The wonderful Tom Brevoort Executive Editor at Marvel just asked some interesting questions on Twitter just now.

What could Marvel be doing better? Where are we dropping the ball?

Along those same lines, I feel a real ebb in the overall enthusiasm of the readers, not just Marvel’s. So what’s got you down on comics?

I will totally be that guy right now and give a non-140 character response. Yes, I am a dork. You shall deal with it imaginary people in my head!

Overall I want to preface my ramblings with this; I am extremely happy with 99% of Marvel’s output currently. I think they have been putting out some of the most entertaining and compelling comics around right now. Also, they have the best writers in the entire industry making their characters and books interesting and revitalized in a way they have not been in decades.

That being said one of the few problems is that as Johnathan Hickman, writer of the absolutely fantastic S.H.E.I.L.D, Secret Warriors and Fantastic Four, has said there are so many big names in the room that they kind of suck some of the air out. While he was talking more about the big talent writers on staff, it is also true about the books being published. We have four Avengers books, two Hulk books, soon to be two Captain America books, etc all being made right now. Hell, we have FOUR fucking Deadpool books right now.

The problem I feel is that while the sales for these books maybe higher than lets say a Iron Fist or Ghost Rider, I think that having multiple books out for popular characters is actually doing more to hurt books like those. I know as a reader I have limited funds to buy books a month, as do most folks. It is not a hard choice to make between a higher profile book like a Avengers title and a Atlas book, especially when the Avengers book is tied directly into the overall focus/event in the Universe at the time.

Perhaps a solution is to bring back a digest series ala Marvel Comics Presents again. Except instead of filling it with lackluster creators and bland to bad stories make it a enticing title to both creators and buyers. Have it as the title where every creative team can take whatever character they want to do a story with but a series can’t be supported can go. Fill it up with your top talent, and it is a perfect place to put people who do fantastic work, have great sales but are extremely slow as you can wait to put their work in until it is finished. Make it Giant-Sized (40+ Pages) and at five bucks it would be a bargain. You can use it as a way to entice people to want to work at Marvel. You have a idea for a Paste Pot Pete and D-Man story? This is where you can do it.

As for comics in general I think most of my concerns are towards the future. Namely, online and future readership.

Marvel has by far the best online presence of all the major publishers. That being said there are room for improvement there; namely price and availability. I think that not releasing things day and date online is costing sales. And as more people have devices to read comics digitally you are going to be costing yourselves more and more sales. I think moving to a day and date release for all books would be in your best interest in the near future. Those who are collectors are going to be going to the shops on Wednesday anyway. You are not going to lose any ground there. What you will see is more people being involved in comics if they are not weeks or months behind online. Which in term is good for the entire industry.

On that same token I think that lowering prices digitally of books would also increase sales. New stuff at two bucks and older stuff at fifty cents sounds like a winner to me. The current prices are not as compelling as either a snap buy or a serious reader. When you can go to your local shop and pick up 99% of the stuff for under a buck, $1.99 doesn’t sound like a good deal. You can buy Angry Birds for .99 cents or a song on iTunes for less and gives you more for the money. Also consider pricing stuff in bundles online ala albums. “Infinity Gauntlet Saga” (All the Infinity Gauntlet books and tie ins) for ten bucks is a hell of a deal. Perhaps doing some creator commentaries for books as well as a added bonus would be nice.

Now with the future readers. It is not really talked about but the bulk of US comic readership is in their late 20s-early 40s, basically the kids that grew up in the last heyday, of the 80s and early 90s. We grew up and now have the money to afford $3.00+ books for 22 pages on Wednesday. Sadly the kids these days are no interested in it. Why? Well a couple of reasons. First is the 900 pound gorilla called Manga. I have a niece that we take to the comic shop every so often to pick something out. While her father and I try to get her to buy something like Spider-Man or X-Men she ultimately buys some sort of manga. Why? It is easy, for the same price as a issue of Avengers she can get a issue of Shonen Jump which has a ton of stories in it and is the size of a Sears catalog when we were kids.

As a kid it is not hard to make the choice of more for your money. Kids don’t care about glossy paper and state of the art coloring. They just want some fun stories and a good value. So, instead of doing the same thing of making “kid friendly” books that haven’t worked for the last two decades how about you use the manga publishers ideas to your advantage? Print old stories with perhaps one new series, in black and white, on cheap paper and sell it for five bucks? Imagine a kid seeing a book with Spider-Man, the Avengers, Iron Man, Fantastic Four and X-Men all in it for five bucks? As a added bonus you are giving the kid a history lesson in the Marvel universe at the same time. You already have the material, it is another way to make money on the work and you are bringing new readers in.

That is ultimately what we all want. For the characters we love to continue to be loved far beyond when we are dead.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Comics. Date: September 7, 2010, 7:34 pm | No Comments »

At Night We Live

This maybe one of the most difficult records that I have ever had to give my professional opinion on. Far is much more than just a band to me, as it is for a lot of people. Those records got me through a lot of difficult times in my life as they did many others. In the years since Far ceased to be a unit I have formed relationships with the members of the band, listened to the records good and bad and been to the shows, good or bad. Never once did I ever think I would ever get to hear them play together again, let alone a new record.

Over a decade later I get the record I never thought I would get. You are wondering what it is like. It reminds me a lot of Tin Cans frankly. Jonah has plenty of sing along choruses which reminds me a bit of the New End Original material, “If You Cared Enough” is a major example of this. Thankfully there is some songs that sound absolutely like that came out of 199x, “Deafening”, “When I Could See” and perhaps my favorite song from the album “Better Surrender”. Plenty of sing/scream from Jonah which has been sorely lacking in any of his work in the last decade along with the unique guitar work from Shaun.

My only real complaint is that Shaun Lopez perhaps overproduced the album. There is overdubs galore that kind of overshadows Jonah’s voice, along with some things just sounding to “clean” where it should be “dirty”. “Dear Enemy” which is a fantastic song loses some of it’s glow from the heaps of digital tricks put over it.

Don’t let the production quips get you down, this is still a fantastic record that has a rightful place right next to the other Far records. Go buy it when it comes out on May 25th, preferably from a independent record store or from www.thebandfar.com.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Music, Review. Date: May 16, 2010, 10:02 pm | No Comments »

Things Required:

Snow Leopard Install Disc
Windows 7 x64 (32 Bit WILL NOT WORK!)

1. Boot into the Snow Leopard installer. I used GigabyteOSX but I understand Empire EFI is pretty nice also.

2. Partition your Hard Drive in a GPT partition table. I only made 2 partitions, 1 HFS+ Journaled for OSX and another FAT for Windows.

3. Install Snow Leopard, I am pretty sure that is pretty self explanatory. Find a guide or method that works for you. Make sure you get Chameleon installed and working.

4. Reboot and boot from the Windows 7 DVD, install Windows 7.

5. After Windows 7 is installed, after your reboot, Windows will be the only OS bootable. To fix this:

– Open startmenu and in search type “cmd”
– type “diskpart”
– type “list disk”
– type “select disk X”, where X is the HDD number where Windows and OSX are installed
– type “list partition”
– type “select partition X”, where X is the number of EFI partition
– type “active”
– type “exit”
– reboot Windows

6. Now you should be able to get back into OSX. You may need to use your boot media again. Once in OSX reinstall Chameleon bootloader. Restart afterward to make sure it is working.

7. Insert your Windows 7 DVD and go to the “Repair my Computer” section, then select “Command Prompt”. Now, once cmd appears, type this command:
– type “diskpart”
– type “list disk”
– type “select disk X”, where X is the HDD number where Windows 7 and Snow Leopard are installed
– type “list partition”
– type “select partition X”, where X is the number of Windows 7 partition
– type “active”
– type “exit”
– reboot

8. Boot your Windows 7 DVD again, go into the “Repair my Computer” again, but instead it comes up with a “Repair and Restart” automatically. Select this and in a few moments it will reboot.

9. Now Windows 7 will boot again. Once you are into Windows 7 again do this steps:

– Open startmenu and in search type “cmd”
– type “diskpart”
– type “list disk”
– type “select disk X”, where X is the HDD number where Windows 7 and snow Leopard are installed
– type “list partition”
– type “select partition X”, where X is the number of the EFI partition.
– type “active”
– type “exit”
– reboot once again

and…

NOW CHAMELEON SHOULD BOOT SNOW LEOPARD AND WINDOWS!

(To boot Windows just hit down or F8 and select your drive.)

Notes: It sounds much harder than it actually is. It was hours and hours of trying to figure it out but now I got it figured out it takes about 10 minutes total, most of it waiting for shit to boot. This is MUCH easier than dealing with BCD or other bootloader crap. And, as a bonus should work with anything else you throw at it.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Tech. Date: January 28, 2010, 4:46 pm | No Comments »

26  Jan
New Justice

Justice

Straight from the source or someone impersonating the source.

Justice – Beginning of the end

Posted by Djarum, filed under mp3, Music. Date: January 26, 2010, 11:48 pm | No Comments »

19  Sep
Nintendo Fail

8 bit pirate

Every so often I see something happen that is such the opposite of what the company wanted it just is funny. Most of the time this comes in the copy protection/DRM world. Today’s example is Nintendo. As most people know the Flash Cart devices for the Nintendo DS are very popular around the world as they let you play games, homebrew and media from a single cart. Nintendo hates them as they allow folks to pirate software and more importantly run unapproved code on their system. For the last year or so Nintendo and several other software development houses (most notably Square-Enix) have been putting new copy protections on to some of their games. Most of the time it is a minor inconvenience for those whom wish to play the game as the protection is defeated within a day or so.

When Mario and Luigi 3 was released this week Nintendo put a new protection on to the game which has not been defeated for many of the Flash Carts available. Now one would think “Well I am sure that makes Nintendo very pleased to hear, since more people will go buy the game.” I am sure Nintendo thinks this as well, the problem is that it is not happening. What I have seen evidence for is that a overwhelming amount of people are using it as a excuse to upgrade their carts to newer and better supported versions. As the cart that was first working with the game is found for between $8-$12 USD online, one would be stupid to not get the newer cart instead of spending 3-4 times that on the single retail game and Nintendo is back at square one again.

My advice for Nintendo is this, with the new DSi having the ability to use a SD card in the system make the ability to copy games to the card and also open up the system to some homebrew legitimately.You need to take away the main legitimate reasons for those to own and use a Flash Cart and give a incentive for those to use the your alternatives, otherwise you are going to see more folks plucking down those couple of bucks for a Flash Cart and less buying your software.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Video Games. Date: September 19, 2009, 4:48 pm | No Comments »

Daft Punk DJ Hero

I have been sitting on this for a little bit. Activison announced that our favorite robots will be characters in their new music game “DJ Hero” and they are going to include 11 Daft Punk tracks; the 8 below, 2 “mega mixes” and something that is still “secret” and most likely won’t amount to anything worthwhile.

  • Daft Punk “Around the World” vs. Young MC “Bust A Move”
  • Daft Punk “Da Funk” vs. NASA “Strange Enough ft. Karen O, ODB and Fatlip”
  • Daft Punk “Da Funk” vs. Queen “Another One Bites the Dust”
  • Daft Punk “Robot Rock” vs. Hashim “Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)” – Produced and mixed by The Scratch Perverts
  • Daft Punk “Robot Rock” vs. Queen “We Will Rock You”
  • Daft Punk “Short Circuit” vs. Boogie Down Productions “Jack Of Spades”
  • Daft Punk “Technologic” vs. Gary Numan “Cars”
  • Daft Punk “Television Rules The Nation” vs. No Doubt “Hella Good”

I am not too crazy about the DJ Hero gameplay or the mashup/scratching centric music. You can watch the trailer below for a idea of the sights, sounds and gameplay.

Now onto perhaps more exciting news, the Dead Cruiser himself Kavinsky made a mix for the Aussie radio station Triple J. Guess what the first track is? DOWNLOAD

Posted by Djarum, filed under mp3, Music, News, Video Games, Videos. Date: September 15, 2009, 7:24 pm | No Comments »

26  Aug
What. The. Fuck.

If you would have shown that to me before, I would have bet good money that this was fake.

I will be honest, I don’t know much about the “Insane Clown Posse” other than it is a couple of fat rednecks in face paint that rap about having sex with farm animals and generic soft drinks. The fans of this group are know as “Juggalos” which I have seen at a distance like a lion on safari. The fans tend to have their mother also be their sister, have most likely had sex with a animal, dress up like a moron including ridiculous hairstyles and facepaint while going out in public making sure they have no chance at ever having a job and spend all their money they get from welfare and selling meth on making sure everyone knows that they are fans of said group.

Well I find myself surprised when I get a link to this video today. I shall give you the run down of my reactions as I saw them. Note that I am going to use lots of “big words” because “Juggalos” lack the ability to read.

0:00 – Tenth Annual? I am amazed even one of these have ever happened. Also ICP is still around and has fans?

0:04 – Biggest family reunion because everyone who will be there is related. Inbreeding makes things like this happen I guess, at least they are honest about it. Cave-In-Rock, IL seems like a place that either A: a setting for a bad horror flick or B: a bad gay porn.

0:14 – Four days? What kind of music festival goes on for four days? Oh yea, the kind where anyone that goes has no employment to get back home for.

0:18 – “True Juggalo Performances” by every member of the “Psychopathic Records Family”. I am not sure what a “True Juggalo Performance” is, I am willing to be it involves a sex act with a family member or farm animal. And from the shots shown, to be a member of the “Psychopathic Records Family” you need to be a inbred retard in face paint.

0:23 – WHAT THE FUCK? Either someone kidnapped Ice Cube or one of his family members or is really hurting for money so bad that going to Buttfuck, Illinois to play at Whitetrashapalooza? Dude was in N.W.A.! Please just make another shitty family film instead of this. I promise I’ll see it twice and pretend to like it!

0:25 – “Cottonmouth Kings” which seem to be a bunch of old douchebags with bleached hair and eyeliner… Like homosexual skateboarders from 1997.

0:29 – I am sure the on reason why GWAR is there is because they saw a list of who is playing and decided this is a trainwreck to see in person.

0:30 – Vanilla Ice? What is he there to work the concession stand?

0:31 – “Haystack” who looks like someone who has had sex with farm animals, should fit right in.

0:32 – Coolio, who I am positive is in the same hot dog stand with Rob Van Winkle.

0:36 – “Big B” looks to have been arrested for having sex with farm animals…

0:42 – WRESTLING FANS can watch the “JCW” which seems to be in “full effect”…

0:53 – …and consists of washed up former wrestling stars from twenty years ago and Butterbean who I was pretty sure died.

0:56 – Oh look I can get my “Late Night Laughs on” in their “Late Night Comedy Tent”…. Wait is that the same mic from the cover of Chris Rock – Bigger and Blacker?

0:59 – Wait a fucking minute, since when is JJ Walker “Legendary”? I mean I like Good Times and all, but saying “Dynamite” and having big lips doesn’t make you “Legendary.

1:01 – The fucking Weasel? Are you serious?

1:03 – Rowdy Roddy Piper is a stand up comedian now? Huh.

1:11 – Helicopter rides.  Just what you need in something like this. For people to escape once they figure out what they just got themselves into.

1:14 – I want to know what the “Violent J’s Beach Boys BBQ Blowout Bash Fest” is. Also, I am amazed Mike Love and Brian Wilson don’t sue them for using the name. Although I can’t imagine they have much money, I mean they drink generic soda after all.

1:26 – Everything in this sounds like something from Metalocalypse. I can’t believe it is real.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Music, News, Videos. Date: August 26, 2009, 9:39 pm | No Comments »

My hosting moved servers today so we had some minor downtime. Things might be a little slow for a bit, but everything should be better soon.

Also make sure you stock up on Cloves before you might not be able to get them anymore. If anyone wants to send some my way, send me a email and perhaps we can work something out.

Coming up later this week is a Top 10 list, some reviews and other special goodness.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Site News. Date: August 26, 2009, 2:20 am | No Comments »

For those whom don’t know I am a huge comic book and action figure fan and collector. This time of the year is kind of like Christmas for a geek like myself, the San Diego Comic Con. This is when pretty much every major geeky thing is shown off in one way or another.  But I am getting away from myself here…

A several years ago Toy Biz started a line of action figures entitled Marvel Legends, which was sort of a revolution in the arena. In the time before the Marvel Legends figures you had one of two choices; small 5 inch figures of limited sculpting, paint and articulation or a nicely sculpted larger figure with almost no articulation aka a statue. The Marvel Legends figures were large 6 inch figures with fantastic sculpting, amazingly detailed paint and most importantly nearly limitless articulation at a very reasonable price point. As a little added bonus you got a little diorama and a comic book that the figure’s design was based of in the package.

This quantum leap not only sold very well but also brought many people whom had given up toy collecting back, like myself. As the line continued Toy Biz continued to improve the line with increasingly improved articulation and the addition of the “Build-A-Figure” concept in which you got a piece of a larger figure with each figure you bought to create a character that is too large or expensive to make on it’s own.

Fast forward to a few years ago in which Marvel announced that they had given the rights to make toys to Hasbro, whom is known for making Star Wars, G.I. Joe and Transformers among other brands. It was pretty much known that Hasbro would try to create a 3 3/4-inch scale line for the Marvel characters. Hasbro continued the Legends line in which they made many down right bizarre changes including raising the price, removing the comic book, reducing most of the paint applications from most figures, bad character selection and most disturbingly made several really disturbing sculpting changes to already shown figures. All of these changes were made to look even worse when compared to Mattel’s much better looking DC Universe Classics figures which use the same basic Marvel Legends concept and sold for cheaper.

After several lackluster waves and terrible reviews of the figures Hasbro came out with their obsession, the 3 3/4th inch scale Marvel Universe figures all while holding out completely on Marvel Legends news. The Marvel Universe figures have not garnered a very good response from the collector community for a multitude of reasons, most notably very, very poor sculpts and very high prices compared to similar lines such as GI Joe and Star Wars.

Now this week, Hasbro showed off some really fantastic looking Marvel Legends prototypes. Some of them long wanted characters, some obscure. There was a lack of many of the long time wants from the line namely characters such as a Jim Lee era Jean Grey, a Extremis Armor Iron Man or a Bucky Captain America, which the Universe figures have all three of, but it was nice to see something. But, Hasbro says that we will only see six of the nearly 20 figures shown.   Also, before the show longtime wanted Iron Man villains Crimson Dynamo and Titanium Man were seen and received a good response but Hasbro announced that they will never be released.

A basic rule is that it is very hard to get a positive buzz about your product whatever it is a movie, video game, soda or toy. But, it is very, very easy to lose that positive buzz. Hasbro has done this repeatably with the Marvel license. If Hasbro wants to make the 3 3/4th inch figures then please by all means make them. If they are not interested in making 6 inch Marvel Legends type of figures anymore why don’t you let someone else make them?

I feel like the Marvel Select folks could do a excellent job at creating these figures. Their 7 inch figures are limited in many ways; a unpopular scale, limited articulation. Perhaps a move to 6 inch scale and perhaps setup a system like Mattel has in place with the Masters of the Universe Classics line in which we have a new figure every month would be exactly what would satisfy everyone. I would image they would be able to turn a profit with the limited amount of marketing, nearly no distribution and the amount of sculpting made on each figure. A Legends line would hopefully have more sculpting costs than the normal MOTU figure but I would imagine more people would be interested in good quality figures of not only highly wanted stuff like the Jean Grey but timely releases of new/revamped characters.

I honestly feel like that is the biggest sore spot for a comic book fan with the Marvel Legends line, Marvel should be using Hasbro/whomever as a way to market themselves and vice versa. When Marvel made Bucky Captain America, Hasbro should have had a Bucky Captain America figure out that same month or around that time. There should have been a entire Secret Invasion wave, imagine a X-Men or Illuminati Super Skrull, Skrull Queen, Mockingbird, Nick Fury and a Extremis Iron Man. Or a Dark Reign wave that has Iron Patriot, Marvel Boy, Daken, Female Loki and a Hank Pym Wasp. I mean these are just pulled out of my ass here but it would seem to me like it would be easier to sell a comic book based toy line that is dealing with current comics. Maybe include with each event wave a teaser comic like what we got when Dark Reign started to show people who might not be exposed to the comics, you know like kids these days, but also adults who may see a Bucky Captain America and wonder why he looks so weird and inside is a comic explaining it all and there is a new Captain America reader! It might also give Marvel the perfect way to get back into mass market comics and get comics back into places like a Wal-Mart or Supermarkets again.

But it is all woulda, shoulda, coulda and for whatever reason I am not in charge of anything at all.

Posted by Djarum, filed under Comics, Toys. Date: July 25, 2009, 3:55 am | No Comments »

Straight from SDCC the first shots of the Movie Master Ghostbusters figures of Peter Venkman, Winston Zeddemore and most surprisingly but very very welcome Walter Peck! Pictures from ToyNews International.

I honestly want these more than anything else in life. Hopefully someone at Mattel will see this and hook me up with some to review.

Ray

Winston

Dickless

Venkman

Egon 12

Venkman 12

Winston 12

Posted by Djarum, filed under Movies, News, Toys. Date: July 24, 2009, 7:32 pm | No Comments »

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