Weekly Ketchup 35 - Comics and 4DX!

I had a completely different idea about how this past week was gonna unfold and what this blog was gonna be about. When I said last week that I was gonna have something more coherent for this week, it was because I expected that, by this time, I've already seen 9 Works Theatrical's staging of "The Last Five Years" and gotten sized up for a costume I was gonna wear as a member of Enchantment Ph's Disney cosplay group in time for CosplayMania.

Well, life happened. Tickets to this weekend's show were sold out and it's the last one. And, as it turned out, Enchantment Ph wasn't gonna be at CosplayMania. So why bother?

While neither is a complete loss (I mean, I can live without either), I was really looking forward to them. For pretty much the entire year, I've been shaving off some of my regular activities and declining events for the purposes of saving money, so it was kind of a big deal for me that I got excited about the show and cosplaying enough that I considered dipping into my savings. It's musical theater and Disney after all!

Thankfully, I have other interests and this week I had some time to delve into my comics-adled self.

For starters, I spent a great deal of the week going through Comixology, the Google Play Store, and Kobo looking for new worlds to discover and explore. I've been actually doing it for months and so far the only viable DRM-free digital platform (similar to Kobo, CD Baby, and GOG.com) is ImageComics.com, which obviously narrows down my choices to those offered by that publisher. Comixology's recently unveiled DRM-Free backups, however, has opened my choices up to other publishers like Zenescope and Top Cow. Both companies offer free but DRM-locked #0 or #1 issues of their respective titles on Google Play (for Zenescope) and Kobo (for Top Cow) but, as much as they dabble in the fantasy genre, what little I've glimpsed of their universes in the past few months have so far failed to excite me.

I tried to broaden my horizon this past week by sampling some of Arcana Studios and Aspen's free offerings on Comixology. Both companies also dabble in the realm of fantasy but I just can't get past the DRM restrictions despite liking what I've seen. Some of Aspen's titles are also available DRM-Free from DriveThruComics. If the site can just sign more publishers up and offer more file formats, I feel like the company will be my go-to site for digital comics but at the moment I'm only test-driving their services by availing some free issues.

Pretty impressive list of publishers already
That being said, allow me to deviate from the topic of digital distribution to the actual content that these publishers offer, especially as it relates to the recent controversy surrounding Milo Manara's variant cover to Spider-Woman no. 1. I feel like some of the anger towards Manara is unfounded considering that drawing women in provocative poses is what he's known to do. I think the problem really is that Marvel commissioned him to do this variant cover in the first place, which makes me wonder why this particular cover is gaining so much heat when this is just the latest in a long line of Manara-commissioned Marvel variants. My take is that, as much as it pains me to admit this in 2014, there is still a segment of the market that gets off on sexified women in comics and, I guess, this is a variant cover to attract that market. Nobody has to buy it - the regular cover is just fine and I'm sure the rest of the actual story in the issue puts Jessica Drew (one of my all-time favorite Avengers, by the way) in very good light.

Which brings me back to the publishers I mentioned above. With the exception of Image Comics (whose 90s incarnation had so much to atone for), it's hard for me to take their titles seriously because just look at these. I'm probably being unfair as I'm sure their comics is brilliantly written if I really give them a chance but the prevalent imagery in their books sure looks like they're intended for a particular market.

There is, however, a shining beacon in the form of Dynamite, which is one of the publishers that are part of Comixology's DRM-Free back-up program. They also recently launched their own DRM-Free digital comics store, though their selection is not that extensive yet. With luck, they become as viable as Image Comics come Cyber Monday later this year and offer up their entire back catalog at a discount because I've perused their titles and I'm already interested in quite a few. when Comixology's DRM-free back up program was launched a few weeks ago, I sampled Project Super Powers with a couple of free zero issues and I'm in! I want to read the entire thing! I've also been thinking about Masks and King's Watch for a while now (they're like the Justice League and the Avengers but with pulp characters), so I'm looking forward to those. I just tried Kirby Genesis today via the free zero issue and I'm also game but, for some reason, the DRM-Free back-up isn't available. The series is currently on sale on Comixology but until I'm certain of the DRM-free back up, it's a no-go for me.
The best thing about these titles is that they're finite miniseries, so the stories draw to a close instead of goes on (much like Watchmen) so there's no need for me to follow them for years on end. Which brings me to another title I'm attraced to: George Perez's upcoming 6-issue miniseries Sirens. Remember last week when I said I've been daydreaming about Avengers stories? Well, one of those was an all-female Avengers squad and this lineup looks a lot like the one I have in my head. I see the Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Jocasta, She-Hulk. Obviously, that's not them but I wouldn't be surprised if these characters are Perez's analogues to Earth's Mightiest Heroines. Boom! Studios, this comics' publisher, currently doesn't offer any DRM-free digital comics, nor is it part of Comixology's backup program so I might just pick up the physical copy or wait for the trade paperback.

See how different the women in this cover is.
Lastly, there is another comic I'm currently interested in, mainly because of last night's new experience. Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero is on Comixology but is neither DRM-Free nor on sale. Unfortunately, it's also not available on Google Play or Kobo. I might have to scour the world for a physical copy, hopefully on sale. And, yes, I'm only interested in it because I just saw Pacific Rim last night with a bunch of friends. I didn't see it when it came out last year because the premise just didn't tickle my fancy. It was just another CGI-laden summer blockbuster as far as I was concerned. But, having finally seen it, in 4DX no less - I find that the movie actually did something not even the Marvel movies could do: elicit a physical reaction from me in the theater that doesn't involve laughing (or crying for that matter). I was literally at the edge of my seat grabbing hold of my armrest and clenching my jaw as the jaegers and kaijus duked it out. It was definitely an intense experience.

As much as I enjoyed 4DX, though, I don't think any amount of special atmospheric effect is going to save a bad movie (*cough*Bayformers*cough*). I'd like to see another 4DX movie again as long as I know the movie's good to begin with, though I can't imagine what other movie would be perfect for this format? Gravity, perhaps?

Oh, and just to connect the movie to something I said a few paragraphs ago, gratuitousness goes both ways in 2014 and I think the filmmakers knew what they were doing when they hired Charlie Hunnam for the movie.

It looks like I ended the week on a pretty high note, despite the disappointments, so I'd like to think it's still a good week!

1 comment:

  1. Just pirate the Pacific Rim comic. It's really not that great, in my opinion.