Numerous replaces reported it and then the founding editor confirmed it. The British comics magazine, Comics International, has ceased to be. I’ve read a lot of comic book magazines over the years, from The Comics Buyer’s Guide and The Comics Journal to Wizard and Hero Illustrated. My favorite of all of them was Comics International, which was founded by Dez Skinn and under his guidance ran for 200 issues.
Dez was no stranger to comics before CI – he worked on the magazines Doctor Who Weekly and House of Hammer and founded his own company, Quality Communications. From there he launched the acclaimed Warrior magazine which featured the revival of Marvelman/Miracleman as well as the original V For Vendetta. He started CI back in 1990.
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Happy holiday weekend for those of us in the US who love a long weekend, some grilled meat and a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. And since there’s no football game, you can spend that extra time surfing the internet. Here are some links to fill the game-less void:
Vertical: Given the significant changes at manga publishers Viz (massive layoffs) and CMX (DC shuttered the division), it’s interesting to read about someone with a little different take on events. Rod Lott at Bookgasm has a chat with Ed Chavez at Vertical (publishers of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack, among other things). “While I will always say there is plenty of grade-A material to license from Japan available, access to those properties has become quite limited over the last three to four years. I find it curious that this lack of competition has occurred during the recent decline of the U.S. manga market.”
Steve Perry: The death of the Thundercats and Timespirits writer is just about the saddest way for a comic book creator to go. Johnny Bacardi exchanged correspondence with him recently, but I don’t want to spoil his story, except to say that it’s one you’ll want to read.
When it was announced that Paul Levitz would be leaving his position as President and Publisher of DC Comics and transitioning to writing comic books again, I thought it was a little weird. Kind of like the CEO of General Motors leaving the executive suite because he really wanted to tighten bolts down on the assembly line.
At least DC appears to be making a big deal about Paul’s move by launching his return with the Legion of Super-Heroes #1, so he’s not taking over some book that’s already in decline. I’ve met Paul a bunch of times. We’ve chatted at con parties and had lunch and dinner together several times, especially when he was negotiating to buy Malibu Comics. I’ve even pitched him a couple of times in the past when he would visit the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.
He has a lot of great industry facts and anecdotes in his head - we spent one lunch talking about paper trends and availability five years down the road (he kept track) as well as sales trends for comics during the various economic downturns over the industry’s history (he kept track). Since the guy was almost my boss, and he probably paid for some if not all of those meals, I have a pro-Levitz bias.
The hits just keep on coming as the comics industry starts looking like someone’s old four-color punching bag. On the heels of the cutbacks at Viz Media, now comes word that DC has shuttered their CMX imprint. And now you’re wondering, is this all just manga-specific or is it an early warning system for a greater industry-wide problem that we don’t want to talk about because…hey! Look! The new comics are here!
But that’s a question for people smarter than me to think about. I’m busy looking forward to July 22, where I’ll be at the Marriott bar in San Diego navel-gazing into my second Pale Ale. Now let’s read some fun stuff…
Brian Wood’s DMZ, Matt Bird makes the case that Hollywood should seriously consider adapting it. “We get angry when the occupied become insurgents, but we also can’t help but wonder: ‘What would I do if the war came to my town?’ That big, fat question needs to be vented on screen.”
Sony has recently release the NWZ-W252 W-Series Walkman MP3 player, a fully wearable unit tailored for those that like to listen to their power song while sweating it out at the gym or on a run. The device is water resistant and lightweight, so it should obviously do well in situations where you are moving and have the potential to get wet, or rained on. We were able to get our hands on the Sony W-Series NWZ-W252 Walkman, and we put it through its paces as best we could. How does the device stack up? Read on, and we’ll tell you.
Monster announced the DiddyBeats back at CES 2010, and the in-ear fashion headphones have finally started shipping just recently. We were able to get our hands on the DiddyBeats, which as you can see in this episode, are made to invoke a feeling of high fashion. We got the black pair, which is accented with chrome and black leather, definitely a unique look for a pair of earbuds, but really, what would you expect from the Beats by Dr. Dre line and Diddy himself? Get an up-close look at the DiddyBeats in this episode.
We’ve talked about our love of the Eye-Fi line of flash memory cards in the past, and their latest X2 line has just recently hit stores with a bunch of new features. We were able to spend a bit of time with their entry-level device, the Connect X2, to get a look at what their most basic X2 branded model can do. As it turns out, it’s a great card that can do a heck of a lot. Read on to find out how a memory card with built-in WI-Fi can change the way take and share your digital photos.
First, let’s cover the basics. The Eye-Fi Connect X2 is a 4GB SDHC Class 6 flash memory card with Wi-Fi built-in. If you are unfamiliar with Eye-Fi, the whole magic here is in the Wi-Fi, as it opens up possibilities that you just don’t get with other SD cards. The Connect X2 can automatically upload your images and videos to your computer, either to a folder or directly into your image storage program like iPhoto and Picasa. In addition, it can also upload that content to one of more than 25 sites online—places like Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Picasa, MySpace, and the like.
So did you see Iron Man 2 yet? Did you, huh, did you? Two things amaze me about the Iron Man franchise. One is that Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play Tony Stark. There’s none of the brooding self-importance that comes with other super-hero movies - Iron Man is serious but it’s also fun. The other is that in the right hands - and there are hundreds of right hands on any movie - even a second or third tier super-hero property can be turned into a good movie. If Downey, Jr. was playing Hank Pym in the Ant-Man movie, I’d be there in a minute.
Now while you’re saving your money for the Iron Man 2 DVD, here are a few fun things to occupy your eyes and mouse.
Brian Hibbs: I know why people, myself included, like to talk to artists and writers because it’s all so cool, but I think more interviews could be conducted with retailers since they are the comic book business. Retailer Brian Hibbs is a very smart guy - I may not always agree with him but he carries a good argument with him and he knows his business. Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter gets to the heart of the matter with a lengthy but hugely worthwhile interview.
Moxi DVRs have been around for almost a decade, but chances are good that you’ve likely not heard of them. Moxi was originally developed by a company called Digeo, founded in 1999 and bought the rights to Moxi Digital in 2002. The company put out some cable boxes that cable companies distributed to their customers, and those that lived in those limited areas that were lucky enough to have access to Moxi HD DVRs from their cable providers generally said that they were fantastic. In December of 2008, the Moxi HD DVR was released, and it was the companies first retail product, available to anyone who had the cash to buy one. In September 2009, Digeo was purchased by ARRIS Group, which took over development of the Moxi products, from both a software and hardware perspective, and five months later, they released the product that we are reviewing today, the Moxi 3-Tuner HD DVR.
In an era where TiVo rules the mass market DVR space years after ReplayTV fizzled away, Moxi is looking to claim a piece of that pie with a box that they feel offers an experience that you can’t get anywhere else, TiVo box, cable DVR, or otherwise. So, did they pull it off with the 3-Tuner HD DVR? Let’s find out.
It’s here! Saturday, May 1 is Free Comic Book Day! My favorite day of the year! Okay, not really my favorite day of the year, but any day you can get some free comics has to feel like an extra birthday, right? A lot of publishers are producing some great stuff to pick up, but here are the six that I’m most looking forward to:
Library of American Comics #0 (IDW)
Eisner Award-winning Editor Dean Mullaney is an old friend who does great archival work over at IDW. If he published Milton Caniff’s old shopping lists I wouldn’t be able to hit Amazon’s “add to shopping cart” button fast enough. This special preview comic has 32 pages of excerpts from upcoming collections of Archie by Bob Montana, Secret Agent Corrigan by Al Williamson, Blondie by Chic Young, The Complete Bloom County Library by Berkeley Breathed, Rip Kirby by Alex Raymond, Polly and Her Pals by Cliff Sterrett, Dick Tracy by Chester Gould, and Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray. This looks like a great introduction into some good old stuff.
Toy Story (Boom! Kids)
I’m biased here because I have kids and they love Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear. With Toy Story 3 popping up this summer, BOOM Kids! is ready to hand out some all-new adventures by Jesse Blaze Snider and Nathan Watson. I’m in because I already get the regular comics and their other Pixar stuff, so I’m a little OCD about this.
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