When the New York Times announced its plans for an online subscription model, or "paywall," critics picked it apart almost instantly. It was readily apparent that there were many ways around it. For example, the publication offers free access to stories posted on social-media sites. Very quickly someone set up @FreeNYT, a Twitter feed that aggregates every Times Twitter posting, effectively giving away all the articles for free. The Times has asked Twitter to suspend the account.
The person behind @FreeNYT, who prefers to remain anonymous, agreed to talk to PCMag.
Do you think the Times will be able to shut you down?
@FreeNYT: I don't believe the Times will be able to shut me down, as it's a rather laughable claim that by simply aggregating their own Twitter feeds into a list I've engaged in trademark violation. I assume the folks at Twitter told them as much—if they were even contacted by the Times.
What do you think will happen if Twitter suspends your account?
@FreeNYT: As I showed with the creation of @tyneerf/fearthefuzzy, even if they shut @freenyt down, others will just pop up in my place. The only way to stop this is for the Times to either change its policy about referrals from social-media sites being free or stop tweeting out all its own content. I'm guessing they'll do neither, at least for now.
[The aforementioned list is a compilation of all the different Times twitter feeds, like @NYTimesDining, @NYTimesFashion, and others where the publication posts its articles. The name of the handle is @FreeNYT spelled backwards].
It’s the weekend and I have just one word for you: Winning!
Now let’s see what you’ve won:
Tie-In: I missed this: Apparently Scott Rosenberg’s Cowboys & Aliens has been reissued by It Books, a division of HarperCollins.
Plainclothes: If you’re a fan of Dick Tracy or Joe Staton, you might already know that there’s going to be a change in your newspaper on March 14. Mike Curtis and Staton will be the new team on Dick Tracy, and here’s a little profile of them, courtesy of their syndicate.
Atlas: If you remember the old Atlas/Seaboard comics of the 1970s or just love a good comic book retrospective, mark your digital calendar for March 11. Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is hosting “Atlas At Last,” which also ties in with the relaunch of the company’s characters from Ardden. Check it out!
Wulf: And speaking of the Atlas relaunch, here’s a review of one of the titles I’ve been waiting for: Wulf The Barbarian, written by Steve Niles.
You can’t beat the power of the hammer. There’s a new Thor trailer floating around that feels much more impressive than the earlier Fortress of Solitude one. I’m liking it more and more, even if the big battle in the desert town looks very movie set-ish.
Now let's read some stuff...
Chaykin: Here’s an interview with one of my favorite creators, Howard Chaykin, talking about his upcoming work at Dark Horse.
Chew: Marc-Oliver Frisch at Comics Beat tackles John Layman to the ground and asks him lots of questions about food, comics and work-for-hire.
Smart: I wanted to conduct an interview with Darryl Cunningham, but he’s so smart that it would only serve to point out how not-smart I am. Fortunately, Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter is a smarty and he landed an excellent interview with the creator of Psychiatric Tales.
Batman: The Pullbox talks to my old friend, the comics historian Peter Sanderson. Subject: The Batman TV series from 1966.
I'm sure that we're all happy that the new Spider-Man musical finally has an ending, so with that in mind, let's see what else we can celebrate:
Cape: Are you watching The Cape along with me? If so, you might enjoy Jonah Weiland’s interview with series creator Tom Wheeler as much as I did.
Vaughn: My pal J.C. Vaughn (who co-writes Mighty Samson with Jim Shooter, as well as wrote & created Vampire, PA that was published by Moonstone and is also Executive Editor & Associate Publisher of Gemstone Publishing) got himself interviewed over at Comic Book Interview.
Sit: Can you imagine what would happen if someone at DC or Marvel kept insisting that putting a chair on the cover would grab someone’s attention at the LCS? Some people in book publishing must really love chairs.
Lomax: A nice interview with creator Don Lomax of Vietnam Journal.
The Cape, the new NBC series about a wrongly-accused cop who dresses up as a Batman-like hero to fight corruption in the mythical Palm City, has debuted.
Trained by circus people – that's right; he has all the powers of the Big Top – cop Vince Faraday (played by David Lyons) uses his cape like Cirque de Soleil uses ropes.
He's got a regular villain too, because the evil businessman who framed him also moonlights as the series' bad guy. Plus, Firefly's Summer Glau is also on hand.
NBC needs a big hit, or even a little hit, following their fall to fourth place in a 4-network race. So how did the debut actually do in the ratings?
Let’s roll...and punch 2011 in the face!
Writers Without Borders: J. A. Konrath, an excellent writer and a smart guy especially on publishing subjects, has some thoughts about the current spiral of Borders bookstores.
Comix: The Forbidden Planet blog introduces me to a new “underground” style newspaper available in London. “The tabloid size is absolutely lovely for reading comics. It’s something our ancestors knew so well, but we’ve forgotten it over the years.” I really want The Comix Reader to succeed, so if you’re living over there, go get one.
Sci-Fi: My old friend Scott Bieser has a new webcomic that he's started called Quantum Vibe. I'm bookmarking it and you should too.
Archie: Blogger Steven Thompson at Booksteve’s Library reviews Archie: The Best of Stan Goldberg: “Unlike the usual Archie house style, his Betty and Veronica look different from each other, with Betty in particular showing a unique cuteness when drawn by Stan.”
The War on Christmas is nearly done for another year, and there’s just enough time left for the War on New Year’s. Let's see what you should be reading this week:
Joe: This is simply a great, honest and open interview with Joe Casey, comic book writer/creator and co-creator of Ben 10. Perfect holiday reading from interviewer Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter.
Thor: So there’s some controversy from an all-white group that’s upset that Marvel has cast an actor of color to play a Norse God in Thor. Ricky Sprague at Project Child Murdering Robot has a thought or two.
Polly: Animator Michael Sporn is happy that Dean Mullaney’s new book has arrived (as am I). Polly and Her Pals: the Complete Sunday Comics 1925-1927 comes from Dean’s The Library of American Comics via IDW.
Here's a comic that might be flying under your personal radar that I think merits a look. Mighty Samson is part of Jim Shooter's Gold Key revival at Dark Horse (which also includes Magnus, Turok and Dr. Solar) but it's the only one of the bunch that was never part of Valiant.
This relaunch of the classic character is spearheaded by Shooter and his co-writer J.C. Vaughn, and illustrated by Patrick Olliffe (who does pencils and inks).
Set 500 hundred years after the end of the world in a now-primitive city known as N'Yark, Mighty Samson is filled with "mutated monsters, marauders, and savage subhuman predators." From the ashes of those ruins rises a super-strong champion, Samson, who will defend and protect his piece of the apocalypse from all comers, including the barbarian hordes from across the bridge in Jerz.
It's N'Yark vs. Jerz – a battle as old as time itself! I'm biased because I've met Shooter a couple of times, I'm friends with J.C. Vaughn and I used to work on projects with Patrick Olliffe. That's one heckuva bias, but I also know they can bring the goods, so I'm in.
Here's an interview with Dark Horse editor Chris Warner talking about the series.
And here's a preview of the interiors of the first issue that's on sale now.
Now go and get yours and let me know what you think.
[Artwork: Patrick Olliffe's cover Mighty Samson #1]
It’s the week before Christmas for many people, and we begin, unfortunately, on a sad note. Veteran industry colorist Adrienne Roy passed away this week. ComicMix has the details of her long-running career as a colorist for hundreds of DC’s Bronze Age comics. I did not know that she was once voted "Most Beautifully Tattooed Female." She was well-known and highly-regarded, so there are certain to be other remembrances - like this one by Mark Evanier - around the internets.
Cowboys: Robert Orci talks about the upcoming Cowboys & Aliens movie, and Harrison Ford: “I’m assuming Spielberg called in some kind of a favor, because we were shocked to hear that he was interested.”
Crime: Novelist and funnybook writer Gary Phillips chooses his favorite crime and mystery graphic novels of 2010 for The Rap Sheet. Yes, Darwyn Cooke’s Parker: The Outfit is in there, but so’s a bunch of other cool stuff I need to check out now.
One of my favorite comics back in the 1980s was an independently produced gem called Eagle from writer Jack Herman and artist Neil Vokes. Neil’s carved out quite a career for himself since then working for all of the big publishers and becoming a fan favorite.
Coming up in February, Neil teams up with writer Roger Stern (Amazing Spider-Man) for a Dr. Strange one-shot called Doctor Strange: From The Marvel Vault #1.
Going back into the continuity archives, this issue tells the story of Dr. Strange’s first night in the house that would become his Sanctum Sanctorum for many years (the weird old brownstone at 177-A Bleecker Street in Manhattan).
Marvel’s solicitation copy says “But what eerie secrets does the building hide? What lurks within its walls? Is it...haunted? Now, at last, the full story of Doctor Strange's first night in his Sanctum Sanctorum stands revealed.”
Hopefully, Dormammu will make an appearance behind one of the doors!
Vokes has a nice, spooky style that’s perfect for Dr. Strange and since the story is set back in the Manhattan of the 1960s (the Ditko version of Manhattan), I wanted to find out more.
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