Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard rumblings that Netflix streaming would be coming to both the PS3 and Wii, but apparently, all that is now out the window, because Microsoft has been able to score an exclusive console partnership with Netflix. Read on:
This exclusive partnership offers you the ability to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the television via Xbox 360. Xbox 360 will be the only game console to offer this movie-watching experience, available to Xbox LIVE Gold members who are also Netflix unlimited plan subscribers**, at no additional cost.
From the Netflix Web site, simply add movies and TV episodes to your instant Queue, which will appear automatically on the TV screen via Xbox 360. Once selected, movies will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds. In addition to instantly streaming Netflix movies to the TV, Xbox LIVE Gold members can browse and rate movies, fast-forward, pause and rewind, all using either their Xbox 360 Controller or Universal remote.
Now, of course, we assume this just means that the Xbox 360 gets an exclusive on full console integration. But hey, you can just go download PlayOn if you really want to access Netflix from your Playstation 3 or Wii. Problem solved.
Read More | Xbox
This is just too funny. The novelty book mirrors Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life forty-day outline for understanding Batman’s purpose in life. Rather than trying to say something clever about it, I decided to post chapter excerpts from the book. So, here they are:
Day 1: It All Starts With Batman
It’s not about you, it’s about Batman.
Or rather it’s about thinking you’re Batman. When you believe in a symbol, you become greater than what you actually are. As Batman said, “As a man I’m flesh and blood I can be ignored I can be destroyed but as a symbol, as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.” Or to quote Descartes, “I think I’m batman, there I am Batman”.
For long years, Bruce Wayne traversed the globe looking for his purpose, coming up empty handed. It wasn’t until he believed in something bigger than himself, that his life changed from being driven, to purpose driven…
Day 11: Becoming Batman
You’re journey to becoming Batman, begins by arming yourself with knowledge you will need, at a later time, to escape from inescapable situations. As Batman says, “Fore-warned is fore-armed” and “An opportunity well taken is always a weapon of advantage.”
Remember that with all the technology available to you, it will not always be able to save you. As the caped crusader once told his sidekick, “I’m afraid we’re not going to get much help from the Batcomputer, Robin. It can’t go back to prehistoric times.” More often than not, Batman relies on his superior education and training to see him through various villainous snafus.
In following Batman’s example, learn about the dangers of common every day items; as Batman said, “Bartender, a bit of advice. Always inspect a jukebox carefully. These machines can be deadly.” Batman maintains this frame of mind, because “He who knows how to fear, Robin, knows how to proceed with safety.’ A translation from the Latin.”...
Day 19: Cultivating Useless Knowledge That Will Later Be Useful
As Batman, you must not only be well versed in common knowledge, but also in un-common knowledge. This includes learning ancient culture’s uncommon dates and times, such as, “Oda wabba simba”, which is, “Six o’clock in our nomenclature. In the 14th dynasty, the hour of the hyena. The time when ancient Egyptian super-criminals invariably struck!”
Memorization of an umbrella gun’s mechanical functions and operations can also be handy, when needed to thwart villains. This deeper understanding of unusual weaponry physics, could save your life, as it has saved Batman’s many a time. In one instance, he explained his foreknowledge to Robin, saying, “I observed the recoil of that umbrella gun. Obviously, its angular momentum was inadequate for the mass of a real bullet.” ...
Day 28: Understanding Batman
Batman lives his life by a moral code of uprightness and persistent pursuit of truth and justice in all of his acts. He put it best, when he says, “In the end, veracity and rectitude always triumph.” He places emphasis on being early, rather than late, saying, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Always remembering there was “No time to tarry, lest we forget, lives are at stake.”
In this way, Batman lives his life consistently ahead of the curve, prepared for whatever life may throw at him. In understanding how Batman prepares for life, we understand how he lives life. Let us not forget, “He who hath life hath time. A proverb worth remembering.”...
My friend Tyler Pruitt from over at Format War Central got his hands on one of the new VIZIO VBR100 Blu-ray players from Wal-mart - you know, the Profile 2.0 player that sells for just $178? Check out an unboxing of the device above, along with some thoughts on the pros and cons of this player.
“How do I get my great comic book idea published?” I’m glad you asked because Dark Horse is giving away the answer. No need to pickup a thick copy of “Writer’s Market 2009” to find out what DH is looking for from their creative talent. Senior editor, Randy Stradley, offers specific advice on breaking into the comic book industry. A goldmine of information to aid up-and-coming artists, Stradley offers details on new talent turn-around times and necessities for artist portfolios. A great resource for unpublished and up-and-coming comic books artists.
For More on Randy Stradley:
- A candid interview on his history with Dark Horse and what his plans for the future are at Digital City
- More tips on getting published in a Horsepower post.
- His process as senior editor and work with Dark Horse in CBR’s interview with Randy from February 2009,
Closed-Captioning for the Hearing Impaired per VideoJug:
How can an artist submit his work to you?
We have an open-submission policy. The people can send us stuff through the mail anytime. It tends to pile up for a while. We get a chance to look through it and we’ll whittle the pile down to nothing. It then builds up again. Here at the shows, people sign up ahead of time and it’s generally first-come, first-serve. For years we’ve tried to figure out a way to triage the line so that we tell the people who are ready, yes, get in line. For the people who aren’t, you’re not ready yet. You don’t need to show your work to an editor. It seems like, in recent years, that showing your work to the editor has become the “in” thing that you do. It’s just what you do. They don’t even know why they’re showing their work to an editor because I’m not an artist. I can’t really tell them how to draw better, or what techniques they should use. My job is to find people who can be given an assignment and be expected to pull it off.
What is the ideal artist portfolio?
The ideal artist portfolio is probably five to ten pages of consecutive story telling. Something that starts with a quiet scene and moves to an action scene. It includes everyday people in street clothes, buildings, cars, furniture, the stuff that the readers see every day. I always tell the artists being able to draw all the mundane stuff well is the most important part of seducing your readers into believing what they are looking at. So then when the monsters show up and the superheroes show up they are ready to except things. You have lured them in with this sort of real world that they can believe in, so they suspend their disbelief and the fantastic stuff goes down easy.
Do you prefer reviewing original or photocopies?
I am happy to look at copies, as long as they are good copies. I don’t need to see the full size originals. Yeah, it’s not a big deal.
What is the best advice for an artist submission?
Try before you show your portfolio, try to get a realistic assessment of your skill level and you do that by showing your work to somebody other than your family and friends who are all going to say, “Oh yeah, that’s great.” They’re not really going to be honest with you. So if you can find another comic artist to show your work to or strangers sometime or a teacher or something like that. Find out if you’re ready to be showing your work to try and get a professional job. Then when you do show your work, treat it like it’s a job interview. Be serious about it, come prepared. Don’t come with a bunch of excuses like well I didn’t have time to finish these pages, well yeah because COMICON only happens once a year so it totally took you by surprise didn’t it? Those things don’t fly. I want to see you show up as if you were doing a job interview.
Is having contact information on my work important?
It should be on everything that they leave with me. I’ve had it happen in the past where somebody’s given me great samples and I get back to the office and I realise they don’t have their name, phone number, email address or anything on the pages. Therefore, I have no way to know who that person is and no way to contact them. I’ve had great samples in the past for somebody who didn’t get a job because I didn’t know who they were.
Do you try to match the artist’s work you see to the stories you already have?
No, but I’m greedy. I think about the books I’m editing and what I have coming up and I think, “Oh, this guy would be good for that,” and “Oh yeah, I need an artist for this story”. Theoretically, I’m here being the eyes for all of the artists or all of the editors at Dark Horse, but I always think of myself first.
Do you look for a specific style of work?
You know for main stream comics, personally I edit a lot of Star Wars books. So I am looking for something like an artist who can handle likenesses, who can handle all the details of the hardware and everything but it can also be stylized and we have room for that. But generally if somebody is not drawing sort of, at least quasi realistically, probably their best bet is to either write their own story or attach themselves with a writer. And come up with a story that suits their style. And I am not saying find a Star Wars story that suits their style, but find you know, the kind of story they want to tell. That is how Dark Horse got started was with artists and writers who had stories of their own that they wanted to tell. We did not have any established characters when we started. So we could not say, oh write me this kind of story or draw this. We went with what they had created. The thing that separated Dark Horse at the beginning was that we allowed them to regain control of their own creations. Whereas if they had brought those creations to other companies, they would have had to sign away the rights to them.
Should I submit fully inked or colored artwork?
I would rather see just the pencils, or if they are going to show me ink work, have photocopies of the pencils, because not every artist is their own best inker. In fact, most of them aren’t, and with the way scanning technology has improved in recent years, we actually scan a lot of books directly from the pencils, and are able to reproduce them. In the old days when we had to photograph things, you just couldn’t do that. If it wasn’t dark enough, you needed to have the books inked. But nowadays, I only have one inker and I have got all the other books that are inter-shot directly from the pencils.
What happens if you like my artwork?
That’s when the challenge starts because if I say “you’re hired”, you have a month or forty days to turn around a 22 page story. Some are going to drop dead in terror, because they’re excited about it, at the time they think that’s what they wanted to do, but when it comes right down to it, drawing comics is a lot of work. And, I’ve had a number of occasions where somebody new has drawn one issue and that’s it. They decided “I can’t draw comics any more - it’s to much work.” And you really have to want to do it, especially we’ve had a lot of people who do movie story boards and they work in the entertainment industry and they’re in love with the idea of doing comics. So they do one issue and they are like, “No. I get paid a lot more to do story boards, I’ll stick with that.”
Does being a comic book artist pay well?
Paid rates are all over the board now. There are some people who make pretty good money. I had one agent telling me that, “Hey we’ve got artists who they’ll pencil, ink, letter and color an entire issue for $2500”. So you break that down, that’s a little over a hundred dollars a page for a lot of work. We try to pay better than that. But things aren’t as good as they were in the early nineties during the boom time, when there were artists literally making fortunes, because so many books were being sold and they were making so much money. But comics don’t sell that well anymore.
We’ve been beta testing the Shoot It! app for the past couple of months, and we are excited to let you guys know that it is now available for purchase in the App Store for $0.99. Why the excitement? Well, Shoot It! is one of the apps we use very regularly, and it’s one of our favorite apps that we’ve ever used on the iPhone. So, What is Shoot It?
Shoot It! allows you to send high quality postcards to anyone in your iPhone or iPod touch Address Book, using images in your Camera Roll, or an image that you take from within the app using the iPhone camera. You can send a postcard to as many people as you like, and you also fill in a message that would be printed on the back of the photo. The end result is, as we said, a high quality 4x6 glossy postcard that has the image of your choice on the front, and your message on the back. Since you can send the message to any number of contacts, you end up with the ability to send one message to, say, twenty people, in just a minute or two.
Read More | Shoot It!
Lots of great stuff all over the internets this past week. Chris Ryall at IDW gives a chat, Jim Shooter plays 20 questions with the fans, young women try to dress as sexy super-heroines, and Trevor Von Eeden is just a really great artist whose work is fun to look at. Let’s roll it out:
CHRIS RYALL’S BAT BOY: Over at Bookgasm, one of my regular stops, Joshua Jabcuga sits down with Chris Ryall at IDW to chat about Donald Westlake, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight and the upcoming Weekly World News Universe of Bat Boy and Ed Anger. Even better, Chris has love for the Twilight fans who ravaged Comic Con International that other industry types should embrace: “I love anything that brings in a wider audience, and ideally, at a show like this, that audience who might only be drawn there by Twilight will then see something else that catches their eye and gets them into comics. I don’t know if that happened this year to any big degree, but the exposure can’t hurt. I certainly see it as a good thing.” More at the link; it’s worth reading the whole thing.
OF COSTUMES AND COSPLAYERS: You know you love it when too many women dress up as Slave Leia from Return of the Jedi. The boys – oh so obviously the boys – at Cinematical have a fun slideshow of some of the costumed women from this year’s Comic Con International. I’d write more, but I know you’ve already clicked the link.
Okay, I’ve had enough of the Xbox Live friend limit that Microsoft has imposed on us for far too long. I think this has gone on long enough, and I’m really not seeing a good reason for it. As many Xbox Live gamers know, the current limit on friends you can have is set to 100. The thing is, in the age of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and all the others, we are now used to connecting with many people in our social graph across many different services.
Now, all that said, there is still one more very annoying piece to this puzzle. Did you know that the Zune Social and Xbox Live share one common friends list? In other words, if you currently have 100 Xbox Live friends, and you go out and buy a Zune, and want to connect with people who also have Zune’s (but don’t necessarily play games,) you are out of luck. You’ll have to remove someone from your Xbox Live friend list to add someone else. This is, in two words, absolutely ridiculous. I get wanting to share the Zune and Xbox ecosystem, but to shoot yourself in the foot like this is just puzzling. I personally have at least 15 people that I would like to add as friends on the Zune Social, but I can’t, because my Xbox Live list is maxed out.
Rating: ** 1/2*
As readers know from my postings here at Comix 411, I just recently began reading Amazing Spider-Man after a long absence. I was turned off by the “Brand New Day” storyline and refused to collect Spider-Man. Well, the latest Amazing Spider-Man annual got me interested in Spidey again after a great story revolving around Ben Reilly. I also really enjoyed issue #600 of Amazing and was looking forward to this issue after we saw the return of Mary Jane at the end of #600. Since Amazing Spider-Man began being published three times a month, we’ve had a revolving team of writers and artists. In this issue we see Mark Waid take over the writing chores and, unfortunately, I was disappointed.
Mark Waid has done some great comic book work in the past. He’s the reason I love the characters of Captain America and the Flash (Wally West). His stories and the development of these characters was amazing and textbook for what I consider good comic book writing. Over the past few years, Mark Waid’s work hasn’t really interested me all that much.
The story opens up with Peter Parker in bed with a hangover from Aunt May’s wedding. He notices that he’s not alone and instead of Mary Jane being in bed with him, he discovers that he slept with his roommate Michelle Gonzales. Peter has no memory of their night together, which upsets her and results in her storming out. Thinking that he no longer has a roommate or a place to live Peter spends half the time this issue trying to find a new place to live. The other half is spent trying to remember when and where he was going to meet up with Mary Jane. While at the wedding reception, Peter got up the courage to talk with her and they made a date to talk.
Occasionally, I find things that are so weird, I just have to post them. There are a lot of bloggers who post random panels of comic book weirdness. Mike Sterling does it over at Progressive Ruin; Mark Waid does it at his Boom! blog with Great Moments In Comics; and so does Steven Thompson at Booksteve’s Library. That’s just three from the many hundreds.
Okay, heads up, we’ve got a nice exclusive deal for you if you are looking to pick up a notebook. You can get $300 off of any HP Pavilion dv6z that you configure to cost $999.00 or higher. Even better, this deal gets you a bunch of free upgrades as well. here is the full scoop:
- Valid for 2 Days Only - 8/6 to 8/7/09
- GET $300 OFF when you configure to $999.99 or higher on HP Pavilion dv6z
- Power, Mobility & Design for On-the-Go Students
- Free 3GB Memory upgrade
- Free 320GB Hard drive upgrade
- Free color customization
- Free Shipping
You have to act quickly, though, because the offer is only good today and tomorrow, August 7th. Head on over to the special HP dv6z page where you can configure the system, and during checkout, be sure to use the following coupon code: NBY8746. That will give you the $300 off, and you’ll be all set.
Read More | HP dv6z Deal Site