Archive for March, 2011

31
Mar
11

I’ll stop talking about having a book in the Kindle store as soon as it stops being awesome…

Here’s a sweet link for you — the Kindle Author Blog interviewed me about OPH. (Thanks to Joe Green for directing me there!) Read it, love it, and if you haven’t done so already, go grab your copy of Other People’s Heroes from Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the Smashwords eBook store!

Also, if you’ve already got the book, or if you read the original version of the novel, or if you listened to the audio podcast, or if you can thread together two coherent sentences, please pop on over to Amazon and Smashwords and write a review of the book! It seems like a little thing, but reviews help to boost the profile of products on Amazon and will help more people find the book. And it would make me your new best friend.

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30
Mar
11

Classic EBI #83: Spoiler Space

The world is full of comic book nerds, especially in Hollywood… but why don’t we see a lot of original superhero characters outside of comics? Can superheroes only thrive in one medium?

Everything But Imaginary #392: Medium Defiance

And in this week’s classic EBI, let’s look back at Oct. 6, 2004, when I thought about all the spoilers that were invading the internet… and I… struck… back…

Classic EBI #83: Spoiler Space

Now that we’ve all had a chance to read Detective Comics #799, wow, what a shocker, huh? I never suspected that Robin’s father, Jack Drake, would be killed by the Joker and a hermaphroditic gerbil on PCP. Talk about a shocker!

What? Oh, you mean you guys haven’t read it yet? You mean it won’t even be available to purchase for several more hours? Oh, gosh, I feel terrible now. Wow, it’s a good thing that everything I said there was complete and total rubbish, isn’t it? But now that I’ve got your attention, this would be a good time to talk about spoilers.

A “spoiler,” of course, is any piece of information regarding the plot of a story that you didn’t know yet, in essence, “spoiling” it for you. The term “spoiler” was coined because “ruiner” sounds funky. And before we go on much further, in case you didn’t get it, I was lying in the first paragraph. Being the kind, benevolent, dashing, callipygian, modest columnist-type-person that I am, I would never actually tell you what happened in Detective Comics #799 because that would spoil it for you. Also because some of you may know where I live.

For as long as there has been fiction, there have been spoilers. If you go back to the 1500s you can find scrolls written by people talking about that startling new play wherein, at the end, SPOILERS AHEAD! Romeo and Juliet both kill themselves. But since the invention of the Internet, spoilers have become a much bigger problem because now people have the ability to opine from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world as fast as the information can be processed in their brains. Or, more frequently, their mouths, since often people on the Internet have found ways to bypass their brains altogether.

This problem, of course, is not exclusive to comic books. Websites like Ain’t It Cool News make their name by giving out juicy spoilers for movies far in advance (and conveniently forgetting about it when the spoiler turns out not to be true), but at least they have the courtesy to stamp a big warning label before the spoiler appears. This, unfortunately, will not stop idiots from e-mailing it to you or blabbing it in a chatroom, but in this day and age, that’s the price you pay for daring to get out of bed in the morning.

You can also spoil books – I’m a big fan of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and frequently visit a message board devoted to such. When the advance review copies of the last book in that well-loved series began to circulate a month or so ago, there was a massive storm on that board between the people who were hurling spoilers around right and left and the people who didn’t want to know. One jerk actually went so far as to post the entire plot of the book in the middle of a thread where people were congratulating the administrator for pulling the plug on spoilers. Another popped into a chatroom and spouted out the ending to people who hadn’t read it yet. And this is for the end of a series that some people have been reading for 22 years. There is a word for people who do that sort of thing. However, I will not tell you what that word is since the CXPulp.com filter would most likely block it out anyway. (HINT: it ends in “weed”.)

Now some people don’t mind spoilers. Some people are perfectly happy knowing that SPOILERS AHEAD! “Rosebud” was the name of his sled before the movie even starts. And if that’s your thing, hey, that’s fine. But there are an awful lot of us out there, myself included, who prefer not to know the ending. You’re the kids who always snuck into your parents’ closet looking for Christmas presents, whereas we’re the kids who just looked at the 18-inch box under the tree and hoped against hope that a puppy could fit in there somehow. If you want to discuss spoilers, you’ve got every right to, but you should also have the respect and courtesy to keep them amongst yourselves and not go blabbing that you find out in Amazing Spider-Man #512 that SPOILERS AHEAD! Norman Osborne is the father of Gwen Stacy’s children to anyone who hasn’t heard it yet.

Just last week a thread appeared here which started with the phrase “Well, now that we’ve all read Superman/Batman #12…” and proceeded to give away the entire plot. The trouble with this thread was, not all of us had read Superman/Batman #12 yet. This appeared on Friday. The book came out Wednesday. Not everyone gets their comic books the day of release – or even the same week – and you can’t just assume that they have. If I hadn’t finished reading the book about five minutes before, I may have had to go to the guy’s house and hit him with a frozen halibut.

Even worse was an incident a few weeks ago in the forum of our own Chris Sotomayor. Soto, one of the best colorists in the biz (and I say that out of genuine admiration, not just because he hosts a forum here), was discussing his upcoming work on the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Book of the Dead. Fans were speculating as to who would appear in that book, since the current Avengers Disassembled storyline was resulting in many casualties. Then someone appeared in the thread and asked Soto if he could post some pictures since, by now, we all knew that SPOILERS AHEAD! Hawkeye was the character who died in the much-touted Avengers #502.

The problem with this? He posted this message nearly a week before Avengers #502 even went on sale!

Oh, I was ticked.

Now to his credit, he’d tried to do something, at least. He changed the font color to white. Unfortunately, since the background text on the site is various shades of gray, that was worse than useless and the book was seriously spoiled for me. And it didn’t help that everybody else was talking about the death like it was common knowledge soon afterwards.

The obvious question to ask here is, how long is information considered a spoiler? Technically, I’d say any time before you, personally (or to be more specific, I personally) have read the comic. But that gets a little ridiculous. I mean, just because someone has never read Avengers #4 doesn’t mean they don’t already know SPOILERS AHEAD! they found Captain America frozen alive in a block of ice, thawed him out, made him a member of the team and he served proudly for at least 500 issues.

So how long is a reasonable amount of time to consider something a spoiler? When do you have to stop putting information like SPOILERS AHEAD! the boat sinks and Leo drowns in those little gray text boxes we use to shield the masses? I know some fans would prefer something remain a spoiler until the trade paperback comes out – this specifically applies to those fans who wait for the trade paperback. But I don’t think that’s always necessary. If you’re writing in a thread about Identity Crisis #3, you can reasonably assume people have read Identity Crisis #2 and know that SPOILERS AHEAD! Dr. Light raped Sue Dibney already.

Rather than cruising on a set period of time, I think it’s fair and logical to assume something is a spoiler until the next issue of that title comes out, whenever that happens to be. When Birds of Prey went biweekly, by the time #74 came out it should have been acceptable to reference how, in #73, SPOILERS AHEAD! Oracle defeated Brainiac.

And if that means you’ve got to talk about NYX #5 in spoiler blocks for the next six years or so before #6 comes out, so be it.

Some people don’t mind spoilers. Some people even like ‘em. And those people have plenty of opportunity to talk about them. But if you’ve got spoiler info, make sure you present it as such for a reasonable length of time. Otherwise, you’ll be like Homer Simpson walking out of The Empire Strikes Back and saying, SPOILERS AHEAD! “Wow, who would have thought Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father?”. This would, by extension, make the rest of us the people standing in line outside the theatre who wanted to kill him for saying it, and since very few of us have yellow skin, four fingers and an overbite, it’s not a fair analogy.

Like so many problems in the world of comics (and the rest of the world too, when you get right down to it), you can solve this one if you just apply a little common sense. Try it sometime. You might even like it.

Favorite of the Week: September 29, 2004

It’s a darn good thing that I had read Superman/Batman #12 before I read the spoiler, because this was a fantastic issue. (And considering how long it took to come out, it better have been.) Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Barda have stormed Apokalips, hoping to rescue Kara from the clutches of Darkseid… but what if she doesn’t want to be rescued? There’s plenty of action this issue, and then just when things seem to have settled down, Jeph Loeb hits you in the gut with a knockout punch, a real shocker. Granted, it’s the sort of shocker that you’re certain will be resolved in one of two ways, but it’s a shocker nonetheless. Now let’s all just hope Michael Turner manages to turn out issue #13 before Kara is old enough to have grandchildren.

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 BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.

29
Mar
11

Universal Rule of the Universe #70

Blake’s Universal Rule of the Universe #70

70. Illegal downloading is wrong. But Disney making people who want a digital copy of Tangled, Tron: Legacy or A Christmas Carol pay for a 3-D version that will look like crap on their home television sets in order to get the digital copy is not going to convince anybody of this.

Read the rest of the Universal Rules of the Universe right here!

28
Mar
11

So now what am I doing?

So last week, as you may have heard, I finally placed my novel Other People’s Heroes in Amazon.com’s Kindle store. This was, by the way, the revised and expanded version, with two bonus short stories. I’ve also put it in the Smashwords eBook store, where you can download it in virtually any eBook format. So while it’s still pending approval in the Nook and iPad bookstores, if you have either of those devices, you can already get your copy of the book. And no matter where you buy it, it’s just $2.99 — less than the price of your average Marvel Comic Book!

Ahem.

So with that done, the question is, what comes next? Well, for you guys, hopefully the next step is buying the book. I mean, if you wanna and stuff. I’d really appreciate it. And I’d also really (really, really) appreciate it if those of you who’ve read the book, either in the eBook format, the original paperback, or even last year’s audio podcast, would take a few minutes and write a review at the Amazon and/or Smashwords websites. Getting reviews for the book helps to boost its profile, which helps other people find it, which hopefully will lead to other people buying it. So if you could do that for me, it would mean a lot.

And what am I doing? Well, like I announced some time back, I’ve also regained the rights to my second novel, The Beginner. As I’ve finished the second draft of Opening Night of the Dead, I’ve turned my creative energies to revisions to The Beginner. I don’t expect the revisions here to be as extensive as they were to Other People’s Heroes, but some editing is definitely necessary before I take it and put it out on the Kindle and Smashwords stores. (I will, by the way, include some new bonus content with this book, just as I did with OPH, although I haven’t decided 100 percent what I’m going to include just yet.)

So I’m still working, my friends. And now the stuff I’m working on is starting to become available to you. I’m really happy about that. If you can give me a little help getting the word out, I’d be in your debt.

27
Mar
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 215: Aquaman, FF and More Announcements!

This week at Megacon, Geoff Johns announced he’s going to be writing a new Aquaman series. Will there be other Brightest Day spin-offs? Also: Showtime cuts a deal for a Chew TV series and a new Captain America trailer gets our attention! In the picks, Blake doubles up with FF #1 and Green Lantern #64 before the big news — Other People’s Heroes is now available as an ebook! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 215: Aquaman, FF, and More Announcements!

26
Mar
11

This looks familiar… vaguely familiar…

I’m at my school today. Not where I teach, but where I went to college. I’m a judge for the district drama rally in the same theatre where I performed in my first play and most of my first dozen. I’ve been here since. I’ve seen other shows, concerts. I was here last week.

Today feels different.

Today I had the time to walk around. To look at everything. To see the paintings that have been hanging I’m these halls for at least 16 years, and probably many more. The giant sign for the campus radio station I used to look at through the booth window when Jason and I hosted our show. Collages of photographs from so many plays that feature my stunningly youthful face smiling back at me. I remember being that kid. I remember how I thought everything I did then was so important.

I remember flecks of paint, the grains of the wood, rust spots on the green room refrigerator. The fold of the curtain, the “break in case of fire” station just offstage, the rickety metal ladder that I was always terrified to climb, but I did over and over again.

I feel a little overwhelmed.

I forgot what this place means to me. How much I love it. How responsible it is for the man I am today. I want to step into those pictures with 19 year old Blake so I can warn him about the mistakes, but also so I could thank him for all the things he did right.

They say you can’t go home again. And they’re usually right. But that doesn’t mean it’s not nice to visit.

25
Mar
11

Conversations: About Edgar Allan Poe

I love teaching Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Fall of the House of Usher” to my 11th graders. I love Poe’s language, I love his magnificent skill at crafting the perfect mood for his story, I love the way Poe could create characters and stories that stick with you not just hours after your finish the story, but months and years later. But mostly, I love teaching this story because invariably (as happened today), my class winds up having some variation of the following conversation:

Me: What the narrator is implying here is that… well… the Usher Family Tree didn’t have a lot of branches on it.
Student 1: You mean they’re inbred?
Me: Yep.
Student 2: I bet that’s why he’s so sick all the time!
Me: Very good. If a person has a recessive gene, then has a child with somebody else who has the same gene, there’s a much greater chance that the gene will become dominant. That can cause all kinds of different, unwanted conditions and abnormalities. From a genetic viewpoint, that’s the problem with inbreeding.
Student 2: Are there other problems?
Me: Of course. There’s the cultural reason it’s a bad idea.
Student 1: What’s the cultural reason?
Me: It gives me the flaming heebie-jeebies.




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