Funnybook Babylon

July 30, 2008

Text Messaging Is Destroying the Con Report as We Know It

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , — Chris Eckert @ 1:39 am

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Web 2.0 juggernaut as much as the next fellow, and I don’t want to go all Neil Postman/Luddite on everyone but:

The ready access to your text messages, twitters, mobile liveblogging and everything else has deleteriously affected convention reporting. Maybe I’m yearning for a bygone era that never existed, but it’s nearly a week later, and most of the big news sites still have little besides hastily cobbled together “liveblogs” from the San Diego Comicon floor, mixed with a few press-release type interviews. Many intriguing panels, like a creator spotlights on Geoff Johns and Keith Giffen or panels dedicated to imprints like DC’s Minx have apparently been passed over completely. The panels that have been covered have only been given cursory treatment, with on-the-fly reportage lacking context or any apparent copy editing. If congoers did any actual old-fashioned reporting, the type where you take notes and then compose a report that is fact-checked and carefully written, I have yet to see them.

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May 15, 2008

FBBP #58 – Political Crossover

After the blockbuster Iron Man talk of episode 57, we return to the niche market of comics.

First up, we talk the Egyptian Comics Confiscationissue and the general lack of interest on the part of the blogalaxy.

Now, DC Decisions, there’s a story bloggers can sink their teeth into! Who will Superman vote for? Which senators are in the pocket of Big Meta? Judd Winick and Bill Willingham will give you the scoop this fall!

Finally, we try to shake off politics by talking Secret Invasion and its tie-ins. Wait, SI is a political allegory too? Damn you! Damn you, Election Year!

May 5, 2008

Benjamin Ong Pang Kean: A Straight Up Buster?

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 9:45 pm

That’s a Fox News question, by the way. The answer is “Yeah, he is.”

Kean is in hot water right now in our little corner of the blogalaxy, and it’s all because of this (by way of Rich Johnston’s Lying in the Gutters):

Not Pictured: The Internet Cringing

The above is from the original version of this interview that he conducted with Marvel writer Paul Cornell about the upcoming Captain Britain and MI:13 book over at Newsarama, before either he or his bosses realized exactly what asking a question like that second one — let alone publishing it — said about them as a media outlet. To be fair, Newsarama has always needed a copy editing filter to go between their collective brain and mouth, but this isn’t some grammatical or syntactical miscue that someone should have caught before hitting the Post button — and Newsarama appears to recognize this on some level, because they’ve not only purged the above passage from the published interview, but also made a half-hearted attempted to get rid of the discussion about it in the following forum posts attached to the article. Unfortunately, as I’m sure they’re well aware, this is the Internet. It ain’t that easy. (more…)

March 11, 2008

Respect the Architects

Stan Lee

Styling and Profiling

How do you sum up the career of a man who revolutionized an industry? Should you emphasize his triumphs? When I first started reading comics, I experienced the rite of passage that any new superhero fan has to endure: the nostalgia of older readers. One of the primary paradoxes of superhero comics is that readers have to purposely ignore the long history of the title (and the characters) that produce huge gaps in narrative logic, and simultaneously learn more about the past in order to understand plot points and references. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee were far past their prime by the time I started reading. But I was constantly inundated with the competing origin myths of the Marvel Universe. At that point, the consensus was that Lee had single handedly birthed the Marvel Universe, with some assistance from interchangeable artists. In some interviews, it even seemed as though Lee endorsed this view. My father (and his childhood friends) had a very different view. In their version of events, the artists (Kirby, Ditko, Romita, Buscema) were the real visionaries, and Lee was the businessman who robbed them of their dream. This counternarrative dovetailed perfectly with their political beliefs. It was simply a story of corporate interests steamrolling creativity. The ‘man’ crushed the dreamers. The latter vision turned out to be the one that was far more popular, and was evoked in a countless number of stories about the early days of the medium, as brilliantly discussed in Michael Chabon’s The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

But now that we’ve all recognized the true genius of Kirby, et. al., it’s troubling to note that the pendulum has swung in the opposite extreme. In the latest Comics Journal (available for free for one week only!), Tom Crippen uses one of Lee’s most recent books, The Last Fantastic Four Story, and Jeff McLaughlin’s collection of Lee interviews, Stan Lee: Conversations, to discuss his legacy. In the event that anyone doesn’t have the time to peruse the article, the short version is this: “At Marvel, Ditko and Kirby covered imagination and heroics; Stan covered pop-culture gimmicks, catch phrases – all the zeitgeist jabber- and he made it his business to keep the everyman angle coming through.” Essentially, his legacy is that of an ad-man, a guy who writes pithy phrases on packs of Bazooka Joe gum.
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