Apr
20

FBBP #134: EisnerWatch: Nick Spencer

Posted by Chris Eckert, Jamaal Thomas, Joseph Mastantuono and Pedro Tejeda on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 07:46:13 PM

Welcome to the New Look, New Technology Funnybook Babylon Podcast, powered by Skype and an overenthusiastic Chris editing the show so we all sound like we’re hopped up on amphetamines!

We’re taking a look at the Eisner nominees, starting with Nick Spencer. We read Morning Glories and Jimmy Olsen and… we apologize to his fans in advance.

Admittedly, we’ve been harsh to early works by creators like Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman before, and later came around to appreciating their talent. Why is this a pattern? We discuss that, pick apart Jimmy Olsen’s musical taste, try to remember what Rules of Engagement was, and much, much more!

Posted in Podcasts · 5 Comments »
Jul
15

FBBP #127 – Kanye + Kim Jong-Il = The Mandarin

Posted by Chris Eckert, Pedro Tejeda, Jamaal Thomas and Joseph Mastantuono on Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 06:18:48 PM

This week, the gang reads <i>Invincible Iron Man Annual</i> #1  by Matt Fraction and Carmine DiGiandomenic! It features Fraction’s “autobio comix” take on stalwart Iron Man villain The Mandarin, borrowing from both Kim Jong-Il’s kidnapping of Shin Sang-ok and, more cryptically, Fraction’s MK12 work alongside Kanye West on Common’s “Go” video.

IIM Annual #1 was also Marvel’s first day-and-date digital release, so we take a look at that, which devolves into an argument about marginal value and price points. Maybe we were all coming off World Cup Fever, but it gets feisty.

Posted in Podcasts · 2 Comments »
Nov
5

FBBP #118 – We Like Comics

Posted by Chris Eckert, Pedro Tejeda, Jamaal Thomas and Joseph Mastantuono on Thursday, November 5th, 2009 at 04:09:24 PM

Sometimes our tough love strikes listeners as a little too tough. We’re sensitive to concerns about our negativity — and our tendency to ramble on — and so here we have a brief conversation where each of us describe a recent comic we’ve genuinely enjoyed.

Want to be spoiled? Our picks lie below!
Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep
23

FBBP #113 – The Trouble with Norman

Posted by Joseph Mastantuono, Pedro Tejeda, Jamaal Thomas and Chris Eckert on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 08:00:21 AM

With Dark Reign entering a new phase with the release of the first Dark Reign: The List one-shots, the gang looks at Marvel’s recent experiments with telling One Big Story, from Civil War to today. Of special interest in Norman Osborn: is he the Green Goblin, Super-Cheney, or the second coming of Hitler? Marvel’s stable of writers seem to hold different opinions, and we explore them all.

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Apr
16

FBBP #53 – Superman’s Foreign Policy Regarding Tensions between Tehran and Kandor

Posted by Funnybook Babylon, Jamaal Thomas, Pedro Tejeda, Chris Eckert and Joseph Mastantuono on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 at 02:30:56 PM

This week we talk Criminal #2, The new Howard Zinn comic book, and Pedro comes clean about JSA. Chris got his hands on some preview copies of some Minx Books, and relates his experiences.

We also have a deeper conversation of the about the ign Geoff Johns interview, and I ask “Why should we care?” This inevitably goes into the continuous continuity conversation.

Bringing in a topic that me and Jamaal usually have everyday over beers, this Superman foreign policy article made the rounds of the podcast.

Finally we wrapped up with a discussion of Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker’s decision to leave Iron Fist, and the implications of short vs. long runs on title characters.

Posted in Podcasts · 3 Comments »
Mar
26

FBBP #50 – Featuring the Peerless Power of David Brothers

Posted by Funnybook Babylon on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 at 08:00:19 AM

This week features blogalaxy surfing zen master David Brothers as we talk about Pedro’s attempts at sub-super villainy, review Cap, Iron Man, Death of the New Gods, Incredible Herc, and War is Hell. We even talk about he who should not be named who is spoiling books for Tom Spurgeon. It’s our 50th show, so that means… nothing right?

Notes after the Jump.

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Posted in Downcounting, Podcasts · 3 Comments »
Mar
20

FBBP #49 – Secretly Wishing We Could be Paul Pope Characters

Posted by Funnybook Babylon on Thursday, March 20th, 2008 at 03:28:28 PM

This week show barely gets into comics until about 15 minutes in, but when we do we go over the Wizard World LA announcements, the lack of quality books, Vixen’s tone in JLA, the importance of what comic creators do outside of the industry and the fact Radical Comics still fucking sucks.

Sorry this one is up late, but it took me ages to think of a name. Podcast Notes after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar
15

An Impassioned Plea to Marvel Comics

Posted by David Uzumeri on Saturday, March 15th, 2008 at 03:03:04 PM

Please, Marvel, don’t do this to us.

CBR reports that Matt Fraction is joining Ed Brubaker on Uncanny X-Men in a cowriting capacity, swapping off arcs. This is fantastic news; these are two great talents that have worked very well together in the past, and will really kick things up a notch for the title. I was excited for about all of five goddamn minutes.

Ed Brubaker will co-write “Uncanny X-Men” with Fraction starting on issue #500. Greg Land and new Marvel exclusive Terry Dodson will rotate art chores.

Oh, come ON.
500_cov.jpg

This is just awful. For a while, Marvel was keeping Land relatively compartmentalized – I would be perfectly happy if Land worked with Jeph Loeb for the rest of his career. However, Uncanny X-Men is a flagship book with two talented writers and they need an actual fucking storyteller for an artist, not an overgrown child with Penthouse and tracing paper. Storm on that cover is in the same fucking position as, like, every ‘spellcasting’ woman he’s ever drawn, traced off of some chick possibly mid-coitus. For God’s sake, Marvel, don’t do this to me, don’t make me read a comic I’m looking forward to and have half of the issues making me wince every time I turn the fucking page. I could deal with almost any artist more than this. Can’t you steal Cliff Chiang or something?

Posted in Blurbs · 7 Comments »
Dec
18

Random Bits and Pieces

Posted by Jamaal Thomas on Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 at 05:11:11 PM

They are owned by huge, creativity-deadening corporations and operated by lawyers and marketing executives who lord over the worst creative decline I have witnessed in a long time, particularly in films. In television, companies like GE view properties like NBC the way realtors view square footage. GE does not care what is on NBC. So long as the programming is relatively inoffensive, they want to earn as much per square foot as they can.
-Alec Baldwin

It’s a slow, slow time in the comics blogosphere, so when I decided to take a break from writing memos and preparing for meetings, I had to write about some completely random things. Two of them are related and all are tangentially connected to the comics industry.

1. Newsarama posted the first part of a wide-ranging interview with Paul Levitz, publisher of DC Comics, about the state of the company. Some interesting quotes:

In response to Marvel’s Digital Comics Unlimited program:

I wish Marvel well with it. I hope they’ve figured out something that a bunch of fans like at a price that the fans find appropriate, and that it’s a workable model for them. If it is, we’ll certainly look hard at it over time.

I think we have a few different views of the area than Marvel, one is if we’re going to do something where we’re distributing our material online, then we would certainly want to have figured out how the talent was going to participate in revenues that we were going to make. And that’s an extraordinarily complicated nightmare. If you set out to say…we’ve published probably 40,000 comic books in the course of our history…so if in one extreme you sat there and said, “I’m going to put 40,000 comic books online for people to read, the prospect of sorting the rights out for that, writing checks to the talent is pretty nightmarish.

This brings two things to mind. The obvious one is that I think that Levitz should hold company workshops on communicating a message to the media. He’s saying things designed to resonate with every audience. If you’re a fan, he implies (in his discussion of the administrative difficulties) that when DC figures out an online initiative, it is less likely to limit the amount of material available to the degree that Marvel has. If DC wanted to release limited portions of its archives for an online service, working out talent payments would not be particularly overwhelming. I would imagine that a publisher would be able to track the number of people who are accessing particular issues/runs, and develop some kind of pricing system. If you’re a creator, he’s telling you that DC will not take any rash actions before figuring out your compensation.

His patience and deliberation could also be seen as a positive for management/shareholders (to the extent they know that DC is part of Time Warner).

There’s no question that people are willing to read some comics online if they don’t have to pay for them. The question is: does anybody have a value proposition where a reasonable number of people are willing to pay for them? Will people ultimately want it all to be ad-supported, which seems how most online entertainment is being delivered these days? And is there an ad-supported methodology that makes sense for flat comic book pages?

Owners/managers of traditional i/p companies don’t want to hear about non-monetized technical innovation. The truth is, that on some basic level, no one knows whether online ad support is or will be sufficient to fully replace present revenue from print ads. In the end, we all know that it’ll have to, but that’s in the future. Managers want to keep their job now. Shareholders want a return in the next few months. This kind of hard-nosed skepticism is great for them.

His responses are also candy to the media:

NRAMA: Has DC done any kind of study or estimate in regards to how much money it feels it has lost due to online piracy?

PL: I haven’t a clue.

This is the kind of ‘honesty’ that makes journalists wet. If you don’t believe me, look at John McCain. Phony straight talk is like manna to the media.

But the more interesting, less obvious point made in the interview is this:

If you set out to say…we’ve published probably 40,000 comic books in the course of our history…so if in one extreme you sat there and said, “I’m going to put 40,000 comic books online for people to read, the prospect of sorting the rights out for that . . . is pretty nightmarish

I read a good article a couple of weeks ago about this, but I assumed that since Time/Warner employed so many attorneys, someone would have been working on this. It’s kind of sad.

2. Dick Hyacinth was right about the Trader Joe’s Gorgonzola Walnut Tortellini. It is really good, especially for a Lazy Man’s dinner.

3. Tom Brevoort on the Marvel Creative Retreat:

For the next 48 hours, we’ll be brainstorming on the overall direction of the future of the Marvel line, from the end of 2008 and the climax of SECRET INVASION well into 2009 and beyond. There are a bunch of ideas and plans already buzzing through the halls, but inevitably everything is going to change before our metting time is done. The only real certainty is that there’ll be some moment somewhere within the two days when I’ll change color.

Like in the past, it’ll be an interesting combination and collision of any number of creative mindsets, and virtually nobody’s storylines will escape completely unscathed–but hopefully better for having come through the experience. For myself, the two big areas of interest will be in getting to know Matt Fraction, who’s been doing some outstanding work lately, and who’s really a guy to watch, and spending some time picking the brain of Allan Heinberg, who’s one of the best guys in the business when it comes to breaking stories and making sure that character motivations and reactions remain true to the characters. This is the first Marvel summit that either of these guys has attended, so it’ll be interesting to see how they interact with the rest of the group (and how the group functions without Mark Millar or J. Michael Straczynski in the room this time, both of whom had other commitments that prevented them from attending.)

This is the moment when the future gets decided, so look for updates as things progress.

Even though I like quite a bit of what Marvel publishes, and think that the quality of the writing, art, and editing has undergone an amazing improvement since the 80′s – ’90′s, these kinds of corporate retreats kind of make me nauseous. The older I get, the more my enjoyment of comics is connected to an appreciation of the craft and creativity that goes into them (1). I really don’t care about the strategy and the coordination. When I read Bendis’ Daredevil, Brubaker’s Captain America, or Pak’s Incredible Hulk, I’m interested in their work, and not its relationship to an intricate larger universe. I guess that the shared universe aspect of the genre (at least as practiced by the Big Two) doesn’t really appeal to me anymore. Or maybe it’s just that I used to work for a big corporation, and got cheery e-mails like this for company retreats that made me want to stick pencils in my eyes.

(1): I wouldn’t say that this is a maturity issue, just a personal one. There’s nothing worse than when people link maturity to appreciation of a genre. You didn’t ‘grow out’ of it, you just stopped liking it. And there is a real difference.

Posted in Articles, Blurbs · 1 Comment »
Jun
30

FBBP #17.5 – Matt Fraction’s Casanova

Posted by Joseph Mastantuono on Saturday, June 30th, 2007 at 04:50:12 PM

JOE NOTES: Editing this show, it seems that Warren Ellis read Casanova and thought, “Hmm… I’m going to take all the good ideas in this and do them justice in Desolation Jones“. I didn’t realize how much this was true until after the show…

Slight warning. There’s lots me ranting. Lots. So, you might want to skip this if you don’t enjoy my whiny ass whining. My “Too Long, Didn’t Listen” version: None of us liked Casanova. At all. Go Desolation Jones instead.

Posted in Podcasts · 5 Comments »
Apr
8

FBBP #6 – With a Vengeance

Posted by Joseph Mastantuono, Pedro Tejeda and Jamaal Thomas on Sunday, April 8th, 2007 at 07:43:29 PM

Hey folks! Episode five got mangled in the recording so we’re back with a longer episode to make it up to you. We talk news as usual, Joe deconstructs The Immortal Iron Fist, Jamaal laments the planet of Planet Hulk, and Pedro “generously” reviews Justice League of America #7…

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