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I Tried–and Now Have Canceled–My DC Universe Subscription

no_to_dc_universeI really have to “blame” fellow blogger Natalie (Stabbing Stardust) for getting me to TRY the DC Universe thing when I was initially adamantly intending to stay away from it for awhile*. With stuff she’d posted and said about it, I was curious enough to try it, initially thinking to breeze through Constantine in a week, and when I only got through a few episodes, decided to go ahead and go with a single month to start, figuring that’d give me time to finish Constantine, and poke around a bit.

(*This blame is not a bad thing, and IS one of the great things, to me, of being part of a comics/blogging community!)

I have YET to really in any way LIKE the interface–VERRRRRRY briefly on the computer a couple times to browse (nothing impressive) and mainly on a Roku TV app.

There’s no simple, alphabetical list of series, it at least SEEMS LIKE they keep changing stuff around for what’s grouped where in the menus/home screen, and with so little actual COMICS content available, even SEARCHING doesn’t do much.

The app even launched BEFORE even ONE of the new, announced series were ready to go–five weeks of ME using it, and NOW there are only THREE episodes of Titans available, and UNlike the Netflix model of dropping an entire season at once, it’s on a weekly-drop schedule, and NOT even at “midnight” (at 2am EST Thursday night into Friday morning, the app gave me a note saying the third episode of Titans would drop in “5 hours”).

Of all the tv content, really only Constantine (a single season) and Superboy seasons 2-4 are of any immediate interest to me; the former to catch up on the character as they’ve continued into the “Arrow-verse” and the latter for nostalgia and finding a certain scene that sticks out to me from when I was a kid.

The CW shows–Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow–are not available on it, nor is the ’66 Batman series. It seems a handful of “classic” cartoons–the ’40s Fleisher Superman shorts are available, and I think I saw some Super-Friends thing; but I don’t believe the ’60s/’70s cartoons are available, nor the RubySpears Superman.

There are several documentaries, but as I have at least a couple on DVD, even those aren’t a great draw, and none “justify” $8/month; I’d rather pay the $8 for a dvd and have that tangible product in my actual collection!

Most egregious–and what most directly led to me actually CANCELING–came Saturday night after I finished episode 3 of Titans. Finished with the episode, I decided to browse to find a comic or story to READ. I’d previously experimented with the navigation with Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey #1, and Superman: The Man of Steel #18 (The Death of Superman/Doomsday! part 1) but hadn’t actually READ any full issues yet.

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Amidst the stupid-loose categories (more “Raven,” more “Titans,” etc), looking at individual stuff, I spotted a SPELLING ERROR. Suicide Squad: Trail by Fire. Trail, as opposed to Trial. A simple, stupid typo, but extremely grating to me. Trail OF Fire would make sense as an alternative to Trial OF Fire. But the “by” would mean that a Trail (A-I) by fire is a trail running alongside fire…as opposed to a Trial (I-A) by fire being under fire, via fire, amidst fire, etc.

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Then I noticed one of the loose categories was “Last Chance to Read.”

LAST CHANCE…to read?!?

Not even TWO MONTHS and a crap selection of comics, and they’re ROTATING COMICS OFF the app ENTIRELY?!?

I understand, condone, and would even EXPECT them to rotate what they are ACTIVELY PROMOTING, what they are “PUSHING,” at any given time. Batman Day? Push the Batman stuff. New show about the Titans? Push stuff related to those characters. Halloween? Push the haunted stories. Etc.

But making EVERY SINGLE COMIC available essentially something on a TIMER, something FINITE and LIMITED…something INTRINSIC to their existence, to their having characters anyone cares about…but basically saying “hey, read ’em NOW or not at all!” is just a massive stomp on the foot, to me.

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While I was stewing on that, I then noticed ANOTHER typo, in the Batman/New Titans crossover A Lonely Place of Dying. A 29-year-old story…but they have it listed as A Lonely Place FOR Dying. Nitpicky? Yeah, but it’s extremely personal to ME, as that was the first story in Batman that I had a part 1 of as a kid (My very first issue of Batman was 439–the conclusion of the 4-part Year Three; my second-ever issue was 440, part 1 of Lonely Place OF Dying).

This thing’s been compared to Marvel‘s Marvel Unlimited, as an “answer” to that, as something potentially “better” (at least TRYING to be “better”) since DC hasn’t HAD anything REMOTELY similar.

But the ticking timer on comics mean the ENTIRETY of the app is “curated,” not just curating recommendations and themes or such. And if they’re rotating comics content, who’s to say they won’t decide to rotate other content? The animated movies? (I own those already, too; many of them also digitally that I can watch on Vudu with hundreds of other digital movies)

I’d THINK that (especially with Titans having a “TV-MA” rating) as a late-30s male who has been into comics–primarily DC over the years, for basically 30 years now–I should be the primary audience. Nostalgic for digital back-issues (to preserve sales of modern stuff), violent, dark tv (Titans), old enough to have kids to expose to the animated content, a family to share other tv content, and so on.

But again, I can only figure “I’m obviously NOT the target audience.”

And I can’t in good conscience feel as strongly as I do on all this and complain about it without backing it up with some sort of action. So, catching it a day before it would have renewed, I’ve cancelled my subscription, and with no subscription, will be removing the app/”channel” from my Roku devices (and never even got around to installing whatever app there may be for phones/tablets).

Maybe I’ll check back in later. I’ll probably wait to see how long the DC Universe “exclusive” shows will be available and in what form–are THOSE going to be “rotated” as well? Force you to–if you’re more than 5 weeks “behind”–resort to waiting for some sort of DVD/Bluray release (as even the “Netflix-Exclusive” shows have)? Or will I be able to re-subscribe later and watch the full season?

While this thing has “potential,” 1. the app being SO RUSHED that it was launched “only” a few weeks before new, original content was even ready to be launched; 2. the extremely limited, crap selection of “sampler”-like comics and 3. the rotating OUT/off of stuff, rather than simply ADDING TO an ever-growing “library” of content…that’s 3 strikes, in my eyes.

I’m so incredibly glad I opted to only spend $8, rather than $75+ for some annual thing. I feel strongly enough NEGATIVELY toward the thing as of this typing that I even considered re-upping with Marvel Unlimited on PRINCIPLE, even though I would ONLY be able to make easy use of that on my PHONE.

“Passively,” I very much do NOT recommend DC Universe at this time. I’m extremely discouraged and frustrated with stuff, but knowing I’m a bit of an anomaly having so much dvd content in my personal collection, I’ll stop just shy of actively recommending against the service, as far as the tv/animated content goes. Comics-wise, don’t waste your money, though!

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The Weekly Haul: Week of June 13, 2018 #NCBD

This week’s haul is a rather large one–at least for lately!

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The latest Man of Steel issue; the 2nd chapter of Flash War (Read Blake Petit‘s review of that over at ForgedBy4!), and the latest issue of Mister Miracle.

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Against better judgment and preference, I went ahead and grabbed Hawkman #1, just to "try." Same for Plastic Man #1. I’m trying to avoid mini-series from DC lately and in general, but something to it had gotten my attention and I figured with getting various other #1s as well, why not?

Giving in to the "hype" I’d pretty much decided to check out The Magic Order; and I think I’d seen something about a premise to Stellar #1 and decided to give that a try. I’m all for Image #1s, but since I far prefer Image collected volumes, these are–again–"just to try."


I’m pretty sure I’ve "let go" on Oblivion Song; I’d tried the first issue, bought the 2nd and maybe the 3rd…but that "maybe the 3rd" and not recalling if I even actually read #2 is enough reason to stop buying. Maybe I’ll get a collected volume, maybe I’ll catch up… but if it didn’t grab me enough to keep up with and such, not something I need to be following in single issues!

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Both cats–Chloe and Sarah–played photo-bomber when I tried to get the usual photos for this post. Here’s Chloe checking out the #1s–she was laying on the stack, but let me spread them out for her, and she stayed put for the photo.

I know I say it most of the time but…here’s hoping next week is a small one again!

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Binge Consumption: My Experience With TV and Comics

houseofcardsI’m seeing a bit of chatter lately about “binge” consumption–specifically referencing Netflix and their having released an entire 13-episode season all in one go–the same time the first episode is ever available, all the episodes are available.

And I’m definitely in the camp of seeing that as the way to go. I hardly ever even BOTHER TRYING a new show–I’ll just wait for the entire series, or entire seasons, to be available.

A couple years ago, I went through 7 seasons of Buffy and 4 of Mad Men and a couple seasons of Felicity. Last year, I finished the final 2 seasons of Felicity and 4 seasons of Breaking Bad. I also at some point took in an entire season of Doctor Who–whether 2011 or early 2012 I don’t recall. I just this week finished the third season of White Collar and have no clue how much/what’s available thus far of a fourth season.

I’m also noticing myself REALLY going this way with comics, though (if only to myself) it seems this is a new phrasing for how I look at it.

Last year, I snagged near-complete runs of Batman: Shadow of the Bat, of Birds of Prey, and of Nightwing, early-on. I also picked up a small stack of Detective Comics. Last week, I acquired another small stack of late-80s Detective Comics. Foolish or not, I have this vision of reading the entirety of the ’90s Batman saga, beginning with a complete shot through Batman and Detective Comics from shortly after Crisis on Infinite Earths (tentatively aiming at starting points of Batman: Year One and Batman: Year Two).

I also got into Valiant in a big way last year–first discovering a larger assortment of Valiant books already in my collection than I was aware, and taking advantage of some excellent deals at the local comic shops. I presently have at least 3 shortboxes of ’90s Valiant waiting to be read–though I’m determined to fill in some holes yet, so I can ideally start at the VERY beginning and go all the way through, with ALL the titles, to a point.

And my Valiant acquisitions got sidetracked when I pulled together all of my X-Men comics and got several great deals at the local comic shop to fill in further gaps. My goal there is to pick up with Uncanny X-Men as far back as I have a solid run into the ’90s, the entirety of X-Factor, and then the ’91 stuff through to the 2001 stuff with Morrison‘s New X Men and the corresponding run of Uncanny, at which point I’ll probably see how far I can get on the two core titles.

Even with ‘spoilers’ (after 10, 15, 20+ years, eventually a “spoiler” simply becomes “common knowledge”) there’s the enjoyment of the journey, of the details.

And with this week’s announcement of six more New 52 books getting cancelled…well, I know the old Valiant stuff includes 3-5 year runs for several titles, with multi-year runs on more. I’m looking at 8-10+ year runs on much of the X-Men stuff. And similar multi-year runs for the various core Bat-books (even Azrael made it to 75 or 100, no?).

Maybe I don’t get THE MOST CURRENT stuff this way…but it’s still a heckuva lot of story to be (eventually) consumed in a much shorter span than the original releases. And far more satisfying than waiting weeks between issues. Not to mention knowing the finite runs and what gets finished rather than having a new series just start to hold my attention only to be cancelled (I’m looking at Boom, with Extermination and Higher Earth!).

The plans of mice and men

usagionshelfwith2volsY’know….when the year was dawning, 5/6 weeks ago…I hastily rushed into a couple things.

One was a “to-be-read” book challenge—I assembled a list of twelve books I’ve been meaning to read, and the goal is to get through those by the end of 2011. An “alternates” list is allowed, which I also maxed out at 12 books. The year is still young—it only took one full month to get through my first book, and I’m already into a second book—which I didn’t even realize was going to exist. Meanwhile, I’m about 1/3 into the audiobook version of one of my alternates.

buffyssn1The other thing was something I’d heard about from several podcasts the last several years—to “adopt” a character. I decided to do so with Usagi Yojimbo, having intended for ages to read and learn more about the character, but never quite getting myself around to it.

Then as the year actually dawned, I realized multiple seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were on Netflix streaming.

Thought about picking up where I’d left off 5 1/2 years earlier at the end of the first season, but opted to just start fresh at the beginning. Some idle curiosity combined with some casual checking out, and I found myself quickly drawn into the show.

buffythevampireslayerseasoneight001Tonight, I finished the 3rd season; meaning I’ve averaged about half a season per week. Of course, I’m now to the point where Angel spun off into his own show, and the question becomes: do I simply continue on through Buffy, and then double back to watch Angel…or do I flip back and forth and attempt to follow both series simultaneously, the way they originally aired?

And as I realize how much time I’ve spent…Usagi sits on the shelf, and it seems that I’ve in many ways “adopted” Buffy as a character to focus on this year.

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