Archive for the ‘WTF?’ Category

UK graffiti artist Banksy gets a shot at conceiving/directing an opening for the Simpsons… and TAKES A SHOT at the companies who use Chinese slave labor to make Simpsons products… and the outsourcing of show animation to lower cost South Korean companies.

I suspect you’ll get the message long before you see how they use cats to make Bart Plushies.

Personally, I would love to know the EXACT NUMBER of people who went WTF?!? last night after seeing this!

I believe that's BULLSHIT your sensing, Spidey!

In case you’ve been cavorting out in the real world this past week and shut yourself off from everything geeky… You might not know that DC Comics, then Marvel (lamely)– stated that they are now committed to the $2.99 price point for individual comic books and that they would lower their $3.99 floppies to $2.99 starting January 2011.

The news took the Tweets, Blogs and Email servers by storm. Many rejoiced. Others shook their heads in disbelief… Even more simply couldn’t wrap their heads around it.

After all, who has EVER SEEN the cover price of comic books decrease?

EXACTLY WHY PRICES WILL BE LOWER

The August comic book sales figures came in… And the results of the price increase were ominously telling.

For the first time in the modern era– not one DC or MARVEL comic book broke the 100,000 copy sales plateau. Not one. No matter how popular the title– comic book sales were down across the board. New books launching for the first time at the $3.99 cover price were uniformly victims of extremely lukewarm sales.

The sales figures reflected an immediate repudiation of the price hike.

This news must have been very frightening to the Powers That Be– as they instantly and collectively realized they had been completely fucked by their own naked greed.

Several industry higher-ups also reported being shaken by stories of long time collectors who suddenly stopped collecting upon hearing the news that their favorite books would suffer an increase of over 30%.

Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley even went so far as to make the following statement/rationalization:

“I think it’s the appropriate price point for the entertainment value and quality that we offer in the books. The $3.99 price point was already the price point for limited series and one-shots before we moved some of our regular series up, and we still have several regular series that are at $2.99. If we want to continue to have the talent and the quality that we offer in those books, it’s a price point that we had to explore. What we offer from an entertainment standpoint is pretty solid and I think we should be proud of that.”

All well and good Mr. Buckley… But I have a few quick questions:

If a popular book sells more copies– why are you raising the cover price? Shouldn’t better selling books be lower priced since you are selling more books? Shouldn’t your increased profits allow you to afford the popular creative teams without an increase in cover price?

Since you say you have to raise prices to pay for quality talent– why are you also raising the prices of books that feature virtually unknown (therefore lower paid) creative teams? Why are those books also $3.99?

I mean, I guess what I ‘m asking is… Is this a legitimate price increase, Mr. Buckley? Or are you just attempting to baffle us with bullshit?

RUMOR HAS IT

The price increase issue has been shrouded in very persistent, negative rumblings. Most believe the jump had nothing to do with publishers incurring additional production costs… And was apparently just an arbitrary increase to squeeze fans. This thought drove a lot of people more than a little crazy. Virtually anyone who thought about the controversy for more than a second decided not to believe the Official Publisher Party Line™– that prices were raised to cover increasing production costs.

Then, of course, there was the added insanity of companies raising cover prices– for any reasonin the middle of a very long Recession/Depression.

THE BUCK STOPPED HERE

A lot of comic book pros are attending the high-profile New York Comic Con this weekend– the spot where DC Comics decided to evoke their price lowering mea culpa.

DC honchos Jim Lee and Dan Didio handled their announcement with a welcomed maturity and restraint… While some of the more brash Marvel staffers seemingly couldn’t be bothered with that. Many seemed intent on playing coy while “discussing” the important subject of rising comic book prices– as if the idea of comics being overpriced in a bad economy was barely a topic worth discussing. Not surprisingly, a couple of Marvel editors and employees seemed to delight in poking fun at DC’s decision to lower their books’ creative page count from 22 to 20… Like two fewer pages in a comic book is the sign of anybody’s fucking Apocalypse.

I sure do wish I was at the con. If I was, I would love to lob this question at one of those snappy Marvel employees:

Why does Marvel seem to consistently think that their fans are STUPID… Or that we don’t want to be treated like ADULTS?

You gotta remember that most comic fans are– what– 25 to 45 now? Why wouldn’t these adults want to discuss such a negative financial impact on their cash flow in a mature manner?

A LITTLE HISTORY

A lot of collectors have been known to drop in and out of this hobby as they move on– or are attracted to– different entertainment forms. Therefore, they are not completely up to speed on every bit of comic book history– including the esoteric study of comic book prices through the decades. Others simply forget history. Even more are too young and would not know the history unless they read a book that discussed the subject.

That stated, I know beyond a doubt that many now reading this article will not know the following two facts:

#1) Back in the day, only a poorer selling comic had its’ cover price raised– as low sales at lower price levels could not justify the continued publication of certain books. Better selling books always had lower prices. The rest of the books in a publisher’s line might be $1.25 each– and the less popular titles would be $1.75 (or whatever). This was the publisher’s way of catering to all of their fans… And the fans of the more expensive titles rarely complained because they felt that the companies cared.  But now– as DC publishes 19 Batman books in one month or Marvel releases 46 Deadpool comics every 30 days– it is hard to believe that the companies care about anything other than money… And how quickly they can get you to part with yours.

#2 There was a time, believe it or not, when comic books only had 17 PAGES of original art and story in each issue. So this whole 20 story pages per book (a number DC is reportedly adopting) verses 22 pages (which Marvel is apparently sticking with… at least this week)– is a bullshit argument over NOTHING.

I truly believe the lower page count will force the better creators– the people who really deserve your attention and your money– to get rid of some of those horrific space wasting splash and double splash pages that the companies have become so enamored with… Pages that only exist to pad a story for eventual collection in a Hardcover or Trade Paperback.

Make a note here: if enough fans resist the lower page count, DC will add the 2 pages back to their books. If fans act like they don’t miss those two pages in DC’s books– Marvel will contract their comics by 2 pages quicker than one of their editors can say something stupid or snarky about the subject at a convention.

THE TRUE HEROES

Commentators like CCW*TV’s Jose Melendez should pat themselves on the back for selflessly using their pulpits to rail continuously against this stultifying price increase. While many uncaring retailers just shrugged off the issue and continued to fill their weekly You Tube videos with the usual self-promoting stupidity and lame book reviews… Other brave men and women led the way in exposing the unnecessary price increase as nothing more than a naked cash grab.

It was their protestations on Twitter, non-profit Blogs and Videos that caused thousands of fans to quickly rally against the price hikes. It was their words that caused thousands of comic book collectors to do something that the majority of fans had never done in the face of a price increase before… Many true blue collectors DROPPED EVERY BOOK but their core, must have titles– and took to the internet rejoicing in their new austere approach to comic book collecting.

Oopsie.

DELUSION ALERT

Yum! Yum!

So the commentators commented. The fans protested. Thousands dropped the more expensive titles (or refused to buy the new expensive titles)… Causing DC and Marvel  to blink. Sounds good– exactly the way a free economy is supposed to work in a democratic society. People voted with their wallets and pocketbooks and the greedy corporations were forced to learn an unusual lesson.

So why are there still some people out there who think Marvel and DC only lowered prices because they care about their fans? There is no indication that this arbitrary price increase was anything but good old-fashioned corporate greed… So why would anybody think these companies lowered the prices to help their customers out?

It’s crazy. The people now forced to lower the prices are the same people who arbitrarily raised the prices just a few months before!

The bottom line is the bottom line and the only reason you saw your favorite books increase by a dollar overnight was because certain dolts at certain conglomerates got a little too full of themselves and thought you would all line up and gladly take a bite of their hastily prepared shit sammich. (Please note: This audio link is NSFW or Meddling Parental Units!)

Personally, I can’t wait to watch the inevitable fancy two-step that Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley will soon be forced to perform– since it was just last week he thought the price increase was perfectly appropriate.

Engadget.com has a great story on this Giant Touchscreen Vending Machine.

“A Touchscreen Vending Machine?” you ask, “Isn’t that just wasteful?”

Well– yes and no.

Yes, sort of, because it is a giant touchscreen on a VENDING MACHINE– so those damn touchscreens are a helluva lot cheaper to produce then we have been led to believe.

But NO, because this machine also SEES YOU and offers you beverages based on your body stereotype (manufacturers claim the software is VERY accurate). You can still order any beverage you want but when this damn thing comes to Fat-Ass America, I’m buying stock in Yoo-hoo!

Anybody that has read five words on the SAYL Blog knows that I do NOT get into the schmaltzy shit– unless it has to do with animals.

So there mere fact that I am hosting this video means one of two things:

#1) I’ve either had a change of heart…

or

#2 This fucking video was too damn geeky to pass up!

YOU PICK!

A lot of what is about to happen in the Spider-man books is all rumor and conjecture. As Dan Slott takes over as the sole writer of Amazing Spider-man with issue #648, there seems to be at least ONE costume change (if not THREE) and some “gadgets” (whatever in the hell that means) that will eventually be added to the mix.

Here’s the cover image for Amazing Spider-man #650:

PISS IN MY EYES WOULD STING LESS

As Spidey Patrols, A Nation Pukes

There is no word on how long this Tron-like* abomination will stick around or when and if the “gadgets” will appear or disappear.

Either way, it just seems more like a return to the horribly absurd 90’s.

Anybody that’s been collecting for a few years knows that costume changes always sell big– especially when they occur in Spider-man comics. But this one is, well, crap. It feels like a cross between Spider-Man 2099 and the laugh inducing Electric Blue Superman.

Pffft!

Awww Christ! The agony!

And before anybody goes all bug-nut crazy on me– this post is not a slam against Slott. It’s more of a collective sigh that Marvel is going in this direction. Slott’s talented and seems like a nice man. But I thought that all that Brand New Day and O.M.I.T. bullshit was supposed to take the character back to his roots. You know, “We want Spidey to be the way he used to be.”

None of that seems to be working out.

It’s a shame too– I really thought given the way Slott was geeking out over the opportunity to be Spidey’s main caretaker that we were going to see some solid stories that didn’t rely on smoke and mirrors. Is Marvel really afraid that Spider-man– or any comic for that matter– will not sell just on solid storytelling… So much so that they are back to relying on costume changes and gadgets?

I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS

(In all fairness, I first saw Jose Melendez at the CCW*TV Blog compare the new Spider-man costume to Tron outfits. )

Houston, We have a HUGE problem!

UGH!

Possibly the WORST KEPT SECRET in Hollywood– Fox just announced that Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez & Randy Jackson are the judges for the upcoming season of American Idol.

So much for the producer’s supposed wishes to place the emphasis back ON the CONTESTANTS– and OFF the judges.

I think one of these three people is EXTREMELY INSUFFERABLE. I’ll let you guess who it is… But their inclusion into this panel will most likely curtail and possibly STOP me from watching this altogether.

Another GUILTY PLEASURE shot to hell.

Okay, I’ll give you a hint about the person I am describing in the second paragraph:

HER LAST NAME RHYMES WITH

“MOPEZ”

This might be her HAPPY FACE

YOWZA!

Puggy is also popular amongst desperate housewives

With a tongue measuring 4.5 inches (11.43 cm) long, a Pekingese called Puggy is revealed to have the longest tongue on a dog in the new Guinness World Records 2011.

I knew Gene Simmons got around… But damn!