Tomorrow is the day! Getting ready to check out HBO MAX

Before the internet I was a big fan of cable TV. In fact I am such a fan of television in general that my life long dream was to work at a commercial TV station. That is why I studied broadcasting and now am working as a TV producer for a local station.

Then the internet came along and Netflix sort of replaced basic cable for a large number of Americans, myself included.

I am happy to report that since I expanded my streaming options I have had even fewer reasons to log into old faithful less and less. Starting tomorrow I will be diving into the newest premium streaming service to launch.

Now when it comes to old cable people seem to forget the cable companies basically have a monopoly in whatever town you live in shutting out competition. Unless of course you count satellite which is a fair alternative. But when it comes to streaming those same people seem to be okay with a monopoly and despise choice. I don’t get it.

Anyways enough of the ripping on people. Let’s dig into what excites me about it.

I am one of the more choices is better people. I recently discovered a ton of FREE and yes LEGAL streaming options such as Crackle, Pluto and Stirr, among others. I even signed up for Shudder (still need to do a full review of that) and now I am excited to try out HBO Max.

I preordered for the discounted price in order to get  ahead start. I spent some time this weekend checking out HBO Now, which will be replaced on my tablet tomorrow.

The first thing I noticed about HBO Now is, yes it does have far less overall content than Netflix or even Hulu. But, I was still more than satisfied with the movie selection. Where Netflix often has a handful of Hollywood movies and tons of B-movie and direct to video (streaming) crap, HBO lives up to its name which, in case you forgot, stands for Home Box Office. The whole point of HBO was always to deliver a Hollywood experience in the home, and to that end even the simplified version delivers.

It reminds me of when Netflix used to have a deal with Starz years ago, only not quite as extensive of a catalog so far.

Now the first thing I am going to check is not just the Hollywood movies from the Warner and family vault, which if lists I have read online are any indication will still provide me personally with plenty of favorites to revisit to keep me busy.

The next thing I am going to dive into is the catalog of TV shows. Sure HBO itself has a decent assortment of top notch content,  however it is somewhat limited in scope. You basically have the best adult oriented shows around, there isn’t much else. This should be different as the new combined service is supposed to bring in favorites from the entire Warner spectrum, hopefully this will include DC Comics and Hanna Barbara to name just a few. Combined with the Looney Tunes and friends there is sure to be plenty to check out.

The hesitancy comes from the Disney Plus debacle. While I do maintain it provides quality entertainment and certainly has a place in our society, it feels a little underwhelming with them intentionally leaving out so much of the Fox library that had fans like myself excited. Warner/ATT could do something similar where they promise everything and the kitchen sink and then deliver a cardboard box with the letters IOU in giant letters across the side like Disney did.

Fortunately as long as the New Line Cinema offerings are intact, ensuring me an endless availability of instant access to my beloved Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise, a simple horror fan like myself will be more than satisfied. Only time will tell if it lives up to the hype or disappoints but I am very much looking forward to checking it out, at least for the next month.

5 Ways you can help save the comics industry

There’s not two ways about it, Coronavirus is killing the comic book industry. In fact, the print industry was already suffering before the pandemic. But there is no reason comic book fans should throw in the towel and mourn the loss of one of the oldest and most prolific forms of science fiction entertainment.

All is not lost. Here are a few things that if every comic book fan did more of the industry would not only get back to thriving but would also see a resurgence once all of this is said and done.

 

1.  Buy more local retail comics

Everyone knows how important it is to support their local comic book shop. However, not everyone has a local comic shop to support. Meanwhile the industry is facing a crisis of mind share as more Americans get their comic book fix through Marvel’s share cinematic films or the CW’s connected Arrowverse.

Mind share is crucial at a time like this. Nobody wants to have to buy comics from Walmart but if you don’t have a local comic shop it’s imperative comic books maintain some retail presence in order for the publishers to get in front of the eye balls of the people who still shop there. If you don’t have a local shop but your local Walmart does sell comics it does benefit them if you can buy at least a couple books a month from a local retail shop. If you can pick up an extra book at retail while doing your normal grocery shopping if nothing else then make an effort.

If your community happens to have an old fashioned book retailer, such as a Barnes and Noble or similar store that sells comics, or even graphic novels, trades etc., maybe consider popping in there from time to time.

The reason this helps is publishers need partnerships with retail giants in order to maintain the numbers.

Now my strategy is simple, get the “grocery store” comics such as Archie, Betty and Veronica, etc., from the local Walmart. I then plan on grabbing one TPB a month from the local book store. It’s not much but if every dedicated comic book fan made this extra purchase at retail it would go a long way in helping the publishers maintain a presence in the marketplace. I long for a return to the days you can pick up comic books at the local gas station on your way to or from work but those days might be gone for good. However, if we let comics at retail die entirely it’s going to be a slow death march for the entire industry.

2. Kids fuel the industry

Every adult collector I’ve ever known has this disdain for kids comics. This snobbish belief that only mature comics matter and comics made for kids are beneath them. Now I am by no means advocating buying a comic you don’t care for that is targeted towards kids just to help the industry, by no means. However I am strongly encouraging every comic book fan to buy as many extra comics you can to give away to the kids in your life.

There is a myth that collectors shape the industry and kids are just an afterthought. This is the furthest from the truth. In fact in reality children make up the bulk of all toys and entertainment sales and adults just sort of follow a long in their own little corners.

The other part of the myth is kids don’t have as much disposable income as adults therefore the logic goes adults can buy more collectibles.

There are two fallacies with this thinking. First, children don’t rely on their own incomes, they have none! What they do have, however, are relatives who buy them toys twice a year at least. The more aunts and uncles a child has, not even counting grandparents the more likely they are to get toys and other gifts. Now if you have kids in  your life and you want to shape them into future comic book collectors you should start now while they are young. Buy a few extra comics for each of the kids in your life. If you are an aunt or uncle buy for your nieces and nephews. If you are a grandparent, then buy comics for your grandchildren.

The second half of the fallacy is kids don’t know what they like. We often forget what it was like when we were kids. We knew damn well what we did, and didn’t, like. The goal is not to push your favorite superhero or book onto them, in fact doing that can be counterproductive as it will not only ensure they grow to despise that character or book, it almost guarantees they will hate you. Think back to when you were a kid. Did you have that uncle or aunt that tried to push their interests off onto you no matter how much you resisted? And often is the case you would grow up having a low opinion of said relative. I know I did.

The best thing to do is buy as many random, budget comics as you can with a few hit titles of main stream characters sprinkled in from time to time as often as you can. This ensures the child will have a variety of books to read keeping them immersed in comics, which in turn fuels their interest in the medium. It also most assuredly provides them an opportunity to develop and refine their tastes. The key is to let them discover the books they want to read and then help them get into those books buy buying a few issues a year for them at birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays as your budget allows. Remember you are not just buying a few extra books to help the publishers bottom line, you are helping foster the future generation of comic book fans that will help keep the hobby a live and well for decades to come.

On this same line of thinking, it is absolutely important that you give the kids random books as much as you can, any and everything you can from all publishers. The trick isn’t to just let them read a book and see what they like, but for them to read the advertisements in the book and promos for other books. That will help them discover the titles or characters they wish to follow, thus ensuring they become emotionally invested in the medium.

My strategy is to buy books for every one of my sister’s kids each chance I can. I don’t ask the kids what  books they like I select a few random budget books I can afford and just let them decide which ones they like. I then ask them later which ones they liked and try to note that so next time I can buy books in that series, genre or title.

Sometimes you will get push back. If a kid isn’t into comics don’t fret. It is also important  not to pressure them by pushing comics onto them. The best way to do it is to cater to their interests. If the child is into army stuff try getting them an action comic with a military theme. Maybe throw in something with space marines to broaden their horizon. If they happen to be into My Little Pony or Scooby Doo, then get them comics featuring those characters. The goal is to foster their imaginations while helping them build a passion for comics. If you push your favorite hero onto them it will always backfire.

3. Subscriptions are important

No matter what, this is the time you absolutely need to be subscribing directly to as many comics to be delivered to your mailbox as you can afford. It’s not essential you subscribe to every comic you enjoy. However, it is 100 percent crucial you do subscribe directly to at least a few of your top favorite comics. The reason for this is complex. On the surface it will infuse a little more cash per purchase directly into the comic publishers accounts. This does bypass the local retail market so you have to budget accordingly.

For example, if you buy 12 books a month at your local comics shop, consider picking the four books that matter the most to you and subscribe to them directly. You gain the  benefit of having them delivered straight to your door while infusing a little extra cash into the coffers of the company making the product you enjoy. It also helps publishers gauge the importance of that particular book ensuring it remains profitable enough to remain in print. I suggest picking one fourth of your entire comics purchasing to be directly delivered via the mail subscription.

It also has the side benefit of helping the local postal service which is in dire need of cash right now. This would go a long way helping keep costs down elsewhere while maximizing your financial support of your own local economy.

We’re not at the point of desperation where I would advocate buying all of your books directly from the publisher as that would most certainly kill the local retail market once and for all.

My strategy is to add one subscription every payday. That ensures I will have 26  books delivered to my door each month. Right now am adding one a payday and then once I am in the groove I will renew every year. My personal goal is to subscribe to 30 total books a year so I also try to keep an eye out for some bonus budget books as I can afford it. The goal is to subscribe to the ones that matter the most to you ensuring their longevity while keeping a few titles left at the local retail store. I am not saying give up your pull list entirely rather I am saying devote yourself to the books that are most important and get just a few of them in the mail. It saves you money, typically 45 percent or more off the cover price, which means you have more money to spend on comics elsewhere, plus it cuts out the middle man often putting more money directly into the publishers hands. It’s a balancing act that we all must do our part if the industry is to survive.

4. Seek out free comic book day

You might have to drive a ways depending on where you live. You might even have to request the day off from work and plan a road trip to make this work. But it is absolutely essential every comic book fan who has the means to get to their local comic book shop does so absolutely on Free Comic Book Day. Not only does it give the publishers, especially indies, maximum exposure, it is a social event that really brings the community together, young and old. It’s key to build the excitement for comic books especially in young readers and lapse collectors.

The other reason I strongly suggest hitting up free comic book day is it provides you a chance to preview things to come in the industry first hand and serves almost as a localized mini comic book convention. It helps stir up the excitement in the collector which is key in helping the hobby remain active.

5. Subscribe to all three digital comic services

This is probably as important as all of the above. We all have our different views on digital comics. However it’s really not the time to get into arguments over which is better. We need to set aside our pride and cough up the ~$30 a month it costs to subscribe to all the services. You have Comixology, Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe. The best argument for doing this is to show publishers, and the big corporations that own them, how important comics are to us. It helps the big wigs see that comics aren’t just a line item but a valuable asset.

The other reason it helps is because it infuses cash directly into the publishers while providing YOU with access to a massive catalog of content at your fingertips.

The Untold Truth about Superman according to THE RAT.

When I was a kid I love Superman. He was one of my favorite comic book characters and superheroes all around. I had Superman action figures, coloring books, puzzles and other memorabilia. I really like the movies all four of them in fact at the time. I would watch Superman cartoons a whole bunch of them a number of them anyone that I can find in fact. And I instantly fell in love with and became obsessed with Lois & Clark The New Adventures of Superman when it aired on TV. But then something changed in some point in my life and my past I stop liking Superman and actually started hating him. Except, I don’t remember when this happened.

I recently decided to get back into comic book collecting I’m going to say back into I mean I sold all my comic books or abandon and number of them when I left my apartment 2 years ago. But I’ve recently with coronavirus and everything else have been at home a lot more than I had been previously and I have a better job now more money now and thought now is a good time to get back into serious comic book collecting. And that includes reading comic books more than ever. Now I just wrote a post last night on rediscovering the Golden Age of comics and in that Discovery I realized I still have lingering feelings of respect and appreciation for the Man of Steel. So I wanted to talk about the parts of Superman that I never stopped liking and try to figure out what it was that made me go from admiring this character to despising him for so long.

My earliest memories of Superman that I can pinpoint was sitting down and watching a VHS tape of some random Superman cartoons my dad rented from the video store at one point. I can’t tell you what happened in that story I vaguely remember a bank robbery and Superman flying around with a bank vault on his shoulder but I can’t remember beyond that. I do remember liking the character and wanting to see more of him. I remember watching the Superman movie the original one from the 70s and just loving it when I was a kid. I remember watching Superman 2 and thinking at the time and throughout most of my life thinking it was the best of all the Superman movies had been my favorite for ever. I remember watching and even enjoying Superman 3 and even liking Superman 4 the Quest for Peace hey I was a kid. It wasn’t until Lois and Clark came along that I realized I really like Superman and I never had Superman comics this is key I believe I always only ever had the shows to watch or a handful of toys inundate me into the characters mythos.

I even remember going into Superman Returns expecting the like it hoping to like it and I remember getting to the end of that movie and questioning my entire interest in the Superman character. May you have to keep in mind I’ve never wavered on Batman to this day he still my favorite comic book character my absolute favorite superhero if you can call him a superhero some won’t but I do. And I know Superman was friends with Batman and there were shows like super friends that I didn’t watch. And I think that’s part of it never having read a comic book featuring The Man of Steel and only knowing him as a character in his own universe but knowing he was Affiliated Loosely with Batman I think that swayed me to take the side of the Dark Knight and dismiss the Man of Steel, the Kryptonian as it were.

I remember the point where I started liking Transformers and watching the cartoon and reading a comic books and obsessing over the toys. And I can remember the point in my life where I went from thinking Batman was okay but not great to becoming my favorite superhero spoiler alert it had to do with one of the movies. But I can’t trace the point in my mind where I went from admiring and respecting Superman to flat-out loathing him, hating him, despising him. But I do believe it has to do with the fact that I never read his comics.

By the time Lois & Clark was finished I was still into the character that much I do know. And I remember being a little bit turned off by Smallville at first enjoying the episodes I did watch but not enough to get into it because it wasn’t Superman it was Clark Kent and I think that was the start of my downward spiral but I have to dig deeper. I was that weird kid that like the Atari Superman video game just because it was Superman I didn’t care that it was a bad game it was fun to play in my mind and that’s all I ever cared about. And I do remember hating Superman Returns by the time it was all said and done.

And I remember never having any interest in the Justice League I remember thinking it didn’t make sense that Batman and Superman would be on the same team with Wonder Woman The Flash and a bunch of other people whose names I never took the time to learn. This fueled my disdain for the Justice League which eventually magnified itself as a hatred for Superman and all things related to him. I think that’s why I enjoyed Batman versus Superman the film so much because Batman beat the snot Ida. Kryptonian creep and I was so excited to see him get the stuffing knocked out of him by my favorite superhero despite being portrayed by an actor I also despise.

But surely that wasn’t enough a disappointing movie a mediocre TV soap opera that couldn’t have been what killed my interest in a character I enjoyed as a kid, could it? I remember the jokes I don’t know who first made them making fun of Superman all the powers of a God and he uses it to get cats out of trees I was told over and over. His most powerful villain is a banker I was told mocking the Superman. And he is defeated by a pebble of all things a piece of chalk as they mocked the Superman. And I know the first point I pulled on a thread that unravelled some of the mystery was in fact rolling my eyes at the first Superman movie as I re-watched it and realized how absurd it was that Lex Luthor would be able to deduce that meteor had to be Kryptonite simply because a planet blew up decades ago around the same time Superman would have laughed and he just figured it out didn’t make sense to me and I’m at that point and all those other markings compounded in my head the things people had said about Superman over the years he wears his underwear on the outside they said. And soul it really started to become real at that point. I do know that was two thousand and 7 and I know that was because I was living with a guy at the time friend a roommate who is obsessed with Superman and we watched the movies together because he was trying to remind me how much I shouldn’t hate Superman when I was mocking him for liking Superman and forgetting that I had at one point in time also like Superman

I know part of it was finding the Marvel Universe of characters far more fascinating as I fell in love with thoroughly the X-Men and also Spider-Man. After a while I started to believe the things people said about Superman and started to distance myself from him thinking he’s beneath me and people are weird for liking him and not only growing to hate the character growing to despise the company that he was a symbol representing but also questioning my filiation with people who put him on a pedestal also questioning myself why do I care so much about a fictional comic book hero? I didn’t answer that question at least not in a way I will brag about. All I learned is at some point I went from really liking the guy to really hating him and I don’t know why.

When I decided to get back into comic book collecting I knew I had to subscribe to Action Comics I told myself I’m subscribing to comic books because my goal is to play my small part in helping the industry obviously I don’t believe I can save the industry but I felt obligated to subscribe to some print Publications as at the time I was working for print publication and felt a kindred spirit with those produced in comic books. So I decided to start subscribing monthly the books to be delivered in my home and the first one I chose was Action Comics knowing that Superman despite my disinterest in the character what’s the pillar that holds the entire comic book industry even I know that his importance cannot be understated after all he is the world’s first superhero and probably the most iconic most popular and most important superhero by Leaps and Bounds above everybody else. Love him or hate him I could not deny his importance.

But then something happened something I didn’t expect I bought some comic books used off of eBay grab the couple off the shelf of my local comic book store and read them. It would be cliche to say my jaw dropped but it did I was amazed at how good these stories were and how enjoyable reading that character was and then I remembered how much I like to know the kid Nostalgia has a way of doing that reconnecting us to our childhood and a way that lists the fog of our memories and reminds us of the things although distorted that we may have forgotten. And I remember liking I remember waking up every day knowing that today is the day that a new episode of The Adventures of Superman comes on TNT and I couldn’t wait for it I had to see the newest episode I remember waiting anxiously for the Superman video game to come out on my game console of choice at the time having to rent it from Blockbuster video.

And I couldn’t remember how much I hated that character and now I can’t remember how much I loved him but I cannot remember or pinpoint at what point those emotions reversed. All I can say now is I very much regret all the time I missed enjoying the Superman exploits and stories fascinating dramas that were told in the pages of his books because now is I flip through Silver age books and Bronze Age books and Modern Age books and golden age books some on the digital platform stop physically in my hand I realize is quality of Storytelling and remain consistent throughout his entire history and I was a fool for thinking he was anything but the greatest superhero of all time. And now I can say I no longer hate the character I used to love I can now say he’s actually pretty good pretty cool he’s a nice guy he’s all right. And I don’t think I could have said that before.

And now I have to reflect not on what I missed not on why I dismiss to the character but on how do I move forward righting the wrongs of my own life? last summer I told my family I was a cross-dresser contemplating if I was transgendered or not. I decided at that point I couldn’t keep secrets anymore and now I realize I can’t keep secrets for myself either and I was lying to myself by saying I hated Superman when I secretly didn’t. I was afraid of being made fun of mocked for being a nerd anyways and even among comic book nerds Batman is considered cool Superman is considered a dork and despite the fact that I myself am more of a dork than cool I felt the need to root for the other guy for some reason.

None of this in any way has diminished my admiration for Batman. If anything it’s only made me appreciate the Dark Knight even more so the first trade paperback I bought featuring Kal-El the Kryptonian is in fact the greatest Batman versus Superman stories at least according to the Publishers of DC Comics who you know write them. Oh and yeah it actually now has me very fascinated and interested Beyond even curious to say the least in the Justice League and I can put some of the blame on that directed towards those so-called terrible dceu films everybody mocks. And hey I can admit that I like suicide squad and found it quite entertaining and most enjoyable because my favorite Batman movie of all time to me the best movie that fully represents the Batman is Batman Forever so clearly I can accept enjoy and appreciate a film other fans do not as much and that’s where I am now I don’t care what people think of me anymore I don’t care what people say I don’t care if I get made fun of I’m going to like what I like and that’s that. And if that means admitting that I like Superman then so be it what am I afraid of I mean so what if he wears women’s underwear it’s not like I haven’t.

Why I cancelled The Dark Web Podcast and what comes next for The Spiders Lair

It took me a while to get to the point where I was ready to admit the truth, my podcast was a bad idea.

I set out to launch my latest attempt at a podcast in the summer of 2017. After a few short episodes I realized I had a better idea for a show and cancelled it with the promise I would revamp it with a complete refresh after just a few short weeks. I went out of my way to reach out to guests and tried to give the show a big push. I even took out ads in the local newspaper and the school yearbook. It was all my attempt at putting out a show that would have a real radio show production value. I even launched a broadcast TV style companion show on Youtube that I quickly killed after just a handful of episodes.

The truth is the show was a mess from the start. I kept going back and forth on how raw or real I wanted to be. I was torn between keeping it radio friendly or being more mature. I never could lock down a format. I tried having recurring segments that rotated on a regular basis to the point I eventually gave up. After just a few months I tried to reformat it into a 5 day a week 30 minute radio friendly show I could try to syndicate to broadcast radio stations. After a couple of months it  became obvious that was not a viable option I then took it back into an 2-3 hour marathon of me mostly yelling/cussing into the microphone. I went back and forth it it would have video or not. I tried doing it with an expensive mic and lights, then I got lazy and did it entirely from my cell phone.

The real reason the show failed was I never could decide what I wanted it to be. To be absolutely honest the show wasn’t a complete failure in the audience department. After two years I managed to garner over 20,000 downloads and was averaging 150 per week. The problem was retention was abysmal. In fact it was basically 0 percent most weeks meaning I wasn’t building a loyal audience, I just hand 150 random people stumble into my web once a week each week never to return. The fact there was zero audience participation on Twitter reinforced my belief the show was basically dead.

This past month with the ongoing health crisis causing me to go stir crazy I decided once and for all to kill the show for good. That doesn’t mean I am done entirely with podcasts or YouTube it just means this show, the Dark Web Podcast, is no more.

So what comes next? For the website, this blog, nothing changes. I will write articles on topics that interest me as I either find the time, inspiration or both.

The YouTube channel is where I intend to do some new things. Well, actually old things. In other words my plan now that the podcast is dead is to refocus my energy on doing shorter vlog style videos. Basically just me picking a single topic and digging into it. I might keep doing pickup and collection videos as I find the time.

I don’t want to reveal what my future plans are because right now they are influx and could change before I do anything meaningful. The actual truth is I loved doing a podcast but it became a chore with little reward. It also doesn’t hurt that I landed a job as a TV producer removing the need for me to produce a web series. I think I will take a step back and try to figure out what I want to do next. I have another confession regarding the ‘retro witch’ coming soon so stay tuned. And as always, Stay Cool.

The DC Universe mistake fans keep making

I’ve talked a lot over the last couple of years about streaming video services and the crowded Market. One of the services that people are quick to point out has very little value as a streaming service is DC Universe. And within good reason there’s just a few superhero shows published by DC and a handful of movies they themselves do not produce enough content to justify an $8 a month streaming service they just don’t. But that’s the fallacy of DC Universe and the discussions people have about it.

If you look at DC Universe as a streaming service it’s not worth the price of admission $8 is way too much for what you get barely enough content to justify it. But if you look at it the opposite of that it’s not a streaming service that gives you access to comic books it’s a digital comic Service that has movies and TV shows as a bonus then it has a tremendous value at $8 a month.

I started reading digital Comics recently as a way to have a little bit more variety than just videos because I’ve missed reading comic books and the Health crisis has me pretty much isolated at home for more hours than I’m used to and I’m looking for new ways to occupy my time. The first thing I noticed is you have three digital Comics Services Marvel Unlimited, comixology unlimited and DC Universe. All three services offer basically the same thing a catalog of digital Comics that you can read at your leisure and a variety of new Comics that come out through a time-lapse after enough time has passed they get the new comics.

Now comixology as a service only lets you borrow comics for short periods of time they have a limited number of comics and then you have to return them. Or you have the option to buy them and keep them in your digital library permanent so long as you have the comixology app I guess.

But DC Universe offers something a little bit better you get a complete back catalog of all of their old comics with new ones being added all the time and the new Comics as they come out get added after certain amount of time so you’re getting quite a bit of comic books and because it’s a DC service and they are the publisher they own all the rights the stuff that’s there theoretically should expire. This is good news for the reader.

So now I look at DC Universe and I think it’s a pretty good service if you consider it as a Comics streaming service that includes some movies TV shows and cartoons as a bonus I think it works but the people who keep saying once HBO Max launches the service will no longer serve a purpose are out of their damn minds and it’s irritating to me that people keep treating it like a streaming service that has a few Comics like the comics are quaint and not that important. When did the comic book industry get to a point where the actual books themselves are seen as a licensed property or an ancillary product instead of the actual main driving force? This is bad news for Publishers and frankly it’s bad news for comic book fans.

Comic book industry is fragile just like all of the print Publications right now. Digital Comics can’t sustain or replace the print Publications because digital Comics subscriptions are very small source of revenue for $8 a month I get access to everything versus $30 a year for one book it’s a big difference in what I’m paying for a comic book. But the key difference is the digital comic just feeds me the panels that contain the story there are no advertisements whereas is if I buy a book that comes in the mail there will be ads on the page that Lawson advertising dollars is a tremendous blow to the bottom line of the comic book industry.

Now as a part of a big conglomerate DC can make money off of movies and TV shows licensing video games toy t-shirts Etc the comic books are just a another way to make money as readership declines.

But they need to find a way to make the core comic book product profitable and enticing for readers so that they can continue on producing the Legacy Media that started the whole industry in the first place as well as to continue on coming up with stories that can Inspire or be the source material for movies and TV shows video games and everything else.

I’m thoroughly enjoying reading back issues of DC Universe comic books. I hope the service sticks around as a digital Comics service for some time to come my hope is that it will help put some money back into DC’s coffers so that they can continue to feed the comic book fandom so they can stay in business stay profitable.

Comic book fans are fans of comic book stories I should say have more options than ever movies, TV shows, anime, video games and so much more. It’s good for the comic book industry in that you can see some really good at aptations of these stories an animated form or even live action stories but it’s bad for the comic book medium because people think of the comic books themselves as inferior to these other types of stories when it was the comic books that launch them to begin with.

My hope is more people will discover DC Universe as a digital Comics platform and we’ll see the other stuff as bonus material because I imagine a lot of people who have it are going to drop it and favor of HBO Max when that service launches later this month or next month.

And I find that to be sad I really think that there’s enough room in the market for three digital Comics stores Marvel to have their own and then DC can have their own comixology will have everybody else and if you pursue digital Comics that way it’s a good service the problem is that still pricey for some people. but it’s an actual tremendous bargain if you think about it $8 a month and you get all the back issues of DC Comics now not literally every issue they’ve ever published but every story you’re going to want to read for the most part is there and you can’t get some of those comic books for $8 a piece let alone $8 a month. the value of DC Universe cannot be stated enough. Most people don’t recognize how important it is to the industry and how much of a value you actually get for $8 a month even if you only buy two comic books a month or spending more than $8 at the newsstand or the comic book store.

I’ve even heard commentators comic book fans who trash the service because it streaming options are so thin and they even say things like the comics aren’t is important to them or they get their comics from comixology or some other free service which is too bad because you’re not supporting the publisher when you do that and it’s not that difficult to try to help support the publisher that is producing the content you are consuming and enjoying.

I’m doing my part I’m doing the best I can because I want to see the comic book industry survive and I love reading comics and I hate that we’ve gotten to a point that people see comic books as a secondary or even lower product on the scale as the movies and cartoons. I love the Marvel movies I like a lot of the DC movies but I still prefer the comics I love the comics the best stories are always going to be in the comic books because your less restricted in a comic book you don’t have to worry about an actor taking off his mask because he has to get face time on camera. you don’t have to worry about changing actors or recasting or fan backlash when you cast the wrong person for some reason or another.

you’re limited by your imagination and comic books and you’re limited by big budget and a whole bunch of other issues when it comes to film and television. comic books need to be profitable in order to continue to provide Source material for the video games and everything else and those things can subsidize the comic books but you have to have the comics.

what I’m doing personally is budgeting one new title a month every payday I will add a new subscription that way it’s $30 for an annual subscription every two weeks I’ll spend another $30 adding another new subscription so that I’ll have 12 months of that book and then every month in a rotate a new book each month. I’m going to subscribe to all three Digital Services and then I will support my local comic book shop by buying back issues as I come across them and if they start selling new issues I’ll buy the ones I don’t subscribe to that I can afford.

at the very least if every comic book fan would subscribe to all three of the Digital Services you would be doing a tremendous service to the Publishers the writers artists the creative people that make your stories possible at the very least get the three services and read the digital Comics you can afford.

the biggest takeaway is think of DC Universe as a bargain for digital comics and all that other stuff is bonus material.

What to make of We Are What We Are?

Every once in a while a film comes along that gets inside my mind in a way that the only cure is to spread it to as many unsuspecting individuals as humanly possible. Horror movies can be especially infectious in their spread. Like a disease the effects can be slow but impactful depending on the nature of the film.

The first time I watched “We Are What We Are” it was very much like being overtaken by a new virus. It started out like a slow, almost boring movie about a family with a cult-like belief system. Slowly the story began to unfold. The disease began to spread. By the time the movie ended I was thoroughly infected with its images. It was firmly seeded in my brain ready to spread throughout my tribe.

The film itself is nothing special. In fact it’s really just a remake of a film imported into the United State from our neighbors to the south. In fact I recently found myself stumbling upon the original during an online search to revisit the film recently. Yet like many remakes it does leave its own mark on the world.

It starts with a simple opening. A woman in what appears to be a small town falls suddenly to her death with no explanation. The majority of the movie centers on the family both coping with the loss of their mother while also preparing for a gut-wrenching ritual that involves kidnapping, dehumanizing and ritualistically cannibalizing a young woman.

During the course of the film the viewers psyche is infected with images telling the origin of the practice via flashbacks. It tells a tale of a frontier family struggling to survive a particularly harsh winter. During the course of the winter the women are eaten as a means of providing food for the rest of the family. The gruesome scenes are only the beginning. The remainder of the film is a blend of verbal abuse the children must suffer as the father continues preparations while one of the daughters begins to question the practice. The other plot thread revolves around the local authorities investigating the suspicious death of the aforementioned mother from the beginning.

What ensues is a story involving a young girl using her sexuality to throw the scent of the law enforcement officer off the trail in a disturbing scene that reinforces certain stereotypes of those who choose to live a simple, country lifestyle.

The film culminates in a scene that provides a thoroughly satisfying wrap to the events depicted. Between the family’s treatment of their captive as a wild animal, to the borderline incestuous relationship between the father and his children, the film is absolutely daring enough to entangle the viewer in grotesque tale sure to leave a lasting impression upon them for years to come. While not the most shocking film I have ever seen it is surely high on the list.

Like “The Ring”, the cure for watching the film is to spread it to its next victim. I have done my part. Stay Cool.

Discovering Shudder and the world of horror streaming

I’ve always been a fan of Horror. I wouldn’t say I’m a casual fan but I’m definitely not the type of person who only watches War. I’d say it’s a high priority but not the only thing I want. Still I watch enough of it that I want more than the typical offering in your usual streaming services.

When I first signed up for Netflix and discovered streaming I was amazed at all of the awesome horror movies they had. Eventually as things have changed with Netflix facing more and more competition the one thing I have noticed as well some of their horror movies have gone down in terms of their available Classics and specially they’ve actually done a really good job focusing on horror on the platform and that’s commendable to me it’s the one thing that keeps me coming back to be honest. All it takes is one look at stranger things to know that Netflix cares passionately about horror films and fans.

So when I learned there was a streaming service that was nothing but horror focused my first instinct was to write it off as too narrowly focused to niche. But as social distancing caused by a real world Horror Story a global pandemic has left me at home fairly isolated I’ve been looking for more content to stream to view to watch as is most people these days.

So the first thing I decided to do was download the app sign up for the free trial and browse through the selection. Now as a fan of the slasher genre I was immediately relieved to find some of the best slashers available right off the bat.

At this point in time they currently have all of the original Paramount Friday the 13th movies, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a couple of the house on Sorority row type horror slasher films, a mixed bag of modern and old, some of the Halloween films and a handful of others far better variety of that particular genre than the other streaming services.

I was immediately disappointed at the shallowness of their selection. Being a genre specific streaming service their offerings are very tailored to a certain taste which I definitely appeal to that’s Me I’m Their audience however I quickly realized that they don’t have the numbers but I’ll not let that bother me at this point there’s still plenty to watch.
I was impressed with the 6 hour long Friday the 13th documentary narrated by Corey Feldman who had been a staple in the Friday the 13th series at one point and is an 80s movie icon himself.

In a similar vein to Netflix having a library of catalog titles they do have also a handful of TaylorMade selections that appeal to her fans which I have not yet had an opportunity to check out but have been impressed that they do exist.

As a service as a whole it will not be enough to satisfy my bloodlust obviously. But I’m very glad that I finally took the opportunity to invest in a streaming service that has a focus on content that does heavily appeal to me. When Netflix was new I envisioned specific Services similar to this service.

I picture to service that exclusively cater to horror fans and had the best horror films you could get. I also envisioned one that had a focus on sci-fi films, anime, a different one that focused on superheroes and comic books the list goes on I thought that would be a good way to go about it if they could get enough content to satisfy individual fans each service wouldn’t appeal to the masses but they have it tailored audience that would be loyal and I think that works probably better with our society’s tastes then the studio model where you have your entire catalog but it’s a little bit of everything which gets boring and tired after a while because you still have to sign up for multiple services.

I understand we’ll never be at a time where you have everything at your fingertips at your disposal and nothing ever expires I’m I’ve accepted that movies and TV shows rotate in and rotate out as long as they rotate in and out quickly that they are constantly giving you enough variety and their Library to keep it fresh I think that works especially for a genre focused service.

What I’m looking for is a service like this that gives me all the best horror movies hand-selected by fans. So far that’s what I’ve seen and I like that. It does work for me better to have a variety a mix of old and new so that you can watch the new stuff and keep fresh if you’re a longtime fan but also explore the Retro classic stuff the origins if you’re a new fan or somebody who wants to revisit old favorites.

My first complaint is probably limited to some of the other streaming services that are out there competing with them but there’s no public domain films and there’s not a lot of the classic horror films the really old ones you know like the Universal Pictures and that Realm which is disappointing a little bit to me.. basically reminds me that as Studios push for their own everything catalog service it will take away the ability of services like this to even exist for example if Paramount launches their own streaming service in the future and with holds all of their Friday the 13th and the like it becomes even harder for service like this to get access to the good stuff limiting us to original content an indie film switch to be fair can be some of the best horror movies but it will limit their marketability to bring in new fans such as myself who was hesitant at first.

I also wonder if once social distancing is no longer than normal we go back to our regular lives will I still have a craving for all this additional content is this the service or one of the services I intend to keep. I have to decide that.

Now let’s actually look at the content itself.

Not too long ago I watched a movie called Phantasm 2 I had on a DVD and was looking for the first Phantasm 2 stream and I didn’t find it on any of the mainstream streaming services so became disheartened slightly and gave up. I log into shudder for my free trial and lo and behold to have the whole series – the one I actually have on DVD. They have an assortment of Halloween films which is nice and they also have a few documentaries and originals and TV shows that I think are worth checking out, I’m curious to see what there are like.

Again going back to licensing I’m slightly disappointed that they don’t have Friday the 13th the series the TV show or Freddy’s nightmares the TV show I think this would be the perfect streaming service to house those to permanently but it might not be in the cards.

I will say for me personally that 6 hour documentary chronicling the entire history of the Friday the 13th franchise was well worth the price of Entry itself. I have plenty of films in my list to browse and I have plenty of things to discover as time goes on my hope is I can watch what’s there before it goes away and new stuff will arrive in a consistent fashion that will keep me excited for the service.

One thing this service has as far as an advantage over Hulu or Netflix is that horror fans tend to be incredibly loyal and I believe that if there is sufficient content satiate that taste they will not only stick around but advocate for its success.

That was out getting into Fanboy territory I would like to say there are flaws in the service that can’t be helped likely due to licensing issues. And while my biggest complaint about Netflix is the vast majority of their horror selection does appear to feel like or appear to be low budget Indie fare, which I can’t say is necessarily A Bad Thing. So I can’t necessarily say that’s a bonus or Plus for shudder if I’m going to mark it as a down grade for Netflix or a strike against Netflix rather.

Only time will tell if the service provides a satisfying selection of content available to me in a manner which justifies the price. For the time being I’m gladly willing to try it out for the trial. And contemplating seeing how things go from there.

At this point I will say that the service has promised and I’m very glad that it exists cuz I’ve always envisioned a streaming service similar to this I just hope that it remains profitable enough to continue to curate content that will satisfy the taste of those who patronize the service for the duration of this Digital streaming world we live in.

What it’s been like working from home these past two weeks

I’ve had a lot going on in the last couple of weeks in my life just like most people in the world I would imagine.

I got the word two weeks ago today that my company wanted us working from home during the Health crisis.

Fortunately as a journalist who works for a newspaper this isn’t a major inconvenience for me although it has been difficult at sometimes. I’ve learned to adjust.

The first day was the most stressful because everybody knew we weren’t going to have access to our usual tools or resources or any of our sources for that matter and we still had to get a paper out. Based on my conversations with colleagues and co-workers we came to the decision that the first week went really smooth.

The second week however not as smooth so far. One of the reasons for that is things continue to get complicated elsewhere everyday towns and counties that surround us go in the lockdown and even our own cities in our own County have started to take measures towards that end.

The upside for the most part has been spending time with my cat and also getting to hang out with my sister and her kids more. I’ve also been getting a lot of housework done a lot of cleaning things of that nature I’ve even made small repairs to the house that were necessary.

Before I went to college I always had this fantasy this Daydream this wish that I could have an opportunity to work from home. I don’t like people I don’t like being out in the public so I thought it would be amazing great fantastic perfect all things good. And for the most part it’s not been that bad.

I feel there’s an economic trade-off that I’ve not prepared myself for mentally. The office where I work is about 20 miles from my house in the city that I cover is an additional give or take ten miles depending on what I’m covering or where I’m going so it’s saving me a lot of gas money by not having to drive anywhere.

The downside at least in terms of economics is I’m home all the time which means I’m always burning electricity I’ve always been cautious with the electricity I turn every Appliance in my house off when I leave. I make sure that there’s no lights on and I even turned the switch off my amplifier to my antenna while I’m at work as well as all the power strips to my electronics devices.

Sitting at home even with the lights off and most appliances still unplugged her to say I have to have my hat minimum my phone plugged in and charging because I’m using it for the hotspot to get to the internet on my laptop which is also plugged in and charging so I can work. I have to keep the TV on at least around the times that the television news cast come on because part of my responsibility as a news reporters to keep an eye on my competition which is also a gateway to sources and stories that I may have missed.

So that’s at least three or four appliances or devices that are constantly plugged in and burning electricity that have usually been turned off during the day I fear my power bill is going to be outrageous next month and I’m already delayed this one’s power bill into next month because of financial reasons.

The only good news out of all of the money situation is I got a better job offer and I will start my new job presumably at the end of the time. That my current job is going to and it’s work-from-home status although that’s not been determined yet.

My current job of course is news reporter for publication a daily newspaper North Central Texas community. My new job will be evening news producer for television newscast in the same Market.

I’m excited for the new job and the opportunity although I have reservations not about the job but about the status the world is in. And our current county has cases that have been confirmed and is making Necessary steps to do its part to contains the disease to prevent further spread.

We’ve been encouraged to get out of the house every once in a while to take a walk and get some fresh air. The problem is this has become difficult as it is constantly raining and so opportunities to be outside have been fairly limited although the last couple of days have been dry and warm the downside to that is I don’t have an air conditioner right now so I’ve been sweating quite a bit and have a rash places I’d rather not have a rash.

On a personal note it’s been nice to have a little freedom from the norm getting away from the crowds social anxiety has been on the decline these days I haven’t been socializing but other stressors have popped up I hadn’t taken into account. For example I live in a small camper with a cat who poops a lot which means I have to scoop the Box more frequently than I’m used to because I’m home sitting on my couch smelling it all the time versus coming home at the end of the day and just going to bed. Also Care Credit the cat is handled the stress of me being home better than I thought she would but she’s been getting outside more so maybe she that’s how she’s coping.

Even now is I Pace my property writing this article on my cell phone using voice to text as that is all I have access to she sits and stares at me making noises in my direction I don’t know if she’s trying to get my attention or what.

the first week I did spend some time playing video games and after I clocked out having completed my work for the day watching movies and TV shows. Second week I’ve been doing house chores cleaning and making minor repairs to my house every chance I get.

I have another week of work from home before I end my employment at the newspaper and start working for the TV station. I’m optimistic about the change. I imagine by that time I’ll be ready to get back out into the world hopefully things will have mellowed a little bit by then.

as a precaution communities all around us have been going into lockdown or shelter in place the community I cover has issued a stay-at-home but not quite shelter in place yet. as such my employer has provided us with credentials and documentation allowing us to be out in such cases as we are deemed essential.

all in all what I can say is if this was my permanent status but it is not the dream I thought it would be.

By the end of week 2 will see how I’m feeling I got one more day to go and I’m already starting to feel the anxiety starting to get stir crazy twice I’ve gone over to my sister’s house and harassed her to hang out with me just to get up just to have somebody besides my cat to talk to. I’ve also spent more time making phone calls to family members who are at a distance to me both of my parents live across the country as do two of my sisters that’s an unfortunate way of wording at my parents live together they just live on the other side of the country I should say.

And throughout all of this I’ve been fighting off a cough that just won’t go away. it’s not the virus and I’ve been quarantined enough at home away from the public to know that I would have had the virus by now but I have been to the doctor. it’s just seasonal allergies with all the rain the plants in my yard or growing exponentially so I do need to get that under control if it never dries up enough for me to cut the grass.

we’re supposed to have clear skies and a dry sunny day today so today might be the day. I get Amusement watching my cat chase the Wasps around my yard until she manages to chase one into my house before she attempts to eat it. I have successfully seen her eat to wasps so far so she seems to enjoy them. I did watch her eat a honey bee that must have stung her while she was in the process of doing so based on her reaction.

another somewhat negative is because I’m working on my computer and phone constantly I haven’t been checking Facebook or Twitter or other social media is much so I’m out of touch with my online community.

as I check in from time to time I noticed that most of their comments are long sign same lines as I’m feeling which I don’t fault them for that.

I’ve also noticed at least in a casual setting sitting on my couch I become somewhat complacent my work has not begun to suffer but I’ve been in a rush at times overlooking things that I probably wouldn’t for shouldn’t overlook under normal circumstances.

it’s excusable on my blog I’m My Own editor therefore I make the decisions anything I didn’t catch anything I missed oh well that’s on me. But that doesn’t work for the newspaper I do have editors looking over my work but I have to do a better job cross-checking the things that I write I’m trying to be aware of that. but that’s the thing from working from home you kind of get comfortable and it’s hard to switch your brain back to work mode.

I’d rather write about a comic book I read recently on a video game I just discovered or a new YouTube video or channel that I’m watching that’s not the way the world is right now I have to write about what’s happening when I seen what I’m feeling what I’m experiencing. I don’t have advice for others I haven’t found the trick yet myself unfortunately.

what I can say is this be careful what you wish for because sometimes when you get it it’s not what you expected. I have social anxiety and despised professional sports with a passion so I first seen the world shut down and all sports being destroyed for all intents and purposes I found it amusing it first aside from the fact that people were getting sick and or dying. but then I had a need to venture to a grocery store to pick up some Necessities for my own house and that’s when the reality sunk in people are losing their minds right now. I don’t think we need everybody on the planet in the middle State I operate in, it’s my Norm I’ve adjusted I know how to deal with it but it’s not healthy for everyone else and that makes me worried for the people who don’t know how to self isolate the people who don’t know how to distance themselves from social Gatherings as I have learned to do I desire and crave social contact as much as everyone else but I limitit to small doses but other people who aren’t used to that can’t adjust as easily. And that’s what worries me what will they do how will they react when they snap when the stir crazy becomes other kinds of crazy.

I said on my podcast recently I thrive in chaos which is a tagline to my show this is the spider’s Lair where chaos resides. and while that does ring true most of the time I can honestly say I’m at a point where I just want a little normalcy.

I do believe the upside to all of this is once things get moving again people will be relieved to get their lives back to normal and therefore activity will be more active than it was before I suppose that could be a good thing.

I’ll end this by saying that the most difficult part has been not having access to church as a Christian that has been important to me and so I have to evaluate my own values. I’ll save the effects of that for another article imagine I’ll have plenty to say. in the meantime stay home and stay safe and as always stay cool.

Why it isn’t that easy to define non binary folks in binary terms

Reach down your pants and see what you have, that is all it takes to decide if you are a boy or a girl.

How many times have you heard a similar line thrown your way? If you are trans gender, bi sexual, pan sexual or gender queer chances are you have heard someone in your life make a similar statement.

Last night I was watching an episode of That 70s Show. It was season 1, Eric’s Buddy. This was always one of my favorite episodes as it helped illustrate how confusing it can be to have non-standard non-binary feelings.

In the episode the main character, Eric Foreman, befriends a rich kid named Buddy who is is lab partner for a science class. During the course of the episode it is revealed Buddy is actually gay and interested in Eric romantically. Following a moment involving a kiss Eric clearly rejected, the two friends have a slightly awkward conversation about why he chose Eric and it quickly moves back into comedy territory. The moment was brief and the episode certainly wasn’t ground breaking by any stretch. It presented being gay as somewhat normal behavior but in the context of the decade it was taking place there was an obvious treatment of it being abnormal. Later in the episode the character Steven Hyde even uses the phrase “love that dare not speak its name” when referring to homosexual tendencies. It was one of those episodes when I was younger I thought oh cool they normalized this is a way I can relate but also stayed true to the time period.

Looking back on it I think episodes like this had a positive impact on my experiences where as someone who was more out in the open during that time might not have seen it the same as I had. I remained firmly in the closet until less than a year ago. It opened up slightly to some extent to a very small group of people over the years but it wasn’t until attending a pride event I decide to tackle my own issues head on. Up to that point I had shrugged it off as something inside of me I could never act upon.

The more I am confronted with figuring out what my trued self is the more I wish I could just tell people I don’t know and I don’t want to figure it out. Maybe part of that falls on me. It could be that I struggle to find where I fit in the binary world while accepting I am not quite fully binary in nature. I know from a Christian perspective this is difficult to consider. However, I found that what works best for me is saying I consider myself gender fluid these days. Some days I wake up more feminine feeling than others. Some days I wake up fully masculine. Other days I want to be some where in the middle.

This has come up as I began to develop the Retro Witch character. A part of me wants to present her as female. A small part of me wants to present her as more of a shemale, the old stereotypical transvestite. In other words, male presenting as female but not fully female. I think trans women face the same cultural pressures as cis women to be sexually appealing to society. Because women have to place so much of their identity on their outward sexuality it makes it hard for a tranny to say I want to wear panties and dresses but not shave my beard.

I want to be a woman internally but I don’t need to do so in a way that satisfies your sexual fantasies about me. The first time a guy commented on a YouTube video of mine, presenting as female, about my sexual desireability I felt very akward. I didn’t put on a dress, wig and makeup for men to find me attractive. I do it because it feels right. It makes me feel right. That is, when the mood strikes. There are times when jeans and a t-shirt feels right. I would rather not be defined by the clothes I wear, the way I do my hair or even the music I listen to. I would rather be defined by my personality and my value as a person.

I think this is a big part of why I have such a hard time making friends. I have so little self esteem because I see myself as invaluable to the human condition. I am no binary which means I am also not a breeder. I don’t express my sexuality in a way conducive to procreation, something quite contrary to my Catholic faith.

I cling to the word transgender, internally calling myself tranny for short or queer girl in my mind. I do this not in a self loathing or deprecating way but as a way to define myself in the context of the societal norm. I read a story about how this new super hero movie celebrates its bisexual character and the comments are all negatively attacking the so-called Hollywood agenda to push the gays onto the world. I get sick of being told we are pushing outselves onto the world when it is quite literally the other way around. All I want, I don’t speak for all non binary queer folks, but all *I* want is to live my life and not be told I am doing it wrong. Let me decide what works for me and you do what works for you. I get there are people who hate change. There are people who hate for the sake of hating. There are those who use their religion to justify hating. As for me, I just wish those people would leave me alone and let me figure it out for myself. What is it hurting YOU if I decide to be gay, bi or whatever else?