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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Koestenbraumstar Wednesday Comics....Sub-Mariner!!!

Wolfsheim - "Find You're Here" & "Find You're Gone"

Covenant - Bullet (HQ)

Steam Powered Giraffe - Soliton

Action Comics got $29.99?

Are you excited about Action Comics #1000? Do you even read Action Comics or DC Comics in general anymore?

Apparently Marv Wolfman will be writing a new story based on unpublished artwork by the late Curt Swan in Action Comics #1000. Presumably that is a completely drawn story that Wolfman will dialogue a story for since it is already drawn.  That would be comics the old "Marvel way". heh, Marv?

And the newly exclusive writer, Brian Michael Bendis, having jumped the good ship Marvel like so many other creators in the past in a hissy-fit (a bit like Wolfman did) will be writing a 10-page story with art by Jim Lee. This will be Bendis' first DC comics work since June, 2000 (if only he had stayed at DC!). 

Anyway, according to DC:

Join us for the 80th anniversary celebration of the most important comic book in American history: ACTION COMICS #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman! It’s an extraordinary party as we revisit stories from across the decades, featuring the debuts of not just the Man of Tomorrow, but also Supergirl, Brainiac, the Fortress of Solitude and more! 
See the work of generations of top writers and artists on the original superhero! Enjoy sparkling essays from literary wizards who have won Pulitzer Prizes and hit the bestseller lists, including Jules Feiffer, who relives his memories of when ACTION COMICS #1 first hit newsstands. 
Plus, a historical essay by guest editor Paul Levitz, and all one thousand ACTION COMICS covers presented on a special 30” x by 39.75” poster! And as a bonus, don’t miss a previously unpublished 1940s Superman tale believed to be written by Jerry Siegel with art by the Joe Shuster studio, salvaged fifty years ago and hidden away until now!
This new hardcover serves as a companion to the ACTION COMICS #1000 comic book coming in March!
Now, before you get excited: this is a "collected hard cover book" and will cost you $29.99 and that includes that story "believed" to be written by Siegel so well worth it...well, I have searched every news item I can find including DC Comics and I see no page counts mentioned.  I had to go to frickin' Amazon who give the page count as 384.
Me? I'll wait until it turns up in a remainders store and see if I have the cash -which is not likely.

One Man with a sledgehammer and a Group of Dealers

One thing that I hate and despise is the book dealer who will rip old prints or photographs from books and either throw the books away or try selling them as though unaware there were those items in the book.

They see the money being in those prints and photographs.

Now we have dealers/traders "carefully removing" vintage comic covers to put into cheap frames and sell for £15-25. The comic is thrown away.

I would like to be in a room full of these people with a sledgehammer in my hands.

Phillistine scum.
Then Hooper Smash!!!

SJWs. Phoney Comic Awards. Industry Bitching. Time To Vent!

This may be quite a long post.  Sorry but so much has been happening lately and I hear from people on matters discussed here that I needed to write something. 

Every year, as a "professional" (in comics that means you do a lot of work but get screwed by publishers so you end up with no money) I got my ballot sheet for the Eisner and Harvey Awards.

Of course, this comes complete with the "THESE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE YOU CAN VOTE FOR!" sheet which stops anyone dirty like, say, a Small Press or Independent Comics creator getting in among the elite. That would be like allowing a cack covered hobo in the Savoy Ritz.

Cynical?  No, not at all. After forty years or so (I prefer not to think how long these days as I then think that in all that time I could have married, had kids and a decent job and pension) you see all the bad and comics is full of the bad. The back-stabbing-smile-to-your-face types (creators, editors and publishers) who really have only one interest -themselves...oh, and creating as much trouble as they can while posing as the "nice guys of comics".

The Awards (whichever one) are there to promote those creators and books Marvel, DC and Image/Dark Horse want to push as it makes them look good while earning them more money.  Once-in-a-very-rare-while, you'll see a "newbie" get onto the awards list.  They tend to be told not to rock the boat and the number die hard critics of publishers who become part of that little club and then look down at other creators is astonishing.  And most become arschloch leckere for the company.

I petitioned year-in and year-out for the inclusion of true comickers such as Donna Barr and Roberta Gregory -pioneering female comic creators/illustrators going as far back as the 1970s (both were interviewed in 1990 and those are included in my book The Hooper Interviews -outraged dignity and book pushing in one...I am a publisher!) and yet every year it was the same "Oh we'll see if enough people nominate them for next year" (which means "no").  Or Canadian Colin Upton who has been illustrating and Small Pressing since the 1980s -same response.

To these event organisers the inclusion of such, uh, "types", would lower the tone of things and detract from the big money side of things which is what this is about.  I once described these awards clubs as "mutual masturbation societies" and I will stick to that!  (eeeuw! Not a good metaphor).

Let's look at this: why should people like Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory and Colin Upton or even, say, Paul Brown in the UK (who has been creating since the 1980s) or even Brit-in-exile-in-Japan, Ben R. Dilworth who has a large body of work to his credit also -not be included on award nominee lists? Each one was creating before some of the actual nominees were even born!

Check their work out and you will see top quality art and story and mainly "old school" creating (I like how in comics the term "old school" equals someone who actually uses pencil, brush/pen and ink on real paper to create rather than a computer that really does not mask the inadequacies).  I recently looked at the art in some Marvel Comics and checked then double-checked as I thought I was looking at "preliminary art" not actual 'finished' artwork.

The Zine Zone International Awards were last given out in 1990. At that time fans voted -yeah, I know, who votes, heh?- today you would be lucky if two people voted.  The ZZI Awards were designed only for Small Pressers and those working in Independent Comics (which excludes Image and Dark Horse these days anyway) -the Award was just a fancy certificate but what the heck.

Comic buyers do not care about creators going through hard times, creators being cheated or anything like that -they just want their comic,preferably in full colour because they don't watch black and white TVs so why should they read black and white comics?  Yeeuw! Yeeuw!! Bwaaah!! To those fans: fuck you.

I hear from people who are creators in arts and crafts, comics and illustration even fantasy and wargames terrain makers who are constantly ripped off because "it's just doing some drawing/terrain, etc -not that hard!" (say the no talent bastards expecting a Van Gogh for £1/$1. 

I am not joking -this happens on a daily basis across the world.  The creator can do the work and it looks easy to someone with no idea of the skill and time it takes so why pay good money out. Arrange what you are going to pay the artist to draw, say, your dog or horse.  Say "That looks perfect" then suggest they put countryside, woodland or much more in the background.  When the artist says that will take more time and be outside what was agreed so will cost a little more....berate them. Call them hacks! Call them money-grabbers because "all" you are asking for is a full colour illustration of the subject and the entire surroundings.  Or get the illo but do not pay on the basis of 'poor work' -"the dog's ear does not look quite right".

I was once asked to draw an illustration of an Edwardian house converted into a bed and breakfast hotel. I checked it out and was supplied with photographs by the owner. It was part of a terraced block with a tarred parking space at the front that went out on to the road.  I look a week to get the complicated architecture right but was told it was "Great.....but there is no grass, trees or flowers beds"  I ought to point out here that there were no trees, grass or flower beds just tarmac parking area.  The owner wanted a fantasy illustration.  So I drew in trees, some grass and flower beds.  No, he was not going to pay me after two weeks work.  Why?  I drew in tulips.  "I don't like tulips -can you change those to something else?" Now remember he was talking about a space less than a centimetre that had some flowers in it.  I changed them and was asked "What flowers are those supposed to be?" I pointed out they were "generic" so could be any flower(s). Then I heard no more. As the month drew to a close I got the word through a convoluted route, that the owner did not want to use the illo. Was he going to pay me? No. He "did not like the way you drew the hotel" -it was drawn exactly as shown in the photographs and, in fact, later, two people identified the hotel via my illustration.

We have not left behind the times of creators being ripped off, struggling to make a living or even survive while editors pull in a nice pay cheque for doing bugger all but blaming everyone else for things going wrong.  And publishers, well, publishers use the internet and their "mouth-pieces" (those 'independent' online news sources) to balance the scales in their favour.  They will shed tears discussing how this or that creator struggled and could not get the work or praise they deserved....while pointing out that now the unlucky bastard is dead they will be publishing all of his back-catalogue in deluxe format -and, wow, they won't have to pay the unlucky bastard a penny -he's dead! Win, win, win and more money win for them.

I see that 23,000 people have viewed a post about one of my books.  I see 85 Likes for a post about one of my books on Face Book. So many Likes and blah blah blah but do you know what I say when I see all of this. "Kiss my ass -meaningless!"  And it is.  Yes, I do know that it can take almost super human strength to click "like" but what does it do for me as a publisher?  For anyone who is a publisher?  Nothing other than that there may be other people on the internet (shock!).  If each of those people had purchased a copy of one of my cheapest books I'd be eating a proper meal and not panicking about keeping a roof over my head.  Same for every other Independent publisher (who is not living at home with their mother or parents (I'm not making fun of them because they at least have that safeguard).

People buying comics do not care. Comic fans as a movement died as soon as the internet came in.

Look at the fake Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) -these are people who used to be called "trolls" or "flamers" and now that those names can get them banned or into trouble they jump on the race card.  They even tried attacking Warhammer gamers because certain 28mm plastic figures were depicted wearing sculpted fur.  Now, everyone ought to know about me, canids and wildlife and I was asked to support this SJW crap and told them where to go.  Injection molded plastic toys do NOT involed wolves killed and skinned -that campaign died quickly. 

You cannot argue with SJWs on the "cultural diversity" subject or you are a racist. Doesn't matter your own or family background: you are a racist.  Or feminism and sexism -they will try everything they can but just do what I do -mark them as Spam or report them. The fact that they have never read comics is obvious and they are a joke -Black Tower has no "multicultural diversity" shows (I have the sales figures to prove it) they never read one of my books.  From the outset in 1984 my books have included Chinese, Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Afro-Carribean, African, Arab -even...yes, this is true, I have no prejudice...Australians! Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Wiccans -the works.  Return of The Gods alone makes Marvel Comics look like a White Supremacist publisher!

And then we have the anti-SJWs.  Same thing, however, as I've noted before, many realise (some admit) that if they have blogs or You Tube channels just adding "SJW" to a post/video title increases their views and that is what they want.  They will even troll follow certain Marvel editors or creators in hope of provoking a response...oh.  I mean of opening up an honest long term reader-creator/company dialogue,of course.

Attention seeking whores are attention seeking whores ( Pre-empt any spam I count "whore" as a word covering men and women and I quote Richard Burton from the movie The VIPs (1963) when he he said to Louis Jordan: "You're nothing more than a male whore!"). 

We have Awards that are fake.  We have creators who will jump into bed with the fakers to keep the "Them and US" balance. We have no real fan base -and I know that there are real comic fans out there but you are all keeping quiet and we know what that achieves- so all people see are the SJW/Anti-SJW items and then we have the hip/trendy journalists who write articles about comics and show they have no real knowledge of what a comic even is.  "In today's multicultural society comics have had to reflect this" -because, apparently, up until 2015 there were no 'black' characters or characters from any other ethnic background in comics and to claim that Marvel portraying Nazis in its comics was insensitive and downright offensive to Jews....Jack Kirby, Larry Leiber, Stan Lee -do some research because some of the most prolific and creative people in comics (and why just Marvel?) were Jewish.

That point again: why just SJW attacks on Marvel?  Why just Anti-SJW attacks on Marvel?  Could it be because Marvel was always seen as the comic comnpany?  DC Comics are not exactly producing 100% great comics (watch episodes of Comic Book Palace to see what real fans think).  Then again, DC editors and staffers are not doing what their Marvel counterparts are doing: attacking and blaming fans for the very poor stories and titles they are publishing.

Comic books from that cherry on top of the rich icing on the cake to the very wet, moist or sticky bottom of the cake (now I'm feeling hungry and I can't even eat cake!) -it is in one huge mess. No, I do not think there is a solution because no one can really be bothered looking for one -it involves effort.  Work. Talking politely.  Marvel Comics could be a major fan favourite again and how is very easy and I am not going to tell you how as I am waiting for Marvel to hire me as editor-in-chief.

And has anyone noticed that, as I predicted many times over the last few years, comic events are decliining in the UK?  "We have reduced the cost of our (small) tables to £100 but with backers still at £50.  WTF are "backers"?  No one seems to know and I've not heard that term in decades of going to events.  What they are saying is, because these "backers" are compulsory, you will pay £150 per table.

So, as I have stated many times in the past (upsetting many of these moronic, money-grabbers) it means that you will have to sell £150 of stock to pay for your table.  Now, even if the stock only cost you £75 to print, how much profit do you make?  Zero because you are literally giving your books away -the money goes to paying for that table.  Now let's add this up: train or bus fare or petrol for your car to get to an event is not going to be cheap (especially rail travel) unless you live close by.  You don't so do you need overnight accommodation? Extra money on top of that £150 and travel expenses.  Oh, do you need to eat or drink while at the event?  Extra.  There are other extras but we'll not go into them.

This event could cost you a total of £200 (if you were VERY lucky) to £300+ (that's 227-341 Euro or $277 -415 US).  You will need to sell books to that amount to cover your costs. You cannot argue with that as it is fact.  How many publishers, especially Independent ones, can guarantee selling books to that total in the UK?  On a number of occasions at past events I met very well known comic creators who had very popular books out at the time. Most were lucky to sign books for people -books people brought with them.  These creators -well known ones- did not sell enough books to cover lunch and admitted that had the events not paid for the cheapest rail travel they would not have attended because they knew books do not sell well at events.

When you find that organisers book a hotel or other venue and the cost of that, then look at what they are charging for tables as well as public entry to the event you see that it is simple money grabbing and profiteering.  Those costs are now driving out events in the UK -some of the former organisers blaming convention goers and even guests for lack of support.  When you have organisers who launch kick-starters or other fund-raisers online to pay for the event and they then still charge over the top amounts then that is profiteering.  People pay for your event so you let them in at a lower rate but still charge excessively for tables.

Let's not go into the z-lister comic...uh, 'celebrities' who get into each and every event even if 97% of attendees have no idea who they are!

I have confronted organisers over this when they have bleated about how much it all costs them and I quote the cost of the venue that they paid, then the number of tickets sold then the number of tables and what that brought in for them, huge profits, and then the indignant name-calling starts because the only other reason they can give is that "I have overheads -I have to travel and eat as well as run the event!" Well, yeah, small publishers have overheads, too and these organisers know that no creator is going to make a profit or break even.

They do not care because it is the money they make that interests them and things go wrong -blame convention goers and traders.

Creator/Fan organised events like the Clallum Bay Con are what we really need to get back to.  Get people in that like comics and can talk to creators face-to-face not from over a table where they are waiting for a grunt from the person grudgingly signing their comic (for a fee).

Money-grabbing, fake awards and nastiness are now so entrenched in mainstream comics that only re-organising from the grass roots up will save it to a degree.  People just love to read and hear the name-calling and lies in internet arguments.

There must be some real comics fans out there ready to organise small events...mustn't there?

How many of you clicked on because "SJW" was in the title?

Friday, 19 January 2018

The Top Mega Post of 2018 Revealed!

Something very interesting shown when I look at the top ten CBO posts -monthly and weekly.

Out of the mega posts the lowest views (and I have to currently go by the stats Blogger provides) are for the Justice League of America posting.  Seriously?  That seems weird to say the least unless either the movie desperately disappointed fans or the stats are really off?

The second most viewed Megan post was, not surprisingly, the Avengers!  Even the "smaller" (I use that word tongue-in-cheek) follow-up posts.

Now that ought to give you a clue as to which post has been at the top position views-wise since it was posted: the Sub-Mariner. But why?  Well, I am not complaining though it would have been nice to have some feed-back on the post, but there is no Sub-Mariner movie planned or in production so why such a big interest?

I think it could be down to comic readers not really knowing much about the character.  In recent years -before he was beheaded (feck you, Marvel)- he had potential but writers and Marvel appeared to have no idea just who he was or his own personal code of ethics.  I read his appearances, including in The Illuminati where, being honest, I never recognised most of the characters let alone Namor. And then there is the fact that the character has been used in so many confusing stories that I often had to sit back and ask whether this was some alternative character.

Many people reading the comics today do not go back....let's say (for my own sanity) fifty years or so with the character.  And even then I was reading reprints of the 1940s/1950s stories.  Also having a full run of the Silver-Bronze Ages series meant that a reader could see the covers (and some art) from #1 -#72.  Not to mention other appearances -it was quite detailed!

Most of the You Tube and online items I've watched and read are confusing and often contradict themselves.

Maybe I am right.  Maybe I am wrong.  Who knows because I certainly never hear from readers!

Seems as though there is a lot of interest in Subby still.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Is It The Button On The Left or the Switch on the Right?

As I got bored I decided to look into this whole business of diminishing (sudden and drastic) views of CBO.

the thing is that the Google+ views of CBO posts -which bring those people here have increased in the last month.  Views of the CBO posts on the Black Tower Face Book page have increased which makes me think that something is wrong with Blogger Stats again.

But I decided to look at the all-time CBO views so here you go -countries in order and all time views from each.

All Time Page views by Countries

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
EntryPage views
United States
United Kingdom

kTo back this up I wanted to see whether there had been a change in the way people view or the gateways used to visit CBO so here are all time CBO access systems.

All Time Page views by Browsers

1913430 (58%)
Internet Explorer
619810 (18%)
513777 (15%)
121580 (3%)
46519 (1%)
27840 (<1%)
Mobile Safari
12775 (<1%)
12673 (<1%)
4898 (<1%)
3551 (<1%)
Image displaying most popular browsers
And let's not leave out the operating systems:

All Time Page views by Operating Systems

2881473 (87%)
128136 (3%)
82778 (2%)
81128 (2%)
41937 (1%)
37157 (1%)
9287 (<1%)
Other Unix
7064 (<1%)
3848 (<1%)
3567 (<1%)
Image displaying most popular platforms

The point is that nothing appears to have changed. Google+ views increased in the last month.  FB views increased in the last month. CBO views dramatically dropped in the last month -which makes no sense if the previous two are entrance points to CBO posts.

It seems this has to be a technical problem -if the daily stats are somewhat disheartening to look at.

Gods save us from technology!

It does mean my Dr Strange mega post is not going to appear, however.