Blogging (page 2)

Comics in Madrid

It’s been a horrendously busy week for me, but an enjoyable one nevertheless. I’ve been in Madrid, Spain all week for a couple of workshops. I’ve been ther once before, about this time last year in fact, and I think I’m developing an appreciation for the city. Which is surprising as I normally hate large cities. Paris leaves me cold and I’m only favourable to London because I don’t have to live there.

I’ve had a little time off so I decided to go wandering around the streets off of the Gran Via. Quite by accident, I ran into two comic shops that were just around the corner from each other. They could not have been more contrasting if they had tried. The first was called Generation-X. It was brightly lit, hard large windows, and had a welcoming vibe.


The second shop couldn’t have been more different. It was called Knight Comics and appeared to have closed down, but enough was left to get a sense of what it had been – obscured windows, black décor, not very appealing to the passing shopper.

Now, I don’t know what the Knight store was like when it was operating, but its obvious that the brighter Gen-X store had survived where Knight had not. The first was patterned after a modern high-street bookshop, but the latter were more like a niche rock/indy music store. Could be a lesson there for many other comics shops.

Casting call of 108 Leaguers at Comic Book Movie

A casting of 108 Justice Leaguers has been completed by Thehawk assited by Shaman, and Joslezio85 over at Comic Book Movie.

This is, as far as I know, the largest casting ever on I have casted the 108 heroes that have ever served as active members in the Justice League. I did not cast reservists of honorary members like Snapper Carr and Kilowag, only those that served on the active roster. You know hat I’m goanna throw Snapper Carr in there for the heck of it.

They cast everybody, and I mean everybody, the even did the Justice League Elite (DS9′s Alexander Siddig as Naif al-Sheikh, nice call) and the JLA from 52 (Will Ferrell as Ambush Bug, interesting choice).

XKCD reads my mind

No sooner do I post that I’ve just received a delivery of Batman themed LEGO than I see XKCD’s entry for today:

I laughed, but the synchronicity of the Batman/Lego references was rather disquieting.If any body needs me I’ll be out and about practising how to be a responsible adult.

My Batman Lego arrives

Batman LEGO

There was a rather large box waiting for me yesterday when I came home from work. I’d found a set of 4 Batman Lego kits, unopened I should add, via an ebay seller in Hong Kong. I’d become interested in the line after playing the Videogame recently, but had been put off by the steep price. I knew ebay was a bit of a risk, but they don’t make these kits any more and they’re only going to get rarer. The postage was amazing, the seller paid for it, but all the stamps were in low denominations so there was dozens and dozens of them plastered across this box.

The four kits I bought were the last four produced (at least by numbering) 7884 Mr Freeze’s Escape, 7885 Robin’s SCUBA Jet, 7886 Harly Quinn’s Hammer Truck, and 7888 The Tumbler. The one I was really looking for was the Two-Face Armoured Car as that’s the one with the Batmobile, but this was too good a chance to pass up. The dilemma I have now is whether to unbox them and build them or to hang on to them with the thought of reselling them at a future date.  Somehow I don’t think my will power is going to be strong enough for the latter…

The price of Batman LEGO

After playing and reviewing the Batman LEGO video game I thought that it would be nice to pick up some actual Batman LEGO kits. I was in for a rather rude surprise. The kits seem to have been discontinued before the game was released, not only that but they were never released in UK (where I live). An unopened original kit, even just one of the less desirable ones, is listed as several hundred dollars on e-bay and Amazon. There are previously opened kits for less money, but… I don’t know… I kinda want to be the first person to build the kit.

Google Image filters for comicbook art

Google Image search is the visual equivalent to the usual Google web search. Originally it used the keywords and text around an image to estimate what it showed, but their engineers are beginning to add analysis of the image itself. Read Write Web pointed out that they’ve now added clip art and line art setting. On the surface these aren’t too interesting if you’re looking for photographs, but for comicbook fans looking for scanned art they’re really useful.

Take the example search of “batman”. The default response (first 4 images) looks like this:

So that’s a set of The Batman cartoon, the World’s Finest fan film, what looks like a computer game promo art, and the death of Jason Todd from the cover of A Lonely Place of Dying.

This is how it changes as you apply the various drop down filters:

Line Art: – tuned for black and white art (pencils or inked comic art prior to the colouring).

Clip Art: - Clip art is normally taken as art free from copyright, but that obviously isn’t true for images of Batman. What it does seem to be tuned for is the equivalent of traditional comicbook colouring – line art coloured with flat blocks of colour – as opposed to the more modern form of shaded, almost painted colouring.

Photo Content: - the title is fairly obvious, but the result is actually rather broader than just photographs. It seems to be tuned for images with a full range of colours, as opposed to the limited number of colours in line and clip art. So that includes modern photoshop coloured comicbook art and Alex Ross’s paintings.

These Batman results have been heavily influenced by the presence of various cartoons and live action movies, but in general the three filters of “line art”, “clip art”, and “photo content” will respectively find uncoloured pencilled/inked images, traditional flat coloured images, and modern painted or computer coloured art. These three look to be the best ones when searching for comic book art, but there are also two additional filters,

Faces: - tuned for the human face (generally finds photographs or photographic like paintings)

News: – finds images associated with news stores. In this case it’s picked up the rumour that Eddie Murphy will play the Riddler in the next Batman movie.

These searches were done with moderate safe search on and while I was logged on to my Google account. I have heard of users being served different results depending on how Google has has tried to tune its results to their past activities so your milage may vary.

New Star Trek trailer

As fans we sometimes cultivate a cynical attitude towards anything that deviates from our perfect idea of whatever our fanaticism is focused upon. Well, I was a trekkie before I was a comicbook fan and the offical version of trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie is up on the net. I was fully prepared for something that was going to engage my cynicism, but that trailer actually gave me goose bumps. If they pull this off its going to be amazing.

Captain Combined

I may be from the same part of the world and I may use the title Captain for this website, but even I think this stunt is a little bit of a stretch. A local (from my point of view) news story has reported that 19-year old George Garratt has legally changed his name to “Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine The Hulk And The Flash Combined.” However, these are not the names most people think of when told of the newly named Captain Combined.

US borders are porous

US borders are porous. You could take that to be a comment about the influx of people across Mexican border, but it isn’t. I’m talking about stuff going in the opposite direction. Anything that happens in the US media – promotions for films, upcoming seasons for TV shows, news stories, political rallies – leaks out across your borders. It’s like a mass media form of background radiation. A constant chatter of White House press conferences, celebrity legal action, and conspiracy theories that leaks into the media of every other country on Earth. Most of the time is just background noise, but come election time it gets out of hand. The increased news coverage that the campaigning generates on CNN, NBC, Fox News, turns the leak into a torrent. Here in Europe we get updates on the US election with every single news broadcast and we it’s an election we can’t even vote in!

That background radiation also influences Internet sharing. A film or TV show that is promoted in the USA is by definition promoted worldwide. However, the item itself usually won’t be available in other countries for months depending on licensing, release deals, or even just language translation. That leads to simple supply and demand. The networks/studios drive a demand that they can’t supply so people go looking to other suppliers (legal or illegal) who can fulfil their demand. Admittedly this also goes in the opposite direction – I’ve noticed certain high profile US bloggers who have been blogging about new episodes of Doctor Who when I know full well that those episodes haven’t been transmitted over there yet.

I just wish that there was a single legal international service that we could all get new TV shows from at the same time. I’d be more than happy for non-Brits to have access to an advertising supported version of the BBC Iplayer in exchange for me being able to watch CSI, Smallville, and Mythbusters on the day US viewers get to see them. Although it’s not always about the timing of shows. CSI gets shown in the UK by Channel Five, but the mandated pattern of commercial breaks in UK television is different to that in US television. So that nice three act structure gets ignored and with different ad breaks added between, or even during, random scenes. The overall amount of advertising is the same, but the pattern is different.