Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

You'd get a lot more money hypnotizing people in a nightclub than a roadside circus, so how come we see a lot more Ringmaster than Hypno Hustler? [Olde Towne Comix]
The reason might not be color- maybe Hypno Hustler made so much he could retire, while the Circus of Crime keeps struggling on?

Good news: Flash Thompson's Vietnamese girlfriend Sha-Shan gets less stereotypically Asian and submissive over time; the bad news: she also gets bustier and whiter [DailySkew]

Posted 28 February 02010 - Permalink

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KISS' Gene Simmons' Kid Nick Is a Comic Creator, a Douchebag Plagiarist, and a Moron [Topless Robot] [via ADDTF]
Large gallery of stolen images from a Japanese manga called Bleach that are in Nick Simmons' comic Incarnate [Bleachness LJ]

Update: Radical Pulls Incarnate In Manga Plagiarism Flap [ICv2]
Update: Nick Simmons releases non-apology/responsibility statement; work is an homage; Bleach creator amused [Robot 6] [Comics Worth Reading]
Update: Simmons' "certain fundamental imagery" line uses "all manga looks alike" anti-manga joke as a defense [Pipeline]
Update: Understanding "Incarnate" & Comic Book Plagiarism [Comic Book Resources]

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Admiral Ackbar knows a trap when he sees it [Franklin Harris]
The video he mentions [YouTube]:

Posted 27 February 02010 - Permalink

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21 Things I Like About Dr. Strange [Comics Reporter]

Update: Neilalien is honored by the Blogiversary tribute (and heartened by CR's convincing evidence that his fandom hasn't been misplaced!). Here is the list; please visit CR to read the blurb about each:

1. Baron Mordo Is Loaded With Potential
2. Clea Is The Princess From Another World
3. Dr. Strange Has A Cool Pad
4. Dr. Strange Has Cosmic-Leviathan Villains
5. Dr. Strange Has To Live Up To The Example Of The Ancient One
6. Dr. Strange Has Multiple Weaknesses That Don't Have Anything To Do With Monkeying Around With His Power Levels
7. Dr. Strange Is A Fighting Champion
8. Dr. Strange Is The Gateway Character To Marvel's Magical Comics
9. He Has Great Toys
10. He Has One Of The Three Best Marvel Secret Origins
11. Nightmare Is A Great Minor Villain
12. Stephen Strange Is Still Mostly A Blank Slate
13. The Application Of Magic To Solve Problems Is Scary
14. The Dread Dormammu Has A Burning Head
15. The Mindless Ones Offer Up One Of The Great Marvel Visuals
16. The Next Adventure Can Walk Through The Front Door Any Second Now
17. The Original Comics Featured Some Of Steve Ditko's Greatest Art
18. The Original Comics Features Some Of Stan Lee's Most Enjoyable Scripting
19. The Original Comics Had One Of The Three Best '60s Marvel Multi-Issue Storylines
20. Umar Is A Great, Scary, Female Antagonist
21. Wong Is Loaded With Potential

Posted 26 February 02010 - Permalink

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The Neilalien Weblog: Secret Origins

Kathie Lee Gifford After many years reading zines- mostly punk rock and comics fanzines- and after some time observing and enjoying early weblogs and e/n websites- and after five days of seeing some cool chick in Indonesia do it- it was time for me to launch my own weblog and/or e/n website. "E/N" is an unused term nowadays and seems barely Googlable, but it stands for "everything/nothing", the personal websites that emerged from bulletin-board culture around the same time weblogs did (becoming synonymous with general personal weblogs)- I would define them as "including everything the proprietor wanted, but nothing of importance". My weblog was the standard type when it started- I talked about myself and my (personal) life, I reviewed movies, I revealed quirky things such as a rousing crush-like defense of Kathie Lee Gifford's spunkiness (crap, I probably shouldn't have re-revealed that), and of course, I shared found web-links to interesting geeky newsy things of all topics. Armed with the palindromic URL "neilalien"- an old nickname, and I relish wordplay and puns- and armed with five-digit years, still wary after that whole Y2K episode- off I went.

And honestly, after two months, the website wasn't very good, very unique, nor very rewarding to do. I wasn't comfortable talking about myself online. It's unconditionally awesome to me that we're all Thomas-Paine pamphleteers and Happy Harry Hard-Ons now- but frankly, there's only a small subset of people in the world with lives interesting enough to blog about, or who are good enough writers and observers to make mundane life interesting enough to read, and I wasn't one of them. With little ability to write both well and fast combined, and little time while working towards the IPO of my web-design employer at the final peak of the tech bubble, I didn't have enough free-time chunks available to blog what and how I wanted. Despite one of my goals for the website being to become a better writer, I wasn't comfortable writing longer texts- when I did, they rambled on, cliche-filled, tenses amok. My traffic was still 10 hits a day, all family and friends, so no behavior-reward there.

I was going to shutter the experiment, but had fallen in love with blogging- and I was surfing plenty already, so it wouldn't have taken much additional effort to publish links I was bookmarking in my browser anyway. I thought maybe by going topical, the site and I would benefit from having a focus. By going niche, more unique. And by going with a linkblogging format, I'd dodge both the pressure and my lack of ability and time to blah-blah. Not sure if the term "linkblogging" existed yet- I basically wanted to emulate Robot Wisdom's classic format- except I would use brackets instead of parentheses for my links at the ends of lines (so different and clever!) and with dates (his link list didn't even have dates!). And hopefully my writing skills would still benefit from the discipline of the linkblog format, learning brevity, learning to crystallize a point or summarize a text like a headline writer.

Instead of quitting, I mused over a list of six or so of my passions at the time, interests, hobbies, subjects that I wanted to learn more about, that I thought would make an interesting unique website for myself and others. The list whittled down to three: classic punk rock/the NYC punk rock scene, Egyptology/Ancient Egypt, and Dr. Strange/comic books. Punk rock fell away as a candidate topic because I couldn't imagine a good punk rock website without the actual music, and I didn't have the means, the vision, or the smarts to put songs on my website or invent the music weblog (Fluxblog, the first MP3 blog, started in 02002).

So it was down to Egyptology and Doctor Strange. After an agonizing week, I barely decided, 51-to-49 in my internal Senate, to go with Dr. Strange. My reasons: (1) I thought comic book art would yield a slightly more fun website design than using Ancient Egyptian art. And (2), I thought with a Dr. Strange weblog, bloggable items would be much rarer than Egyptology news, and I could get away with blogging less, maybe only once every two weeks. Yup. I'll wait until you stop laughing. By the thinnest of margins, I chose to do a weblog about Dr. Strange news instead of Egyptology news.

And then that "evil-ution" started. You see, when you deign to start an advocacy website for a new ongoing Dr. Strange series out of Marvel, you start wondering why there isn't a Dr. Strange series currently. Then you start reading texts like Warren Ellis' Come In Alone columns on Comic Book Resources, and Rick Veitch's Splash. Then the light bulb starts to faintly glow, and you start learning what a clusterfuck the comic book industry is, and how it couldn't possibly support a Doctor Strange ongoing book. I found the clusterfuck utterly fascinating, Stan Lee Media filing for bankruptcy, Marvel in debt to its forehead, how the Direct Market "works", etc. As I learned- only to learn, to link without spewing or fogging, to let people decide for themselves without my own opinions, I do sometimes link to things I disagree with without comment- I blogged about it more and more, to educate others as well. Within a year, after Joe Quesada became Editor-in-Chief at Marvel, I was blogging near-daily comics news, and getting more and more wonkier amidst the general comics-geek fun stuff- reviews/discussion of the actual comic books became a secondary function. The energy of being caught between the one side of defending people who simply like escapist entertainment from the indie snobs, and alerting Marvel/DC fanboys that other publishers and genres of escapist comics entertainment existed on the other, sealed the deal. And of course, nowadays after the webexplosion, there's at least one Dr. Strange item to blog almost every day, never mind the colossal amount of news, opinion, and content about comics that I long ago stopped trying to daily and decently overview. I picked the wrong decade to protect my time by choosing Dr. Strange as my topic!

(On average over the ten-year span, it's been over 17 posts per month (over 2,100 total), over 111 links per month (over 13,420 external links total) (or 6 per post), with averaging over 12 via's of netiquette/spreading the word about cool sites per month. Neil gud dog?)

Don't bother searching for that post defending Kathie Lee Gifford. Once I made my decision, I deleted my non-comics blogging content. (As I would have deleted all non-Egyptology content otherwise. That would have left me with merely one link about the discovery of a new pyramid.)

On being "first". It's only recently that I've finally allowed myself to absorb that I might be the first person doing a c/n ("comics/nothing"?) website, to choose a/the comic book topic as the near-exclusive subject for online writing/linking in the personal weblog/e/n format at one's own URL (even now I still resist full-on ego-embrace of firstness by using ever-narrowing definitions). Comics news sites like Comic Book Resources and Newsarama, columnists on said news sites, online magazines like Sequential Tart, fanboy rampaging on said sites' message boards and Usenet, many people were creating web pages and writing articles/features about comics at their own URLs- all this online writing about comics long already existed when I started- heck, there were already a few Dr. Strange fansites in existence, with regularly updated pages of Dr. Strange news, and I really considered myself one of those instead of a comicsblog for many years. I've gone on many drunken Google benders since then trying to find refutation to these kind "Grandfather" props others have given me- but if there were any objects identifiable as weblogs blogging just comics at the time I started, I didn't know about them at the time, and they're long dead now and no evidence exists. This C-Log is what our world was like back then. On the first anniversary of 9/11, I lamented that there weren't many extant, alive comic book weblogs, writing, "Surely with all the news and weekly releases, the weblog format would suit the comics topic as well as tech or politics?" (I also offered myself to be Marvel's official weblogger- ha!- they never hired me, and they got around to starting their own blogs like what six years later.)

(Of course that was 11 September 02002, and by 19 June 02003, I was asserting that comics blogging had already jumped the shark. Well, not really- my point was the exact opposite- that calling the comics blogosphere mature at that time was very premature. What can I say, I'm a pistol.)

Question One is always, What's the longevity secret? It's a two-part answer- probably not as profound as desired, unless it's profound in its simplicity. (1) Passion plus firm boundaries. Having internal goals and motivations for doing the weblog- wanting to learn more about writing, HTML, web design, comics art, the comics industry, etc.,- as opposed to external goals like traffic, money, etc.- goes a long way. It's a creative outlet that brings me great joy- but I don't let it take over my life, and I never make it a job. I don't blog when I don't feel like blogging. I don't link to something that doesn't interest me or that I haven't read. (Nothing is more obvious and damning than a lack of interest.) I've always refused free review copies partly because I never wanted to feel the pressure of having to review a book. Adding ads to the site adds obligation to generate eyeballs, and potential smell-tests. The blog is not toil and trouble, it's an escape from toil and trouble. So as yet, I never burned out. I kept it fun. If by protecting my joy, that means I haven't shared or given of myself as much as I could have or as much as people expect from a weblog, or seem aloof, or I haven't reviewed a comic book in a timely fashion, or I don't get that book deal or get paid for blogging, or it means the night-sweat horror of a million missed links- so be it. The weblog is what it is. I do stubbornly addictively resist going a week without blogging, but if I do, so be it- you've always known what you're getting, a working guy in his pajamas when he has time to blog about one of his life's passions. I respect the audience, and try to be the consummate classy professional- like a Broadway actor or the Undertaker, when that curtain goes up, it's A-Game time, regardless of what's happening backstage or if the entrance pyrotechnics just gave you second-degree burns- I have never blogged about ennui with comics or blogging- but the moment I think to myself that I *must* blog today, that I owe you anything for visiting a free personal website, it's over. I'd love to have the community of comments, but comment moderation is something else that makes a weblog a job- and with all due, this is the place where I express myself, not you. You got a Twitter and a back button on your browser too, champ. I'd love to write romantically about the blogging act being inherently about an exchange- and obviously, I am tasked with showing a visitor why something I link to is of interest to me and potentially to them- as much as I might coyly insist, I'm not merely bookmarking for myself publicly- but the final analysis must always be, at least for me, that I do this weblog to satisfy my own needs, and you visit to satisfy yours.

The pseudonym, and the third-person voice, are part of these boundaries as well. (I started using the third-person voice consistently as an April Fool's inside joke in 02002- announcing that I had been taken over by an alien energy beam from space and was now its spokesman- but also because I hoped I might learn how to write without using the word "I" so damn much if it had to be replaced with a huge nine-letter five-syllable word.) I appreciate the depersonalization and classy keep-it-about-the-argument-not-the-person anti-ad-hominem aspect of both things. This is also why, as you may have noticed, one of my traditions is to call people by their weblog names or "brands" in my blog, as if they were pseudonyms too, as if the discussion is weblog-to-weblog, not person-to-person. If these boundaries mean having less credibility in some people's eyes, so be it. I think our postmodern world has gone too far in the direction of evaluating arguments not on the text/truth/persuasiveness of the argument itself, but on who's making the argument- although granted a lot of the reason things got that way is because hypocrisy, fraud, and secret and not-so-secret marketing and employment relationships on the part of argumenters and nameless internet trolls seems omnipresent.

And (2), the main reason for the longevity of this website is that I've been blessed so far with a stable and abundant life enough to indulge it- and blessed with lovers who didn't mind the mistress.

(Okay, well I did feel like I *had* to blog today with a ten-year anniversary post. I'm okay with it.)

I probably made the right choice about the comics weblog vs. the Egyptology weblog, huh? To think as I surf just my current email inbox, and all of your emails and our discussions over the years, never mind how we've met and partied in meatspace- that on Earth-617 it's full of CAT scans of found mummies and museum lecture invites instead? What if maybe I'd be an archaeologist right now? Nah- right choice. The phrase "What If" only belongs on a comic book weblog anyway.

All the kind words and kindnesses and respects I've received over the years are overwhelming- I'm very thankful. I don't want to sound like I'm pish-poshing them, but I cannot allow myself to feel like anything more than just a lucky man who snagged some early goodwill by fixing a couple comicsbloggers' permalinks and donating to a couple tip-jars for web hosting, in my desire that their voices be as accessible as possible, because *I do* remember when there wasn't a comicsblogosphere. If you might see value here, a positive link is all I'll ever need- we're weblogs, and links are the currency of the realm. The kicker is that I find myself thankful for the tussles and unkind words too- I've learned to be a much better and critical reader and thinker, to be more confident about expressing myself, and to have a much more appropriate thicker thickness of skin and lubricated rolling-off-the-back- for other life-realms vastly more important than funnybooks- through doing this weblog. This weblog hasn't taught me about sequential art and the comic book industry nearly as much as about the Tswana riddle which says, "Only the muddy fox lives."

This weblog will end someday. But not today.

In fact, this very post probably isn't ending today. Please take note. I edit in public. I'm no Walt Whitman, but if he can publish several majorly tinkered editions of Leaves of Grass (a title that's a pun, by the way) over his lifetime, then I'm allowed to tinker with my personal weblog content within the first 48 hours. I consider my online writing on my personal website as more of a process than as deadlined columns. Like most things, it's a continuum- I've seen vile things done by others in my time- bloggers adding links to their archives and then claiming they scooped others- but no argument for integrity is going to convince me that these "first drafts of history" and writing portfolios must leave typos or weaker first-draft phrasings to remain withering on the vines. To find my voice means becoming a better editor- and I'll definitely be tweaking and culling and updating this jumbotext a bit over the next 48 hours like it's masturbation, especially since it's the most personal thing I've written publicly since announcing to friends and family that I was still alive after 9/11, especially since it's 11:30 pm right now and I have to blog on my blogday and I will surely spot weeds after a good night's sleep and a fresher mind. If you don't see an [Updated], then enjoy the raw feed.

I should probably start with an edit that avoids mentioning Kathie Lee Gifford and masturbation in the same text...

The Neilalien weblog is ten years old today.

Posted 25 February 02010 - Permalink

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Blue Hat Man A copy of Action Comics #1, graded CGC 8.0, has been sold for $1 million to an unidentified buyer at auction [ICv2] [The Comichron]
Only 100 of the original 200,000 issues printed in 01938 exist, with only 2 graded at 8.0 or higher. The previous record was $317,200 paid for a 6.0 copy last year.

Update: A few days later, Detective Comics #27, from May 01939, first appearance of Batman, breaks record with $1,075,000 anonymous sale at auction [ICv2] [The Escapist]

Update: Forget $1 million, most comic books from past two decades have little value []

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Short Dylan Horrocks interview; Neilalien fave and classic graphic novel Hicksville back in print [Publishers Weekly] [via Robot 6]

"Soldier X treats superheroes as a metaphor for the literal limitlessness of the human imagination- easily the single most compelling aspect of the genre, as well as, unfortunately, the single most overlooked one." [Comiks Debris] [via ADDTF; his own recent praise]

More about that time Bruce Banner almost got raped by two gay men in the YMCA shower in October 01980's The Hulk! Magazine #23 [Comics Should Be Good; long comments thread too]
An error in comics-creation judgment. (Note: The magazine started out as the black-and-white The Rampaging Hulk up until issue #10, when it changed its name and went color [Wikipedia])

Posted 24 February 02010 - Permalink

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Disney executives as Marvel superheroes; Warren Spector, creative director of Disney-owned Junction Point, as Dr. Strange [Boing Boing] [art for Fast Company magazine] [art by Kirk Manley]
Be sure to check it out if the deification of the corporate class with mashups that are far less interesting than the ones done by folks when the Disney-Marvel deal was announced floats your boat.

Posted 23 February 02010 - Permalink

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Christopher Handley Sentenced to 6 Months for 'Obscene' Manga [Anime News Network]
He faced 15 years [see previous bloggings for background of the case].

Update: Christopher Handley's Attorney Comments On His Case []
The obscenity law is ridiculously and challengingly vague.

Update: Statement on Handley Sentencing [Comic Book Legal Defense Fund]

Posted 22 February 02010 - Permalink

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Google shutting down Blogger's FTP support in May; new migration tools soon [Blogger FTP Info]

Significant news- the end of an era. Blogger brought blogging to the masses, and FTP support- the ability to publish simple HTML files anywhere, like at people's own URLs, for free, with little technical knowledge required- was its killer feature. Or at least it used to be: they claim only 0.5% of current Blogger users are using FTP- smells lowball, but given the large userbase that still must be a lot of people affected- including many old-schoolers and hold-outs of Neilalien's era [Progressive Ruin just switched to Wordpress] [Comic Book Galaxy still looking for a solution]. It's a shame that Google is apparently so complicated on the back-end that it can't support one of the primary basic protocols of the web. Monetizing it somehow (how many would pay $20/year for continued FTP support?) would probably just become Blogger Pro Fiasco Part Deux. Not to mention that this decision serves up another steaming plate of linkrot for the archives as all the Blogger links die. The free ride is over- to get too upset is to act entitled. From now on, if you're going to use Blogger, the public display* of your content must live on Google servers (*your content always lived in their databases) either as a free Blogspot site or as Google being the webhost via Custom Domains, controlled by Google (this just might be all about control). And as we've seen lately, Google is not the greatest of data/hosting benevolent dictators: just so far in 02010, it takes down legit music blogs at DMCA hat-drops; China blocks, so now the dissident movement might be a bit hosed in the anonymous web blogging department with this FTP announcement; and the Google Buzz privacy fiasco. A sticky pickle for those affected. What are the best options for those truly up crap's creek by this move? (1) Using Blogger with Blogspot still seems feature-superior to any other web-hosted "username" option like LiveJournal, Tumblr, etc.- with the added advantage that your data already lives in Blogger and you already use Blogger- the simplest cheapest choice might be to redirect to your new migrated Blogspot and make it look like part of your site- and keep your old Blogger-FTP-generated static HTML pages on your site too, they still work, no linkrot. (2) The best alternative for someone non-technical, who was FTP'ing Blogger to their own URL, and wants to avoid using Google now- and who isn't one of those monk-like quaint nutball fossils who does a bare-bones blog "by hand" (scoff!)- seems to be to have a site webhost (or move to one) that is helpful re: Wordpress or Movable Type.

Posted 21 February 02010 - Permalink

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A Comics Journal History of the Direct Market [Part One starts here]
Some light weekend reading. From The Comics Journal #277, July 02006.

Posted 20 February 02010 - Permalink

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The life, art, and suicide of legendary comics artist Wally Wood [Comics Comics]

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The Penguin is the greatest Batman villain because he's mean and cruel but not insane like so many others in the Bat's rogue's gallery: "He doesn't go to Arkham, he goes to real big-boy jail." [The Hurting]
Also: The Riddler could be the cerebral foe and mystery-creator the "World's Greatest Detective" needs, instead of a joke [The Hurting]
Redux: Which reminds of this previous link: "I want the man who giggles in the centre of the maze." [Mindless Ones love-note to the Riddler]
Redux: Proof that the Penguin is the greatest and cleverest of Batman villains [YouTube]:

Posted 19 February 02010 - Permalink

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Fun new site: Sci-Fi Wonderland "is a place to find rare and groovy artifacts of the counter-culture from the 20th century [w]ith a heavy leaning towards Comics"

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Chris Allen on Roger Ebert [Trouble With Comics]:

But one thing he taught me, which I've applied to my comics reviewing, is to try to judge the work on its merits rather than what we hope it to be. That is, an autobio artcomic isn't inherently better than Superhero Comic #467, but does Superhero Comic #467 accomplish its goals? Escapism isn't something to look down on. We all seek it, whether in our art or sex or food or other substances. It's tough to be alone with our thoughts and the crushing realities of the world. Entertainment is a noble endeavor, and there are no guilty pleasures.

Roger Ebert: The Essential Man; battling cancer [Esquire]

Posted 18 February 02010 - Permalink

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Marvel's May 02010 solicitations include "trippy" thick-with-Doctor-Strange Spider-Man: Fever #2, cover [Comic Book Resources]

Tony Isabella's positive blurb for Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1; more Ditko reviews coming soon [Tony's Online Tips]

Stan Lee creates new "Super Seven" comic book starring himself, stops paying his lawyers; giant plane made out of wood next

January sales: Siege (Marvel) and Blackest Night (DC) rankings show event comics still potent [ICv2]
But five years of declining sales numbers for such books, Siege #1 barely over 100K, hint that Marvel/DC have cried wolf too often re: trying to convince their audience that their big events and expanding franchises matter [Comiks Debris] [via ADDTF]

Posted 17 February 02010 - Permalink

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If you're anything like Neilalien, then your world just doesn't feel completely cozy if Blake Bell's excellent Ditko Looked Up [ (no point in making it a link)] website and resource is down, as it currently is, due to a confluence of several things at once, getting out of web hosting while Blake's really busy with other stuff like finishing his Bill Everett book (to be ready for San Diego) (which will have some nice Dr. Strange pieces, btw), working on Volume 2 of the Steve Ditko Archives, getting married (Congrats!), etc. The plan is for Blake's site to return from the apparent dead like a bad Marvel supervillain hopefully by the end of Spring.

Posted 16 February 02010 - Permalink

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A new Clea Loves Sex installment for your St. Valentine's hangover [Sanctum Sanctorum Comix]

Jeff Grubb shares 30 secret-origin items about the Marvel Super Heroes role-playing game [Grubb Street] [via Grognardia]

Is Ozymandias from Watchmen based on David Bowie? [Supervillain] [via Technoccult]

Was Alan Moore on LOST? [Technoccult] [based on Bleeding Cool screencap]

Posted 15 February 02010 - Permalink

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St. Valentine's Day is Link Love Day

I ~heart~ you It's that fun time of year again, when Neilalien gazes into the Orb of Navelmotto and breaks taboos and runs his annual February-to-February website traffic stats report, to see who has sent the most link-love to his website- and in gratitude tries to send some eyeballs in return. So let's pour out the Valentine's paper bag that's been taped to his school desk and see who Choo-Choo-Chose him.

Top 20 Referrers to Neilalien Over The Past Year (1 February 02009-02010) (give these fine sites a visit!):

  1. Google searches
  2. Progressive Ruin
  3. Google RSS-verse: Google Reader (RSS reader and link-sharer) and Feedburner links
  4. Comics Reporter
  5. Microsoft Search-verse: Live (now RIP) and a little Bing
  6. Yahoo searches
  7. Polite Dissent
  8. The Twitterverse: Neilalien's RSS feed on Twitter, other people's links and retweets, etc. (new)
  9. The Dave-verse: Society of Dave and Dave's Long Box (Neilalien has no idea why Dave's dead sites keep generating so much traffic)
  10. Sanctum Sanctorum Comix
  11. Groovy Age of Horror (new)
  12. Unqualified Offerings
  13. Johnny Bacardi Show
  14. LinkMachineGo
  15. Comics Weblog Update-A-Tron (aggregator)
  16. Lady, That's My Skull (new)
  17. The Comic-Book-Resources-verse: Robot 6, Comics Should Be Good, etc. (mostly this post)
  18. The Beat (new URL; last year's traffic was from the old URL)
  19. BeaucoupKevin
  20. Postmodernbarney

A big gratitudinous thanks to everyone who links positively to Neilalien, includes him on their blogroll, and deigns to say that they find some value here- and to this year's top personal website, the awesome Progressive Ruin.

Posted 14 February 02010 - Permalink

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Brian Hibbs annual BookScan comics-in-bookstore sales analysis for 02009 [Tilting At Windmills]
As stated every year, by Hibbs himself, and by the legions of detractors his analysis motivates, the data and resulting analysis is too unreliable to go hog-wild, and really far too unreliable to even go piglet-wild [Update: Comics Reporter]. But some of Hibbs' takeaways: Watchmen is 5% of all comics-in-bookstores dollars (high as usual but a behemoth thanks to the film); manga (Naruto is tops) dominates as usual but down big; as opposed to its DM dominance, Marvel sucking wind in bookstores compared to DC, and Dark Horse almost equals it; creating a line of OGNs 'for the bookstore market' is still not appearing in the BookScan numbers to be a successful strategy.

Long interesting interview with Tom Brevoort re: recent topics in comics and Marvel [Robot 6]
But it's hard to just nod at the claim that the marketplace is not broken per se, when the sales numbers of the top books today barely beat cancellation thresholds of days past, the long tail withers, dwindling numbers of direct market shops, how comics are ordered, marketed and sold, etc., etc.

Posted 13 February 02010 - Permalink

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Marvel has announced "Heroic Age" in May after "Seige"; "heroes will be heroes again", less dark tone, swashbuckling feel, end of mega-events in the near term [Comic Book Resources] [USA Today]
Essay: Will 02010 Be The Year Of Superheroic Niceness and more escapist, less oppressive comics? [io9]
Update: Superheroes' New Optimism Didn't Last Long as creators quickly refine, deflower the above messaging; shit will still stink in the Heroic Age [io9]

Big crossover events mine the no-new-readers zero-sum game to profits, while increasing the barrier to entry for new readers [Todd Allen at Publishers Weekly] [via Ink Destroyed My Brush]
It's difficult to find a Marvel/DC book right now that doesn't basically require the purchase of five others.

Posted 12 February 02010 - Permalink

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The story-behind-the-story of Ditko's "Ghost Artist" [Potrzebie]
Ditko 8-pager from Ghostly Tales #101, January 01973.

Vince Colletta inks on trial, side-by-side with Kirby's pencils and Mike Royer inks [20th Century Danny Boy]
With Colletta not faring too well, in Neilalien's opinion.

Posted 11 February 02010 - Permalink

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Captain America #602 political hubbub: Comic includes an "anti-tax thing" referred to as so white that The Falcon doubts his ability to infiltrate it, "a bunch of angry white folks", and has a "Tea Bag" Tea-Party-identifying placard in it via an unsupervised lettering job; right-wingers balk at Captain America's/Marvel Comics' show of disdain for their values and their (right to) peaceful protests, and charges of nondiversity/racism, see this as part of meta-media 'systematic effort' to discredit them; protest sign will be changed to something more generic for later editions

Outrage Overview: [Fox News] [Big Hollywood] [Right Wing News] [NY Times ArtsBeat] [via Memeorandum]

Joey Q explains, dances; Tea Bag slogan comes from real Tea Bag placard [Comic Book Resources]

Equal Time: Why Marvel Owes No Apologies for Captain America's 'Tea Party' [ComicsAlliance]

Research re: accuracy of Tea Party portrayal in the comic: the protests have been overwhelmingly white, and are possibly attracting unsavory elements that a superhero like Captain America would definitely want to keep a critical eye on [Gawker]
And the protests are about as 'regular folk'/populist/grassroots/non-right-wing/spontaneous as an insurance conglomerate.

Raw Data: Reading the howling outrage, one would get the impression that in Captain America #602, Cap actually stops people from exercising their First Amendment right to assemble and breaks up a peaceful show of dissent towards the government, or launches into a screed attacking the Tea Party, or labels large segments of the American populace or all white people as criminal, loony, government-destroying and/or racist, etc. Of course, as is typical with most howling outrage, actually reading Captain America #602, there's little if anything of the kind present.

Update: The republic will survive this obtusely negative, super-minor reference to Tea Party advocates in art [Comics Reporter]

Posted 10 February 02010 - Permalink

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Is the Apple iPad the game-changing digital comics reader device that digital comics have been waiting for?
iPad tablet screen is color, with a diagonal size close to a comic book's; Panelfly Comic-Book Reader for iPad "looks gorgeous" [Wired Gadget Lab] [Panelfly]
iPad might breathe life into digital comics; iPhone was too small, Kindle was black-and-white only [CNET]
Comics' Pros & Publishers React to iPad [Newsarama]
Marvel Comics Cautious About iPad's Potential; Joey Q video answers fan question at January panel [Newsarama]
The iPad and Comics: What's Next? [Comic Book Resources]

Posted 9 February 02010 - Permalink

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Ditko's Spider-Man panel compositions, Part 1 [Abstract Comics] [via ADDTF]

Gene Colan Fundraiser To Be Held In New York This April; $150 a ticket [Bleeding Cool] [Marvelous Color]

Posted 8 February 02010 - Permalink

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Official: Neil Gaiman To Write Doctor... Who Episode [Bleeding Cool]
If you squint, you might see "Strange Movie" instead. But still great news.

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New Avengers #61 villains

Lovely, fun passage from Bendis in New Avengers #61. The Corrupter has touched Bucky-Cap, and orders him to shoot Steve-Cap, while he takes a vid on his iPhone. The Living Laser's all like Dr. Evil's son, exhorting that they simply kill them and quickly. "This is the kind of crap that always gets us in trouble." Corrupter replies, "You're wrong, Laser. This is the kind of crap that makes us." Perfect answer that "explains" comic-book villain trope/stupidity, and the perfect answer someone named the "Corrupter" would say. (Of course, it got them in trouble. Bucky-Cap fires (another thing Neilalien liked- it gives Corrupter some competence (he's been powered up by Norn Stones) and avoids the boring usual "willpower" defeat)- Steve-Cap deflects it towards Corrupter with the shield.)

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For the month of Valentine's Day: 28 Days of Jack of Hearts [Armagideon Time]

Posted 7 February 02010 - Permalink

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Strange #4 preview, out Wednesday [Comic Book Resources]

Jim Shooter's Affidavit Against DC Comics Over Flex Mentallo [Bleeding Cool]
The ex-Marvel Comics Editor-In-Chief appeared as an expert witness for Charles Atlas Ltd, who was suing DC for infringement over the Flex Mentallo character. Affidavit includes interesting glimpse into Shooter's mind re: the comic-book reader's expectations for a shared universe and continuity, the difficulty of introducing new characters, his resume, etc.

Posted 6 February 02010 - Permalink

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Invincible Iron Man #23 came out this week, featuring Dr. Strange by Fraction and Larroca [Comic Book Resources preview]

Don't Mess With Batman's Cake [Kurt Busiek] [via Comics Reporter]
Why doesn't the Flash just clean up Gotham City too? Because good Batman stories are the cake, the shared universe is the frosting.

Posted 5 February 02010 - Permalink

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Doc Strange, Sorc'rer Supreme o' the Wild West... [mashup illo by Joel Carroll]

The Racial Politics of Riverdale: Why an Interracial Kiss Is Still a Big Deal [ComicsAlliance]

Retailer: If the comics stories are all inter-related in endless crossovers and Big Events, then fans with less cash nowadays can't just cut back on a couple titles, so they cut back on them all [ICv2]

Posted 4 February 02010 - Permalink

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Brendan McCarthy interview; lots about Spider-Man: Fever [Robot 6]

Tomorrow 4 February at MoCCA: Craig Yoe Interviews Faux Ditko with Faux Stan Lee, played by celebrity impersonators [] [Super ITCH]
This sounds tacky.

Rare (first since 01989?) interview with Calvin & Hobbes genius Bill Watterson [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Posted 3 February 02010 - Permalink

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What makes a (comics)blogging pioneer?

Heidi MacDonald to leave Publishers Weekly, start [The Beat] [updated link]

There's just no way to write this without sounding like "Where's ~my~ props?"- nor to besmirch what is surely The Beat's legitimate place in comicsblogging history (and if anyone can claim 5.5-year stretches of "daily" output, it's certainly not Neilalien). But The Beat's "bringing the tablets from the mountaintop" "history" isn't passing any smell tests, is it? The Beat states it started in June 02004. That's a full 2.5 years after 9/11 and the explosion of political and non-tech blogging after 9/11. That's about six months after Sean T. Collins, Progressive Ruin, Thought Balloons, and that entire explosion "wave" of comics blogging started, Alan David Doane's Comic Book Galaxy was already a nearly four-year-old "online magazine", Journalista 1.0 had already ended, and it's after a full 02003 year in which Neilalien linkblogged an enormous amount of near-daily news content (with tons of links to other comics blogs). Isn't June 02004 a bit late for claims of being a "pioneer" or innovative re: blogging or comicsblogging news-outlet format, content or style? The Beat's "pioneering" "one-person shop" gave way to the "Gawker" corporate-team mold? That is indeed the evolution in all blogs we have witnessed, happening slightly later in comics than with some other topics- but Gawker launched in December 02002. "One-person shops" were pioneering in 01997 (early enough in order to "give way" to Gawkers starting in 02002), not in 02004. There were already quite a few websites and blogs, even just in comics, like The Beat on Comicon in June 02004. In fact, we have Heidi herself in Comics Buyer's Guide, #1591, dated May 02004, reading lots of comics blogs and inanely gatekeeperingly bemoaning their sheer numbers. Rick Veitch's Splash on Comicon [started in 01998, to March 02003] was much more pioneering in Neilalien's opinion in the comics insider-industry-news-gossip-weblog animal kingdom. Neilalien has never and would never claim in hubris or self-delusion to be a "pioneer" re: blogging, and his own blog started a week before the invention of the permalink. If The Beat really thinks that the blogosphere- or even just the comicsblogosphere- was "still a youngling at Jedi school" in June 02004, and felt like she "was making things up as [she] went along"- implying that The Beat had somehow invented something new about blogging, and operated in an empty blogosphere vacuum- then she wasn't looking around that hard! Google launched AdSense a full year earlier, so the blogosphere couldn't have been too empty. Congratulations for launching but please, don't tell us in five years how "pioneering" it was to start such a website when we know the world was currently full of ComicsAlliances, Bleeding Cools, etc.

[A sample blogging history/timeline from New York Magazine]

Posted 2 February 02010 - Permalink

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Sold for over $1,200 recently at auction!: 01967 concert poster by artist Greg Irons for Youngbloods concert at San Francisco's California Hall [Hake's Americana & Collectibles]

Doctor Strange Youngbloods poster

14x20-7/16" first and only printing poster for Jul. 21-22, [0]1967 concerts at California Hall featuring The Youngbloods, Magic Fern, Wildflower, Chapter Three and Northern Lights. Art by Greg Irons for "Strange Happenings - A Dance Concert With Bands, Lights, And Vaudeville All Giggley & Weird..." features art image of Marvel Comics' character Dr. Strange standing in cloud listing band names. [Previous: One alien's quest to get a great scan of this image: 11/02002, 1/02005]

Posted 1 February 02010 - Permalink

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