comxiologyYeah, I know that we mentioned the other day that we had subjects that we wanted to talk about in a podcast, but I also know that you didn’t even remotely think that we’d actually, you know, do one.

Well, the joke’s on you, because here’s Episode 11: The Golden Shakeoff Caper! In which we discuss:

  • The ComiXology buyout by Amazon (in which I reference a piece I wrote about ComiXology’s licensing and lack of ability to back up your comics)
  • The San Diego Comic-Con hotel registration process, and the anxiety-provoking processes around attending SDCC in general
  • Deadpool #27
  • DC’s new weekly comic, Batman: Eternal #1

And here is our usual disclaimer: this episode was recorded live to tape, meaning that other than adding the intro and outro music, it is presented exactly as we discussed it, with every, “um,” “uh,” cough and burp. Further, this podcast is not safe for work. Be advised that we liberally use explicit and vulgar language, although if you weren’t tipped off by the fact that our title this week includes the phrase, “golden shake-off,” you need more help than a friendly warning. Either way, use some headphones.

Enjoy the show, suckers!

comxiologySo. Amazon has bought ComiXology.

I’m not gonna write a whole hell of a lot about this development, since Amanda and I have decided that this might be a good topic for another podcast (Yes! Two podcasts in less than two years! Truly it is a new and exciting age in audio-only media!), but there is one thing I would like to point out.

That thing being that our Web site traffic, which is usually pretty consistent, is up about 25 percent today. And not because of anything recent that we have posted, oh no. No, it is because a couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about a kid on Reddit who briefly posted a script that allowed people to download their comics from ComiXology and strip the copy protection so they could back up their own books. And how ComiXology landed on that kid with both feet, and how that should be a matter of concern for ComiXology customers, because without the ability to locally save their comics, they would never really own any of them. You know, if something ever happened to ComiXology.

It’s a piece that has garnered a little bit of attention; it has been highly-ranked on Google for people searching for ways to save their digital comics locally – you know, just in case something happened to the parent company to get in the way of you getting the books that you paid for – and if it even got picked up by Hacker News just a few months ago.

And it suddenly is getting a lot of traffic. Apparently because there are more people than usual trying like hell to find a way to save the digital comics that they bought. Just in case something were to happen to them. Or the company they did business with in good faith.

tmp_sex_criminals_1_cover_2013-13026953There are times when I resign myself to the idea that digital comics are the future. Sure, I love my weekly visit to my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me if I’m interested in any IDW Artist’s Editions or DC Absolute hardcovers because the kids need braces and they can’t show up at the orthodontist’s office in an American car like a common wino, but only a fool would think that, on an infinite timeline, comics can resist digital delivery where music, movies and print books couldn’t.

But every time I think that relying on digital comic companies wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, something happens to remind me that a dude in an actual place who knows his customers is still the way to go for me in a way that some mindless Web server will never be.

Most recent case in point? Apple has just informed Image Comics and Matt Fraction that they’ve rejected the second issue of Sex Criminals from the Apple version of the Comixology app due to “content that many audiences would find objectionable.”

Which is in start contrast to the policies at my local comic store, where they would not only sell me tentacle hentai if I could give him a Diamond code for it, but would sell me an octopus if the money was right.


Update, 4/10/2013, 5:50 p.m.: As contributor Lance Manion pointed out in the comments, it turns out that Apple isn’t the party that censored Saga #12. It was Comixology themselves. Details at the end of the original story, after the jump.


The Internet is an interesting place. It’s a place where, by simply closing your eyes, pounding on your keyboard with your fist and pressing the Enter key, you can see pictures, in living color, of a woman with a substance abuse problem blowing a horse.

It is also a place where you can obtain anything that can be turned into ones and zeroes that you want, completely for free, much to the consternation of major media producers. But thankfully, most of those media producers have embraced the possibilities of the Internet, making their content instantly available to anyone with a credit card – you know, adults – instantly, and at a reasonable price. And all across a medium that only fifteen years ago was best known as a delivery vector for animal pornography and autopsy photos.

Well, unless you’re trying to ply your wares through Apple’s App Store. A company and a store who have, in their infinite wisdom, decided not to accept Image Comics’s Saga #12 for sale via the iOS Comixology app due to two images of gay sex. Because God forbid that a consenting adult be allowed to decide to purchase a cartoon that includes two panels of sex acts on their iPad – a device widely used to make it possible to view and masturbate to high-definition pornography in a public toilet stall.

So, what with Apple acting in a manner similar to Wal-Mart and other prudish, yet powerful, corporate overlords who want to tell you what you can and can’t read or watch, I imagine Saga creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and their little publisher Image, have agreed to self-censor their book in order to gain access to iPads, yes?

Yeah, no.

comxiologyOnce upon a time in a magical land known as Austin, during a festival known as South By Southwest where the peasants celebrate the coming of spring by paying nine bucks a beer to their corporate betters, the benevolent kings of Marvel Comics announced that they would bestow a boon upon the common folk: 700 classic and new tales of knights and heroes, delivered instantly into their homes, notebooks and even their pockets, all thanks to the magic of their House Wizards at Comixology, known far and wide as the most proficient magicians in the delivery of these tales (or at least amongst the last ones standing).

But alas, no sooner did the Day of Giving arrive than the secret magicks of the Wizards of Comics Delivery failed, leaving hundreds without their promised boon, and some wondering just what in the hell they had been paying the magicians for in the first place.

Which is a long and stupid way to go to say that, about a month after Comixology was forced, due to server load, to suspend Marvel’s offer of a few days of free comics, they have told those who emailed them to say that yes: they wanted the free comics, fer Christ’s sake, that they will soon see their patience rewarded.

comxiologyWow, remember the good old days when Marvel announced their Marvel #1 initiative? And they they were offering around 700 different first issues as free downloads from their comic store and from Comixology until Tuesday? You know, those good old days that started, oh I don’t know, 30 or so hours ago?

Yeah, like most time periods we call “The Good Old Days,” those days are over, at least for now. It turns out that, once the word about the free downloads got out, Neither Comixology nor Marvel’s own digital comics store was able to handle the load from the demand. Marvel’s comic store is, as of this writing, completely down, and Comixology has announced that they need to suspend their part of the giveaway until they can figure out how to handle the demand.


marvel_infinite_logoWe are not currently at South By Southwest, partly because we have already pissed our meager convention budget on preparations for San Diego Comic-Con in July, and partially because I learned during a visit in 1998 that Austin’s motto of “Keep Austin Weird” does not constitute a legal defense. Let’s just say that, somewhere in a computer in Austin Police Headquarters, there is an active arrest warrant for “Batroc Z. Leaper” that I wouldn’t want compared to my current driver’s license photo.

However, Marvel Comics is at SXSW, and earlier today that ran a panel that included a few announcements, including whatever the hell they were talking about last week with that whole “#1” teaser poster.Turns out they were talking about some free first issues.

Digitally, anyway.

For a little while.

It was only a matter of time before some digital comics retailer not only closed up shop, but shut down their servers so that the money you spent to “buy” comics went straight down the Long Blue Hole… and that time is now.

Sony has announced that their Comic Store for PSP, available through the Playstation Store, will be closing up shop on October 30th, and that any comics you bought that are still on their servers will become unavailable sometime “mid January 2013.”

Not to be dicks, but we told you so.

The tricky part about any digital-only comic when you’re not generally a devotee of that delivery system is remembering when the Goddamned thing comes out. I know when to go pick up Amazing Spider-Man and Batman because I have a subscription at my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to remember that the definition of “digital comics” does not include “publicly giggling at cell phone porn.” And I remember that I need to go to the comic store on Wednesdays, because Wednesdays are “Look The Other Way While Rob Curses About Scott Lobdell And Simultaneously Dribbling IPA Onto His Shirt” night at the bar next door… or at least, that’s what they’ve become.

So despite my initial reserved – if not grudging – enthusiasm over the announcement of Mark Waid’s and John Rogers’s new Thrillbent Comics concern, I kinda, sorta forgot that it had even launched. Which is a hell of a thing to admit from a guy who co-runs a comics Web site – I mean, Mark Waid is one of the biggest names in comics, and if he produced a semi-solid dump that looked like a comic book, I should probably be paying attention – but it’s the truth. Hell, every Wednesday I get a hundred-dollar stack of glossy printed comics to read and review; you think I have time to go hunting for more stuff to read?

However, yesterday evening I got back to the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office to find co-editor Amanda hard at work on a review, meaning I had to find a way to kill some time before going to “Avoid Eye Contact While Rob Whimpers That If He Were A More Conscientious Comics Writer He Wouldn’t Need The Day Job And Simultaneously Maybe Soiling Himself A Little” night at the pub. So I took a quick look at the Thrillbent Web site to see if I’d missed anything, thinking if I had it was probably a Paypal wall to the books, or maybe a Kickstarter project looking to raise money for, I don’t know, professional quality pixels or some such shit at which I could turn up my nose.

Turns out, no such luck.

Somehow I missed it back in April when it was announced at WonderCon that Incanto chef Chris Cosentino had been asked by Marvel to write an issue of Wolverine. Cosentino says that Marvel Senior VP Of Creator And Content Development, C.B. Cebulski, and he tweet a lot and that while Cebulski was a guest at Incanto he asked Cosentino if he’s be interested in writing a comic book. Cosentino says that his comic will be set in San Francisco, be food-centric, and have lots of giant robots. The book will officially be titled Wolverine: The Fifth Quarter (“the fifth quarter” being a nod to the food most commonly associated with Cosentino, offal) and the art will be done by Tim Seely (Hack/Slash).

With Anthony Bourdain set to release Get Jiro! in July, one does have to ask if this is going to turn into a growing trend. Can we expect one shot publicity stunts from other celebrity chefs? Would Emeril write Gambit? Gordon Ramsay pen The Hulk? Should we look forward to a Flash tale from Rachel “30 Minute Meals” Ray? I’m sure the answer is most likely “no”. At least I hope so. Maybe Bourdain and Cosentino will prove me wrong, but I’ve got a fifth of Old Crow that says we’re going to see exposition heavy text and a story that leans heavily on the art. Hell. I’m willing to drink Crow.

So, why is this back in the news today? Well, over on The Daily Meal, Cosentino has a video interview in which he promotes his new cookbook, Beginnings: My Way To Start a Meal, and also talks about his comic book at around 1:35 or so.

Wolverine: The Fifth Quarter is set for this June as a digital release.