Archive for July, 2010

30
Jul
10

Getting back to work…

Erin is back home again, and to get my mind off it, I’m going to get some work done. This means, in large part, catching up on reviews of recent comics, mainly for Comixtreme.com, but also for my own site, The Back Issue Bin. I’ve taken to posting more and more comic book reviews here at Evertime Realms in the last few months, and it’s occurred to me that’s kind of silly. I established a whole new blog specifically for the purpose of posting comic book reviews, so why am I duplicating my efforts here? So in addition to the old reviews brought back from internet purge obscurity, in addition to the “Somebody’s First Comic Book” pieces I’ve been posting at the BIB since the beginning of June, I’m going to now start a queue of recent comic reviews in my files, where I’ll post one each day – reviews of comics that other reviewers at CX already covered, or books that I didn’t get to read until they were no longer timely, concerns that of course won’t matter at my own site. This will include future Brightest Day reviews – except for those that are posted at Comixtreme, of course. I maintain my vow that every Brightest Day tie-in I read will be reviewed either at CX or at the BIB. And you’ll be able to follow all of them as I constantly update the Archive.

The other thing I’m going to be working on are the edits to Opening Night of the Dead. I printed out the manuscript, put it in a binder, and spent my downtime during Annie rehearsals to work on editing the document. (I’ve discovered that I do much better work editing my own stuff in hard copy. For some reason, I just gloss over a lot of the errors on the screen.) As soon as I finish the editing, I’m going to ask a few trusted readers to look it over for their comments, and then it’s going to be time to look for a publisher for this bad boy. Wish me luck.

29
Jul
10

Other People’s Heroes: Issue Five (Evercast #24)

Last issue, Josh Corwood decided to go undercover in the Siegel City Superhero Scam, hoping to gain all the information he needs to prove to the world that some of its proudest heroes are nothing but frauds. This week, Josh’s investigation begins in earnest, with a tour of Simon Tower.

Other People’s Heroes: Issue Five (Evercast #24)

Theme song, “Last of the Superheroes,” by American Heartbreak, courtesy of MusicAlley.com. Cover art by Jacob Bascle, FreemindGraphx.com and VisionaryComics.com. Evercast theme by Jeff Hendricks, JeffHendricks.net. Evercast logo by Heather Petit Keller.

E-mail me at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com

Creative Commons License
Blake M. Petit’s Evercast by Blake M. Petit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.evertimerealms.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.evertimerealms.com.

28
Jul
10

Classic EBI #58: From the Movie Theater to the Comic Shop

No new EBI this week, because Erin is here and she wins. but I can still bring you a blast from the past…

April 14, 2004

Everything But Imaginary #58: From the Movie Theater to the Comic Shop

A week ago, we here at Everything But Imaginary Global Headquarters talked to you about the current crop of comic books that have been turned into movies. What, you don’t believe me? Go ahead, click here to read last week’s column. Remember now? Ah, good times, huh? (Sigh.)

Anyway, our discussion last week was about how we’re getting a lot of pretty solid comic-book-to-movie adaptations these days, and that’s a good thing. The question, though, is whether or not those movies ever translate into higher sales of the comic book. Unfortunately, I think the answer is probably “no.” Or at the most optimistic, “not for long.” When Spider-Man was released in 2002, it was seen by millions of people, but of those millions about three new people picked up comic books, all named “Bernie.” That wasn’t quite the windfall we want if we’re going to get comics out of the shadowed corners of the artistic spectrum and make them big again.

There are a lot of ways that visibility can be increased. One of the most obvious is the premium giveaway — this has happened to me twice in recent years. When I went to the opening-day showing of X-Men, I got a movie prequel comic, and when I went to the Empire Strikes Back: Special Edition premiere, I got a free Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron #1/2 special. This was extremely cool to me, and cool to my friends as well. Unfortunately, most of us already read comics on a regular basis, so we weren’t the target audience. There were others in the theater with us of course, adults and children who got the free comics, several I even saw reading them while waiting for the movie to start, but how many of them actually went out afterwards and found a comic book shop to pick up the next issue? Painfully few.

The implementation of Free Comic Book Day has been a real help with this idea, and tying it in with a major comic book movie is a good plan — if it’s marketed properly. This year’s FCBD will be the Saturday after the Wednesday premiere of Spider-Man 2. If people like the movie, they may want to check out some comics, especially if they know they can get them for free. That’s the tricky part: if they know. Would it be that difficult or expensive for Marvel to perhaps attach an ad to the beginning of Spider-Man 2 (if you put it at the end nobody will be there to see it) telling the audience “Get free comics this Saturday! Go to www.freecomicbookday.com to find the store nearest you?” That would be three days of advertising to the people who’ve got time off in anticipation of the coming July 4 weekend – if that doesn’t drive up business to comic book stores, what would?

Oh yeah. The store. That’s problem number two.

I keep harping on this, I know, but it’s important. As much as I love the comic book store, keeping the focus on direct distribution is just a case of preaching to the converted. People walking out of a Hellboy theater last weekend or a Punisher theater this weekend, having enjoyed their respective films, may be interested to read more about the characters, perhaps in that clever 25-cent Hellboy: The Corpse special, but how will they do so if they don’t go to comic shops already? Let’s say this person (we’re going to call him Fred for the sake of expediency) is already a voracious reader. Fred reads lots of novels, magazines, newspapers, etc., and has no preconceived notions about comics being just for kids. But Fred doesn’t know where any comic store is, so how is he going to learn more about Frank Castle?

Here’s our chance: Fred does go to the bookstore. His bookstore may even have a graphic novel section, but he doesn’t browse it much because it’s near the back and 75 percent of it is Japanese Manga. We need a display of Punisher trade paperback in a visible area. We need a reprint of Garth Ennis’s Welcome Back Frank TPB with a photo cover of Thomas Jane. And most importantly, we need an outlet for the monthly books there as well. We need bookstores to carry comics that we never would have dreamed of selling outside a comic book store ten years ago. Something that amazes me is that our local Border’s not only put in a spinner rack some time ago, but it carries Vertigo and Max titles, recognizing that more mature people are reading comic books. Fortunately, the bottom rows still consist of Archie and Powerpuff Girls, where the kids can still get to them.

Once we’ve got Fred looking at these comics, and I hate to say it, I think we need to keep him away from movie adaptations, for the simple reason that most comic book movie adaptations just aren’t very good. Now I haven’t read the Punisher adaptation, but most of them I’ve read suffer from the same problems over and over again: the dialogue doesn’t work as well in the comic as on the screen, too much is cut out to make it fit in 64 (or 48 or, Heaven forbid, 32) pages, the action scenes don’t work because of a need to replicate camera angles and the artwork suffers as the artist struggles to replicate the faces of the actors from the film. There are exceptions to this rule, and if any fine writers or creators of movie adaptation comics happen to be reading this column, rest assured, your stuff was just plain brilliant, but in general these adaptations just don’t work. So what if someone sees a comic-based movie they like and then pick up a lousy adaptation as their first exposure to the real comic? We’ve just lost a potential reader.

And finally, I think it’s important to play up films that are based on lesser-known comic book properties. A couple of years ago I was buying a DVD and the checkout girl at the bookstore commented upon my choice of movies. We talked for a few minutes and she asked me if I’d ever been to the local New Orleans arthouse cinema.

“Sure, I’ve been there,” I lied. I’d never been there in my life, mostly out of a desire to stay entirely out of New Orleans proper without a really good reason, such as my mother is dying of an alien ailment and the only cure is the sludge that collects against the docks at the New Orleans Riverboat casino and my brother lost his car keys. But the checkout girl was cute and I wasn’t about to tell her that.

“Have you seen Made?” she asked.

“No, I haven’t, but I’ve heard good things about it.” This time I told the truth.

“I haven’t seen it either,” she said. “There’s this other one playing I want to see too, it’s called Ghost World.”

I ask, “Isn’t that the one based on the comic book by–”

Daniel Clowes,” we both say at the same time.

It was at this point that I realized that a line was accumulating behind me and people were beginning to give me dirty looks, so I paid for the DVD and left. When I got to my car, two things soon occurred to me:

1. Idiot. You should have asked her to the movies.

2. Hey, she not only knew about Ghost World, she knew who did the comic it’s based on.

Now granted, you would expect your average bookstore personnel to have a bit more savvy about that sort of thing than Joe Schmo, but she was probably the only person I talked to about Ghost World that knew it was based on a comic book. Similarly, nobody knew From Hell was a comic book first when that film came out, and you should have seen the strange looks I got from people when I tried to tell them about the Road to Perdition comic. A few people knew that American Splendor was a comic, but since the movie is about the guy who wrote the comic, they would have to be as smart as your average Warner Brothers executive to let that one slip past them.

I’m seeing a lot more of Harvey Pekar’s Splendor books on the stands these days, and Max Allan Collins finally got the chance to continue the Perdition series, but the readership spreading across the board just hasn’t happened. Perdition, Ghost World and Splendor all got Academy Award nominations, for Heaven’s sake! If that can boost sales for books like Master and Commander, Cold Mountain or a little tome called Lord of the Rings, why can’t it work for comic books?

It’s all about perception and exposure, folks. Go rent those movies I talked about, watch ‘em with some non-comic fans and then give them the original graphic novels. Watch their eyes bug out. We all want comics to be bigger and better and movies are just one way that can happen.

If only it’s done right.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: April 7, 2004

Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Phil Winslade have taken an early lead in the race for the EBI “Best New Title” award with their great comic The Monolith. The third issue, out last week, finishes off the first story arc in which Alice Cohen inherits a house from her grandmother only to find an incredibly powerful Golem (a mystical warrior from Hebrew myth made of clay and blood) walled up in her basement. People upset over the demise of Sentinel should give this book a chance, as the story has a lot of the same “boy and his robot” feel to it, and since only the first three issues are out, it should be relatively easy to track them down and give this worthy comic a read.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at Blake@comixtreme.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.

27
Jul
10

Time Travel Tuesdays: I Really Really Really Want You to Shut Up

Time Travel Tuesdays! Yay! Let’s travel back to 2002, when the McDonald’s Corporation made me want to jump off of a suspension bridge just to escape their latest commercial!

April 6, 2002

I really really really want you to shut up

I hate McDonald’s.

I never used to hate McDonald’s. I was actually fairly indifferent towards McDonald’s for quite some time. I’d eat there, but no more often than any other fast-food type of establishment.

Until about a week ago.

Apparently, my friends, McDonald’s has upped the ante in the ongoing fast food war with their new “Chicken Strips.” The message of the chicken strips seems to be, “Hey, if you don’t like our chicken in processed, unrecognizable nugget form, here’s an alternative!”

I have no problem with McDonald’s introducing a new product. That’s certainly their prerogative. I may even have been tempted to sample these new strips, were it not for the way the fast food giant chose to convey the information about its new product to the public.

I’m talking about a commercial, my friends. And not just any commercial. McDonald’s could have used any of a number of ways to promote this product. They could have had a tap-dancing McDonald’s employee informing a customer. They could have had Ronald McDonald put a sleeper hold on the Hamburglar when the latter attempted to steal the coveted foodstuff. They could have simply shown smiling children eating the strips. Perhaps one could have fed a strip to a puppy.
But no.

Instead we unsuspecting television viewers who, innocently enough, want only to see Anthony Edwards’s last episode of ER are deluged with people munching chicken strips as they dance to a ear-splitting voice screaming, “Tell me whatcha want, whatcha really, really want!”

Yes. McDonald’s has resurrected the Spice Girls.

Heads shall roll for this.

Give me bubblegum pop. Give me country. Give me a drunken barber dragging a screaming cat along a mile-long chalkboard but please, dear God, don’t subject me to the Spice Girls again.

This so-called “musical” group has been thankfully off the charts for years now, but that doesn’t negate the fact that for quite some time they were inexplicably popular, even to the point of filming a movie that makes Mariah Carrey’s “Glitter” seem quiet and understated by comparison.

Just this morning, as I drove to work, the Spice Girls began screaming on my radio again, prompting me to reach out and jab at the buttons, but it was too late. I had already been requested to divulge what it was I want, what I really, really want.

The human brain has a serious malfunction in its wiring, you see. While good memories are quickly shunted to the background, the mind feels compelled to replay horrible songs and embarrassing moments at constant, random intervals, moreso when something happens to remind you of it.

As a result, I’ve spent all day struggling valiantly against the urge to explain to the people in my office that what I really, really, really want is zig-a-zig-AH. Meanwhile, the portion of my brain responsible for embarrassing memories, struggling to keep up with the bad songs segment, has been stuck on a continuous loop of the time I accidentally dropped a lead weight on a girl’s head in ninth-grade science class.

What I can’t understand is why McDonald’s would choose such a tactic to promote a new product. What difference does it make if people who hear your radio commercial are aware of the existence of the chicken strips if the way the message is conveyed inspires them to drive into a concrete bridge abutment just to get it to stop?

And so, I find myself in quite a moral quandary. Do I stop going to McDonald’s altogether, or do I take the more mature, sensible route of secretly breaking in one night and altering the intercom system for the drive-thru window so that it plays Ray Stevens’ “The Streak” 24 hours a day?

Decisions, decisions.

In the meantime, I intend to spend the next 24 hours in a sanitary environment being fed a steady diet of Barenaked Ladies and Five For Fighting until the horrors of this music no longer echo in my skull and I am fit to rejoin normal society.

And I’m gonna work on my radio station changing reflexes too.

Blake M. Petit actually loves every Spice Girls album. Why waste a perfectly good skeet in target practice? Contact him with comments, suggestions or any song that can eradicate the Spice Girls from his mind at BlakeMPetit@Gmail.com.

26
Jul
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 180: San Diego 2010

Erin is back this week, joining Blake to talk about the news from Comic-Con 2010! In the news we’ve got the Avengers cast, the Chew TV show, the Young Justice cartoon, new Avengers, changes to the Batman family, the return of the Mickey Mouse comic strip, new announcements about a dozen different comics and creators, and more! In the picks, Erin recommends the book Stiff, and Blake loved the second issue of Darkwing Duck. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 180: San Diego 2010

25
Jul
10

One last show

A quick recap of the past 24 hours:

Oh no! Tropical Storm Bonnie is coming this way! They might have to cancel the last performance of our play!

Yay! Bonnie has fizzled out! The play is on!

What? The park service is closing the building anyway? Don’t they watch the news? ANNIE is sold out! CURSE YOU, RICHARDS!

What? The play is back on? SWEET.

Erin is in the theatre right now, waiting for the last show to start. If you’re waiting for this week’s podcast, it probably won’t hit until tomorrow. Good things come to those who wait.

23
Jul
10

Erin is here…

Erin is here, and she’ll be here until Thursday, which means my posting will be sporadic until then. Deal with it.I will, of course, have pictures and stuff. And she’s going to help me record a podcast or two. So you’ll hear from us. It’ll just be irregular.

(Erin here, Nothing in the world could completely tear Blake away from his computer….but I’m gonna try my damnedest.)




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