Check out my new Masslive blog: Comic Book Zeitgeist

August 9, 2007 at 2:36 pm (Uncategorized)

Hey, person who randomly checked my blog! I’ve recently been given my very own comic book blog at the website i work for Masslive.com and I encourage you to check it out, and if you want, leave a comment or two. It’ll be updated very often, so check it out:

Comic Book Zeitgeist by Caleb Lyons

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Video Project

May 10, 2007 at 7:35 pm (Uncategorized)

Check out my video project for class, which is in my other blog i’d just started.

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An Open Letter to Warren Ellis

May 10, 2007 at 5:25 pm (Comic Books)

Dear Mr. Ellis,

Look, I’m sorry about what happened between us. In all honesty, i just like checking your blog regularly, and needed to track something for my Convergence Journalism class here at the University of Massachusetts. It was not some vendetta-driven towards you, or any such thing, though i did try to tear apart your work from day one. I think it was the fact that you recycle so many of your ideas that got me all sanctimonious.

First, I just want you to understand that everything seen in this blog was posted for a class of mine: meaning i’m writing for my grade and don’t really worry about material in this blog beyond that. For God’s sake, look 5 entries back and you’ll see me pulling a rookie blogger mistake by cutting and pasting sections from newsblogs directly into the rich text editor here. My point is, don’t go thinking i started some Warren Ellis fan site every time i used the “Ellis Watch” category in a post.

There’s just a whole lot of crazy shit going on in your site, so i wanted to further it’s reach and bit and get my homework done at the same time. For example, you’ve got to admit that the amount of attention you allot Katie West’s crappy contrived photos is staggering. Do you really have a series called The Weekly Katie West? Can you even tell me why she deserves my attention? Are you gonna get her on Suicide Girls or something? Did she maybe give you brains at a ComicCon 5 years ago, then threatening to go public with it if u didn’t do as she said? How else could you explain the presence of pictures like this?

Like i said, contrived, sex-kitten bullshit.

I did appreciate the attention you gave me on your blog all those weeks ago. I was certainly very flattered by it. But it did suck to have a bunch of your flunkies try to tear me a new one since i don’t know shit about the inner workings of comic book selling.

And i swear, if that was really Tony Beddard who tried to scold me after that whole Doktor Sleepless coupon fiasco i’m gonna shoot myself, because that means i got talked down to by the stupid shit head who helped ruin Exiles. Oh, and if you’re reading this: fuck you for killing off Morph behind my back, Tony.

Yeah, and fuck Chris Claremont’s old ass to. Much like pizza, the older he gets the worse anything that comes out of him is. When will someone cut his hands off, anyway? It’d be the only way to stop him from writing anymore bad comic books.

Sorry where was I…oh Warren, maybe you’re still there. I was just saying how much i liked tracking your blog. Keep in mind, dude, without you i’d have never discovered Ideal or Regenesis, which are hands down my favorite shows. Hell, I’ve been buying nearly everything with you name on it since i first read The Authority and Transmet when i was 18 maybe? Shit, i even bought one of your Edison Hate Future T-Shirts (The revenge one i think). I’m wearing it in my videoblog which is attached to my profile, like you’ll check it.

At any rate, i hope things won’t be awkward and that you’ll come to my Christmas party like last year. I’d had no idea you knew that many hookers until they all came down the chimney and infected everyone’s gennies with the clap. Keep writing, old boy. I’ll keep buying.

Love, Caleb

(By the way, this entry itself was just another assignment for the class.)

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On McCain’s Ass Like Depends: Is the Times Video Service Doing Justice to Their Reputation?

May 3, 2007 at 4:22 pm (Uncategorized)

The New York Times is doing a pretty good job tracking John McCain’s vie for presidency , and they’re moving into the realm of video with pretty bad results. On their site, they’ve got a progressive biography of McCain, a political blog by Adam Nagourney called “On the McCain Trail” and, of course, a video section. The most prominent video up now involves McCain’s potentially campaign-crippling joke about the middle east. What joke you ask?

Yeah, not the best move he could have made, and has planted a seed of doubt in the hearts of a few voters already. As we’ve seen in the past, all it takes is one viral video to end your campaign in a second:

Now, The Times has made a few videos in response to McCain’s campaign, but for some reason, the site has some of the worst talent delivering these stories they could possibly muster. It’s strange that a newspaper like the New York Times, which is arguably the best newspaper in America, has such seriously unfitting and boring talent running their video based stories. Maybe it stems from the legendary NY Time writing style, which is on-the-nose and very straightforward, but every video I’ve watched on their site is narrated by either a droll voice and/or an unappealing face. It makes one think about how poorly attempts at convergence journalism are being handled by old hats like The Times, since today, the need for supplemental video in news sites is basically expected, and while some sites are handling it well, it appear The Times is not.

Take a look at the above mentioned piece about McCain’s Beach Boys joke to see what i mean.

I don’t understand how you take something interesting like McCain being a dumbass and turn it into something so boring! It’s a damn shame, because video can be awesome, but clearly the Time has no flippin’ idea what they’re doing…

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PLEASE TAKE MY SURVEY!!!

May 2, 2007 at 10:37 am (Uncategorized)

HELLO FRIEND! DO ME A SOLID AND TAKE THIS SURVEY FOR MY IT CLASS, WILL YOU? IT TAKES LESS THAN 2 MINUTES AND WILL MAKE THE HOLE IN THE O-ZONE CLOSE, ONCE COMPLETED……TO PROVE I’M NOT LYING, HERE’S A PEAK AT HEAVEN’S GATE:

Not really, but I’d greatly appreciate any honest 18-25 year olds who fill it out for me. Thanks!

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Shit On Me…

April 26, 2007 at 7:29 pm (Ellis Watch)

Must be a slow day at WarrenEllis.com…look at this front page:

I suppose i did kind of dig my heel into Ellis’ back regarding his Doktor Sleepless coupon campaign, but i’m a full-time student with a part-time job struggling to fill his blog regularly while supporting my drug habits.

 

Calm down, old man: i’m really not that interested in you.

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Ellis Watch ’07: The New Low for Publishing?

April 22, 2007 at 8:13 pm (Ellis Watch)

So it’s back to the old tracking campaign for Warren Ellis’ website, folks! This time, it’s a tad different, as we’ll focus on how our Internet Jesus (as way too many call him) has been prepping for the release of a few new indie comics this summer, as well as his very first novel.

 

 

Let me start by mentioning that there’s a very interesting indie comic company called Avatar Press. Like most indie comic companies, including Dynamite Entertainment and IDW Publishing, Dark Horse, Avatar is kept afloat by publishing adaptations of movie and TV properties, since they are constant sellers which already have a fan base. Now, these companies do release original comic material themselves, and they are usually they’re creator owned projects instead of work where they pay artists and writers up front for their work.

Creator-owned basically means is that the creators of a given comic book (the writer and penciler, usually) the comic book retain the publication rights to the material, and in exchange don’t see turn around until the cost of publication and distribution has been reimbursed to the publisher in addition to a set amount for them to keep. This formula of creator-owned books is great because it fits into a stipulation for talent with exclusive contracts for one of the 2 big comic publishers (DC and Marvel Comics,) allowing them to publish material outside of their contracted company’s limits and cohesive story continuity. This control over written property came is coming in handy today, as writer Garth Ennis (of Preacher fame) and penciller Darick Robertson (of Transmetropolitan fame) are moving their canceled creator-owned DC series, The Boys, to Dynamite Entertainment this June.

It’s hard to say when a writer is exclusively signed, since they don’t always announce it, but many have them with the exception that they can only do creator owned works outside of the company, and not work for “the other guy”.

BACK TO THE POINT: Avatar is releasing a bunch of projects by Ellis in the coming months, and Ellis is using every way possible to let the people know about them. The above titles: Black Summer, Crecy and Doktor Sleepless are all examples of this. He’s sending out information on his newsletter (titled Bad Signal,) he’s doing interviews left and right and he’s talking about it a lot on his work blog. As it is the most recent project, DOKTOR SLEEPLESS is getting a lot of attention, and is about a doctor from the future or something…

The buildup is that Ellis is doing something i’ve rarely seen. He’s encouraging his avid readers, of which they are many, to take the below form and…

“Please print off, cut out, fill in and hand to your local comics store. DOKTOR SLEEPLESS #1 is released in July — exact shipping date will be given when I get it. “

Interesting method of spreading the word, but i gotta admit i’d feel a might bit silly walking into my job with one of these forms and expecting to not look daft.

I understand that such works need to sell a ton in order to turn a profit all around, but you gotta admit it’s kinda funny when someone takes such strange steps in effort to ensure sales. If anyone can get away with it, it’s Ellis. At least he isn’t Brian Michael Bendis, who created a character called Ronin in the pages of Marvel’s New Avengers, then copied that same character to their re-imagined Ultimate universe. It’s one thing to remake a classic character  with new ideas, but it’s another to remake your own idea. That’s what we call, lame.

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Virginia Tech Media Coverage: Extreme or Total Coverage?

April 19, 2007 at 9:31 pm (Uncategorized)

Rarely is an event as throughtly covered as the Virginia Tech tragedy. Nearly every news web page is plastered with stories related to the event, making the idea of “total coverage” overwhelming for many. Here, we’ll showcase what many news sources are making of this event and give you some perspective on exactly how much coverage is too much. When students want news, CNN.com is still the ruling news source, and by far, the site has been the leader in coverage of this event. For example, the site has been cycling through images of victims for the past few hours:

Stories are emerging of the 32 extraordinary lives which ended in the horror and heroism of the Virginia Tech campus massacre. In this special report, families, friends, colleagues and classmates share poignant memories of those killed in the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. The people these stories speak of were characterized by great promise and outstanding achievement.

Additionally, CNN has front page links to related stories, which almost completely take up the top stories area. These links were all consectutive on the listing, and one would be hard pressed to find an angle they havent covered:

-Tech victim’s family fights to tell his story
-Columbine survivor: Emotional roller coaster ahead
-When is it OK to put a student away?
-Virginia Tech student hears of friend’s death via IM
And, of course, someone trying to pin the blame on video games:
-Survey: Violent video games ‘exhilarating’ escapism

…While even the entertainment pages contain stories related to the shooting:
-1 of killer’s photos resembles movie image

 

Most news paper sites are tossing their attention toward the shooting, while allowing attorney general Gonzalez’s to fall at a close second. Boston.com has this headline and image as their front page, with the site clearly struggling for filler in their use of a “flip flop controversy” as the main regional story:

 

 

GLOBE REGIONALS

 

Flip flop flap attracts attention at Westford school
Flip flop flap attracts attention at Westford school
A principal’s attempt to discourage students from sporting
open-toed footwear kicked up controversy at the Stony Brook School. (Janet Knott / Globe Staff Photo)

Message Board YOUR VIEW: Flip flops at school?

Virginia Tech aftermath

Classmates: Shooter was laughed at

Their accounts could shed light on Cho’s state of mind. (AP, 5:06 p.m.)

Calif. school district closes for threat

Man barred from BU for threats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not surprisingly, the coverage of the shooting is more heavily covered by the American news papers than their foreign counterparts. At the same time, it’s still a breaking story, and with that as such, even the BBC.com front page is dusted with stories steming from the shooting. At this time, the breaking of the killer’s so called “video manifesto” is the front page story:

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Police chief Steve Flaherty - 19/4/07

Police ‘regret’ at killer’s video

Officers probing the shootings at Virginia Tech say footage of killer Cho Seung-hui should not have been broadcast.

Virginia shootings: The victims

Transcript: Gunman’s message

open Video worries locals

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image was on the main page’s sidebar, with the caption:

 

 

 

Inside Cho’s mind
How Virginia Tech killer fits pattern of campus gunmen

 

 

 

Overall, the coverage of this event is certainly overwealming, and has certainly raised a lot of questions about tact and what proper journalistic practices are. If one looks at the evidence above, they can see that these things get out of hand faster than a fis full of jello. In the end, it’s up to the editor and the reader to decide what’s right and wrong, so what’s your opinion?

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Thou Shalt Not

April 17, 2007 at 1:34 pm (Uncategorized)

Check out this video posted on WarrenEllis.com: it’s the music vid for
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s “Thou Shalt Always Kill” and it’s brilliant:

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WarrenEllis.com: Links 2 3 4 (…like anyone will get a Rammstein reference…)

April 10, 2007 at 6:04 pm (Ellis Watch)

Here’s a handful of links from WarrenEllis.com that i’ve compiled to show why WarrenEllis.com used to be my homepage (It’s currently my RSS reader). Between cans of Redbull, Ellis posts crazy stories from all over the globe, some of which everyone knows about, and others that are far too obscure for any normal person to happen upon.

Like this one, about a drill sergent who made his men dress up like Superman and/or rape them.

Here’s another crazy article, this time about how some Serbs who fancy themselves “vampire hunters” have taken it upon themselves to shove a wooden stake through the heart of deceased former Yugoslavian president/war criminal Slobadon Milosevic., in order to prevent him from coming back from the grave. Ever.

Ellis also tends to showcase things that disturb him that he’s found on the internet. Today he posted this link to a website titled “Abstinence Feels Good” which is attempting to promote abstinence using ipod-like design. It gives me a furrowed-brow and a chill, but taps into the huge amount of crazy religious stuff Ellis posts.

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