Friday, August 26, 2011

Chee cah go

I recently went to the Chicago Comic Con.

I didn't post about this before now, because I don't need my door kicked in while I'm away. I'm just paranoid that way. I haven't posted about it since because I needed some time to put things in perspective.

I've never been to one of the MAJOR Cons before. Now, I can say I've been.

I didn't quite know what to expect. Saw TONS of folks. THIS line was just folks waiting to get in the main door.

Some in costume most not... Met 2 nice Asian women who came up from St Louis. Also found some loud obnoxious motor mouth in line behind me. At 1st he was funny. Then it became apparent he was a blowhard borderline bully and that unfortunately set my mentality in a negative way going in.

I hate people. Don't get me wrong I'm a friendly person. But I like to walk w/o tripping over folks and I don't like to wait. The lines were absolute mayhem and creeped me out a couple of times. Too many too close. A fire or earthquake would have defined the world tragic. 

Lots to see...
If you wanted it, thought you might like it, were curious about it, or hated it, it was there. Something for everyone.

I didn't notice too many things that I'm actively hunting that were a "deal". 
This pic was taken from behind a glass case. The guy behind the case was in a suit. I wasn't the guy he needed to talk to about these books. He's looking for an "investor" not a collector.

I'm looking to buy this kind of stuff from the guy that stole it and needs gas money to get home.

Stuff I did buy.
I found one very nice fellow and bought a hand-full of things from him. 2 issues of Witching Hour (numbers 8 and 10) and 7 Tomb of Dracula issues that were random non-keys.  

Shameless plug for a future discount.
I found these guys at Chicago again: Tomorrows Treasures, I'd recommend them to anyone to do business with. They have a bit of a different approach. They have an incredible selection of prime desirable books. Their money books are fairly priced for what they are... I just wish I was the guy that could by them. My wallet is too small. As it is they have stacks and boxes of mid-grade random non-key bronze and silver books that go from 5-10 dollars. Great way to fill in holes. Unfortunately they didn't have anything I couldn't live w/o or was actively seeking THIS trip. Luck of the draw I guess.

If/when I am in a position to buy a money book, I'm going to make them my 1st call to see if they have it, can get it, and what they gotta get out of it.

This is my 3rd time running into TT at a convention. I bought a lot (at least for MY cheapskate ass) from them earlier this year in Charlotte. 

Chicago Con Summary.
I was glad I went. Would I go again?, prolly not. This was more of an event; a spectacle of celebrity. I too old to be impressed by that. I don't need it. I just want good books cheap. For that, I liked the Charlotte show better. Things were regionally priced. Meaning simply that the prices reflected what the Chicago market would bear. Its a bit higher than I would prefer overall. I need the Con across the street from a trailer park. I'm glad I did, now I have something to compare to, it was good for that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So what is up with the SyFy Channel?

Why do they bother to generate new shows if all they are going to do is cancel them once they find their legs and have a nice tight cast with good chemistry.

Exhibit 1.
FarScape - Sadly, I missed the train on this one the 1st time around, but thanks to the wonder of Netflix, I'm all caught up now. I thought the 1st season was hit or miss. Decent, but slow to develop.. Very good characterization but shallow on action and an overall sense of purpose. Once Scorpius was introduced that complaint went away in a big damn hurry.. You want action - This show is a Big Boy roller-coaster with huge drops, speed and fast turns even when you know they are coming ... they get ya. This was an explosion of creativity. Cancelled far too soon.

Exhibit 2.
Eureka - What a great little show. Charming, simple.. Well acted characters that draw you in and give you a reason to care about them. Its Mayberry on nanite steroids. (I live in NC so a positive reference to the Andy Griffith show is serious Bid'ness, make no mistake.) Unlike shows of the 50s 60's and 70's where each show is stand-alone in nature. These days TV shows are more often than not sequential; meaning that you need to know what went before so that "now" makes sense. Its essentially a serial and I'm fine with that. While they are still airing episodes and working to finish the series, it will not be renewed. This saddens me. Its the only SciFi show my wife can tolerate.

Alternate Proposal or -
Maybe as a weigh station for shows on the cancellation block in the future networks can make webisodes (a'la The Guild) to see what the interest level actually is among the fans. If a site sets X amount of traction via being streamed on the web... then perhaps it can be saved.. since we now build on stories in a serial format, it would be quite possible to continue that as part of the ongoing plot should it be brought back to prime-time.

What speaks loudest? Volume? big mouths?
Shit no - No big wallets. How about a telethon to save a show? Proceeds could go to a charity as a BIG PR win for the network or it could be a tip for the cast and crew to continue.

So with all of the above in mind.
I am extremely hesitant to even consider recommending SyFy's "Alphas".
But it is that good and intriguing even if it is derivative.

Alphas Summary:
If you have ever read an X-men comic, then you get the basic idea. But its more BSG than Stan Lee. Edgy. No alliterative code names,  just people who do interesting stuff. The Big picture and the groups place in it has yet to be defined. I await that development eagerly.

Dr. Lee Rosen played by David Strathairn
Rosen is more reminiscent of a Robert Young type from Father knows best. While decidedly not Professor X, Rosen would relate and build trust and friendships by a fishing trip or some other deeply personal connection. He has a frail control over the group. It may better to say he is an influencer that appeals to their inner nature. For now they look to him as a kindly uncle or surrogate father. Should the other characters have doubts about the direction they could easily overpower him and go their own way.

Bill Harken played by Malik Yoba
This one doesn't fit for me. If you could push a car you could push a lineman or be an un-tackle-able fullback. While every group needs a "Strongman" we have not see ONE superhero get their origin from a sports notice. This seems absurd. Every Sunday when we watch football we see freakish people do freakish things. Gimme 1 sports star please. The Bill character is mature, experienced, professional and conflicted about his Alpha situation. Evidently it was a late in life surprise and hes learning how to cope.

Cameron Hicks played by Warren Christie
So far this is Bullseye. Only instead of a murdering psychopath, this guy is more of a tortured soul (a'la Wolverine) trying to find his way in life and finally makes the right kind of friends to challenge him to be a better man. His military training gives him advantage.

Nina Theroux played by Laura Mennell
This character Reminds me of Garth Ennis' Preacher. The Preacher and Nina Both have the influence of "the Spoken word. When they chose to use it that is. In Nina's case she is a manipulator. Maybe its her "look" but she strikes me as a kept woman who has was gotten what she wants and at times has danced on the edge... and that edge brought her to Rosen. She is basically good and is striving to be better but has a tragic past she is running from, based on her previous actions and abusing her gift. I'd be curious to see how it works on someone who is deaf, or speaks another language. It would be also interesting to see if she can do this on a crowd as opposed to 1:1 interaction making her a foolproof interrogator.

Gary Bell played by Ryan Cartwright
Easily the most original and flawed character of the group. The actor is very good. I believe he is autistic. I think this character could be the most powerful, but his flaw keeps him in check and human. I'll be curious to see if Rosen can help him progress and become even higher functioning as he better copes with his gifts. Its entirely possible Gary autism is induced BY his gift as a governor or regulator type of coping mechanism. If this is removed even temporarily and for short bursts it would make for some interesting stories

Rachel Pirzad played by Azita Ghanizada
She is Daredevil, but without the radar thing and martial arts stuff. They use her as a human blood hound right now but this can be pushed A LOT farther than it currently is... I hope they don't write her into a box and let her grow and develop her powers to detect lies, act as lookout and all sorts of other goodies.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Women in comics.. I love cheesecake.

I recently stumbled on this blog. After I bandaged my toe... I decided this was a really good thing.

I was having a conversation earlier this weeks that comics needed to diversify and break up the monotony of guys doing stories about guys in tights. It needs to be more than that. I worry that comics will go the way of the video laser-disc, beta-max and rotary phone. A sure fire way to keep that from happening is to bring new people into the hobby

When I go to a comic store.. everyone else I see... Its like fun-house mirrors.. I just see a distorted version of myself or someone I used to be or someone I'm afraid to become.

Back in the 40's and 50's there used to be lots of "girl comics" Just check out the variety in Overstreet's title listings. Romance, fashion, love stories gone wrong. There were ONCE upon a time comics for girls. I don't see why there cant be comics for girls again. That's where Womanthology comes in.

The Womanthology is seemingly a single edition heralding female comic creators. I love the idea. I wish it was more than that. I'd like to see a kind of "Image" imprint publishing clone where the primary creative forces were women. That would be neat.

I'm all for anything that brings new people into the hobby. Why cant it be girls making comics for people? I wish them well and respect them for having the moxie and resource to make it happen.

I'll keep an eye out. You have my attention. Please knock my socks off with good stuff and don't rest on a gimmick.

Response to Crimson Monkey Blog: Are Comics Only For Rich People Now?

For those that missed the initial Crimson Monkey Blog post, here it is...

It asks an interesting Question. Are comics for Rich people now? During the late 30's and early 40's was when the Superhero wave 1st gained traction with Superman, Batman, Wonder woman, Captain America, Captain Marvel ect. Those books were 10 cents. What could a dime buy you during the depression Coffee and a donut? A plate full of chicken wings? A gallon of gas. I have no real idea of a dimes value relative to the time.

My counter point is maybe that has always been the case. Comics are for rich people... How many pictures of shanty's do you see with a robust golden age comic book collection inside?

However the larger point the author makes is well taken. 
Why the glut of 'NEW" material?

Maybe it has more to do with shopping scripts as the next "BIG" movie project and keeping trademarks current as viable marketable properties as much as anything else. I'm lost just like the author. However, it is a curious observation.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The State of Collecting..

My Uncle, (my wife's' uncle to be more correct) is big into Breweriana. (Beer related collectables) He has openers, posters, advertising pieces, pre-prohibition, post prohibition, steins, mugs, match strikers.

Some phenomenal interesting 1 of a kind type stuff..

So I asked him who gets into this kind of stuff? What does the average collector look like and who are they. Most typically they are men in their 30's - 40's who have never married with extra cash to spend.

Not many kids or women - price points of desirable items were becoming a barrier to entry. This felt really familiar to me. I think it will resonate with most of you that read this..

Are there any collecting hobbies where this isn't the case.. but rather is growing, appealing to a diverse audience that has material relatively inexpensive? 

I'd be curious to know if such a thing exists.

I sometimes worry that comics will become obsolete and about as meaningful as a phonograph cylinder.

Hey, don't forget the POINT of the blog..

I know I can be long winded and a bit of an opinionated blowhard and ruthless cheapskate on some things..
However, aside from listening to the walls echo from the sound of my own voice I wanted to generate some interest to trade some.