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Token Monday Post

I don’t even know what I truly want to say at the moment. I’m frustrated. I’m getting so incredibly sick and [redacted] tired of politics and demonization and just simply the flat-out Hate I’m seeing.

I tried pulling up Bleeding Cool Sunday evening, and half the stories at the top of the comics sub-section of the site were protests and such.

If I wanted to see "news" and "coverage" of stuff like that, I’d go to a "news" site.

NOT a comics specific site.

I want some escape from all this crap…not to see it racing into my "comics life!"

Maybe it’s time for a personal "blackout" or something soon.

Maybe I’m just venting and will keep up the usual posts.

But for today, this is my token post, to have a post for the day.

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On NOT Going to Local Comic Shop Day

I admit it–I did not participate in (attending) Local Comic Shop Day today.

doctor_strange_the_oath_lcsd_hardcover_solicit

My primary interest–which I recognize comes largely from a photo of Benedict Cumberbatch in costume as Doctor Strange holding a copy of this book combined with over-hypeage from Bleeding Cool–would have been Doctor Strange: The Oath.

Thing is, virtually no one had a PRICE listed.

See, I don’t have the kind of money to just not care what the price is on an item. The price itself helps determine my interest…as it’s a huge part of how realistic it is for me to even consider purchasing the item.

Then I did find a price for it–$39.99! $40 for a 5-issue hardcover…functionally $8 per issue!

Nope, no thank you, nuh-uh, I don’t think so.


Then there’s this other question: isn’t every Wednesday ‘Local Comic Shop Day’?!? Where, weekly, on Wednesdays minimum, sometimes additional days, I visit some local comic shop and usually wind up buying SOMETHING. I’m not into records and such and don’t visit places like The Exchange or Buybacks or even Best Buy on any regular shedule, and not even necessarily weekly or monthly. But I do visit a comic shop virtually every single week.

So I can see where, perhaps, a Record Store Day or such might get more people in…but when it becomes (whether record store or comic shop) about high-end, premium, ultra-limited-edition high-priced "exclusive" items…that’s NOT EVEN doing anyone any good except rooking the customers.

I might have been interested in the Serenity issue, but that would’ve been more of a "guilt" purchase once I was at a shop, if I felt like I "had to" buy something after spending too long "just browsing" or such.

I don’t like variants generally-speaking, and all the more I don’t like relatively prominent alternate logos or variants so prevalent they get their own logo.

So having a prominent Local Comic Shop Day/LCSD logo on something would just make it stand out (negatively, for me) as "not the ‘real’ thing" and as something faux-special. Worse, the other main thing I might’ve been interested in would be the DC Universe: Rebirth deluxe hardcover…but the LCSD edition is just an inferior, unfinished cover! (aka "sketch" cover or whatever the called it)

Worse, this came less than a week before "Black Friday," in the midst of all sorts of "early" or "pre" Black Friday "sales" and such the world over (ok, slight exaggeration), with the ACTUAL Black Friday looming, followed by "Small Business Saturday" (aren’t virtually all comic shops "Small Businesses"?!?) and even "Cyber Monday" (at least in terms of online sales, for ordering stuff via online methods).


Am I just that discouraged lately, that grumpy and cynical and such?

Perhaps all the better that I didn’t go to a shop.

But with something like the Doctor Strange hardcover, or any of the other "LCSD exxxxclusivvvvveeee!!!!!!" things…if it were REALLY about getting people into the shops and aware of them and such…don’t short the shops or force THEM to pre-order everything. Make stuff available FOR ORDER, even if it’s a one-day-only ORDERING.

Get me into a shop, "sell" me on an item–having a copy of it in-person to show me–but if you don’t have enough at the moment, be able to order one for me, because it IS LCSD and it’s a special FOR that day.

Meanwhile, Wednesday I’ll be making my hour-or-so drive to my "usual" LCS to buy my pull list stuff, some things on order, and likely raid the bargain bins. Because it’ll be Wednesday.

And for me, EVERY Wednesday is Local Comic Shop Day.

Where is the NON-Variant?!? TMNT Universe #1 Frustration

Welcome to The Weekly Haul Disappointment post for this week.

Yeah, there’s a bit of annoyance there, and disappointment, and frustration, and as I type this, I’m more “resigned” to things than the lit-up pissed-off that I was a couple hours ago.

See, ever since it was announced, I’ve been looking forward to the new TMNT Universe series from IDW. I’ve been loving the regular ongoing series (well, the past year or so post-Shredder hasn’t been nearly as interesting to me, but that’s another topic for another time) and I was jazzed at the prospect of a second ongoing title! (Presumably there’ll still be room for the occasional parallel-running mini-series in addition to the ongoings, but two ongoings allow for a lot more development without having to keep track of a bunch of “side” mini-series to begin with).

Reading last week’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #61 and seeing the house ad for the series made me think first that I had flat-out missed the issue somehow, and then think it was late. (Of course, then I realized there was a fifth Wednesday for the month of August this year, and so it would still hit for “August 2016” and thus be “on time” for all the more I recalled any specific date).

tmnt_house_ad

So, with it being a fifth-week situation, and no new DC books due out for Rebirth (thus, no new Superman or Action Comics issue), there was one single, solitary issue I was particularly interested in for the week. TMNT Universe #1.

tmnt_universe_0001_regSo despite recent discouragements and frustrations in life, and a particularly bad start to the day, I eventually set off for a comic shop intending to pick up this TMNT issue I’ve been looking forward to.

I was honestly sort of afraid it might sell out, given it might be under-ordered as being “just” another TMNT book, and yet I believe the cover artist (if not interiors) is the same as the Batman/TMNT mini, and it wouldn’t surprise me for that alone to impact sales of this (frustratingly enough).

So when I walked into the shop, I went straight to the “new comics” rack, skipped over the first half of stuff and found the “T” section, and spotted the logo/title and physically picked up a copy…as I began to realize something was wrong.

I was, of course, expecting the cover above. The cover whose image had been advertised as being the cover. The cover whose image I’d come to associate with looking forward to the issue. The cover…to TMNT Universe #1.

tmnt_universe_0001_subInstead, I had a Kevin Eastman-style cover, which even though it’s a really freakin’ cool-looking image, is not the solicited image. It’s NOT the cover I have been looking forward to, expecting, and is not the standard cover. The one that actually, truly belongs to the issue.

This would be an absolutely fantastic poster.

I would love this as a poster, in fact.

But it’s a generic, stock-ish image of classic Mirage Studios TMNT, something that makes me think of the recent-ish TMNT Ultimate Edition hardcovers, or like something reprinting the original, classic TMNT #1, or a posterbook of Eastman covers, or something that actually is not this new, in-continuity parallel ongoing series to be a companion to the main Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title. This image does not reflect current goings-on in the series, and thus is not “relevant” for the ongoing stuff. It simply suggests a typical Turtles vs. Shredder and Foot.

After some honest debate and waffling on the matter, and despite the admittedly cool cover (which would have been perfectly fine had it been advertised as THE cover), I put the thing back, and didn’t buy it there. They had at least 15-20 copies of this cover, but none of the standard/regular cover.

tmnt_universe_0001_riI went to another shop I haven’t been to in awhile that was close-by, figuring ok, they would have the correct standard/basic/non-variant cover.

Unfortunately, on walking in and locating their “new comics this week” I was again greeted with a bunch of issues sporting that same cover–cool, but not the standard, basic, most non-variant cover.

I actually picked up their entire stack to gently flip through in the vain hope of at least one copy sporting the main cover.

No luck on that front, though I did find a copy of the “RI” cover (Retailer Incentive). Looking for the image online, I believe this one was indicated as the 1:10 ratioed variant, and since I did not see a price on the front, I turned it over to check the barcode box on the back, but alas! No price.

And I was in no mood whatsoever by then to even take a chance at being further pissed-off by asking the price and being told some outrageously jacked-up number (even $10) so I neatly put the stack back, and left.

I was angry enough to post an angry tweet on the matter.

It’s just a comic. It’s just a cover.

And frankly, simply buying the standard, basic, advertised cover for a brand-new issue, out today, with plenty of copies of the issue in-stock and available for cover-price should never be such an amazingly frustrating experience!

It’s not fun. It’s not cute. It’s not some “bonus” or such, it’s not “nostalgic” or a “nod to the past.”

It’s the sort of thing that–were it basically anything else other than TMNT, I’d be done with the series, and possibly even done with the publisher, just on principle. But as I’ve been on record in the past saying, TMNT is my exception, the thing that (so far) I’ll “give a pass” on and such.

But this is really trying whatever patience I have, and is a concrete reminder of just how freaking ridiculous stuff is getting in the world of contemporary comics and their publishing.

tmnt_universe_0001_correct_cover

Stolen Comics and Requiem for a Jacket

Remember last month when I posted about initially more than doubling my GI Joe collection?

That post is now all that remains of that particular purchase.

frowneySomeone got into my car overnight, and among other stuff that they stole, they stole this bunch of GI Joe comics that were there waiting to be loaned to a friend.

Along with the comics and a GPS, lost my favorite jacket that my dad gave to me in late 2003, which I wore from that point through last year before taking on a less comfortable one that actually zipped (I broke the zipper on the older one the first time I wore it, but never got it fixed even though I wore it through ten winters–nearly 1/3 of my life, and the majority of my ADULT life).

And really, it’s the loss of that jacket that has me most upset, because the thing had a lotta sentimental value to it. That first night I wore it, when I broke the zipper was the night I saw The Return of the King with friends, and was my last day at the job I had at the time, after a transitional summer from undergrad to “real world,” and heading toward my first solo apartment, and everything that happened before I went to grad school.

I wore it all through grad school; it’s the one I wore visiting New York and my sister Thanksgiving 2004, and again with a couple of my best friends in late December 2009. It was with me the first few winters of my current job.

And instead of a longer, more cheerful post, I’m just sticking with that. Not exactly what I expected of my Monday (or, y’know, of EVER).

Here’s hoping the rest of the week is much better.

At the Cost of the Fun of Comics

Marvel spiked the price of many of their comics to $3.99 a few years ago, and it was even admitted that it was basically just because people would pay it.

DC immediately drove me away from Action Comics due to lack of REAL CONTENT for its $3.99 price point with the second issue. I’ve now long since left all of DC‘s New 52 titles due primarily to a simple lack of real interest in the monthly product.

IDW‘s standard pricing is $3.99 for everything.

So is Valiant‘s.

Boom! seems to be that way as well.

Image has a bunch of $2.99 books, but between seemingly “written for the trade” or “limited series,” I’d much rather read Image stuff in collected-edition format.

I think I’m back up against a psychological wall again, comic-wise.

At a time when I’m more interested in a bunch of Marvel titles than I’ve been in over a decade…the fact most of those are $3.99 just kills it for me.

And the more I consider, the more I realize that I’m just so psyched-out by how expensive stuff is, most of the fun goes out. When my entire month’s “budget” is blown in 2 weeks and I dread the racking-up of the $3.99 books yet to come for the remaining weeks of the month…it just plain sucks. It’s a stress I don’t need.

And maybe I need to just cut my losses. Yeah, there’s a lotta stuff out there I’d enjoy reading, I’d like to follow, I’m ready to get in with the new #1s on stuff…

Maybe the surgical approach just won’t work, and I need to just hack off entire limbs. For $13 under what I spent this week alone on new comics I could drop to two TMNT books from IDW at the hated-but-exempted-because-it’s-TMNT $3.99 and 2-3 $2.99 books from Marvel (X-Men Legacy, FF, and Thunderbolts).

Wouldn’t be too hard to convince me to add Daredevil to the group–it’s $2.99; ditto for Hawkeye and possibly Gambit as well.

That would still–for a MONTH’S worth of books–be $4 cheaper than this one week’s new books. That $4 would buy me 16 comics from the LCS bargain bin–over a year’s worth of one title, several mini-series, some one-shots/one-offs/special/stand-out issues, some combination.

xomanowarseriesone20120919.jpgI could use the rest of the month to purchase collected volumes–full price or through Amazon. Hit the bargain bins, spend a bit more to fill in gaps in my 1990s X-books and Valiant collections.

Just plain save the money for other occasions.

Comics are supposed to be fun.

But I’m not sure how much fun I’m actually having, at least right now.

‘Because we CAN’ vs. ‘Because we SHOULD’

Though this is primarily a comics blog, I’m taking off the comics-guy hat for a few moments of venting.

I went to Kent State University for 2 1/2 years of graduate school in Library and Information Science. While there, I attended classes with and interacted with students and professors involved in a “usability” program which would—to my understanding—study the “usability” of web sites and other user interfaces. Basically, “how does the end user use this” or “how easy is this to use for the end user,” which is a step beyond the folks designing something. When you’re the one designing something, of course it’s going to be intuitive and easy to use—you’re the one thinking about how you want to use it, and your will be done.

Anyway…I have long been frustrated and annoyed with use of Flash and other “technology” to FORCE a user to use one particular “way” or “path” through something—particularly websites. I’m a multi-tasker/multi-tabber…if you have multiple links/bits of information I’m interested in, I want to keep one page open in a tab, and be able to simply go down the line and open numerous links in new tabs—then I can go through and read what I want, and branch new series of tabs off of that…and it is NOT uncommon for me to find myself with 30-50 tabs open after an hour of using Wikipedia to look something up.

Sprint is my extreme example right now, though, of something that goes against anything I can think of for “usability.”

A number of years ago—late 2005 or so—I decided I wanted a backup of all the photos I had taken on my Sprint cameraphone. So I went to the Sprint Picturemail site, and after logging in was able to select an existing folder, and simply download that folder to my computer as a huge .zip file, that contained all of the photos, at full size.

However, those photos—that download/backup—that was all lost over a year ago now when the computer I had them on crashed the weekend I’d planned to do a proper backup of the machine.

Now, I again find myself trying to get those photos, which now span 7 years and number above 5,000…and in the years since that old download, Sprint has changed their site and interface.

They’ve implemented an interface far more reliant on Flash, and tried to make themselves like some other social network site or photo site, promoting features that—for someone like me—are totally useless or redundant or just uninteresting.

Their promo screen also—to ME—is a blatant LIE (though technically true, but that’s all relative to your purpose).

easiermyfoot

They’ve made it HARDER to download ALL your media and albums to your PC.

Just drag and drop them—“them” being INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS. One at a time, you can download these. A multi-step process—select the photo, drag it to the PC, wait for the download dialogue box to pop up, hit ok, wait for the download, then hit ok on a popup telling you how to download multiple files, and then you can go to your next photo to download and repeat the process.

OR—get this—you can hold down the Control key, and select multiple items…UP TO 21, because there is NO option to display more than 21 items at once. But if the Flash interface “hangs” or otherwise delays, your smooth mouse-pointer movement from one photo to the next will be affected, and register as you NOT holding down Control…and you have to start ALL OVER AGAIN selecting photos.

Sure, this interface is fine if you’re visiting someone ELSE’s collection of photos—you want a handful of photos, cool, select ‘em and go. You’re the owner of the photos, and you want a few select photos to upload your best to facebook or twitter of flickr or whatever—great.

But you’re the owner of the photos and you want to download everything to your own machine, to use in software on your own computer and not just the limited set of options on the Sprint site…

Well, there’s NO provision for THAT.

So as a result…I’m dedicating a big chunk of my day to going through, using this crappy, UN-friendly interface, attempting to download over 5,000 photos 21 at a time…and will then still have to go through over 240 such .zip files and unzip these photos, just to have a usable photo archive.

And maybe sometimes soon I’ll get into my feelings about numerous sites all trying to emulate facebook, and/or sites and services trying to make it easy for you to use them as your CENTRAL, core, prime “homepage” or home site by allowing you to import content from other sites/services…and yet making it impossible or extremely difficult to take data from this one to one of those others.

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