Archive for October, 2008

Hollywood Director Attack Ads

Friday, October 31st, 2008

These are hilarious…and wonderfully non-partisan — you can laugh with McCain or at him, though I’m sure the makers are laughing at him. Though really, it’s just a great send-up of the film styles of the directors, and also a parody of the awful ads Hollywood big names have been turning out for Obama. (I must say…Mrs. Dirty Harry makes a good point.)

How many times must Medphyll die?

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

I happened upon Medphyll’s Wikipedia entry and was surprised to see he’s alive again.

Medphyll died the first time back in “Invasion #1”. As the Alien Alliance began hunting down ex-Green Lanterns, Medphyll’s spaceship was shot down. His corpse was even seen in a transparent coffin in the Green Lantern crypts during Guy Gardner’s 3-issue prestige series.

Then Medphyll turned up alive again as a member of the Darkstars. No explanation. This Medphyll later dies in the pages of Starman (no spoilers for those who haven’t read that excellent series).

And yet Medphyll turns up again in Green Lantern as part of the newly reinvigorated Corps. No explanation, and no dishonor. That Wikipedia entry suspects that he can transfer his consciousness a la Swamp Thing, but surely Medphyll’s own appearance in Swamp Thing does much to convey that this is not an ability of Medphyll’s race. (His mentor is dead, for one, and Swamp Thing’s ability to grow from new plants is alien to Medphyll.)

Perhaps his race has the ability to grow a duplicate from a “cutting” of oneself? That could perhaps be an explanation.

Picture from FallCon!

Friday, October 24th, 2008

I was bumming because my wife had the digital camera and my cellphone was broken, so I didn’t have any pictures from FallCon. However, my buddy AirDave had a picture taken with Erik and me.

I don’t know what that white smudge is. (Water drop?) Too bad, because otherwise this is a great picture of me. I don’t photograph well, what with my being overweight and pasty and bald and hideous, but this is really good.

Thanks Dave!

Comic-less

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

It’s been three weeks since Jimmy Jams comics closed here in Rochester, MN.

Granted, I’m not going cold turkey, here. I’ve got a stack of trades and cheap books that I’ve purchased from dealers at FallCon and from Scott Beatty. Right now, I’m working my way through the Adam Strange showcase volume (and loving it).

I still love comic books. But I don’t miss comic books. All this year, I’ve been more and more dis-heartened with DC’s current product, even though I still love the characters.

It’s a combination of things, and some things furthermore that I can’t quite put into words. The gruesome brutality, carnage, the skeezy sex, the language…it bugs me not from a content standpoint so much as that I hate seeing it in something with Superman in it.

Sometimes it’s the rampant political bias, sure, though surprisingly it’s tamer than it was during the height of the Bush years. (You would think the Obama push would just be making it worse, but I haven’t seen anything as bad as those pages in Firestorm that advocated for the Dems right before the 2006 election.)

There’s also the feeling that I’m being used just to keep a trade paperback industry functioning, because the “Part 2 of 6” stuff doesn’t deliver much satisfaction for my $3, especially when I too would love to have the trade paperback and that just means charging me twice for the same thing. Of course, if I just go to “trades only” (which may be my current situation by default), then I may single-handedly cause the downfall of the comics industry. Of course, that’s not true…but if everyone did the same as me, it would. This industry still needs the chumps to pay for the monthly, ad-supported, less-durable version of the full-size books that they’d rather be publishing.

So…I also feel guilty about not being a chump anymore.

Still…I’m loving the extra money in my pocket!

FallCon 2008 – Biggest FallCon EVER

Friday, October 10th, 2008

FallCon, annually held on the first weekend of October at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, celebrated its 20th anniversary with its biggest convention ever.

For the first time, it was held in the grandstand facility, which was not only bigger but more comfortable than past conventions. (We were freezing in 2006 and drenched in sweat in 2007, though admittedly the reasonably crisp weather this year may have had more to do with it than the building.) I don’t know whether this was a special case for the 20th convention or if they can get this hall next year, but I hope they try.

Attendance was amazing. I arrived 40 minutes late and the line STILL extended out the door and to the end of the block.

The big thing this year was the sketch cards. All artists attending, and many professionals friendly to the Midwest Comic Book Association (MCBA), were asked to do several sketches on trading card-sized cards. One batch of cards was given away to the attendees on a first-come first-served basis, with all of the cards flipped over so that you don’t know if you’re getting a card from a struggling artist or Adam Hughes. The next batch was, I believe, distributed by raffle on Sunday. And finally, a third complete set of cards from all participating artists was auctioned off as a single lot for the charity auction. (Winner was Nick Post of the MCBA with a bid of Five Thousand Dollars!)

As always, the convention guys knocked themselves out putting the show together and attending to everyone with refreshments. There were more costumes than ever before…including TWO Mrs. Incredibles! The special guests included some first-time attendees including John Ostrander (whom I never did find when wandering around) and Peter Tomasi (whom I teased for his recent GL Corps issue where Green Lantern rings now store retinal ID information on every person in the universe — I mean, come onnnn!).

I attended as an invited guest, which was as always a great honor. For the first time, I had a lovely backdrop promoting Metro Med, my attractive collapsible display stand for the books, as well as a brand new comic book trailer playing on a monitor screen, all to draw the attentions of anyone passing by. I did another print run of 100 issues of Metro Med. I purchased some new sign-making software and created a better handout promoting TooManyLongboxes.com and Metro Med. Also, I took three days off from work and spent the entire time updating the catalog for Too Many Longboxes so that it was ready to be visited by all the newcomers. This is probably the most prepared and professional I’ve ever been for a convention.

I sold one comic.

ONE. COMIC.

I know, I know. Unless you can draw and thus sell sketches, you never make a profit on a convention appearance. Really, the cost of gas and such can’t be offset by selling comic books. It’s about promotion. Still…

One comic. That’s, like, the least possible amount of money TO make.

Erik Burnham, who shared my table, also had a rougher time selling sketches than he has had in a while. At WizardWorld this summer (which was pretty poor overall), Erik was cranking out the sketches for $10 each and people were snapping them up. Here, $5 was the asking price and sales were still limping. (Oddly enough, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sketches were hot. Don’t ask me why!) Numerous vendors expressed concerns about making enough sales to warrant the trip, too. Thus, I’m inclined to not take it personally, as though I was the only one having a hard time making a buck.

I don’t blame the convention. It was well-attended. We may have not had the best location in the hall, but most attendees get around the whole convention floor anyway.

I think it is partly the overall economy. Independent creators have a rough time convincing people to try their books even in the best of financial times, so when money is tight it is mainly used to buy collectibles, art from big name professionals or back-issues at discount rates.

I can’t control the economy. However, one thing I should have thought of is that by printing the new Metro Med Special Edition #1 with the same cover artwork as my 2005 ashcan edition it looks like I’m displaying the same comic I’ve had for the last few years. Sure, there are many modifications to that cover piece, and inside it’s not only got new content but the original content has its first quality printing, but from far away no one can tell. So I think I need to approach some of my artist friends and see if I can create some variant covers.

Pity I won’t have another convention to sell at until Micro-Con (and that’s assuming that a guy who sells one book gets invited back)! I suspect that promoting my book online may be my main source of sales for the foreseeable future.