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    The WTO podcast: Who Watches the Watchmen Prequels

    Special guest host Q-Dog and Scott discuss the recently announced Watchmen prequel comic books as well as touching on the Avengers vs X-Men and other comics topics.

    Listen | MP3 Podcast - 24mb


    " as little as two years, print comic books could be extinct"

    Martin Pasko is a man well-known in many circles: comic book publishing, television writing, animation and the gaming industry. His writing career spans the 70s through to present day on titles such as Superman, Doctor Fate, Wonder Woman, JLA, Star Trek (for Marvel Comics), as well as the television shows Gargoyles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman: The Animated Series, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony and the animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. The list goes on, but this is meant not to be a Wikipedia entry, but rather an introduction.

    Mr. Pasko was speculating on the future of printed comics books on Twitter recently which sparked a lively debate. For those of you who do not follow him (@MartinPasko), he put down his thoughts in an essay published on his FaceBook page. He has generously given me permission to republished his thoughts here:

    On Twitter [the other day], an old friend thought me a bit extreme in suggesting that, in as little as two years, print comic books could be extinct. He said he doubted that "the big two," DC and Marvel, would "let things slide" that fast. Frankly, I don't think it's a matter of "letting things slide." That's old-school thinking. They're clearly *pushing* to get out of the print business.

    (Perhaps this is slightly less true of Marvel than DC, because Disney has other divisions with viable print products and licenses, whereas T-W has significantly reduced its print-media holdings and DC is the sole publishing entity within its division, Warner Bros. -- point being that the corporate cultures are different. This may also mean that Marvel will ultimately prove itself better at integrating its comics into the overall brand-marketing strategy -- creating scenarios in which comics sales are driven by tentpole feature films, for example, a condition that for a long time did not obtain in the industry. Marvel's recent announcement that, in a year in which it had promoted roughly three times the mass-media incarnations of its super heroes than DC did, it had eclipsed DC in market share percentage -- if that's truthful or not just a different way of crunching the numbers -- might be another sign of rapidly-changing business models.)

    The old late-20th-century regimes, especially DC's, had one mantra: "Above all else, protect the retailer" -- meaning the specialty shops. This was predicated on the idea that *readers (fans) of comic books per se* were the only segment of the population that cared passionately about super heroes, comics' lifeblood. That began to change slowly around 2000, when first video games, then TV, movies, and original online content (as well as increased toy licensing) made it possible to be a super hero fan without *ever* having read a comic book. The older publishers (meaning the people, not companies) hung onto the old business models out of love for print media and the smell of ink on pulp, looking ever more to their own employers like dinosaurs who had to go. Now T-W and Disney consider themselves companies with divisions that manage and monetize superhero entertainment brands. No longer do they have top-level executives who don't even know that their companies have divisions that create super heroes. As a result, the comic book shops have no "favored nations status" any more, and the recent, aggressive push into digital marketing and the rapid progress in phone apps and digital downloading, etc., are evidence of this. The shops may survive for a while yet, but the prognosis isn't good: with creators' options to self-publish for downloading to e-readers steadily increasing, what, ultimately, will be the point of printing on paper?

    Thanks again to Martin Pasko for allowing us to post his thoughts. Now, what do you have to say?


    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011 version)

    Saw TGWTDT yesterday.  Before going any further into this, I should disclose I've seen the 2009 adaptation and read the novel some time ago.  And this could possibly be the reason I wasn't as keen on this film as I'd hoped.

    TGWTDT might be one of director David Fincher's stronger efforts. He managed to capture the sexual horror, the winter drear, and the horror of murder.  He and his editors kept an interesting steady pace as the film deftly interwove a 40 year old murder investigation with a man trying to rebuild his professional reputation and a young girl pulling herself up from personal hells.   He, the screenwriter and his cast built a world of lies and intrigue and made it both inviting and repulsive.  In other words, everyone in the movie did their jobs.

    And it still felt a little too familiar, a little too massaged.

    But go see it.  If only because it's a "good" movie, go see it.  

    And also see it because of the three installments, it's the least pulpy.  Once you get to book 2, the one with the Hornet's Nest (or is it Fire), you meet a character who belongs in a James Bond movie.  And by book 3, you're in courtroom drama territory.


    Pull The Other One - Weekly pull list

    Baltimore: The Curse Bells #5
    The Occultist #2
    Orchid #3
    Batgirl #4
    Batman and Robin #4
    Batwoman #4
    Frankenstein, Agent of Shade #4
    Green Lantern #4
    Legion Lost #4
    The Ray #1
    The Shade #3
    Suicide Squad #4
    The Boys: Butcher Baker, Candlestickmaker #6
    Hawken #2 
    Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes #3
    Severed #5 
    All Winners Squad: Band of Heroes #7 
    Avengers 1959 #4 
    Avengers: The X-Sanction #1 
    Battle Scars #2
    Legion of Monsters #3 
    Magneto: Not A Hero #2 
    New Avengers #19
    S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 
    Ultimate Comics X-Men #4
    The Secret History #17



    Pull The Other One - Weekly pull list

    The Rinse #4 
    Action Comics #4
    Animal Man #4
    Stormwatch #4
    The Boys #61
    Cold War #3
    Moriarty #7
    Reed Gunther #6
    Defenders #1
    Moon Knight #8
    Villains For Hire #1
    X-Factor #228
    Damaged #4