Archive for the ‘Books – Graphic’ category

iPhone Comic Book Reading Site!

August 24, 2008

Whoa! I never expected something like this! iPhone Comic Book Reader

– via ispy1964’s LiveJournal

Watchmen: The Feeding Frenzy Is Apace!

August 23, 2008

Better Late Than Never: Watchmen

Much of this shift can be attributed to a single masterpiece: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. Of course, Moore didn’t invent the dark, troubled superhero. He was working with archetypes based on specific pre-existing characters, in this case derived mainly from the roster of Charlton Comics, a long-suffering publisher that had recently been absorbed by Moore’s then-employer DC Comics. But Moore took the bleakness, neuroses, brooding philosophy, and nihilism that had been coursing through comic books for decades, and elevated the form to high art, something for the smart set and the post-grads as well as comic-book nerds and pimply teens. With Watchmen, he set out to write a comic-book series with the depth and heft of a Moby Dick. Audacious? Sure. Pretentious? Probably. Did he succeed? Indubitably. At the risk of being slightly hyperbolic, Watchmen is such a monumental achievement that it makes Moby Dick look like a flaming pile of horseshit by comparison.

He has the advantage on me. I’ve not yet read Moby Dick (shut up).

But Watchmen is a monumental achievement.

I’d stopped reading comics, but kept popping into comic stores. I saw the covers for the individual issues of Watchmen, but didn’t know what was up. I was out of the loop by then, having GAFIAted for good.

Then a (now-former) friend twisted my arm and had me read Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One in collected form.


Somehow I also got to read the collected Watchmen.

Absolutely frikkin nuclear.

I’ve read it again within the past 2-3 years, and it still staggered me.

It’s one of those rare things that revolutionizes, redefines, and reshapes everything that happens after it. It is a turning point, a high point.

In the 1970s, artists and writers for DC and Marvel would again and again state that comics were able to do much more than what was being published. Many of them would go off to other companies or raise money and self-publish. But not one of them achieved Watchmen status. How sad is that?

And now the buzzbuzzbuzz is already building over the upcoming movie. A movie that is in some jeopardy of ever being released other than as a highly-pirated unauthorized leak! See Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily post: SAVE US! Warner’s ‘Watchmen’ In Legal Peril After Judge Won’t Dismiss Fox Suit.

I hope for a resolution. But sometimes these rights issues drag on and on.

In the meantime, if you haven’t yet, get the collected Watchmen and read it. Put aside whatever notions you have about comic books. This transcends all of them. It’s literature.


Previously here:

Watchmen Movie: Video Contest (which is over, by the way)
Watchmen: The Movie

– via Medialoper

eBook Breakthrough For iPhone Comics!

August 22, 2008

I first saw this over at mj’s blog.

Then I went to the source post.

Take a look at this video. It is staggering. It is Apple Insanely-Great staggering. It is an absolute breakthrough in the field of electronic comic books. I can’t say enough about how radical and breakthrough this is. Look!!!

Murderdrome iPhone Comic

Absolutely staggering. I’d been after Warren Ellis to jump in and pioneer eComics (here and here). They’ve gone beyond anything I could have imagined. I salute you! You have taken my breath away! You will change the world!

Update: I was so excited by this, I didn’t do much research. The underlying app is called Comic Reader from Blue Pilot Software. My skin is all tingly. This is something that Changes Everything!

Reference: Manga Scans

August 19, 2008

One Manga: the home of manga …

These scans are apparently from Japan. I have no problem with that since it’s been established in my mind that when it comes to protecting American Copyright, we can go fuck ourselves in Japan.

Steve Ditko

August 15, 2008

Steve Ditko: the Paranormal Man

Steve Ditko is, along with Jack ‘King’ Kirby, one of the most important visual stylists in comic book art. A key architect of Marvel’s Silver Age, Ditko famously co-created Spider-Man and Dr Strange and shaped their formative adventures between 1962 and 1966. His dynamic approach to storytelling combines iconic character design, idiosyncratic body language and surreal ‘cosmic’ scenarios. But while Kirby is widely acclaimed as a major influence on contemporary comic aesthetics, Ditko remains a reclusive and cultish figure, shunning interviews and earning a reputation as “the Thomas Pynchon of comics.” Ditko also warrants attention for being the only comic book artist to be discussed as much for his political philosophy as for his distinctive illustrations.

However, one of Ditko’s most memorable post-Marvel creations is Shade, the Changing Man, published by DC in June 1977. This regrettably short-lived series is one of Ditko’s most ambitious projects, and certainly his most baffling. A strange, erratic tale of inter-dimensional espionage and (literally) mind-warping underwear, Shade defies adequate summary or satisfactory explanation. It does, however, include some feverishly inventive visual ideas, thanks chiefly to the possibilities of Shade’s M-Vest, a piece of alien technology that induced fearsome hallucinations in those around him. The series is also famed for the Freudian nightmare of its central relationship – Shade is pursued by his homicidal former girlfriend – and for a number of inexplicable jumps in narrative.

Rac Shade! God, how I loved that comic. Another sin of DC Comics. Another was killing Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.

Writer Anthony Neil Smith

August 10, 2008

Writer Anthony Neil Smith was the other half of that Not Dull Book Signing at Bookpeople that I posted about here.

His blog uses type that will drive you to reading glasses (yes, dammit, I am now using mine daily; can I blame Microsoft for that? Why not?!!).

See a picture of him and Gischler at that signing. He also points to pictures posted by Bookpeople.

He wants to write a comic book too. (I think Gischler might have rubbed it in, heh-heh.) He better watch out for DC Comics!

Don’t forget to visit Out of the Gutter magazine too!

Quote: Matt Fraction

August 9, 2008

same shit, different day

More evidence in the Siegel case against DC, dating from 1938 – 1947. Here’s a peach, from exhibit B, which shows use of that most dependable and passive-aggressive classic, time-honored and revered by bullies, pimps, and producers of neither talent nor vision everywhere, in any industry, since time began: don’t forget, we made you, we helped, and so now you owe us everything forever.

He’s talking about how Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were screwed and screwed and screwed and screwed for decades and decades and decades by those slimeballs we all funded with our pennies as kids: DC Comics.

Siegel and Shuster happened to create something you might have heard of. It’s called Superman.

Why the hell do any of you get upset when I say repeatedly: Fuck the Suits! You don’t need them! You don’t want them! The electronic future belongs to writers, not to the gonifs who only know how to expertly cut crooked deals.

Anyone who signs a book contract today is just asking for poverty five years from now. They will tie your balls so tight in evil option clauses that you’ll consider suicide! What? You really think you’ll be able to afford a lawsuit to break free?!

Get out of your contracts!

Break their fingers to release your electronic rights!

Get their teeth out of your neck!

Their future will be as beggars, pleading with you for a limited license to produce a printed souvenir of your electronic work.

– via Warren Ellis

Previously here:

MammothMedia Loses Another Pair Of Balls
You CAN Fight And WIN!

Japanese Manga Comes To The iPhone

August 9, 2008

This is a followup post to: Comic Books (Almost) Come To iPhone. Of immediate interest also is Print IS Dead (Well, To Some Of Us. OK: Me!)

Since I don’t (yet!) own an iPhone, I had to count on the kindness of strangers well-placed threats a pal over three thousand miles away to call up what I suspected was a free Japanese manga offered at the App Store.

This is the listing of one of two offered that I screensnapped on an iPhone at Apple Store Soho yesterday:


Contrast that to the way the description appeared on my Microsoft-crippled PC:


Amazing how the iPhone — a cellphone! — does it correctly while a desktop PC doesn’t. Typical Microsoft, huh?

My friend grabbed the second of the two manga and here’s what it looks like inside:









All of that black space makes me conclude that what we’re looking at here is a digital reprint — an eReprint — of something originally published on paper. Panels were sliced up to single screens. What I don’t understand is why some of them — like the final one here — weren’t enlarged to fill more of the screen. Perhaps the Japanese did something unthinkable: they were lazy and just did a scan of the print!

I don’t know what’s going on here technically. This might be nothing more than a PDF file wrapped in a proprietary PDF reader. At over 5MB, that seems very likely.

I’ll have a go at Warren Ellis one more time: This is a new landscape. Your specialty is doing new things. You know people. Tech people. You can pioneer this new medium. Dear God, Ellis, do that before someone gets the idea to throw up an eReprint of Shatter! That’d kill things!

You can have your own imprint: Ellis eComics.

After that, who knows? You might even get an energy drink spin-off!

Comic Books (Almost) Come To iPhone

August 7, 2008

I was just bleating the other day about the death of print and how comics should be going e (especially Warren Ellis, who I consider the Gold Standard of graphic novelists active on the Net).

I didn’t know one comics publisher in England is already moving that way: iPhone comics app arrives — Read 2000AD on your handset

From the App Store:

Clickwheel Comic ReaderFREE (link opens iTunes)

Warren Ellis, who first trumpted 2000AD being downloadable, might take some notice.

I’m not certain how good an experience these Clickwheel items will be on an iPhone. They are PDFs. Unless the PDFs have been customized to fit actual size on the screen, I suspect there will be a lot of pinching in/out and 4-way moving around in panels for reading.

But also of note is a Japanese company that it seems is offering, um, something. I’m not quite sure what. Manga or Manga-like cover over a text book?

Again from the App Store:

BBMFFREE (link opens iTunes)

BBMFFREE (link opens iTunes)

(Yes, they have the same name, but are two different items.)

Entire listing, click = big

Since the file I’m showing here is 5.5MB in size, I have to think this is an actual Manga. Unfortunately, they don’t show anything beyond the cover shown above!

I don’t have an iPhone yet. But I’ve just dragooned someone cross-country to try one of these Japanese ones and send me some screensnaps. I will post again tomorrow.

Meantime, if anyone has tried either of these, leave a Comment. If you’ve seen reviews, leave a Comment with a link!

What A Major FAIL In eBooks Looks Like

July 27, 2008

I’m glad David Rothman over at Teleread did this post so I didn’t have to!


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