Comics: Physical or Digital?

Physical_vs_DigitalComics (both single issues and trades) are available in two different methods of delivery (sorry purists, I’m not counting weekly/daily newspaper strips): Physical or Digital.  Physical was número uno for years and then digital bounced in about 10 years ago.

I came back into reading comics in the summer of 2011 when DC’s The New 52 was launched and I was really high on reading everything on my iPad. This was the future!  Fuck paper books!  I went through my library, kept only a few books and then ended up donating the rest.  I doubled-down on the e-pub versions of books that I had physical copies of.  And when it came to comics, I thought digital copies were the bees knees, as it were. I loved them and thought there was no turning back. ComiXology Library 2

Well…if you’ve been reading this blog, you will know that I am all about the physical issues so…I was wrong in 2011.  Big time.

After about a year of reading issues on my iPad, I had a conversation with my friend Sammy who had been chastising me since August 2011 about my decision to buy comics online. Sammy thought it was great that I had come back into reading comics but then also thought that I was being short sighted, ridiculous and plain ‘ol stupid for reading my comics on a tablet. Sammy is nerd for all things pop culture.  His DNA is built upon the four-coloured world of comics from the 80’s through to today. He’s a purist, plain and simple. And while we disagree about a lot of things (such as the DCEU movies and the often-needed requirement of wearing pants), he wasn’t wrong about digital comics.

Sammy made a lot of good points about why digital comics were to be shunned and not accepted: the formatting of the comics is all wrong, including the zooming of panels; they should be viewed as one page, not bit-by bit; the responsibility to support our local comic shops and finally – the feel of a comic in your hand is more rewarding that the glass screen of a tablet.

Of course, I had disagreed with all of Sammy’s points.  I essentially told him he was an old man living in an old world and his refusal to move with the times was mind numbing.  But fuck, he was right the entire time and I was 1000% wrong.  Well, maybe 900%.

After about a year and change of buying comics online, I walked into a local comic shop and was browsing, checking out what they had and talking with the guys who owned the place.  And in my conversations, I decided to pick up volume 1 of the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo Batman comic in the trade paperback format (I wrote about my enjoyment of trades a couple weeks ago,  if you want to check it out).

It was in that moment that I then started to buy the physical copies of my comics and, essentially, got back into collecting.  I finished out the Batman (New 52) run starting with issue 32.  Side note: I’ve often thought about finding the first 31 issues and completing the run just because I’m a completionist but I also know it’ll cost me a fortune. But I digress…

From that moment on, I began purchasing and collecting the physical copies of my comics. I had a couple of long boxes in my basement with my comics that I had collected as a kid and now I’ve added an additional long box (or two).  When DC rebooted their universe…sorry, course corrected it….with Rebirth, I expanded my collecting to more titles. I have also expanded to other comics (non superhero) and imprints such as Image and those decisions were made based solely on the atmosphere that you get in your local comic shop.

Batman Trade 1See, you can browse the racks and overhear or talk to the other comic nerds about what they’re reading.  You don’t get this when you’re scrolling through your ComiXology app on your tablet/phone.

I’m not shitting on digital comics.  Not at all.  In fact, the other day I wrote about a sale that ComiXology/Amazon was having (and still do!) and that I had picked up a couple of collections to read off my tablet.  The titles/story lines that I chose were ones where I was interested in reading them but was unsure if I wanted to drop the $30 for the physical trade.  If it turns out that, after reading the digital copy, I love the story, I will go out and pick up the trade from my local comic shop.

And its here where I think there can be a healthy relationship with physical and digital comics.  Personally, I think that physical comics are the best medium in which to read comics. I also, though, concede that it can be costly and some cannot afford to purchase the issues/trades but can still download and read them digitally through their local library.  I get that and have no issues (zing!) with that…although most libraries do have physical copies of some great titles on their shelves.

When you go to your local comic-con, the vendors don’t have digital codes for sale.  They have physical issues.  And as I stated above, this method of commerce is where you can expand your reading library based on the conversations with fellow nerds and comic lovers.

At the end of the day, whether you’re reading comics your purchased from your local store or online, the fact that great stories are being read and looked at is the key for publishers to continue to put out great content.  I just prefer the feel of the paper as I flip from page to page, rather than swiping on a screen.

___________________________________________________

When I said that my bud Sammy was nerd for all things pop culture, I meant it.  He has a passion for music and is the program director for Girth Radio where he hosts a show/podcast called My Summer Lair.  He also co-hosts a weekly podcast called Back Issue Bloodbath where they talk comics (new and old), creators and other comic-related topics.

Finally, if you’re on Twitter, follow Sammy.  His opinions and conversations will either infuriate you or make you laugh out loud. May or may not be best read while going to the bathroom, I leave that to you.

 

Advertisements

Summer Movies 2017

Summer Movies

Last weekend Wonder Woman was released in theatres and it’s amazing.  Seriously, you have to go see it if you haven’t.  My wife, who isn’t a comic or superhero fan at all (except Batman.  She has a thing for Batman, oddly enough) loved Wonder Woman.  I plan on taking my son in the next week or so as well.  Go see it.  You’ll be rather impressed.

As we are into the second week of June, I started looking at what was coming out for the rest of this summer and planning on what I was seeing next.  But first, here’s what I have seen thus far these last couple of weeks:

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2 – Its fun! I liked it a lot, likely wont live up to the hype of the first one and I’m ok with that.  Its an impossible task to surpass the unexpected surprise of the first movie.

Alien: Covenant – Stay the fuck away.  Wait until it drops on Netflix. Seriously.

Wonder Woman – See above.  And then go see it.

And here are the movies that I want to see in theatres this summer:

June 9: The Mummy – I’m not overly hyped to see this movie but if a friend called and asked (and maybe bought the ticket), I would go.

June 23: Transformers: The Last Knight – Honestly, the only reason I would go is because you almost have to see it in theatres, it’ll be so big and loud.  I highly doubt it’ll be amazing, but it seems to follow the same logic (or illogical) as the Fast and Furious movies.

June 28: Baby Driver – Edgar Wright looks like he’s hit it out of the park.  I get a very early Quentin Tarantino-vibe off these trailers.

June 30: Despicable Me 3 – I have kids.  I’m going to be stuck going.

July 7: Spider-Man: Homecoming – I can’t wait to see this movie.  Seriously…after 5 movies, it looks like Sony finally got Peter Parker right.  Well, with the help of Marvel, of course.

July 14: The War for the Planet of the Apes – Yes!  YES!  Take my money!!!  This looks amazing.

July 21: Dunkirk – Thus far, the trailers haven’t really hit a home run for me, but so far Christopher Nolan hasn’t done wrong by me so I’m in.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – I just re-watched The Fifth Element and it didn’t really hold up for me, but it was still enjoyable. The visuals look amazing but, if I don’t get to see it, I wouldn’t be heart broken.

August 18: The Hitman’s Bodyguard – This just looks…fun!  At the end of a summer with huge blockbusters, I like having a plain old fun movie. And this will be it.

Summer Movies 2017

I know there are a lot of other movies within these months, like Atomic Blonde, The Dark Tower that are coming out.  But honestly, I don’t know if I would go to see those in the theatre. Shit, as I type this, I think I do want to see The Dark Tower.  So maybe I will.  Who knows.

So what movies are you going to be watching this summer?  Any sleeper movies I should be aware of?  Whatever you end up watching, I hope it was worth the money you spent.  Otherwise, that a kick in the junk.  Much like Alien: Covenant. Fuck….

 

 

Second Opinions

Recently I wrote about how I had watched a shit-ton of Netflix while I was sick.  I ended up re-watching two movies that I hadn’t seen in some time – Captain America: The First Avenger and Interstellar.

CAFAI watched both of these at the theatre and enjoyed them. One, was hailed as a great movie.  The other…not so much.   You know what?  Lets just get to it…I have a confession to make.  I did not like Captain America as much as everyone else.  In fact, I was quite convinced that it was the weakest of the MCU movies and felt that way up until a couple weeks ago.  And I had gone to war with people on this, arguing my point.  Don’t I look like a fool now.

I remember leaving the theatre after watching Captain America and my friends were saying how cool it was; how much fun they had; how it was the best movie of the MCU and maybe EVER.  Gimme a break, I thought.   To me, the 90-second Avengers movie tease at the end was far more exciting than the whole of Captain America.  I just didn’t like it.  I thought it was boring and I really didn’t care.  When I got home afterwards and in the days following, I went online to see if anyone shared my opinion. And for the most part, no one did.  And those that may have thought the same as I?  I didn’t feel using some of those internet trolls as a good point of reference to bolster my side.

When the movie came out on home video (I realize that’s an out-dated term, but its my blog, right?) I picked the movie up for two reasons: 1) I am a completionist and wanted it in my MCU catalogue and 2) maybe I was wrong?

I fired the movie up, sat back on my comfy couch, prepared to enjoy this movie like everyone else and…I fell asleep.  This wasn’t a good sign.  I ended up trying again and when I finally made it through the whole movie, I had the same feeling as I did when I saw it months earlier in the theatre.  For whatever reason, I just didn’t enjoy the movie.  I did watch it again a year or so later but more as background noise than anything.  I didn’t care to revisit The First Avenger.

When the sequel The Winter Soldier came out, I went bananas for that movie. I hold that movie in high regard not just as a good comic book movie, but as a good movie overall.  And while I really liked Civil War, I prefer The Winter Soldier, but just by a bit.  I was convinced that The First Avenger was the bastard child of not only the trilogy, but of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Until a couple weeks ago.

CAFA2

I had mentioned in that previous post that one of the reasons I watched so much Netflix is that I couldn’t sleep. So…again, this wont be a popular statement but…I chose to put on Captain America: The First Avenger with the hopes that it would make me sleepy and tired and pass out.  But instead, not only did I stay awake, I was wide awake.  Holy shit, this is an awesome movie!  What the hell was I thinking about before??  I finally started to understand why people showed so much love to this movie.

I decided to watch it again after I was feeling better, just to ensure that I wasn’t having some delusional trip through the sickness void.  And I’m glad I did because it just reaffirmed that I really, really liked The First Avenger.  And yes, its not perfect and its not the best movie ever, but damn if it isn’t in the top…seven (?) of the MCU movies. Its good. I wish I could pinpoint what changed for me, but I cant.  It was just a feeling I had when I first saw it, an opinion, that I no longer shared.

I’m not sure I can draft a decent segue to discuss Interstellar so…interstellar

I saw Interstellar with a co-worker when it came out and we both enjoyed it but at just-shy of 3-hours, in an uncomfortable movie theatre chair…you can only like a movie so much.  I remember walking out and talking about it and enjoying it more than my co-worker but when he asked why…I had no answer.  I just knew I enjoyed it but as for why…I couldn’t articulate it.

I had wanted to re-watch it but life got in the way and it wasn’t until close to nine days ago that I watched it again for the second time.  And wow. I was blown away with how much I enjoyed it on that second viewing.  I still am likely unable to properly articulate why I like it so much but I think its just a smart movie.  I don’t care about the science of it and whether its ‘good’ science or ‘bad’ science.  I don’t care about how realistic it is or how plausible.

I like what each actor brought to the role.  I like the AI robots and how smart, yet simplistic, their designs are.  I really, really like the music and score done by Hans Zimmer.  The special effects won an Oscar…and I can totally get behind that!   And the story is good:  Earth is becoming uninhabitable and Matthew McConaughey, a former NASA pilot, leads a group of astronauts to find a new planet for humans to live on.  Ok, that’s a really oversimplification of the plot.  You know what?  Just watch it.   Trust me.

interstellar2

As with all movies, there are those who like it and those who don’t.  For me, a quasi-cinephile, its rare that I would like a movie substantially more on its second viewing, but with Interstellar, I did.  I recently told a friend about how much I enjoyed it and he looked at me like I was losing my brain.  And shit, maybe I am.

But I’ll keep watching Captain America: The First Avenger and Interstellar over and over again and telling everyone who’ll listen why both of these movies were, to me, way better upon second viewing than the first time.  And maybe, if either of those movies didn’t do it for you when you first saw them, you should watch them again.  You may be really, and pleasantly, surprised.

 

Daredevil. Netflix. Love.

Daredevil-TV.1

I don’t know if its because I recently read the TPB Daredevil: Born Again or if its because I was so pissed off with the Iron Fist TV series, but I’ve started to re-watch Daredevil on Netflix.  This will be my 3rd-go-round with Season 1 and, once done, I will dive back into Season 2 for the first time since I initially saw it a year ago.

I remember being totally enamored with Season 1.  Admittedly, I know that some of the source material of Season 1 was pulled from The Man Without Fear storyline written by Frank Miller and drawn by John Romita Jr., but I never read the books so I went in to the show with virgin eyes.

I was blown away by a lot of what the show was able to do or, more aptly, get away with.  I had no clue that Marvel would have allowed the show-runners to take that property and make is so…well, violent.  I honestly assumed that Marvel would want to protect its identity as family-friendly given that their movies were between PG-and-PG13.  But the Netflix show holds nothing back and it plays out exactly how it should.  I mean, that hallway fight in episode 2 is out of this world.

I remember getting antsy towards the end as I wanted to see how they were going to do the suit, and while its not a giant red unitard….hey, at least its not a giant red unitard!

Daredevil-TV.2Overall I was really happy with the show and I felt that it was a great accompaniment to the movies in the MCU.   I don’t believe that Daredevil would work as a movie (hello, Ben Affleck) as well as it did as a TV series.  It was grounded in the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.  Some of the best TV series are at street level (The Wire and those first 10 seasons of Law & Order), eschewing the fantastical.  Daredevil brings you down to its level so much, you can almost feel the pain of every punch thrown.

Season 2 came out in March 2016 and just like Season 1, I ate it all up in a weekend.  How do you expand on the rawness of the first season?  Well, you can introduce The Punisher, that’s how.  I remember when Marvel & Netflix announced that The Punisher would be part of Season 2, the geek collective’s brains exploded.  Yes, we have two (Ok, fine…three) Punisher movies to watch but this version of Frank Castle was the best of the three.

And remember that hallway scene in episode 2 of the first season?  Yeah, and remember how I said I was shocked that Marvel would let the show-runners get away with the violence in the show? Ok, so lets ratchet that up 100 times greater and you’ve got episode 9.  I am telling you, this may be the most bloodiest thing that has been filmed for TV and I loved every splattery moment of it.

Daredevil-TV.3

Finally, to round it out, they introduce Electra to the series and I couldn’t be happier (sorry, Jennifer Garner).  Listen, the reality is if you’re reading this blog, you likely are a fan of comics or comic book movies/TV shows and have probably watched both seasons of Daredevil.  There is nothing that I am going to say that you don’t already know.

But what I appreciate most about what these shows have done is, you don’t have to be a comic book fan to appreciate and love the shows.  I am not a big fantasy book reader, or really, at all, but I can’t get enough of Game of Thrones! A good TV show will take its sourced-from genre and make it compelling to those who are unfamiliar and also make it appealing to those who are.

Daredevil, both seasons, nails it.  Hard.

And again, I will never tire of saying this – we are getting to see our comic book heroes come to life!  This is a crazy time for comic book fans, wherein our wildest dreams are being realized.  But also, its just damn fine TV.

Read This: Daredevil: Born Again

DD Born Again 1.5

Recently I discussed how much I had been enjoying reading the collected editions of 100 Bullets.  A couple weekends ago, I picked up two trade paperback/collected editions of comics I had always heard about but never read.

DD Born Again 2Daredevil: Born Again was originally published in 1986, written by comics legend Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzuccelli, spanning Daredevil issues #227-#231. For those who are unfamiliar with the character of Daredevil – and that should be few of you given the amazing Netflix series –  he is Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer-by-day and an acrobatic vigilante by night.

Wow, that really simplifies who Daredevil is.  Shit. Ok, don’t pay attention to my inability to give a proper summary of Daredevil, but trust me when I say he’s a pretty cool character who has had some amazing stories written.

In Born Again, Daredevil’s ex-girlfriend, who is now a heroin junkie (typical, right?), has no more cash for her next fix so she sells the one thing she knows will get her lots of coin – the identity of Daredevil.  This is then passed onto the Kingpin, DD’s arch nemesis, who uses this newly acquired information to destroy our hero but not in a way you would expect.

Instead of going after loved ones or publicly outing him, the Kingpin instead destroys Daredevil by attacking Matt Murdock’s life. He discredits him as a lawyer, as a person.  He freezes Matt’s bank accounts and he loses his licence to practice law.  He takes away every ability to live his life, removing friends and co-workers and even destroying Matt’s home.  He is literally left with nothing.  And its brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.

I was really taken aback at how much I loved this story.  I read some Daredevil comics when I was younger but I think a lot of the really good stories just went over my head as a kid.  Reading Born Again last week, I can appreciate that the subject material is better served to an adult than to a 10-year old kid.

I’ll leave you with this, which contains a sentence that completely rocked me when I read it.  Enjoy!

DD Born Again 1

Iron Fist of Shame.

Iron Fist BannerA couple weekends ago, Netflix unveiled its 4th series with Marvel TV, following the adventures of Daredevil (2-seasons worth), Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Iron Fist is the last character to be introduced before all four appear together this summer in The Defenders.

But there’s a problem: Iron Fist is a hot pile of mess.

I’m not going to review each individual episodes because I don’t have the patience to watch all 13 episodes again, but you can find a good review of the whole show here.  You can also go online and read a multitude of other reviews done by people way smarter than I.  But I have gripes about the show that I just cant accept.

  1. You’re Iron Fist.  You’ve defeated the dragon Shou Lou and granted the mystical power of the Iron Fist.  So then use your damn iron fists, man!  Use your powers!  What person, when granted with powers to use during a fight, doesn’t use them when in a fight??  For fucks sake…
  2. Speaking of fights…this show has the worst fight scene since the Incredible Hulk battled Thor in 1988. Again, Iron Fist is supposed to be the king of kung fu in the Marvel universe and instead he comes across as the king of getting his ass kicked.  When you’re not distracted by the horrible fight scene editing between Finn Jones, who plays Iron Fist, and his stunt double, then you’re scratching your head wondering why every single person can almost get the better of Iron Fist. I mean, he beat a dragon but cant stop some low-level thug without taking some licks first?  What is this?!?!?
  3. Finally, what is the purpose of Danny Rand/Iron Fist?  What the hell is his….his mission?  Why is he in New York?  Yes, I understand that he wants to be a part of the company his father built.  But so what?  What do you want to do?!?

Sigh.  I’m so frustrated with this show.  And yet I have to take a moment and remind myself that, holy-shit, we are seeing an Iron Fist TV series.  I mean, compared to what we had when I was a kid in terms of superheros on TV (here’s looking at you, Electric Company Spider-Man), I suppose I shouldn’t be so picky.  But when you’re following on two phenomenal seasons of Daredevil, then you have to step up and kick some ass.  Especially if the character is supposed to be one bad-ass dude.  EC Spidey

Anyway.  I’m frustrated.  I watched all 13 episodes of the first season and if I had to score the overall season…I would, out of 10, have to give it a 4/10.  Sigh.  Here’s hoping the Defenders can pull it back in and kick some ass.