Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Marvel Does Right

I spend a lot of time talking about what's gone wrong in the industry because, well, that's what I do in my day job. Analysis, whether it's system analysis or business analysis, most often looks at what's wrong in a system in order to address its problems. However, it's also worth looking at what's right in a system, both to prevent trampling that good while fixing the bad and, to be quite honest, to blatantly copy what works in other systems. So for the next few articles, I'm going to focus on the positive, and talk about what some of the major and minor players in the industry do right. Some of this will be about the artistic side and some of it will be about business, and we all know that those are often at cross purposes with each other. However, just like it's important to recognize the context of bad systems, it's important to look at the context of why good decisions are made. Today, we'll start with Marvel Comics.

Monday, October 07, 2013

The Anti-Discrimination Message Of The X-Men Comics Doesn't Work In The X-Men Movies

Pretty much everyone knows that the main theme of the X-Men comics is that prejudice is wrong. Mutants in the comics have been a stand-in for everything from the civil rights movement of the 60s on up to the struggle for gay rights today. It's a metaphor that works very well, as it allows the issue to be discussed in a way that the largely male, white, straight readership of comics can understand: preaching to smart, largely unathletic kids that can empathize with "these people are hounded because of their unappreciated special talents" is pretty low hanging fruit, after all. The stories have run the gamut from the heartbreaking to the ham-handed, but at their core, they've always been about accepting those who are different.

It's a shame the movies dropped the ball so badly.

Friday, October 04, 2013

I'll See You at NY Comic Con!

Super excited about this one, folks. I'm headed to NYCC for the first time, and I'm hoping to be able to blog about it while I'm there, time permitting. I'll be wandering the floor all weekend, and I'd love to meet any of the folks reading the Hoedown that might be attending as well. If you'll be there, give me a shout in the comments.
I'm sure we'll bump into each other.
P.S.: I haven't forgotten about that villain post I promised, but it's morphing into something else; hopefully it'll make it up next week.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Someone Explain DC's Business Model To Me

Before we begin, I'm not talking about their writing or their art or their editorial choices. While I may not agree with all of those when talking about individual books or even across their entire line, I at least see why they think their choices make sense. I may not like what happened with the Batwoman team, but I understand why DC did what they did there, for example. What I don't get is how they run the publishing end of their business. I'm not saying there isn't a method to their madness, but I'd really appreciate it if someone could tell me what it is.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Go Fund City of Titans

I was a huge fan of City of Heroes. There were problems with it, as there are with all games, but it was pretty much my comfort food MMO. It was the game I'd always go back to when I wanted to take a break from more "serious" fare, kick back, and set a purse snatcher on fire. I was even one of the moderators on the COH Livejournal community, back when Livejournal was still a thing people regularly went to. Then NCSoft cancelled City of Heroes after an eight year run, despite the fact that it was still turning a profit.

Hey, it happens, right? MMOs get shut down, companies want more profit, servers get turned off. It's unfortunate, but what are you going to do. Well, some members of the larger City of Heroes community decided to make their own game. They started their Kickstarter drive this morning, and they're already at $67,000 of their $320,000 goal. Go on over, take a look, and throw some cash at them if this kind of thing interests you.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Avengers: Endless Wartime Review

When I heard Marvel was restarting its Original Graphic Novel line, I was actually really excited. The original Marvel Graphic Novel line had some of the best stories of the Bronze Age, including: The Death of Captain Marvel; X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills; and The New Mutants. For the first book in the new OGN line, they announced they'd have Warren Ellis on the writing duties, which is a pretty good choice, given that his Extremis storyline had just provided the framework for the third Iron Man movie. And, hey, the first book is an Avengers book; I'm kind of Avengers SuperFan #1, so if anyone should be on board, it's me.

In reality, eh. Not so much. The word that keeps coming to mind is "awkward." Some spoilers below the cut.