The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Archive for February, 2011

(Chapter XXIII) AKA the last one

Posted by Matt on February 23, 2011

Previously

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(Chapter XXII)

Posted by Matt on February 23, 2011

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(Chapter XXI)

Posted by Matt on February 23, 2011

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(Chapter XX)

Posted by Matt on February 22, 2011

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(Chapter XIX)

Posted by Matt on February 21, 2011

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(Chapter XVIII)

Posted by Matt on February 19, 2011

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(Chapter XVII)

Posted by Matt on February 18, 2011

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(Chapter XVI)

Posted by Matt on February 17, 2011

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Posted by Matt on February 12, 2011

I like digital comics discussion, don’t you?

Item! Diamond is going about digital comics the wrong way! What a shocker, the monopolists controlling the comic shop system may not know how to, or want to, succeed in the case of digital distribution! Woo.

The thing is, I can see the ghost of a decent idea here. Could comic shops also be able to sell digital comics, in a way, as well? Why not? I wouldn’t be against record stores selling MP3s in some way, either. It could just be a further expansion of their market (although, really, the only reliable future I see for the comic shops that will survive the great digital massacre to come will be the ones who primarily sell graphic novels and collections, the things that people will likely still have a taste for in the future). But in reality, the idea of paying 2 bucks for an unlock code at the shop IS pretty stupid (why go out of your way to do that? What would the advantage of doing that over just buying it over the actual app/service?). And getting the same thing when you buy a print copy for an extra 99 cents is maybe even more stupid; considering the disposable nature of the pamphlet format, why would you want both? So you can throw out the paper version and still have the story on hand? Why buy the print version at all, then? Plus, if you’re going to try to sell people on that, you might as well do it for free, as an incentive to get the print comic.

And, of course, there is the topic of Marvel and DC’s current wading in the digital market rather than diving into it. Those two are stuck on the same chain of fuckery as Diamond; Diamond controls the distribution of their mainstream comics, and so all three of them are stuck serving the comic shops, so the comic shops can in turn serve them. The thing is, if the publishers weren’t so servile to the distributors/shops, they would be the ones to benefit from a major digital move. Periodical comics are a marginal industry, and at this point are way too costly to be the impulse purchases they probably should be (4 bucks for the bigger-name Marvel comics? Fuck off). They can sell their throwaway books for a decent price in a convenient place (I.E. not just in scattered niche locations), and they could probably make some real money off of it. Alas, we are not there yet.

We’re stuck in this weird little interzone where Marvel and DC are afraid of jumping into the modern world, even though they have nothing to lose (I don’t think either company’s profitability would budge either way if they simply stopped publishing their comics completely). Are they scared of pissing off the shops? The fans? Diamond? Like they’ve had much of a problem with fucking people (I.E. creators) over before. So why placate this dying minority?

The answer is, as many already know, that they don’t care about their comics. Certainly not enough to put any effort into convincing people to buy them (the odd space filler article in major newspapers about some pointless ‘big event’ notwithstanding). So why would do anything other than the most basic approach to this new distribution model?

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Posted by Matt on February 11, 2011

And now: Godzilla.

We all know there’s going to be another stab at an American-made Godzilla movie, right? Well, now you do. This one has the distinct advantage of not having Roland Emmerich involved. I’m not saying this guarantees it won’t be terrible, but at least it could be a different kind of terrible. The hiring of Garth Edwards, the man behind some weird little horror movie that came out last year called Monsters, as director also guarantees it at least has a decent chance to be interesting in some way.

Chances are this will be another attempt to recapture the feeling of the very first movie. It’ll hard to really get at that atmosphere, considering the historical reasons the 1954 Godzilla was made in the first place (read: not-so subtle metaphors!). But there’s still something there for the creative types to grapple with, some decent science fiction ideas that could still be mined. And if they can do something interesting with it, I say go for it, as much as I like the monster vs. monster movies.

One thing I’ve considered for this theoretical movie is the way in which Godzilla will be rendered. Of course, rubber suits are out, unfortunately. As fake as they were, those movies in some key ways still feel more ‘real’ than a lot of CGI, which feels rather floaty and cartoony (it’s one reason why the original King Kong still looks better than all the subsequent remakes. Stop motion may not look ‘realistic’, but it feels ‘real’ in a way, because it’s actually there, with physical objects being manipulated and interacting with eachother). In a perfect world, we’d get at least one chance to see what top-of-the-line animatronics could bring to Godzilla, but it is not to be.

This is a situation where I think motion capture would help. The problem with a lot of purely CGI creations in otherwise live action movies is that we have a really hard time really suspending our disbelief, because often they look like video games projected onto a green screen (which is what it is most of the time) and the actors being told to react to something that isn’t there. But CGI can and is used to great effect in enhancing what’s already been filmed. If there’s some form of ‘reality’ that the CGI is being layered onto, the effect is usually much better. In order to get that lumbering movement characteristic of Godzilla to be represented on-screen, mocap would be the best option.

I don’t know why I’ve been putting so much thought into this.

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