Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Mirage Group Sells Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles(TM) to Nickelodeon

As previously announced, The Mirage Group, owners of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles(TM) property, have sold the iconic brand to Nickelodeon - part of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B). 4Kids Entertainment (NYSE: KDE) has received a payment of approximately $9.75 million at the Closing in consideration of its agreement to terminate its right to serve as the merchandise licensing agent prior to the scheduled expiration of the representation agreement in 2012. 4Kids may also receive an additional $1 million upon expiration of the escrow relating to the transaction.

The sale of the Turtles property, which has achieved popularity across the world, comes in its 25th anniversary year, with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles having made their debut in an eponymous comic by TMNT co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in May 1984. In the quarter century that followed, the Turtles brand embraced nearly every medium and product form: four of the most successful independent theatrical motion pictures of all time, over 350 half-hours of TV programming, top 10 all-time sales status for worldwide sales of toy action figures, and over 600 worldwide merchandise licensees.

Monday, October 19, 2009

RPG Reviews?

Whither are the RPG reviewers? We've had 30+ years of this hobby/industry and yet we can't seem to get reviews that are elevated past the fanboy stage. Yes, I am biased in what I expect from a reviewer because I did do the whole Opinion Editor thing while in college, and a big part of that was fostering people to write reviews that were more than "this is my opinion, suck it!" Opinions can be bad, wrong, poorly informed, and even poorly articulated. Yes, everyone has them but that does not make them right. You know?

I look at comic websites like Comic Book Resources (link) and I see that, while in a similar geeky milieu to gaming, they manage to rise up put together a decent body of review. Mind you, I'm not calling for the New York Times level of quality (although that would be nice) but RPG reviews need to really to elevate themselves. The leading RPG site on the internet doesn't come close to the level of quality that sites like CBR or even Newsarama achieve. Even those sites are not perfect.

Now, it isn't like there aren't bright spots in RPG reviewing. SJ Games' Pyramid has always been the "gold standard" for reviews in gaming. This is something that I never made a secret of, even when I was actively posting on gaming "related" message forums. I think that RPG reviewers across the internet, particularly those at sites like RPGnet, could learn a thing or two, or three, from going back over the body of work from Matthew Pook.

Now, this is a completely different effort from a body of critical thought for gaming. As bad as the bulk of RPG reviewing tends to be the attempts at "critical" thought on gaming is even worse. I would like to see someone who is well grounded in Art and/or Literary theory (and by this I mean actual scholastic work in these fields and not some "well, I am an academic" person who thinks that they can do that sort of work) start to create a body of critical thought for RPGs. Yes, there is some out there but its really misguided attempts by people who think they know better about tackling the field. A shame really.

None of this is an attempt to get people to "convince" me that I should be doing these things. Yes, I can do both reviewing and critical writing but I'm not often moved to review something these days and while I would be interested in seeing critical work done on RPGs at the same time I'm not convinced of the real need for it. Really, I think that for design purposes much of the time a more solid grounding in the history of game design would serve most designers better than a critical overview.

Think of this more as a call to arms. I want to see reviews being done, and I want to see them being done better than they are. You are a reviewer and not an entertainer, while you do have to hold the attention of your audience you are not a replacement for the entertainment of the experience of gaming. Get in. Give us your opinions, explain them and rationalize them if you can. Get out. There is no need for fiction, no cutesy tricks with inserting the reviewer into the review. And for Pete's sake there is no need for hundreds upon hundreds of words. Editing is your friend. Be concise and make your point, and then get out. As a reviewer you are not the end destination.

Maybe, though, it is time to put my money where my mouth is and put out a few reviews myself here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Game Designer Blues

First off, I really need to have that breakthrough for the Deadworld game. I've been chasing my tail on explaining how I want conflict resolution to work for over a month now. It works in my head but I just can't seem to find the right way to explain/phrase it that looks right to me on paper. I keep having false starts that lead to nowhere. If only there was a way to transcribe what is on the whorls of my brain I'd be done by now. This is something that I really can't even hand off to someone for polish because, well, it's in my head. Game design can be frustrating sometimes.

I think that part of the problem is that I need to be gaming. I need to step up trying to pull some gamers together.

In The Queue
Kicking it Oldschool: I'm going to be starting active work on a retro clone once I can get Deadworld out of my head. I've talked with Daniel Proctor and I have a bunch of ideas that are going to go into a revised edition of the GORE rules. Rather than trying to be a more generic system I'm going to live up to its name and refresh the system into a modern-era horror game that draws upon both Call of Cthulhu and the classic (Pacesetter) version of Chill as inspirations. GORE is a great little system and I think that marrying it more closely to a setting will really help the system go somewhere. This isn't going to be a dramatic edition revision by any means. While the system is going to stick to its old school roots the setting is going to be more modern by comparison. I'll go more into this one various places (here and on Twitter most likely) as I get more involved in what I want to do with the game.

Kingdom of the Blind: The title is a reference to the quote "In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." by Desiderius Erasmus. As you can tell by reading this blog I am a gamer, a game designer, more than a bit of a geek, and a fan of comics. One of the things that I have been looking forward to for a bit is the upcoming First Wave mini-series from DC Comics that is going to reintroduce comic fans to the pulp characters of Doc Savage and The Avenger in a world without super-powers that is also going to blend in Will Eisner's Spirit and non-powered DCU characters like Bat-Man (yes, that is how they are going to be saying it in this world), Black Canary, Wildcat, The Blackhawks and others into a pulp influenced world where the greatest hero of the world is Doc Savage. This has inspired me to pull together a system that will also create characters of this caliber (but without super or supernatural powers) and unleash them upon the world of 1938.

Jane Austen's Tales of Terror: This is going to be a setting book for Crafty Games' FantasyCraft game that will be set in the British Regency period and influenced by the works of Austen, the Brontes, Thomas Hardy and the British Romantic poets. The "high concept" pitch to Crafty was "Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a Merchant/Ivory production." Also expect some various FantasyCraft musings on here as well.

Monday, October 05, 2009

She had Seven Seconds to save the world. Part One.

Trevor Von Eeden's recent interview in the Comics Journal, along with Michael Fiffe's excellent series of blog posts spotlighting his art over the years (scroll down, they're not tagged), has caused a bit of buzz in some circles about the artist and his work, and one of those works just happens to be an obscure 12-issue mid-80's title called Thriller, created and written by Robert Loren Fleming, and illustrated by Von Eeden, which just happens to be one of my all-time favorite comics series.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Boot Camp This Saturday

I've been working on a set list for my Boot Camp at Club Republik in Second Life off and on for the past few days and I think I've got it locked in. Or at least until I start spinning it.
1. Party Ben - Another One Bites Da Funk (Daft Queen)(2009 Rework) (3:57)
2. lobsterdust - NirGaga (Niravana vs. Lady Gaga) (4:23)
3. World Famous Audio Hacker - What's That Sound? (6:24)
4. DJ Earworm - The Night Of Kittin's Messy Dream (Miss Kittin vs. P.J. Harvey & Thom Yorke vs. Corey Hart vs. Human League) (4:56)
5. DJ Le Clown - U Not Alone (Will Smith vs Michael Jackson vs The Beatles) (4:44)
6. Go Home Productions - LSD Forever (2:28)
7. Tarzan Of The Apes - Rat Inferno (3:06)
8. Phil RetroSpector - Looking Back is a Losing Game (2:33)
9. Celebrity Murder Party - Coma Girl Acid Test (4:32)
10. The Ciccones - communication (5:52)
11. Apollo Zero - New York From Blue To Green (Moby ft. Debbie Harry vs Chicane)(Apollo Zero Reconstruct) (5:12)
12. ElectroSound - Trans London Express (3:16)
13. Dunproofin' - Infused Peaches (4:40)
14. DJ Gaston - Groove In A Radioaktive World (6:22)
15. 9freak9 - Stressproof (La Roux VS Laurent Wolf VS Daft Punk) (5:23)
16. iBall - Light Will Be The Death Of Me (2:26)
17. DJ Payroll - Losing My Advertising Space (4:31)
18. Elocnep - Space Cadet Could Say... (Birdy Nam Nam vs. Lily Allen) (4:20)
19. MC Sleazy - Don't Call Me Blur (3:50)
20. Mighty Mike - Paperlong (M.I.A. vs. Foo Fighters) (3:35)
21. Thriftshop XL - Do You Wanna Cuz It's Tricky (Franz Ferdinand vs. Run-DMC vs. The Knack) (2:47)
22. Disfunctional DJ - You're The One I Want In The Next Episode (Grease vs. Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog) (3:50)
23. Aggro1 - Depeche Mode v. David Bowie v. Beatles (4:04)
24. ATOM - Music Non Stop (ATOM's Drunken Bunny Mix) (7:22)
25. Cheekyboy - NightRider (War vs. Fatboy Slim) (4:29)
26. DJ Prince - Mashing It Up (5:27)
27. DJ Schmolli - Land Of Sonic Numbers (4:25)
28. DJ Schmolli - Fire, Smoke And Tone Loc (3:32)
29. DJ ShyBoy - You Spin Me Upside Down (Diana Ross vs Dead Or Alive) (4:10)
30. DJ Tripp - Don't Go Weird (Yaz vs. Oingo Boingo) (4:38)
31. DJ Zebra - Golden Blonde (Blondie vs. The Klaxons) (3:19)

You can find the Club Republik website here with information about the SLUrl for the club and other fun flash facts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

10 Questions About DC Entertainment

This question coming up in a piece on Newsarama gets to the crux of what I am wondering about with the recent Warner/DC corporate shuffle announcement.
How much input will Robinov (and by natural extension) Warner Bros. Pictures, have over DC’s comic book development?

Referring back to the Disney/Marvel merger, the folks at the House of Mouse went out of their way to say they want Marvel to keep being Marvel. Disney execs swore up and down they had no intention of rocking the House of Ideas’ boat.

Two big differences between that arrangement and today’s announcement. One, Disney needed Marvel to regain cred with young males more than Marvel needed Disney at this juncture in time, so in theory, it makes sense that Disney will take a hands-off approach.

Two, DC Entertainment was created to give DIRECT control of DC Comics to the Warners film division. Diane Nelson now runs DC Comics. Diane Nelson reports to Jeff Robinov, who runs Warner Bros. Pictures. How can he NOT have significant input into the decision-making at DC? How much influence he chooses to wield is up to him. Could it mean that the direction of certain characters could be affected by decisions tied to theatrical choices? Who knows? If he’s smart, and one doesn’t get to Robinov’s position without being smart, he’ll let the comics guys & girls handle the comics, so he can zero in on the movies. Lord knows, he has lots to do on that front.

The emphasis is mine in the quote, by the way. I don't think that it can be emphasized enough that DC Entertainment is being put into the hands of a brand manager under the direct control of Warner's film division. This just strikes me as a corporate synergy move, not one concerned with creative the Disney/Marvel deal has been.

This decision isn't a reaction to Disney's (attempted) acquisition of Marvel. I think that it is a reaction to the success of Marvel Entertainment with the Iron Man movie (and to a limited degree the reboot of the Hulk movie franchise) that was announced with a timing that was intended to take some of the wind out of the sails of what's going on with Disney and Marvel. Despite the fluke of the Batman movie franchise reboot, the DC properties on the big screen have not been doing so well. Superman Returns is an example of this. I do think that we will see some success with the upcoming mid/low tier DC characters in the movies: Jonah Hex and The Losers. Will this success be due to tie in to comics? That's doubtful but it is exactly the sort of thing that this new DC Entertainment will be looking for: successful franchising launched from the R&D of the comic books. Frankly, this has little to do with the creativity on either of those books, and probably never will.

If you are someone who is excited that these properties are going to be farmed for movies, television and video games...all of this about DC Entertainment is most likely great news. If you are someone who is a fan of the medium of comic books and loves the creativity that comes out of that medium, well, things are still hazy on whether or not this will be a good thing or not.

Regardless, it does look as those the comic industry is in for a big change in the way that it deals with itself, and that change is coming soon.

Industry Reacts to Levitz, DC Entertainment

From Comic Book Resources, Kurt Busiek and other comment on the DC changes. Click through for some of the other comments

I heard the news in pieces. 'Hey, DC is reorganizing! Hey, this is going to be the new person! Hey, it's going to be a new entity called DC Entertainment! Hey, Paul Levitz is stepping down and going back to being a writer and consultant!' I was reacting to it as each piece hit, and I've got to say...Warner Bros. is reorganizing DC to make better use of the DC characters across media platforms? Yeah, fine, sure. That's movie stuff. I don't care. Paul Levitz stepping down? That's huge. That's a bigger story for comics than Disney/Marvel, than DC Entertainment, than any of this. Paul not being in that chair, in that office at DC doing that job is going to change comics in ways that there's no way to predict.

The industry has grown from what it was in the '70s to what it is now largely because of the things that Paul's been involved in. Having gone from a newsstand-oriented periodicals business to a backlist-oriented, multimedia library with royalties and creator's rights and all of these things... there are a number of people who were significant players in making all of that happen, but no one was more significant long term in making that happen [than Paul Levitz]. I'm very excited that I'm going to see more Paul Levtiz writing, because Paul is a terrific writer. But I'm just amazed at the prospect of an American comic book industry without Paul Levitz being one of the guiding forces.

I think the system we've got right now will continue the way it is, but what's the next big change, and how will that be handled? Paul not only was an innovator, but there have been people over the years who have complained that Paul won't move fast enough for their taste. Paul has always been someone who moves forward deliberately but carefully. And where other companies would move forward and rush into something – committing a whole lot of money to a trade paperback program without building up a backlist to support that program like Paul did – that created financial instabilities that were absorbed by the fact that DC was always there to backstop the system and keep things moving in the right direction. Various developments that could have been created by rushing into the new thing only to watch it flame out and collapse – Paul was the one who kept that from happening.

What challenges are we going to face next? I don't know who DC Entertainment is going to put into Paul's job. Diane Nelson is going to be the President of DC Entertainment but not the President of DC Comics. Whoever is in that role is going to report to her, and whoever that is is going to have different instincts and different priorities from what Paul had. That's going to be a big change. I don't know what that's going to be. I can't say it'll be a great thing or it'll be a bad thing. It's going to be different. That's all I can say. Five years from now, I think the comic industry is going to be different in a huge number of ways, and it's going to be that way because Paul's not in that chair anymore.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Keeping Up With The Jones: Corporate Restructing and DC Comics

This is going to be a bit lengthy, but this is big enough news to warrant it. As I said on Twitter earlier, the sounds you've hearing today are the sounds of the other shoe dropping in the comic industry. This shoe is probably going to bounce for a while too.

First, let's go to the official announcement from Warner:

Burbank, CA - Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (WBEI) has created DC Entertainment Inc., a new company founded to fully realize the power and value of the DC Comics brand and characters across all media and platforms, to be run by Diane Nelson, it was announced today by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, and Alan Horn, President & COO, Warner Bros.

DC Entertainment, a separate division of WBEI, will be charged with strategically integrating the DC Comics business, brand and characters deeply into Warner Bros. Entertainment and all its content and distribution businesses. DC Entertainment, which will work with each of the Warner Bros. divisions, will also tap into the tremendous expertise the Studio has in building and sustaining franchises and prioritize DC properties as key titles and growth drivers across all of the Studio, including feature films, television, interactive entertainment, direct-to-consumer platforms and consumer products. The DC Comics publishing business will remain the cornerstone of DC Entertainment, releasing approximately 90 comic books through its various imprints and 30 graphic novels a month and continuing to build on its creative leadership in the comic book industry.

In her new role, Nelson will report to Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, in order to best capitalize on DC Entertainment’s theatrical development and production activities and their importance to drive its overall business with each of the divisions of Warner Bros.

Nelson will bring her expertise and more than 20 years’ experience in creative brand management, strategic marketing and content development and production to ensuring DC Entertainment’s dual mission of marshalling Warner Bros.’ resources to maximize the potential of the DC brand while remaining respectful of and collaborative with creators, talent, fans and source material. Additionally, Nelson will continue to oversee the franchise management of the Harry Potter property, which she has done since 2000, and also continue to represent the Studio's interests with the author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling. Nelson will segue from her post as President, Warner Premiere but maintain oversight responsibilities of that division. (An executive succession plan for Warner Premiere will be announced shortly.)

Paul Levitz, who has served as President & Publisher of DC Comics since 2002, will segue from that role to return to his roots as a writer for DC and become a contributing editor and overall consultant to DCE. This transition will take place as expeditiously as possible without disrupting DC’s business operations.

You can click here for the rest of the press release.

This last part is, to me, pretty damn huge. Paul Levitz is no longer President and Publisher, while someone who's experience is with brand management and marketing will take over as President of the newly named DC Entertainment division. What does this spell for creatives at DC Comics and its various sub-labels? Not sure yet, and really only time will tell but to me this doesn't look like good news for fans of DC's comics. Why? This looks like DC has been further relegated to an R&D position within the Warner corporate structure. Putting a brand manager in charge of a comic company is great for corporate synergy and leveraging the visibility and clout of the brands of the comic company but it doesn't speak to the creativity that goes on behind those "brands" in the first place. It may not end up with the monthly comics being given a second class status over the importance of the brands and characters, but it doesn't look like a rosy future for the creative end of things at DC.

Now, let's look at Paul Levitz's open letter of resignation in its entirety.
Dear Friends,

Thank you for your efforts, your support, and your contributions to DC Comics over the long years that I’ve had the honor of serving as part of DC’s leadership team. Together, our staff, creative contributors, readers, retailers and business partners have helped bring us to the beginning of what looks to be a new golden age for comics in the United States, and one that will bring more respect for the talent and the medium.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s heard me answer a comic convention request, 'When are you going to do more Legion stories?' that I’m going to step away from my executive desk in coming months to resume my writing career, in comics and hopefully other forms as well. One of the lessons I learned from my many great teachers, from Frank McCourt through Joe Orlando and Jenette Kahn, is that creative work is more enduring than executive acts, and I look forward to adding to the stories I’ve told. Expect to see my byline at DC, as it has appeared for almost 37 years, adding what I can to a mythology and company that has my enduring affection, and expect to see me around the world of comics, which I hope never to leave. I already hear Karen and Dan sharpening their blue pencils with glee, waiting for my first pages.

DC will remain in the hands of the people who have had ultimate responsibility for its success throughout the past two decades, the management team of Warner Bros., headed by Barry Meyer and Alan Horn. They have encouraged our growth as a creative enterprise, and I have confidence that the people they will select to join the DC team, beginning with Diane Nelson, will do their best to make DC a success. While that transition process is taking place, I’ll continue to run DC until the baton can be carefully passed, and afterwards will have a role in which I can provide my advice and help.

On a personal note, I deeply appreciate the warmth and friendship I have found in these halls since my first visit, as a 13 year old comics fan. The relationships I have made here, including one that began in a DC circulation meeting and developed into the first DC marriage in four decades (thereby rebooting a grand tradition?), have been and will remain central to my life.

And now, if you forgive me, the future is calling.

While it is great for comic fans (in the short term at least) that a writer like Paul Levitz is returning to a job that he loves, and will write a group of characters that he loves and has been a guiding force in the creation of. All well and good from a creative viewpoint. From a corporate viewpoint? I don't know. Imagine if a bank president showed up to work to be told by his bosses that from now on he was going to be working in the cafeteria instead. No, no...why would he continue to be paid the same or have the same responsibilities? Exactly. Going from a President within the corporate structure of Time/Warner to being a freelancer again is quite a drop. Sure, there is severance and such but going from being a President with a steady, good income to being another freelancer isn't exactly a lateral career move.

An interesting question is: How will this impact the creatives who do all the work that has led to these powerful brands? Will we see an end to creator-owned titles through DC and its sub-labels like Vertigo and Wildstorm? Will creators have second thoughts about working in a corporate structure that may be top heavy, with brand managers deciding what should be in monthly titles rather than editorial and creative teams working on the books? OK, so that's more than one question. But this is a big deal if you're a comic fan.

Another BIG question is: How will this impact Disney's acquisition of Marvel? Is Disney going to decide that in order to stay competitive they aren't going to be able to be as "hands off" as they have been saying they will be in the day to day of Marvel? This has just made an incredibly huge impact on the landscape of comics, both for fans and businesses. This is going to mean that there is going to be a lot coming out over the next few days, weeks, maybe even months.

Here's a link to an article at Newsarama with quotes from industry people about this news.

This is big.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My Panel Schedule at Necronomicon 2009

As a gaming guest at this year's Necronomicon in St. Petersburg, FL this is the list of panels that I will be on while I am there. A variety of topics, I think, but then you have to wear a lot of hats when you're a small press game publisher.

In addition I will be running some game sessions around these panels. I could probably be convinced to run after hours, if people approach me nicely enough.

Playing the Game with the Big Boys
Fri 1:00 PM

"You Say 'Self-Pub' Like It's A Bad Thing: Ways To Use It So It's Not."
Fri 3:00 PM

E-Book formats & DRM Methods
Sat 11:00 AM
St. Pete 3

How to Go from Amateur to Pro:Game Creation
Sun 11:00 AM
St. Pete 3

Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace…
Sun 1:00 PM
St. Pete 3

Living in a Virtual World
Sun 2:00 PM
St. Pete 3

Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney to buy comic book powerhouse Marvel for $4B

The Walt Disney Co. said Monday it is buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing such characters as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and WALL-E.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters. Many of them, including the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, were co-created by the comic book legend Stan Lee.

Analyst David Joyce of Miller Tabak & Co. said the acquisition will help Disney appeal to young men who have flocked to theaters to see Marvel's superhero fare in recent years. That contrasts with Disney's recent successes among young women with such fare as 'Hannah Montana' and the Jonas Brothers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mercy Thompson's (Graphic Novel) Homecoming

When I was a kid, my father used to take my older sister and me to 'the green striped store' once a week and give us each a dollar to buy comic books. I can remember getting to buy five each (which should date me!). Oddly enough I don’t remember the ones I used to buy, probably because I read them to shreds and they ended up, after a suitably long time under my bed, in the garbage. But I remember the ones my sister had. She was OCD about keeping them looking new, organizing them, and keeping them away from me. She had more success in the first two tasks than she had in the last.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm at the Post office right now, but not to mail a letter. I am here to try to keep our St. Pete Beach post office open. More to follow...

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Appeal: Call to Time Spirits, Thundercats, Silverhawks Fans…

This is from the website of artist Steve Bissette:
I hate to do this — in fact, I’ve never done this. I hate doing this. But the situation is dire.

If you are or ever have been a fan of the work of writer Steve Perry of Time Spirits, Thundercats and Silverhawks – not to be confused with either the prolific and popular sf writer or the rock star — and you can afford to help a man on his last legs, please, do so.

Despite the best efforts of myself and others, Steve is in dire straits at this very moment, suffering terminal cancer and lack of any support, and sorely in need of any help that can be sent his way.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Murder of Wealthy Florida Businessman Reveals Bizarre Family Troubles

Best blog post evar!
The discovery of the body of a wealthy Florida businessman and hotel heir has turned out to be only the beginning of what has become a multi-state investigation involving reports of kinky sex, catfights and Batman comic books.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Truth, Justice And Superman Is Totally Ours, You Stinky, Greedy Siegel Family

When I saw this quote:
No matter how many times it's asserted in moral terms, fans do not own anything because they're fans of something, even if they feel entitled to that ownership. This is the same kind of ownership a three-year-old feels playing with another kid's toys while the moms sit and visit, combined perhaps with the lovely impulse of an angry drunk bellowing out the hit song's name from the audience when a band is playing their newest stuff and a sprinkle of one of those jerks writing an article that starts with them pulling into JD Salinger's driveway. Just stop.

linked from Steven Grant's Permanent Damage column over at the Comic Book Resources website, I knew that I had to put this quote and this article out for further consumption.

While, I don't think the "feud" that Spurgeon's post hits upon is really about this at its root...I think that this quote does cut to the chase of a lot of the overdeveloped feelings of entitlement that develop among fandoms, whether those of comics, movies, RPGs, novel series or whatever people might want to "fan" about. Basically I saw this quote and decided to spin it out into a mini opinion piece for this blog.

Fans do not own what they are fans of and they are also not "owed" anything by whomever owns and/or produces material that they are fans of. (I know, that is a horrible way to end a sentence but still...) Being a consumer, or being a fan, does not entitle you to anything more than further materials to consume and obsess about in various fora online.

In a response to the article above, this was written: "In the case of Superman, the character should have become the property of the public and the fans of the character already." (find the original article here) This is, really, nothing more than the usual misunderstanding of how copyright works among laymen bolstered by the above mentioned sense of entitlement. Being a fan of something does not give you any greater moral authority towards that something than anyone else, certainly not more so than the creators of the something (or their heirs in this case). To think otherwise is nothing but an overdeveloped sense of entitlement.

Sadly, this is something that is becoming more and more prevalent in the "geeky" communities (look around for comments being made about the announcement of a new Battlestar Galactica movie to be made by Bryan Singer). Fortunately, the more frothy and irrational that people act over these topics the easier it becomes to discount them.

Being a fan of something, anything, and producing whatever (web site, fan forums, print zine, fan fiction) over that something doesn't give you a piece of the ownership pie. It never has, and it isn't going to at any point in the future. Really, all that it does is make the rest of us dorks and geeks look bad by comparison.

On a last note for this posting, I want to remind people that this blog isn't a democracy, nor are you guaranteed freedom of speech. Just as you have the ability to post your opinions in comments to this post, so do I have the right to not publish your comments. And as this is my blog, my rights win out over yours.

TokyoPop Manga: Psy-Comm

TokyoPop Manga: Dark Metro

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fantasy Flight Games Announces Warhammer ® Fantasy Roleplay ™ 3rd Edition

August 12th 2009.

Fantasy Flight Games ('FFG') announced today they will release Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition, a new version of the classic roleplaying game set in Games Workshop's Warhammer world. This version features an entirely new innovative approach to role-playing, one that FFG hopes will attract a whole new generation of gamers to the role-playing experience.

'We're proud to re-introduce the Warhammer world to role-playing with this revolutionary approach,' said Christian T. Petersen, CEO of FFG. 'It is one that harnesses the flavor of prior WFRP editions, but brings about that experience in a more evocative, tactile, and visual way than the past,' he continued. 'We’ve worked long and hard to to publish a game that we hope will represent a positive paradigm shift in roleplaying game design, production, and play experience. This is not another re-tread of the traditional RPG approach, this is something new, something exciting. Something that existing RPG fans will want to test for themselves.'

The massive Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition box, which will retail for $99.95, contains everything a group of adventurers will need to play – four different rule-books, 36 custom dice, over 300 cards, counters, 'character keeper' boxes, and much more.

'We're bringing something new to the table,' added Jay Little, Senior RPG Developer for the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay line. 'This is a roleplaying system that captures the grim and gritty Warhammer world that fans have grown to love, wrapped up in an innovative design and shipped with the stunning production quality that FFG is known for.'

Jay Little will be hosting seminars showcasing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition at the Gen Con games convention in Indianapolis, IN August 13-15, where a preview of the core set and its components will be on display in FFG’s booth. Preview articles will begin their publication on FFG's website – – in the weeks following the Gen Con convention and will continue leading up to the game's release this Fall.

About Fantasy Flight Games:
Fantasy Flight Games is a publisher of board, card, and role-playing games based in Roseville, MN. Founded in 1995 by Christian T. Petersen, Fantasy Flight has published hundreds of successful titles, including Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, the Lord of the Rings series of board games; board and card games based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos and George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and many original board games such as Twilight Imperium, Runebound, and Descent: Journeys in the Dark.

For more information, visit the Fantasy Flight Games website at

For further information:
Fantasy Flight Games
Jeremy Stomberg
Phone: (651) 639 1905

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay © Games Workshop Limited 1986, 2005. This edition © Games Workshop Limited 2009. Games Workshop, Warhammer, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the foregoing marks’ respective logos and all associated marks, logos, places, names, creatures, races and race insignia/devices/logos/symbols, vehicles, locations, weapons, units and unit insignia, characters, products and illustrations from the Warhammer World and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game setting are either ®, TM and/or © Games Workshop Ltd 1986-2009, variably registered in the UK and other countries around the world. This edition published under license to Fantasy Flight Publishing Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are trademarks of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved to their respective owners.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Six Years of Bootie

It's the 6th Anniversary of BootieSF and BootieSL and Club Republik are part of the show. There's a cover charge to hear the music in real life, but in Second Life all you have to do is show up and have fun (and maybe tip your DJs too).

For the 6th Anniversary of Bootie in San Francisco, they're throwing a party that is not just one but two nights long -- tonight and tomorrow. Plus, come to BootieSL in Second Life and hear Second Life's best mashup DJs: DJ Walton Vieria and Miss Cyberpink setting the tone for the nights with their opening DJ sets. Friday hear a special edition of DJ Walton Vieria's Boot Camp for the anniversary party and Saturday drop in to hear Miss Cyberpink's Mash and Grab start things off. The fun in Second Life starts at 7pm SLT with these DJ's sets and then continues at 9pm SLT with a live free of the party in San Francisco.

Click here for a SLurl to take you to Club Republik in Second Life.

My setlist for the special edition of the Boot Camp:
1. Wax Audio - George W. Bush's Imagine (Full Version) (2:18)
2. Copycat - Film Girls in Town (Little Boots vs. Duran Duran) (5:13)
3. DJ Schmolli - Bulletproof Radar (La Roux vs. Britney Spears) (3:25)
4. team9 - Screaming Pro (Beck vs. AC/DC vs. Micheal Jackson) (3:52)
5. Simon Iddol - Don't Stop The Dance (4:33)
6. DJ Le Clown - U Not Alone (Will Smith vs Michael Jackson vs The Beatles) (4:44)
7. Divide & Kreate - Forever Denser (Alphaville vs The Killers) (3:50)
8. ToToM - Slave to David Bowie (Roxy Music vs. David Bowie) (4:05)
9. DJ Schmolli - The Trooper Believer (Iron Maiden vs. The Monkees) (3:42)
10. Scott Cairo - Macamuppet (The Doors vs. The Muppets vs. The Macarena) (5:36)
11. Chaos Productions - Wordy Girl (Edwyn Collins vs. Tom Tom Club vs. Chicks On Speed) (3:07)
12. Bobby Martini - Killer Client (Extended 'Hattie' Mix)(Killers vs Client) (7:50)
13. Party Ben - Egy Ket Skank (Fatboy Slim VS Belga) (6:52)
14. Jerver73 - Fuck Word Up (Peaches vs. Cameo) (2:11)
15. Lionel Vinyl - Half Arsed Beats Party Favour No. 1 (Deee-Lite vs. Salt-N-Pepa) (6:33)
16. DJ Lumpy - Fight a Hero (Aphrodite vs. Bonnie Tyler) (5:05)
17. DJ Tripp - Busy French Saviour (Beastie Boys vs. Le Tigre & Rapture) (3:42)
18. Agent Lovelette - Une Professional Destruction (3:01)
19. Miss Frenchie - Camisra Slash Nation Dot Com (Fatboy Slim vs. Unknown) (3:10)
20. Scott Cairo - Rhinestone Cowboy (Glen Campbell vs. Disco Assassins) (3:33)
21. DJ Earworm - I've Got Seventeen Angels (Eurythmics vs. Ladytron & Chic) (6:06)
22. Party Ben - Poker Face (Just What I Needed) (3:07)
23. Mike W Twitch - Pop Up the Muzik (M vs. M.A.R.R.S.) (6:05)
24. lobsterdust - I Will Survivor (Gloria Gaynor vs. Survivor) (3:34)
25. Dublxero - Who's Diner (Suzanne Vega vs. Stereo MC's) (3:07)
26. Pheugoo - In Your Pony Eyes (Pony Pony Run Run VS Kylie Minogue) (4:11)
27. Divide & Kreate - Dance Dreams (Lady Gaga vs. Eurythmics) (3:49)
28. MP3J - Youve Got To Hide Your Lighthouse (The Beatles vs. Fireman) (2:51)
29. MadMixMustang (20 Fingers vs. Enur vs. Vanilla Ice vs. Sesame Street) - The Ice Cream Mash (3:23)
30. World Famous Audio Hacker - Piece Of Me (World Famous Audio Hacker Mix-Up) (4:52)

Click here for the SLurl to take you to Club Republik and two night of BootieSL.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Life in Comics: The Shape of the Industry - 8/3/2009 5:27:00 PM - Publishers Weekly

This is an interesting viewpoint that I think gets lost in the shuffle of big budget comic movies and over-hyped summer comic events. Click through and give this a read.
In March, the New York Times inaugurated its Graphic Books best seller list, just in time to acknowledge the runaway sales of Watchmen, as the trade paperback reaped the benefits of movie hype. ('Comics have finally joined the mainstream,' wrote George Gene Gustines in the NYT's Arts Beat Blog, perhaps a little self-servingly.)

At Comic-Con, the line for Bryan Lee O'Malley created a lively wall of fans of his graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim, currently in film production with Michael Cera as its lead. O'Malley has been popular for a long time, but news of the movie seems to have pushed that popularity to comics rock stardom. (I admit that I had a twinge of 'I liked Bryan Lee O'Malley before he was cool! Even before Scott Pilgrim!' as I inched my way around this wall.)

But this isn't just another commentary about comics and Hollywood. I've been thinking about it in the context of what Comics Reporter writer Tom Spurgeon recently wrote: 'A successful convention rarely leads to increased industry success because the infrastructure is damaged in fundamental ways....' You can substitute 'convention' for 'comic book movie' in that sentence—or anything at all, really—and it remains just as true.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Diana Jones Shortlist


Two RPGs, a card-game, a mystery and a Scandinavian collective vie for hobby-gaming's most exclusive trophy

The committee of the Diana Jones Award has released the shortlist for its 2009 award. This year the shortlist contains five nominees that in the opinion of the committee exemplify the very best that hobby-gaming has produced in the last twelve months. In alphabetical order, they are:

Dominion, a card game by Donald X. Vaccarino (published by Rio Grande Games)
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, a role-playing game by Rob Heinsoo, Mike Mearls and James Wyatt (published by Wizards of the Coast)
Jeepform, a game-style from Scandinavia (fostered by the Vi åker jeep collective:
Mouseguard, a role-playing game by Luke Crane (published by Archaia Studios Press)
Sweet Agatha, a mystery game by Kevin Allen Jr (self-published)

The winner of the 2009 Award will be announced on Wednesday 12th August, at the annual Diana Jones Award and Freelancer Party in Indianapolis, the unofficial start of the Gen Con Indy convention.

The Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming was founded and first awarded in 2001. It is presented annually to the person, product, company, event or any other thing that has, in the opinion of its mostly anonymous committee of games industry luminaries, best demonstrated the quality of “excellence” in the world of hobby-gaming in the previous year. The winner of the Award receives the Diana Jones trophy.

The short-list and eventual winner are chosen by the Diana Jones Committee, a mostly anonymous group of games-industry alumni and illuminati.

Past winners include Peter Adkison, Jordan Weisman, the role-playing games Nobilis, Sorcerer, and My Life with Master, and the board-game Ticket to Ride. This is the ninth year of the Award.

For more information, see the website or contact the committee directly:

Friday, July 24, 2009

MARVELman Belongs To Marvel Comics

The biggest news of Comic Con International in San Diego was revealed moments ago and jaws are still on the floor-the world-renowned super hero MARVELMAN is now part of the Marvel Comics family! Marvel Comics has purchased the rights to MARVELMAN from creator Mick Anglo and his representatives, finding a home for one of the most sought after heroes in graphic fiction!

'It is an honor to work with Mick Anglo to bring his creation to a larger audience than ever before,' said Dan Buckley, CEO & Publisher, Print, Animation & Digital Media, Marvel Entertainment Inc. 'Fans are in for something special as they discover just what makes Marvelman such an important character in comic book history.'

Originally created in 1954 by Mick Anglo and appearing in some of the most celebrated comic stories of all time, MARVELMAN is Micky Moran, a young reporter gifted with the power to save the world by simply uttering the word 'kimota!'

'I did not think it would ever happen,' said Mick Anglo. 'It's a wonderful thing to see my creation finally back.'

MARVELMAN is back and he's found a new home at Marvel Comics! What's next for Mick Anglo's legendary creation? Stay tuned to for all the news on Marvelman and this exciting new addition to the Marvel family!

And to join in the celebration, visit the Marvel Shop to purchase limited edition MARVELMAN t-shirts! Plus, this September, don't miss the MARVELMAN BY QUESADA POSTER exclusively at comic shops everywhere!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Court Rules DC & WB Didn't Violate Superman Licensing Agreement w/ Siegels

Another court decision has been made in the Siegel family’s tense relationship with DC Comics. By virtue of previous decisions, the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel have been co-owners with DC Comics of the Superman copyright from 1999 until now. In 2008, the Siegels alleged that DC, in licensing the Superman characters to Warner Bros. Entertainment for audiovisual projects including 'Smallville' and 'Superman Returns,' violated the terms of their profit-sharing agreement.

The plaintiffs felt that because Warner Bros. Entertainment and DC Comics are both part of the same corporate entity, the licensing fees paid to DC Comics in the period between 1999 and 2002 (for the aforementioned 'Smallville' and 'Superman Returns' projects) were below market value. Essentially, the Siegels argued that DC Comics gave Warner Bros. Entertainment a 'sweetheart deal,' which would result in DC (and due to their co-ownership, the Siegels) not receiving as much money as they would in a traditionally 'fair market deal.'

In today’s decision, the court ruled that DC and Warner Bros. Entertainment did indeed participate in a 'fair market deal,' and that the Siegels are not entitled to any payments beyond the terms of the audiovisual licenses as they presently stand.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Braveheart writer will revise McG's Captain Nemo script

Disney is bringing in Braveheart writer Randall Wallace to rewrite Captain Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a new movie based on the classic Jules Verne novel. Terminator Salvation's McG will direct.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Warner Bros. seals up Midway acquisition

With no other bidders emerging for Midway Games, Warner Bros. has bought most of the company’s assets for $33 million, including the “Mortal Kombat” franchise as well as the company’s legacy arcade games, such as “Joust” and “Spy Hunter”.Mkvsdc

The bankruptcy judge overseeing the sale apparently wasn’t swayed by Threshold Entertainment’s argument that film producer Larry Kasanoff was the driving creative force in the franchise. (The Chicago Tribune quotes the judge as saying the objections, as well as those of Vin Diesel-owned development studio Tigon Games were ‘resolved’.