Saturday, December 26, 2015

Free Christmas Comic from the FBU

Today, I'm happy to present this downloadable holiday comic which was created for the Woolworth's stores in 1953. (Click on the link under the cover.)


Download Woolworth's 1953 Christmas Comic

Season's Greetings!

- Jim

Monday, December 21, 2015

Will 2016 Be The Worst Year for Comics Ever?

I once predicted that 2015 would be the year the paper comic industry collapsed. 
I was quite wrong about that.
And while there were a number of factors that contributed to my faulty prediction, there are also some signs that I may be more right than it seems.

One of the many things I didn't think about was that digital would help comic sales more than it cannibalized them. I don't believe anyone saw that coming so I don't feel too bad. It is interesting as this boost has not been seen in the traditional publishing world. I suspect it's because comic fans are more inclined to want a physical object than just regular book readers. (Romance fans, who make up a large portion of the traditional book market have migrated to digital in huge numbers.)

Also, I didn't foresee the dramatic influx of fans that cosplay has brought in. 

That's been a great thing to see. In talking with Noelle Stevenson this weekend at Punk Monkey comics, we both agreed that the vibe at conventions is definitely a more open environment than it was 10 or 20 years ago. That openness has brought in an audience for books like Lumberjanes, Princeless and Batgirl.  Where Castle Waiting struggled to find a sustainable readership 10 years ago, I suspect now such a book would be quite successful

Also, while the movies and shows may not have a  one to one effect on sales, (excluding Walking Dead) they have definitely raised the cool cachet of comics that any nerd factor sales barriers have been virtually erased. I bet that has helped first time walk in sales at local comic shops a lot.

With that said what will the next year bring? 
Well despite all the things I've just mentioned, I think the big two are actually in for a rocky year.

DC has already seen one new sales initiative fail (and fast) with no exciting plan B in the wings. Attempts to duplicate Batgirl's success didn't take hold (mostly I believe because duplicating such things is always difficult - how many Harry Potter clones failed?)

And Marvel's All New All Different sales relaunch after Secret Wars isn't looking too good. And I hear a lot of fans saying the core titles have the narrative weight of a Marvel coloring book as the stories don't seem connected to a shared continuity. 

And just last week, two articles that laid suggested this latest initiative has been a bit of a failure:

We've already seen one big sales dip this year. Was that a fluke or the real base of sales when there's no Secret Wars or Marvel Now 3.0  raising sales? How much will Dark Knight III and Civil War 2 really help both companies?

In discussing this topic with friend Trey Causey, we sort of agreed that part of the problem is the industry is chasing the ghost of a marketplace that may not exist anymore. That is to say that when you look at independent comics from Image, the success threshold is much lower. Image comics are allowed more time to try to find an audience. Conversely, DC seemed to throw in the towel on their DC You initiative too quickly. It was only due to a good bit of fan outcry that this latest version of Omega Men didn't get cancelled.
Trey suggested that small creative industry solutions to DC's and Marvel's woes (like lowering expectations ) are stymied by the fact they are both owned by big corporations who (perhaps unrealistically) expect certain levels of performance. If so, then both companies are sort of trapped in a death spiral.

I'm looking forward to seeing how 2016 plays out.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The 2nd Batman vs Superman Trailer

Last week, Time Warner released the 2nd major trailer for Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice:

Here's the water cooler talk from the Flashback Universe:

Jim Shelley: I was already quite interested in seeing the movie with just the teasing we got from the first trailer, but this newest one had some great bits that has me even more jazzed.Highlights to me were:

The Luthor/Kent/Wayne exchange with the joke of Luthor saying, "You wouldn't want to fight this guy" to Kent. That made me smile. I sort of hope Eisenberg is like that through the whole movie. It's hammy, but it's a type of hammy I can appreciate. It's got a nice Paul Lynde vibe to it.

It was good to see more of Wonder Woman in this preview. And again, the little bit with Superman and Batman wondering who she was aligned with was nice. (Did that strike anyone as an attempt to add a dash of MCU humor to the trailer?)

What I was less sold on was Doomsday and how he appeared. Now, I'm not a big Doomsday fan, but if I was, I would be sort of like, "...what the fugly!" On the plus side, they can kill him in this movie and we won't have to worry about him until 3 movies later when Darkseid sends an army of Doomsdays against the Justice League (because we know that scenes coming right?)
Trey Causey: Agreed on Eisenberg. I think he has the sort of Luthor. He has the sort of swarmy wunderkind thing going that works perfectly for a Luthor translated to the modern era. He probably helps that Eisenberg played Mark Zuckerberg, so this is same sort of arrogance.

It would amuse me to hear you utter the phrase "what the fugly!" as I don't think that's anything I've ever heard anyone say. The Doomsday design is uninspired, but it's just standard forgetable cgi monsters. It's not like bicycle shorts and bones Doomsday of the comic is really cool visual, or anything
StevieB: I also liked Eisenberg. It's  been hard for me to point my finger on why. I think it's because in the ridiculously serious tone that Warner Brothers has taken their last few movies, it's nice to see some camp. 

I really like Batman's voice changer. No more sounding like a 60 year old who's smoked a pack of cigarettes their whole life. I also think they've really nailed that costume.

Wonder Woman was great. I'm beginning to think more and more she's going to be the voice of reason in this movie. 

Am I the only who caught the three seconds of Parademons?

My speculation is that this is a vision of the future that Wonder Woman has. Not a dream sequence that the internet keeps screaming about. I think it's the reason WW comes back to the world of man. To stop these two from fighting because only TOGETHER CAN THEY DEFEAT THE COMING EVIL! lol 

As far as "Doomsday" goes; how much do you think they paid Disney to borrow the likeness for Abomination? 
Caine Dorr: I'm thinking the WW Vision thing sounds right too (now that Stephen pointed out the "Parademons")
The could be some sort of winged Bat-Force that Batman has put together to counter the Superman Arm Band wearing guys.
But I would prefer it was Parademons, as that helps set up other stuff to come. Imagine how stoked everyone will be if we even get a glimpse of Darkseid in the vision.

That's what we thought.

What did YOU think?

 - Jim


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