Agent of Change

A Blog by Cory!! Strode, who really should write something interesting here.

Archive for the month “August, 2017”

Trumpwatch 8/15/2017

Yesterday, the president went in front of cameras and, through gritted teeth and only after being told to by everyone from his daughter to the people he watches on Fox News, condemned the Nazis who held a rally to protest a statue of Robert E Lee being relocated.  The media and his supporters will say that he has corrected a misstatement from the weekend where he said there was hate “on many sides” and (and this is the one that shows his true feelings) “We must cherish our history.” 

Should I remind you that the Nazi were chanting about how their history won’t be erased?  How the essence of the current white power movement is that diversity is erasing the great civilization created by white men?  How Trump has retweeted members of the white power movement? Took over a week to condemn David Duke?

I am reading people who aren’t Trump fans who apologize for him by saying, “He’s doing it for votes and knows they are part of his base.”

Don’t. Be. Fooled. 

As we keep hearing “Why won’t he condemn them?”, I keep asking a golf question.

How many mulligans do we give this guy?  On the day of their rally, he didn’t condemn the Nazis and instead said he was against the hate “on many sides”, which white power websites said shows he’s with them.  And. They. Are. Right.  He condemns them days later, in prepared statements, like a 7 year old who has been told to apologize by his mother.  In his twitter feed, which is the window into his soul, he has no problem attacking CEOs who condemn the Nazis, Rosie O’Donnell, and his own party, but not a peep about Nazis who march with torches chanting “Blood and soil.”

His dad was arrested in 1927 for taking part in a KKK riot in New York.  He’s been investigated for racial discrimination in housing.  He’s called for the execution of black teenagers, later proven innocent and refuses to take it back, still saying they should have been executed.  Said in MULTIPLE interviews he doesn’t like having black people work for him.  And on, and on, and on, and on.

Everyone who doesn’t see this, see that it is intentional, is getting played for chumps.

“We must cherish our history.”

Remember that.  That’s who he is.  That’s what he believes. 

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In Which Our Hero Discusses Comics and Milkshakes

In a Facebook comics discussion group, someone posted a picture of a Marvel publishing employee and her friends with milkshakes and said, “This is the problem with comics” as if we all immediately understood what he meant.  Others joined in and said yes, and I asked what he meant…and was met with snotty responses and name calling. 

I replied by saying, and I will admit I was being snotty, “I was just trying to determine if you were ageist or sexist.”

Which, of course, upset this snowflake, who felt he should be able to hate on women without anyone calling him on it.  They then went on and on about these KIDS are ruining Marvel, these WOMEN don’t know anything about comics and the like.

Never mind that Marvel was pretty much run by people in their 20’s through the 70s and into the 80’s.  Never mind that Marvel has expanded into libraries and schools over the last decade.  Never mind that ALL of publishing has fallen apart, with even major publishers like Gold Eagle and Harlequin having to shutter due to poor sales.

Nope, it’s women.  Young women.  They’ve ruined everything.

I don’t know how to break it to people, but physical media has fallen on hard time.  Borders used to be a multi billion dollar company before people quit buying books.  Blockbuster, Media Play, Musicland, Tower Records, Hastings, your local mall and on and on and on, all of them have been killed by the “new economy.”

The comics industry is trying to diversify, not just its content, but its revenue streams.  Tell me all you want about those icky girls are killing comics and I will gently point at Saga, which has a primarily female audience is making money hand over fist.  Tell me about how kids don’t read comics and I will point you toward the Scholastic book sales and how Marvel makes a LOT of money from them.  As well as library sales. 

I’m betting these He Man Woman Haters read a few comics edited by Karen Berger over the years, who expanded comics in the 80’s and 90’s in a way that grew the audience and made everyone in comics a lot of money.

Blockbuster had a chance to buy into Netflix early on, and passed as it didn’t fit their business model.  For all of the belly aching about Marvel, DC, who has kept a lot of the “old school” way of creating comics, has seen its sales drop as well.  Comic shops are part of a last ditch distribution network, and in many ways, if THEY don’t diversify their product lines and customers, they tend to go under as well.  We talk on the podcast I do all the time that if you shop JUST sells comics, you probably are doomed, since that market is shrinking as digital, Amazon and people abandoning physical media continues to grow. 

I guess those milkshake drinking young women are destroying them as well, which shows just how powerful they are, I guess.

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Why Previews Sucks or How To Sell Comix

I haven’t posted about comics for a while, but mostly it’s because of how busy I’ve been and haven’t had time to read all that much that’s new. Except Shirtless Bear Fighter.  Damn, that’s a fun book.  You need to go buy it.  Do that.  I’ll be here when you get back.

Are you back? Did you read it?  Wasn’t that fun?

Anyway.

We can all agree that Previews is a barely readable mess, right? A jumble of images and ads that may somehow be close to the page of the comic being solicited, but the vast majority are a tiny paragraph with a postage sized image that tells you next to nothing about the book, so that ordering a $4 24 page indy feels like a crap shoot.  But that’s not what annoyed me this month.

‘WE’VE GOT A GREAT NEW LINE OF BOOKS AND YOU HAVE TO BUY THEM. IT’S A WHOLE NEW LINE OF 8 MONTHLY COMICS THAT ARE LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER SEEN AND OH BOY HOWDY, YOU NEED THESE AWESOME COMICS!!!!”

That may well be, but when all you have on the Big Ad You Spent A Lot Of Money On is how awesome the books will be and how I need to get in on the ground floor….I’m gonna pass unless I am a big fan of the creators. The hype tells me next to nothing about what the books will be about.  What do I mean?  Grab a nearby paperback novel.  Turn it over.  Now read what’s on the back.

That should tell you the genre, the tone and have a hook to make you think, “I want to know what this story is.” Some author’s don’t need to do that, but most do.  George R.R. Martin’s next Game of Thrones book won’t need a back cover blurb, but Jeb Bronie’s (get it?  Jabronie?  Never mind) better  have a kick ass cover showing a cool encapsulation of the conflict and the back cover blurb needs to grab me or it’s going back on the shelf.

That’s what your ad in Previews should be. If you’ve got a cover, show it, and it should be an image that makes the reader curious about what’s inside AND give an idea of the interior art.  In the 80’s, you could get away with a cover by Dave Stevens and interiors by Bob Hacksalot, but now, with comics at $4 a pop, that’s not gonna work as well.

In the description, don’t tell us it’s the start of an amazing 12 issue epic…that may actually make me say no, since I have a couple of long boxes of indy comics that ended mid story, and I remember those creators and just buy the trades from them now. Tell us the story hook.  Give us a question that the story answers or a reason to want to read it.

“The Gatlin Brothers have been one step ahead of foreclosure on their chicken farm for as long as they’ve owned it, but as the final notices come due, a plane carrying ten millions dollars’ worth of cocaine crashes out behind the barn. They are stuck with a choice:

Figure out how to sell the drugs, evade the authorities, keep ahead of the local gangs, hide from the cartel that is looking for their missing shipment, and save the farm…

Or,

Inform the police, lose the farm and get jobs at the local meat processing plant.”

In that little blurb, you’ve got the gist of the plot and a strong idea of what the story will be. Like the hook or not, you at least KNOW what you’re buying as opposed to:

“Writer John Doe, known for his work on Marvel Tie-In to a movie mini-series and indy book that came out three years ago and sold 7,000 copies and artist Sam Pencilpusher, who just graduated from the Kubert School and did uncredited backgrounds on Bob Artist’s DC work bring you a 6 part story with action, crime, drugs and suspense from the publisher who does a bunch of comics based on TV shows from 30 years ago!”

Maybe I’m overgeneralizing, but when I look through Previews, I see a lot of credits, but not a lot of hooks. It’s like when a movie trailer tells you a movies if from the studio who gave you a movie and a director who worked on something I haven’t seen. It narrows your audience, while the trailer that leaves you wanting to know what happens widens the audience.

You want sales to go up? Make Us Want To Know What Happens Next.

 

 

 

 

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“Just Joking”

“Just joking” is something we now hear repeatedly from the White House. Trump tells cops to beat up suspects, and the explanation is “just joking”. Ed Butowsky pressures news outlets to run the fake story about Seth Rich saying “The President wants it run” and now says he was “just joking.”

“Just joking” is the excuse given by abusers who know there is no way to cover up what they did and shifting the blame to YOU for being upset. I mean, don’t you have a sense of humor? Don’t you understand a joke?  Are you that clueless that you take it seriously?

“Just joking” is a red flag that lets you know that the person you are dealing with is dangerous and WILL attempt to hurt you.

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