Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Longbox Is Coming to Change Your World Forever!

After three years of development and negotiations, Rantz Hoseley made his first official announcements about "Longbox" at HeroesCon. Longbox purports to be an Itunes-style platform where comic book fans can download titles for a nominal fee.

This is very sneaky-important news, because Hoseley is a hair's breadth from changing the way comic books are produced and enjoyed forever. Let's do a little Longbox Q&A, shall we?

What the heck IS Longbox?
Think ITunes for comic books. You go to the Longbox website, and waiting for you is basically an online rack of new comics from a host of companies in a virtual comic shop. You choose which titles and which issues you'd like to try, pay a small fee, and bang - you've got your digital comic book to do with as you choose.

Just how small is that fee, exactly?
Longbox is recommending that publisher's charge 99 cents per issue. But it's a recommendation, not law. Publishers are free to charge what they like for their comics.

There are plans for block and subscription pricing, but no terms or prices have been announced.

So I can download my new books on Wednesday when the floppies come out?
Again, this is completely up to the publishers. It's possible the digital comics will be released simultaneously or even before the print books hit shelves. It's probably more likely that companies will delay their digital distribution in a vain attempt to save the monthly pamphlet.

Which Comic Publishers have signed on with Longbox?

At this point, the only confirmed publishers are BOOM! and Top Cow.

WHAT??? No Marvel? No D.C.?
At the moment, no. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that Hoseley has been developing this project for three years, and has wisely kept very quiet about it until it was ready to materialize. He's strongly hinted that Marvel is basically on board.

When the idea of Longbox was spawned three years ago, none of the publishers would even speak with Hoseley. Now the worm has turned and everyone is in negotiations, trying to determine if Hoseley has an app that will work to bridge comics fully into the 21st Century.

So is Longbox that killer app?

Well, we really only have Hoseley's say in the matter, but the evidence looks good. What he's done is partner with Quicksilver and created a way to convert what publisher's already use in their current printing process (Adobe InDesign and Quark)into Longbox files.

Basically, that means two very important things. 1)Longbox isn't asking anybody to sink extra costs into developing software to integrate. Longbox integrated into them. 2) There's no proprietary software favoring one publisher over another. They can absorb comics equally easily from anybody.

So how do the comics actually look and read with Longbox? Again, we have only Hoseley to vouch for that. But he's a legitimate comic book fan (editor on Tori Amos's "Comic Book Tattoo") and a software designer. He thinks they work pretty darned well, and apparently so do Mark Waid and Mark Silvestri, or they wouldn't have signed on.

Can I download comics to my IPhone?

Not yet you can't. As of this moment, Longbox is compatible with your Mac, PC, or Linux. But there are plans right now to expand Longbox into the Kindle, IPhone, WiiWare, and X-Box Live.

Hoseley has read comics on his big screen TV with his X-Box, and says it's pretty damned awesome. The tech is easy - the tough part is getting them to use Longbox without making users pay extra for the privilege. Hoseley is committed to everybody paying the same price.

Anything Longbox comics can do that floppies can't?

Damn Skippy. Digital comics open up a host of creative possibilities. Early ideas are "behind the scenes" info and commentary from creators, a la extras on your DVDs.

Being that comics creators are some of the most interactive artists on the planet, I think you can count on someday reading an issue of Anna Mercury while listening to a less than sober Warren Ellis explaining why he hates you so much. Let's see your pamphlet do that!

Don't look for motion, comics, though. Hoseley....is not a fan of the motion comics.

Sounds good, but when can I start downloading these comics?

There is no solid launch date yet, but all signs point to Longbox going live some time in 2009. To keep up to date, check out Comic Book Resources. They've decided to partner with CBR to act as a kind of official mouthpiece.

How will this affect the comic book industry?
Of course that depends. If Marvel and DC don't sign on, probably not much at all. If Marvel and DC do partner with Longbox, you can tell the fat lady to pick up the pace singing about the end of the monthly pamphlet.

There is something satisfying about holding a comic in your hands, it's true. But nobody really wants to store the damn things, and nobody is really interested in the speculator market, which is the other main reason to want a physical artifact.

I think that many people will still continue to enjoy comics in book form. And they will use Longbox to make decisions about which stories are special enough to deserve that. In fact, I think it's very likely that Longbox would increase book sales.

Think about it- how many trades would you get sucked into if you could test drive more books? At a dollar per issue or with a subscription, even a limited budget could sample far more comics and develop an informed taste about them.

Your average local comic shop tends not to order much past the Big Two. Longbox will almost certainly offer a more extensive catalog than most shops currently do. And it's all a click away. That means more people seeing more comics, and that really ought to mean more profit for the publishers.

This will also punish a lot of comic book shops. They will be forced to become a hub for buying trades or find some way other than floppies to earn their living. Because that dinosaur is about to breathe its last.

- Ryan

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why We Rule

So I was perusing the June Previews. And I saw this page of featured items in the Collectibles & Novelties and was struck with an epiphany about how bizarre and awesome are the Legion of Nerds.

On the left hand side of the page: Unbridled Sex. Ah, yes. The ol' Secret Wishes Slave Leia costume. The only problem with that - what's the goddamn secret? Every card carrying nerd (or at least the ones with penises) who ever saw Return of the Jedi will tell you loudly and openly about this fetish.

This is sophisticated nerdism. Hot, wicked, heterosexual, social nerdism. Yes, we are capable of such feats.

On the right hand side: The Antidote to Sex. Tiny PVC representations of magical blue creatures roughly three apples in height. If you own any of these and display them in an open area where another human might see them, you are guaranteed to have no sex whatsoever for the duration of said display.

It does not get much more gay than Smurfs. Remember that in the beginning, there were no females. Gargamel constructed Smurfette as an evil confederate sent to infiltrate and destroy Smurf village.

Before that? And endless sea of blue dick. Everywhere you look, beneath every skin tight white pantaloon, a blueberry cock. Inside the show, the Smurfs were not terribly sexual. Inside of Peyo, their creator, beat the heart of an Epic Queer.

This is childish nerdism. Silly, closetly homosexual, asocial nerdism.

And it's all sitting there on the same page, and you know what? It makes perfect sense to me. It's just crap we watched and enjoyed between 1981-1983. We integrated both with no difficulty.

You want to save the world? You want to build some goddamn bridges? Learn from the nerds. We know about unconditional, open love.

We love ridiculous synthetic blue gayboys. And we will grab a tube of AstroGlide and love the ever lovin' shit out of a woman wearing that Secret Wishes Slave outfit.

We are nerds. And we rule.

- Ryan

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tips For Hitting San Diego CCI This Year!

Thinking about hitting San Diego this year for Nerd Prom? You should be. Walter Spurgeon lists 100 things you absolutely need to know to squeeze maximum enjoyment from your trip.

Hit this link and check out the entry for May 25 for full details!

Issue # 95 "Are You There God? It's Me Manatee"

This week on Chronic Insomnia we have the visitor of visitors stop by and give us an explanation as to what he's been doing these past eons. Near the end of the interview we win him over with our charm and sophistication and he adds us to his Facebook page. He's a rather popular person.

Ryan gets the gauntlet thrown down to him by Remy from "Where Monsters Dwell" and he accepts the challenge. We offer up a huge prize if Remy ends up beating him by Labor Day. Or Labour Day for those of you in Canada.

Mike has troubles with his bowels AGAIN, isn't this getting old? Well it would get old to normal people, but since we are 12 years old mentally, it's still pretty damn disgusting and funny. We can't help our vulgarity on this weeks show. Check out the end of the show this week for a top secret REDUX of our semi-famous Star Wars bit.

We Love The All Of You.


Brown Eye for the Comic Guy!

I missed last month but there is a lot coming down the pipe. Here's what you can order in the upcoming Previews and your local LCS:

1. Agents of Atlas Prem HC, W: Jeff Parker A: Various. I read the Limited Series and was very entertained. It dealt with super heroes but really didn't feel like a hero comic. This is the first arc of the on-going and from everyone I've talked to...It's Awesome! If nothing else it should be a smaller print run and may be worth something down the road.

2. Amazing Spider-man #600, W: Dan Slott A: John Romita, Jr. Spider-man, Daredevil and the return of Doc Oc! 104 pgs of goodness and a special story from Stan Lee himself. I'll bite!

3. Authority: Worlds End TP1, W: DnA(Abnett and Lanning) A: Simon Coleby. I can't help but splurge on this title. Back in the day the Authority used to be prettty damn good. Then nobody cared. With what DnA has done on other titles like Nova, Annihilation, Guardians...I'll give em a shot and see if they can bring this title back.

4. Blackest Night #1, W: Geoff Johns A: Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert. I told myself I wasn't going to buy this series until the trades came out. Unfortunately I got #0 on FCBD and started picking up the preludes. I'm pretty hooked and love what Johns is doing. I'll be ordering this and will probably get the HC too.

5. Bomb Queen Omnibust Vol.1, W: Jimmie Robinson A: Jimmie Robinson. This title always intrigued me at the shop. Hot anti-heroin who has next to nothing on and terrorizes the town. Like Erin Esurance gone bad! Gimme some!!

6. Fables: Delluxe Edition HC, W: Bill Willingham A: Lan Medina et al. Fables is one of those recent classics right up there with Ex Machina and Y the Last Man. This is the best way to try it out. If I don't like it you know there is enough of a following that you can always sell it later.

7. Fallen Angel Reborn #1, W: Peter David A: J.K. Woodward. One of the series I've read for a while, David finished his last tale a few months ago. This is the next leg of the story of the Fallen Angel and the city of Bette Noir. It should start out with a bang as Joss Whedon has given David the go ahead to use one of his characters from Angel, Illyria. It's supposed to cross-over at the same time as season 5 of Angel.

8. Noir TPB, W: Azzerello, Brubaker, plus A: Various. If you like crime comics like 100 Bullets, Criminal and Sleeper this should be a sample in paradise. Azz-man and Brubaker alone make this a must buy in my book!

9. Surrogates Special HC Edition, W: Robert Venditti A: Brett Weldele. I, unlike our special hosts, did read the originals. i have all the floppies(aren't I special.) But this reprints those in HC format with the new prequel. Just in time for the movie and fit to sell.

10. TMNT Collected Book Vol. 1, W/A: Eastman and Laird. The movies sucked! The cartoon sucked! The video games...SUUUCCCKKKKED! But the original series was life changing for me at that time of collecting comics. This brings back the first 11 issues in a collected format. Yes, I did have the glow-in-the-dark T-shirt of Michaelangelo! I was so cool!!

11. Unknown Soldier TPB Vol. 1, W: Joshua Dysart A: Alberto Ponticelli. I have to buy this. Ryan says so! And what Ryan says goes...just ask Dave's aching ass!