Random Rants™! are rants too tiny to warrant their own post but still significant (IMO) to be mentioned. As my schedule ebbs or grows, this feature will also allow me to throw something out to the blogosphere– without investing two hours in it.
Think Tweets– with hopefully a little more meat.
RANDOM RANT™ #1
Black Panther takes over as the Man Without Fear!
When I first saw the vid below, I almost bought into the hype.
Blair Butler’s monotone attempts of puffery notwithstanding, I actually thought for a moment, “Maybe this IS big news!” After all, it has been a long time since we’ve had an African-American male interacting with some of the dicier sections of New York City in the Marvel Universe. I briefly thought, “Finally! An updated vision of Luke Cage! Cool!”
Then I remembered this wasn’t Luke Cage.
As the Black Panther, T’Challa has spent his entire life either preparing to be– or being– the KING of WAKANDA. His interactions with regular “average” American citizens have been few— with Christopher Priest’s short run on Black Panther Volume 2 being about the only concerted effort to have the man interact with “regular”people on the mean streets. Otherwise, the ruler has spent vast amounts of his time hanging with SUPERHEROES and SUPER VILLAINS– and being KING. Hardly a conduit to understanding the “every man”.
So all my good thoughts for Marvel’s “Who Will Be the Next Man Without Fear?’ promotion were instantly blown to hell– dashed to bits on the harsh shores of reality. (Purple prose? Love it!) The book’s new creative team may play T’Challa as “streetwise” (hopefully they won’t) but just because the former King has been in some hairy situations in the past– chasing after Dr. Doom while perched on top of the Fantasticar does not make for beaucoup street smarts.
So what is this revamped series really gonna be about? A fake construct built on false moments the main character has never experienced? Or is this going to be fish-out-of-water funny like Crocodile Dundee– with the Black Panther running around going, “That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife!”
I don’t normally like knocking projects before I see them… But unless the people involved with Black Panther Man Without Fear play this straight— and show T’Challa having a hard time adapting to the people and functioning within the unfamiliar Hell’s Kitchen surroundings– then this new take will be a complete bust for me.
I know the man can kick ass with the best of them. He possesses unparalleled fighting prowess. His willingness to get his hands dirty is also supremely admirable– especially for one born to such high office and privilege. In fact, as a geek I have long noted that Captain America and Black Panther would be my “go to” Marvel Heroes in a pinch… With T’Challa being my first choice if the situation called for a little “grey area” thinking– and less moral high-ground All-American grandstanding.
So play it straight, Marvel– or forget it. And you damn well better have a good explanation for the Panther believing (not thinking–believing) that his life’s calling is best served as a man patrolling a small broken section of New York City instead of being a world leader who saves the universe. All told, his reasoning better add up… And it better not be just be spoiled milk because somebody else is playing Black Panther back at home.
That all written, here’s the Master Somnambulist Blair Butler attempting to act excited about the news. (I had to post this video anyway– since half of it is about ME):
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RANDOM RANT™ #2
This is a GREAT COMMERCIAL featuring David Hasselhoff and Norton Security products. Be sure you click both choices.
After you finish playing with the commercial, do yourself a favor and purchase an Apple Computer— so you won’t need to waste money on unnecessary computer security products. Despite some folks hatin’ on Apple now… I have been using Mac Computers since I was a child and I have thankfully never had a computer virus. Them’s just the facts.
RANDOM RANT™ #3
This is a perfect topic for a Random Rant™ because I have touched on this theme several times before on the SAYL Blog: How the lone major comic distributor seemingly has no power to distribute comic products each week in an even-handed fashion.
Case in point: If I purchased everything I wanted (not everything on the release list– just everything I wanted) to read last week I would have spent $509.71 retail on Hardcovers, Trade Paperbacks and Manga. Add another $70 to that total for the Heroes of the DC Universe Bizarro Bust. That brings the GRAND RETAIL TOTAL for last week’s haul to $579.71.
Even with a generous 40% Off Discount from my store– my total would still peak at a wallet busting $350+ USD. Huh? I mean, WTF? Really? What the hell am I supposed to do with a number like that? Stop eating and drinking? Turn off my air conditioner during a near record-setting 6 consecutive days of 105 degree heat? Stop giving to charity? Stop breathing? All of the above?
Faced with this ridiculous cash outlay, I did what any sane person would do and took a LOT of stuff OFF my buy list. I could be rolling in Brad (Mr. Angelina Jolie) Pitt or Brian (I suddenly realized how to write comics again) Bendis cash and I would NOT spend $350+ a week on comics… Just on principle.
In case the comic companies and the distributor didn’t get the memo… The USA just went through a MAJOR DEPRESSION. Not a recession… A fucking full-blown DEPRESSION.
So why didn’t we– or the world— call it that?
2 reasons: #1: We might be too big to fail as a country anymore. Our economy is too far-reaching and entangled in other countries’ (China) financial systems. If politicians had summoned the balls to call our most recent economic downturn a depression, we may have TANKED the entire Free World’s financial system. People are just too thinned skinned and weak-willed nowadays to take the TRUTH… So our President is forced to say, “The US has suffered through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.” What bullshit. #2: There are a lot more people around now and a lot more dollars at stake now than there ever were in the 1930s. So, we had much farther to fall financially today than we did way back when.
I don’t care if you are Democrat or a Republican, a Libertarian, a Tea Bagger or even a supporter of the long defunct Bull Moose Party. Anybody with an ounce of clarity would have to agree that Barack Obama got handed a gilded turd of monolithic proportions when he took over this shitty economy. Now the papers and pundits worry that we might be going into a 2nd recession— or a “double dip recession”, as a certain Faux News organization is fond of calling it.
NO WE’RE NOT. We were in a DEPRESSION first, you idiots. Like the way we clawed our way out of it or not– but we are now in our FIRST RECESSION since our last Depression. How in the fuck can I see this and the pundits can’t? Oh, that’s right. They can see it. But we can’t handle the truth.
So let’s say the “D Word” is now an electrified political third rail. Why can’t Marvel Comics and DC Comics see what’s happening?
What a lot of fans of comic book floppies have forgotten– as they watched their best-selling singles (remember when only poorly selling comics had their cover prices raised due to financial necessity?) go up a dollar overnight– was this rate hike also rocketed Hardcover and Trade Paperback cover prices into the stratosphere. A $19.99 Hardcover immediately jumped to $24.99 or $29.99 in a week. Why? Because some Marvel bean counter wanted to see if the market would bear the increase, that’s why.
There has certainly been no uptick in actual quality. It’s not like Joey Q suddenly thought that Marvel was gouging folks for comics and declared, “From this day forward– in honor of comics now costing $4 a crack– I will no longer egregiously fuck with Marvel’s beloved Spider-man character for no good reason. Welcome home, Mary Jane Watson-Parker!” Nope, Joey Q didn’t say– or silently do– anything like that. He actually made things worse… And he charged us an extra buck to watch while he continued shitting on my once favorite comic book hero.
So to reiterate: $350+ is never gonna be a number I’m willing to spend weekly on comics… Unless I am spending that amount to give some battered kids a chance to read some cool books… Maybe a moment of escapism to help deal with their less than pristine lives.
And the sickest thing of all? The $350 price tag is just the highest number I would have paid if I bought everything I wanted since I started writing this Blog. The actual weekly number has been much higher before… You know, back when we were still in the first GREAT DEPRESSION of the 21st CENTURY.
RANDOM RANT™ #4
Since the invention of calendars and 1st and 2nd Day Air shipping services— can someone explain to me why the comic book distributor can’t foresee shipping delays due to Holidays… And take whatever actions are necessary to avoid releasing books on a Thursday in the US?
They print calendars years in advance.
The Music and TV/Movie Industries never have problems with their weekly Tuesday releases (unless were talking Christmas falling on a Tuesday)… And if a major Holiday does fall on a Tuesday, they sometimes release their products EARLY. Why? How? Because they are PROFESSIONALS and understand the importance of preparing in advance.
Meanwhile, the comic distributor has made rumblings of moving release days to Tuesdays. If they do something that big (shift a release day that has been in effect for a looooong time)– and don’t fix the Holiday delay problem in the process… Then any bad name you choose to associate with them is fine and dandy to me. (Of course, reading this blog you’ll note I almost always feel that way about any monopoly that poses as a business.)
Wonder why I am making such a big deal out of this?
If you’re good pals with your comic store owner– ask them what they think of delayed Thursday releases and how it affects them and their business. They will tell you that delayed shipments (whether noted weeks in advance or not) cost them money and causes some customers to wait until the next week to buy their books (skipping their weekly trip to the comic store altogether). Many shop employees have to rearrange their regular work schedules as well. Some workers can’t change predetermined commitments (such as school)– meaning they miss work (and don’t make money)– leaving shop owners to scramble to find replacement workers.
In short, these delayed shipments put everybody out… Except– you guessed it– the distributor.
RANDOM RANT™ #5
I really want to see the documentary about Nexus comic book mastermind STEVE RUDE. Steve seems like a hot mess in the movie– and I do very much regret the pained expression on his beautiful wife’s face at one point in the preview– but the film looks like a fantastic, unflinching portrait of a comic book great.
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RANDOM RANT™ #6
Since I am ragging on the comic book distributor– I’d also like to note this bullshit too:
How come different retailers receive different Hardcovers and Graphic Novels to sell every week?
I’m not complaining about shortages– or sellers who simply forget to order certain titles. I am not writing about retailers that order direct from publishers or other distributors that might get a title in before the comic distributor. I am also not writing about unusual circumstances… But I am writing about something that happens almost every single week of the year.
Anybody that’s read more than a few lines on this Blog knows that I buy my comics via mail order. Been doing it for years… And while I look at several other mail order retailers release lists.
Why? Because I am telling you that 9 out of 10 times, these sellers ALL get DIFFERENT TITLES each week. And this is just in the Hardcover and Graphic Novel area. (I’m not describing what happens with floppies– as I don’t check those lists.)
Some weeks it is just esoteric stuff most people wouldn’t be looking for or feel the need to buy on the day of release anyway. Other weeks it is a volume of The Walking Dead or a Justice League Hardcover… And here’s the real kicker: a lot of these stores– real brick & mortar places run by real people with real families to support– aren’t that far away from each other. So if a customer was predisposed to go to 2 stores in the area– he/she might begin to think that the store missing the product was lamer than the other store… When, in fact, neither owner has control over stocking– or not stocking– the missing books that are haphazardly released by the distributor.
Just another little tidbit I wanted you to mull around in your heads when you think about the different retailers in your area. These folks get shit on in ways most of us could never dream of.
RANDOM RANT™ #7
It is an amazing shame that actress Rose Byrne is not a BIGGER star.
I know that co-starring roles in a Nic Cage’s barely okay Knowing, the boring, histrionic and highly coincidental 28 Weeks Later and the insipid Get Him to the Greek aren’t exactly going to set any actor’s career on fire… All the more shameful because Rose rocks Glenn Close’s panties off in every frame of the TV show Damages that they appear together in.
The Good News: Rose has landed the role of Dr. Moira MacTaggart in the new X-Men: First Class film. Sure, it’s not as flashy or controversial casting choice as, say, a Britney Spears as Rogue or Paris Hilton as Emma Frost would have been– but hopefully the role and the film will prove hot enough to give Rose’s career a deserved boost.
Ms. Byrne has always struck me as a latter-day Madeline Stowe. Here’s hoping she gets the chance to play roles like Stowe did when Madeline was at the peak of her career. (Thanks to Jose Melendez for this casting reminder)
RANDOM RANT™ #8
God, how I wish comic book “Pros” would stop jumping on Alan Moore every time he attempts to explain why he is pissed off at the comic biz (DC Comics specifically). His last interview– a rousing Q & A found at Bleeding Cool— has drawn the normal amount of pissy responses from professionals all over. But the not-so-funny thing is… Most of the responses come from CURRENT comic book creators… People who were NOT there– or even of legal drinking age— at the time Alan’s troubles supposedly began to blossom.
Oddly, the people who were there are mostly silent. They are certainly not describing Alan as crazy– like some of these comic “newbies” are.
So what’s the deal here? Why would a comic creator who was still in training pants when Moore was supposedly getting the screw handed to him– even have the balls to jump on Twitter and add their 140 characters to the fracas? Overwhelming hubris? Misplaced corporate loyalty? Wanting desperately to feel as if they matter by adding their 2 cents to a weighty debate? I suspect it may be 1, 2 or a smattering of all 3 reasons why these idiots choose to get involved.
For whatever reason, I am politely asking them to stop it. Right now. If they were not there and on the telephone with Alan when he supposedly participated in the conversations in question– then they should shut the fuck up and let the people who were there continue to hash out the problems as publicly or as privately as they choose.
What do I know about this?
The only people looking like fools are the one’s speaking out of turn. Seriously, shut up. A few of you barely have any credibility when discussing your own actions or careers… So for goodness sake, quit taxing your wee brains and leave this overloaded mine field to the adults who can handle it.