made for rampant and gratuitous fangirl service.  Dick and Roy, separately and together, are half-way there already.  And they’re good guys!  Get on that!  I have faith in you!

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We made it cool to wear medallions and say “Hotep!”

March 24th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver, two very talented creators, are the creative team on Marvel’s new book SHIELD, which is easiest describe as historical fiction in the Marvel Universe. Here’s the pitch:

Leonardo Da Vinci was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. So was Issac Newton. So were Imhotep and Zhang Heng and Galileo and many other geniuses throughout time. They were the first heroes to defeat Galactus and the Brood and turn Celestials back. They saved the world long before Captain America or Iron Man were ever born, but what does this mean to our heroes of today? What does this mean to Nick Fury? Do not miss this Marvel Comics masterpiece that fans will be talking about for decades to come. All the insanity is courtesy of JONATHAN HICKMAN (FANTASTIC FOUR, SECRET WARRIORS, Nightly News) and DUSTIN WEAVER (X-MEN).

It’s a neat idea, the sort of thing What Ifs are made of, and while I’m not super excited about it, I’m a little interested. Sort of thing you skim to see if you want it, or maybe just cop the hardcover a ways down the line. CBR recently posted an exclusive unlettered preview of the first issue, with nine story pages and one cover. We get a look at (and these are educated guesses going by the text above the issue) Zhang Heng staring down a Celestial (maybe Gammenon the Gatherer?), Da Vinci strapping on a flight harness, and Galileo getting ready to face Galactus and his herald. That leaves one guy facing down the Brood. He’s dressed in Egyptian garb, which makes him Imhotep. Here’s what he looks like:

Here is the problem with that image: he looks like a generic white guy. Imhotep, to my understanding, was worshiped in Greece in the form of a brown-skinned man. Much of the art I’ve seen, or books I’ve read (granted, this was years ago), supports that idea. I don’t know whether he was black or not, but I think it’s fair to say that he wasn’t white, either.

The subject of the race of ancient Egyptians is an intensely frustrating one, and one likely to not see any closure ever. I’m reasonably sure that everything I have read says that the Egyptians were not white, but they weren’t black (as we know the term), either. They were somewhere in-between, some flavor of brown.

The thing about the race of the ancient Egyptians is that the water is severely muddied by past racism. Egypt was essentially claimed by white scholars and separated from the rest of Africa, which served to further the idea that blacks were intellectually inferior to whites.

(Another similar instance of this is the story of Ham, Shem, and Japheth, the three sons of Noah. The three sons theoretically represent three races: African, Semitic, and European. As Ham was cursed in the story, and blacks were descended from him, they were also cursed. This is taught in black churches and is the worst kind of self-loathing there is. If you believe this, please, wake up. Don’t be ignorant of your own history.)

Later, Imhotep as a black man was fully embraced by afrocentrists, people desperate to rebuild a culture that had been stolen from them. Having the father of medicine and architecture be a black man is a huge boon to the self-esteem of an oppressed people.

You can see how this can get very complicated, and very touchy, very quickly.

I’m not here to say that Imhotep was blacker than the nighttime sky of Bed-Stuy in July. I don’t know, I can’t say, I’m not qualified for that. I do feel confident in saying that he was probably brown. He was definitely African. He was an amazingly smart man.

But, he wasn’t white. And the rest of the Egyptians on that page– they wouldn’t have been white, either.

I’d like to enjoy SHIELD. But honestly, stuff like this makes me a lot less likely to pick it up. Maybe that’s just me.

edit: I emailed Dustin Weaver to ask, and he said that the coloring is a mistake, something that just slipped through the cracks. Hopefully it’ll be fixed in the trade. Either way, Weaver is a cool dude, so I’m trying the first issue at the very least.

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Fourcast! 37: Girlcast II: Girl Comics

March 15th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

-I know Esther may not agree, but any list of the top Batgirls that does not include Cassandra Cain at #1 and Yvonne Craig at #2 is simply incorrect!
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music.
-In honor of Girl Comics #1, we’re talking about… women and comics.
-It’s a pretty wide-ranging discussion, and we loop back around to Girl Comics pretty regularly.
-Lucy Knisley’s Doc Ock strip was a hit.
-Devin Grayson and Emma Rios’s Cyclops and Phoenix story was similarly well-received, if not as awwwwwdorable.
-Toward the end, I talk about Ann Nocenti some more, as I wonder what kind of reception she’d get in these days when feminists run wild all over the blogosphere.
-See you, space cowgirl!

Subscribe to the Fourcast! via:
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Iron Man: Armor Wars

March 7th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

The new Iron Man trailer premiered tonight during Jimmy Kimmel. As expected, it looks like heat rocks. Check it out on Apple’s site if you want to watch it in high def or hit the video below for the official Youtube HD embed.

I’m liking what the story is shaping up to be. The US gov’t getting in bed with Whiplash to bring down Stark, Rhodey backing up his homey, Pepper still not falling for his tricks, Scarlett Johansson looking like Scarlett Johansson… it’s gonna be a good’un.

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Getcher Cheap Omnibuses Here!

March 6th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

I dunno if it’s a mistake or not, but Amazon has 48 pages of 15 dollar Marvel hardcovers, ranging from Premiere (aight), OSHC (nice), and omnibus (holy crap!) format.

I ordered six. A couple preorders, Tomb of Dracula v1, The Death of Captain America, and then the last two Ultimate Spider-Man joints. Cheap hardcovers make me stupid, apparently. But whatever, I’m getting cheap comics. Also we get a small cut if you buy through that link, so you know, there’s that.

Shill over! I’ve got a to-read stack to demolish before all these books get here.

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Garth Ennis’ Most Revealing Moment?

February 26th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Cut, because you might be at work and I’m posting a scan from a freaking Garth Ennis comic.

Read the rest of this entry �

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Tom Brevoort: Marvel Vice Prez?

January 20th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

This one comes courtesy of David Uzumeri, who spotted this headline on Marvel.com and wasn’t quick enough to write a post about it first! Did Tom Brevoort get a promotion from Executive Editor to Vice Prez? Congrats!

edit: Thanks to Graeme McMillan, who asked someone in Marvel who said that yes, Brevoort is Vice Prez. Congratulations! Brevoort’s edited some of Marvel’s best books, including the Waid/Ringo Fantastic Four, Joe Casey’s Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, some of Priest’s run on Black Panther, and, Gavin’s personal favorite, Double Dragon.

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