Tagged: iPad

Martha Thomases: Yup. Still Reading!

I’m celebrating San Diego Comic-Con this week by reading some new comics. As you may remember, Constant Reader, this is something I try to do all the time.

Last week, among the new titles I picked up was Calexit, which caused varying political outrage because people thought it was a commentary on Trump (maybe it is!) but I liked because it reminded me of two of my favorite movies.

I also bought Skin & Earth, which is apparently based on a music video and I didn’t even know that was still a thing, unless you are Beyonce and you rule the universe.

Anyway, I liked these titles, but they are both the beginnings of multi-part stories and I don’t feel like I have enough insight yet to say anything pithy about them. If, from these columns, you think we have similar tastes, you might want to check them out.

I’ve also been reading some old comics in a different format. I missed a few titles at my local comic book store that I wanted to read, so I downloaded them onto my iPad. At the same time, I read two prose books on paper, something I have done rarely since falling in love with my Kindle, nearly a decade ago.

Reading is weird.

One of the things I like about reading comics is the act of turning the page. A good creative team knows how to play with this physical reality by pacing the story so that there is a cliff-hanger every time. This doesn’t have to be life-or-death on every page. Sometimes one character asks a question and the reader doesn’t discover the answer until the page is turned. Sometimes the story demands a two-page spread, so there is one less page to turn.

Using my finger to swipe the page is less suspenseful. Of the comics I read, there were no two-page spreads. There were also no ads until after the story finished, so I was never taken out of my fictional world.

And the colors! The colors glowed!

If I had wanted to, I could have manipulated the size of the panels, changing the way I perceived the page. I don’t want to do this. Now that I have the giant-size iPad, I don’t have to do this to be able to read the story.

The backlit screen on my Kindle Paperwhite is one of my favorite features. It means I can read in bed without a reading lamp, so I don’t have to turn anything off to go to sleep. My absolute favorite thing about my Kindle, however, is that it’s a compact, lightweight way to take dozens of books with me everywhere I go. It even fits in my purse!

Hardcover books don’t do those things. Hardcover books can be heavy, and I can’t adjust the size of the type when my eyes get tired and I want bigger print. Hardcover books require me to move my arms, a lot.

With all of this, I had forgotten the very real, physical pleasures to be had sitting in a comfy chair with a heavy book in my lap. I had forgotten how grounded this could feel. It made what I was reading feel more important, perhaps because they were non-fiction.

There are people who think one format is morally superior to another, and I am not one of them. If you like paper, read paper! If you like electronic books, read electronic books!

It was delightful to switch it up for a bit. More than ever, I know that there is no way to read or buy books that I don’t like.

Marc Alan Fishman: Paper Is Dead!

For those uninitiated to my writing process, allow me to be transparent: I write my column Tuesday evening. This is helpful for many reasons – mostly all revolving around having a full-time day job, a family, and Unshaven Comics. With that being said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t come clean.

Today, I’m sure there were a bevy of topics I had on my mind (whether the Sonic Screwdriver is really just a magic wand, the appeal of Attack on Titan, or why fantasy football renders my mind numb)… and then I watched Apple’s keynote. With the unveiling of the Apple Watch (sans i?!) and the new iPhone 6, I am sadly forced to deal with my Mac-ness once again.

It’s a terrible disease, kiddos. One that strikes me every few years. There was a time, in the long-long ago, when I was stronger. I was raised on a Compaq Presario, and the PC age. I openly mocked Appleites with aplomb. “My mouse has two buttons! I can upgrade my computer without voiding the warranty! And it’s so much cheaper!” I’d yell at them. And always, they would snicker, look me right in the eyes, and whisper “You’re right, and I still don’t care.” Not a semester into college, and I buckled. That is to say I forced my parents to buckle. Don’t worry. I paid them back. And funny enough, that first iMac I own still works, and still lives in my house. Natch. But I digress. Apple is great, and I love them, blah blah blah.

After seeing the debut of the iPhone Phablet (or 6 Plus if you’re being obvious) the never-ending death of paper consumed me. With each passing generation of digital technology being released to the public,  tangible media and products continue to become more artifacts of history. Even a decade ago, the notion that we’d be able to call up one of a million movies and beam it to our television instead of renting or purchasing the special edition DVD was somehow laughable. And even five years ago, could you honestly convince Johnny Average that he could cut the cord on his local cable provider and his home phone and just exist with amazingly cheap subscription services and a hefty data plan instead? I doubt it.

With each of these arguments, the last bastion of the printed form – the comic book – continues to hide in the dark recesses of specialty shops and tiny convention halls (stop snickering).

For those ready to flame me for forgetting books, just look at the sales figures for all digital publications, and count how many Barnes and Nobles still exist. You’re welcome. As screens become permanently affixed to our wrists, hands, and eye-wear, the notion of a printed piece is truly novel. As with all digital distribution models, eventually a price and delivery system becomes ubiquitous to the public at large, and eventually, the physical media is reduced to the collector’s market alone.

DC, Marvel, and the lot of mainstay publishers have all adopted digital practices. Readers of Mike Gold here on ComicMix no doubt know about how certain digital only pieces are trumping the quality of their printed brethren. As with everything else, it’s only a matter of time until our medium at large is thought of as digital first. Scary, no?

No, in fact it isn’t. With the eventual death of paper comics – aside from the collectors market (akin to how the music industry is moving back to vinyl) we’ll soon be privy to something new and amazing. Instead of odd motion-comics, or narrated comics, we’ll soon be able to purchase truly interactive comics.

Think of it. A cover with a well-rendered animation to draw you in <http://www.buzzfeed.com/adamclement1/30-animated-comic-book-covers-that-are-downright-h-il8v>. Single panels on a page being able to be instantly full-screen-zoomed so you can relish in the artwork. Interactive commentary on particular moments. Editorial annotations that actually call up the other issue in question. The possibilities are endless (and yes, some of them are potentially true now, and I don’t know it). And all of it could eventually be monetized in such a fashion that a subscription-based model could provide an unwieldy catalog of back issues for a price that feels like stealing. The best part of all, all of this could happen in another five years or less. The future is here, and its battery life mostly sucks.

Suffice to say, I’m a bit of an early adopter. But I also see the forest for the trees. Those trees needn’t be cut down en masse to make way for new comics. As I’ve explored in the recent past (Freakanomics, anyone?), we know the major publishers are likely not sweating over per-issue sales so much as potential licensing opportunities. As the appeal of moving away from ink, paper, bricks and mortar… so too will our industry look more like the music and television models.

Paper is dead my friends. And you can pay for that on your iPhone too.


Apple settles e-book antitrust case with U.S. states, others

Apple settles e-book antitrust case with U.S. states, others

This may finally be done, just in time for Amazon to take over the market.

(Reuters) – Apple Inc reached an out-of-court settlement with U.S. states and other complainants in an e-book price-fixing class action lawsuit, effectively avoiding a trial in which the iPad maker faced as much as $840 million in claims.

U.S. District Judge in Manhattan Denise Cote ordered the parties to submit a filing seeking approval of their settlement within 30 days.

The terms of the settlement, reached on Monday, have not been revealed. It still needs court approval.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and five publishers in April 2012, accusing them of working together illegally to increase e-book prices.

via Apple settles e-book antitrust case with U.S. states, others – Yahoo News.

Jen Krueger: The Digital Divide – Reading Comics on My iPad

Jen Krueger: The Digital Divide – Reading Comics on My iPad

As someone who has more books than room on my bookshelves to accommodate them, an obsessive collector of cool artifacts of things I love, and a completionist in almost all regards, I don’t think I surprise anyone by saying I love comics. But I have definitely noticed confused head quirks when I admit that when it comes to the question of physical copies versus digital versions, I prefer to read comics on my iPad.

I should preface my preference for comics on a screen by saying this: I hate reading books digitally. On a purely aesthetic level, the size, weight, and smell of a book have always been an integral part of the reading process for me, so an e-book has just never been able to command my focus the same way a physical book does. A progress bar at the bottom of my screen somehow doesn’t give me the same sense of how much is behind and ahead of me that a bookmark in real pages does, and the pagination in general in e-books has always seemed off to me. Hand me an 800 page hardcover novel and I have, with a very small margin for error, a clear idea of the scale of what I’m diving into. In an e-book, the same text seems like it could take up anywhere from 800 to 2000 pages depending on the way it’s formatted.

But the biggest reason I’ve never been able to embrace e-books with gusto is that reducing a book to a file that looks like almost all other e-books takes away an individual book’s character. Hand me an iPad or Kindle and give me a quick glance at a few pages from any two e-books, and I probably won’t be able to easily distinguish them by their author or what work they’re from. Hand me two physical books and give me a quick glance at a few pages from each, and I’m exponentially more likely to be able to not only identify them, but also get a sense of what each book is like. Handing me a physical book is handing me a whole and unique package, and while there’s something tempting about being able to carry around hundreds of texts in one relatively small device, I’d rather sacrifice the space in my bag for fewer works that retain the character of their physical forms.

So if I’m so gung-ho about preserving the character of a book by only reading the physical version of it, why am I okay with filling my iPad with comics? Because the character of a comic is so bold and evident on every page that I don’t feel like I’m losing things in the digital translation. Look at a single digital page from any comic and you’re likely to be able to tell a lot about the work, and the sense of the comic’s character you get by doing that is much more in line with what you’d get from doing the same thing with a physical copy. That makes the big con of e-books moot for me, but this isn’t the only reason I lean toward my iPad when it comes to reading comics. In fact, this con made moot takes a significant backseat to a pro of e-books being made even better when applied to digital comics: I can take hundreds of them with me in one relatively small device.

While I can get by only having a couple books on me at a time, my habit of binge reading means I’d be carrying around an awful lot of trades if I only read physical comics. And since my preference for digital comics doesn’t mean I dislike physical ones, I’ve definitely carried around trades with me before. It takes so much less time for me to burn through a whole trade than it does a whole novel that the benefit of having 5 trades’ worth of comics on my iPad is evident in and of itself, but the volume of comics I’d need to have on me when reading a series isn’t the only problem I found with trying to read the physical versions.

The durability of physical comics, or more accurately the lack of it, is the last big factor in my preference for digital ones. Most trades are an awkward size to fit into the kind of bag I carry with me everyday, and though their size is more amenable to the backpack I take when traveling, they’re often not sturdy enough to stand up to being jostled around amongst the devices and travel paraphernalia I cram into my backpack in preparation for a trip. Where a hardback novel has the heft to take sharing space with a hard-sided headphone case while getting shoved under an airplane seat, and a paperback novel is compact enough to perch in the smaller space on top of the other things in my backpack, I’ve found my trade comic books just large yet just malleable enough to take a beating every time I pack them no matter how careful I am with the bag. But an iPad full of Locke & Key means an entire flight’s worth of reading without giving up the space the physical versions would take up, or the inevitable bummer of seeing them worse for the wear when I get to my destination. So while I’d certainly never turn my nose up if offered a physical trade of a comic, I’ll opt for the digital version if given the choice. Unless the trade is signed or some kind of special, limited edition, of course. That would make it a cool artifact, and I’m still an obsessive collector, after all.

Michael Davis: Dream It! Do It!

Davis Art 130521White Winter Black Night is the title of one of the novels I’m writing. Simon & Schuster will publish the book in 2014.

Published by Simon & Schuster… how damn cool is that? Simon & Schuster is one of the most respected and largest publishers in the world. To get a book published by Simon & Schuster is a big deal for a writer, any writer.

I’m a writer.

Well, now I’m a writer.

Growing up there was nothing and I mean nothing I loved more than reading. I read everything and when I say everything I mean everything. It started with comics and once I realized how wonderful reading was it started me on an odyssey that still exists today. At present I’m listening to two audio books in two different cars. I’m reading two hard cover books and have no idea how many books I’m reading on my iPad.

Becoming a writer was a fantasy I had every so often. How cool would it be to become a writer? Making a living making shit up?

How cool? So cool ice would be considered hot next to that coolness.

OK, I have made a living making stuff up. Comics, television shows, reading programs blah, blah, blah and blah. But writing a book is the pinnacle of any writer’s career. Especially for someone that never thought he would be a writer.

I mentioned that the novel I’m writing for Simon & Schuster is one of the novel’s I’m writing. I actually have three more in the pipeline for two other publishers. I’m not writing about this to impress you (although it will) I’m writing about it as example of what you can do with a lot of desire a little luck and above all a good idea.

Not my good idea, the good idea of a young woman named Danielle Hobbs. Danielle is a multitalented artist. She’s a world-class choreographer, dancer, actress and singer. Like I said, artist. She reached out to me to pitch me a project. I was just not interested.

Her artist resume was impressive as shit, she had choreographed for Beyonce, Shakira, Disney and a slew of other major playa’s. Her singing and acting resume was just as impressive but I could have given a fish.

If I had a dollar for every major artist from other media be they singers, actors, hip hop artists or magicians (yes magicians) who thought just because they had a name and a following they could be a success in comics or animation I’d be so rich last weeks Powerball prize would be my pocket change. When I say major artists I mean major artists. You would recognize every single person I’d list.

I would list them but more than a few are hip-hop artists and I don’t want to be shot so you will have to do without the names.

Danielle after hounding me for a while finally got me into a meeting. A meeting I was going to be done with in 10 minutes. I figured that’s how long I’d wait into her pitch before I told her (nicely) that the idea had:

  1. Been Done
  2. Sucked.
  3. Been done and sucked when it was done.

I never got to say any of the above.

Her idea was great.

The audience she wants to reach with it is underserved and this could really be something. Danielle has a really good chance of seeing her idea realized. I have to be protective of my time so I only feel a bit like a dick because I did not give Danielle a chance to meet with me earlier.

There are a lot of artists dreaming about careers in the comics and related media that read ComicMix. Remember your dream is just as valid as anyone’s.

Or as Danielle’s creation Dani girl would say, “Dream it! Do it!”


WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: Mindy Newell (what?)


Mike Gold: The Lenticular Corridor

Gold Art 130403Well, this is fun.

As I type these words – 20 hours prior to posting – ComicMix is in the following situation. Glenn Hauman is about to board a plane taking him from WonderCon to San Francisco to Newark, New Jersey. We should see him sometime late next year. Martha Thomases and Arthur Tebbel are wandering around Japan hoping the whole North Korea is-gonna-nuke-us thing is a joke. Bob Greenberger is somewhere vaguely north of the White House staring at boxes and wondering how he got so old so fast. Adriane Nash is floating around North Haven Connecticut holding a candle. Vinnie Bartilucci is in Who Heaven studying the 50th anniversary show read-through photos pixel by pixel. Marc Alan Fishman is trying to come up with a way to spend more time with his son Bennett without having to go to Japan. Some of the above are planning on this weekend’s MoCCA Arts Fest.

That leaves me here at ComicMix Central. Always a dangerous thing.

And then my iMac started acting up.


I’ve had more than 29 years of experience with all things Macintosh, so I should be able to fix things while Wizardboy Hauman is on the Left Coast. And, while I’m at it, I should be able to shoot down flying monkeys with my psionic death rays.

Turns out that psionic death rays thing might have been easier to pull off. I’ve spent 24 hour doing PRAM zaps and SMC resets, swapping cables, connecting and disconnecting USB cables (2.0 and 3.0), connecting and disconnecting USB devices, fussing with Bluetooth and WiFi, blowing off sundry start-up apps and rebooting like a cobbler on meth. And I still get five copies of the “You’ve got a USB device that’s draining too much power, asshole” error messages cascading across my screen on the average of every 20 seconds.

OK. Every once in a while computers, cars, and human beings break down and I’m way, way past my due. When Adriane isn’t wandering around New Haven county, we’ve got a zillion machines here including iPads and iBooks and iBalls. Unfortunately, Adriane is wandering around New Haven county with some of the above equipment, so I can’t boot my machine as a target disk.

Which means, in English, that I can’t do squat until I’ve fixed it. I’ve got to post Michael Davis’s Tuesday afternoon column (this wouldn’t have been a problem if I got the column on time, as opposed to just past midnight Monday morning; Michael’s got an excuse and it’ll probably be next week’s column) and I’ve got to write and post my column and do all kinds of other important stuff. I can do a lot of this on my iPad and I have, but in order to edit art and post properly, I need that iMac.

And then, literally 55 minutes before Michael’s column is to go up, I find it. Well, maybe not “it” but something that, if disabled, seems to cure about 90% of the problem. That’ll do… and maybe that other 10% will disappear when I reboot.

Or maybe the iMac will go Nagasaki on me: that’s how computers, cars and human beings tell us they want to be replaced.

But at least I’ve got a column out of it.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases


Mike Gold: Commuters Are A Superstitious and Cowardly Lot

Gold Art 130220Last week I had the distinct honor and privilege of dining with my fellow ComicMix columnist Martha Thomases. Whereas I’d love to squawk on and on about the finest fried chicken I’ve ever eaten in Manhattan, it was after I left to go home when things got interesting, weird, surreal… and dangerous.

I got to my commuter train just in time to make the 9:07. I’d be home by 10:15. Not bad. We arrived on time in Harlem at 9:17 and proceeded up to the Bronx… where we came to a dead halt at approximately 178th Street and Park Avenue. After a few minutes we were told we were being delayed by a “police action.” OK; that’s life in the big city. I commenced to read the latest issue of Futurama Comics on my iPad. Then another announcement: oh, geez, they were mistaken. No police activity. The train broke down. It was a brand-new train, built by the Canadian company Bombardier. They set about to fix it.

Then the power went out. The emergency lighting was fine and my iPad had its own luminosity, but there was no air circulation and the temperature started to rise – quickly. People began to look at those emergency windows; you know, the ones that you can pop out in case the train is derailed and Bruce Campbell is walking around with a machete.

Some time later they said they power pads that draw the juice from the third rail had been ripped off, probably due to debris on the track. They’re working on it. Yeah, right. I started wondering if a texted last will and testament would hold up in court. Then they announced the train was, in fact, broken, and they were awaiting a diesel engine to tow us back to Harlem where, “hopefully,” there would soon be a train to which we could transfer.

The crowd started getting testy. Perhaps hypoglycemic shock is communicable.

Later still we were rammed by a coupling engine and it was announced all they had to do was hook up the air brakes and we’d be Harlem bound. A half hour later, they admitted they couldn’t get the brakes to work. Plan B: they’d find another train, bring it alongside mine, shut down the third rail and we’d bridge over to the new train. A few people who had been around that block said that would take at least an hour because they only open two doors for the bridge and everybody would have to walk through all the cars to get to the transfer point, then walk through the new train to find a seat. A few people started to freak.

Two ladies who evidently flunked out of their Connecticut finishing school started swearing profusely. Aside: why is it women are not very creative in their choice of curse words? “Fucking liars” is simply not sufficient. The situation called for something like “Jesus fuck a shit soufflé, these in-bread assholes couldn’t stack a pile of Ritz Crackers without a goddamned schematic.” Note to self: look into conducting training sessions for the malediction impaired.

Before long one of my comrades-in-boredom started screaming. Another started wailing. The lady sitting next to me kept on tossing her used Kleenex on the floor, along with her half-eaten food. I looked around to see if anybody had grown a Joker smile.

Eventually a train pulled alongside and maybe 15 minutes later the train bridge was in place and the third-rail was powered down. We made the long march to our new magic carpet ride. Of course, the new train was two cars shorter. The third rail was powered up and the air brake checks started.

And… they didn’t work.

And people went nuts. Remember the “preparing for crash landing” scene in Airplane?

I reconsidered my attitude towards zombies. Finally, after a platoon of train people manually pumped the air brakes into action (and yes, that looks as obscene as it sounds), we slowly moved forward. They apologized and said the next stop was Stamford. I said to myself “yeah, but will we be able to stop?” Then some guy made that very same statement out loud. Nobody laughed.

As we picked up speed, I noticed that one of my fellow travelers was Green Arrow.

No shit. Look carefully at the photo atop this column. This was not Photoshopped.

I got home just before 1 AM. One of our cats was waiting in the window, tapping his watch. Yes, he’s got a Mickey Mouse watch. You need a sense of humor to make it through the day in my house.

Of course, this was a fart in a blizzard next to the horrors of those riding that Carnival cruise ship, but my respect for my fellow Connecticuttians hit a new low, as my enthusiasm for the creators of Futurama Comics grew proportionately.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases


The Point Radio: 2012 The Year Of TV Comedy Gold

We begin our look back on the Pop Culture that was in 2012 as Media Mogul Ric Meyers (ricmeyers.com) runs down the vast array of great TV comedy from the year. From CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL to HAPPY ENDINGS to SUBURGATORY, it’s been a damn good twelve months. Plus what show was downloaded illegally the most in 2012 (we are talking millions here) and how iPads are killing the toy business.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.