Yay 2012: Thumbs Up!

The myriad forms that excellence took in 2012:

How is it already 2013?

How is it already 2013?

Borderlands 2 – My pick for game of the year. While maybe not the most technically daring or graphically beautiful, it’s the game I had the most fun playing this year. Handsome Jack may be a Hall of Fame villain. I sure hope Butt Stallion is ok.

LA Noire – Yeah it’s old, but I just got around to playing it this year during the Summer Gaming Drought of ’12. This game indirectly contributed to my subsequent non-playing of Sleeping Dogs.

Black Ops 2 Multiplayer – the Pick 10 system was a welcome change to multiplayer this year, allowing for greater class flexibility.  Also nice: Prestige’ing doesn’t reset all of your progress!

Portal 2 – (see LA Noire)

The Walking Dead – both the game from Telltale Games game & AMC’s third season. TTG did a masterful job with it’s Walking Dead game; cannot wait for season 2, whenever that’s slated to hit.  Every chapter had at least one holy shit moment (and I’m only on chapter 3!). Season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead was surprisingly strong as well, as I’d all but given up on the series after the Sophia/Farm heavy second season.  When in the HELL does Rick get his trusty hatchet?

The Avengers – best superhero movie of the year. Spider-what? Dark Who? I want to see a buddy movie with Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner & RD Jr’s Tony Stark. But only if it has at least once scene where the Hulk throws a bear

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Marvel NOW –  I stll have no idea what the deal is with Marvel Now. A reboot? A renumbering? A sales trick? What I DO know is that Marvel’s ratcheted up its game (possibly due to the New 52) and is churning out very, very strong series especially Thor God of Thunder, Indestructible Hulk, The Avengers, Uncanny Avengers & All New X-Men.  Leading me to…

Hawkeye – comic of the year? Perhaps. Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth’s take on the character make him a compelling everyman that bounces between outwitting Marvel’s arch criminals to defending his NYC apartment building from a horde of Russian bros. Doesn’t sound like your bag? Trust me, it is. Check it out.

Ski Safari – I have a bad habit of bying mobile games, playing them for a day or so and then moving on. So far, Ski Safari has not only kept my attention but actively looking forward to the commute to/from work so I can play it. I hate skiing but I love doing monster backflips on a yeti. If you feel the same, pick it up.

Rawrs Shirts – the first & third best thing I bought at New York Comic Con this year. Cool designs on shirts that fit great.

Comic Con 2012’s poster orgy – The second & fourth best things I bought were from Mondo. Plus a totally sweet Thanos/War of the Gems poster from Capcom. Plus this:

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Saturday Night in Atlantic City – bachelor party shenanigans & a solid 6 hour of poker.

Finally getting rid of my shit iPhone4 – you suck bro and I’m glad you’re gone.  

Very Near Mint & Double Barrel – Not going to lie: I’m not an indie comics guy.  I’m just not. But I took a chance on VNM at NYCC ’12 and on Double Barrel on the advice of the CEO of comiXology and I’m glad I did.  I actually went back to NYCC to pick up additional copies of VNM.  Both are worth at least taking a look at.  And since the first few issues of DB are like $.99 on comiXology, definitely worth the expense. Just buy them already.

Max Payne -a great surprise. This was more of an impulse purchase, as I’d never played the first two. But Rockstar’s been on such a roll lately, I thought it would definitely be worth it  The single player was great, standouts being the first level and any of the levels running around in the Brazillian favelas. What really shocked me though was the multiplayer. If there’s one thing that’s already bothered me about Rockstar games, it’s that their multiplayer efforts seem kind of tacked on and frankly not very good. I didn’t get that from MP3 at all; the level designs were top notch, the game modes were all interesting spins on established multiplayer staples, the weapons seemed balanced, and the customization’s were pretty fun (I love dress up, shut up).

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This Week’s Comics Haul – Nah Nah Naaaaah Gonna’ Have a Good Time

Bonus The Walking Dead 103 variant cover by Chris Giarrusso!

Picks this week:

Wonder Woman #13

Chew #29

The Walking Dead #103

Daredevil #19 (Cover of the Week)

Hawkeye #3

The Mighty Thor #21

Harbinger #5 (ok, also  Cover of the Week)

X-O Manowar #6

Random Thoughts

– “Everything Burns” wraps up this week, convienently to coincide with the launch of the much maligned (by me) Marvel NOW. Here’s hoping for an adequate payoff for such a buildup.

– Valiant stuff keeps getting better; I had the chance to talk with a couple of Valiant execs at NYCC and even though I may have come off like a fawning, sweaty fanboy (like all fanboys, ever) they were generally very enthused to hear from me and talk about the future (a little bit) & direction they were headed.  Confirmed that Turok, Solar & Magnus were probably lost and gone forever, but the rest of the cast & crew of Valiant will be showing up with increasing frequency over the course of the next 18 months.  I asked them about Rai and was told, “Just wait, we’ve got big plans for Rai.”

– How ’bout that Daredevil cover? Wow.

– Depending on what happens in Wonder Woman, I may drop the book.

– I love Double Barrel. Go & investigate!

One Dog’s Opinion: The Future of Digital Comics

A few years ago I heard something great: Marvel Comics was putting some of their old comics on the internet for me to read. No, this wasn’t a BitTorrent type of thing; this was Marvel Comics (registered trademark, copyrights, the whole nine yards®). When I tried it out, my first reaction was awe. I could read over 2,500 past Marvel titles for a measly $4.99/month! Are you kidding me? I started out by reading all the Age of Apocalypse comics, then slowly worked my way through classic runs like Peter David’s “Incredible Hulk” and Frank Miller’s “Daredevil.” This actually led me to stop buying analog Marvel comics (because I no longer had the time or resources) and solely read comics online. Marvel does a great job of posting modern comics only a year or so after the comics initially debut in collected trades. So I was able to read Civil War, Secret Invasion and World War Hulk a little later than most but at a fraction of the price. It’s almost like a DV-R for comics.

Of course, it’s not the perfect solution. For the sake of completeness, here are some of the pros and cons of Marvel Digital Comics:

Pros:

(1) The ability to catch up with older stories without having to track down & buy the issues.
(2) Can’t emphasize this enough: it’s cheap ($4.99 a month; $30+ a year).
(3) The user interface is tremendous.
(4) Variety: There are now over 10,000 issues to read.

Cons:

(1) Immediacy: You do have to wait (sometimes a year or more)for new story lines and issues
(2) Some buggy issues (though these seem to have been cleared up recently)
(3) Cannot read with the iPad (ed.note: This is my LARGEST issue with Marvel Digital Comics)
(4) Not enough issues I care about

After perusing a few thousand issues over the past two years, I went to look for DC’s offering in the digital comics space. I definitely wasn’t pleased with what I found. DC was selling new issues digitally. There did not seem to be any back issues (I was looking for Detective Comics; I had planned on reading all 500 or so in a month… I was sorely disappointed). Additionally, I recently found that other comics are available via an app on your iPad called comiXology that offered same-day-as-print issues from a variety of publishers in addition to Marvel and DC like Dark Horse, Image, Valiant etc.

So, it seems that most comic book publishers are only selling new comics digitally, with Marvel being the only one the only one allowing their older comics to be read digitally. What does this mean? Will  digital comics replace floppies? Does it mean that Marvel will move away from Digital Comics Unlimited? Will DC have a DC Comics Unlimited? What do Dark Horse, Image, Boom etc fit in??

I’ve read a number (two) of articles on the future of digital comics and I just do not believe that digital will ever take the place of paper comics. I still get Batman monthly, though I get it analog because I don’t want to pay for a digital copy. It’s a shame that DC doesn’t offer readers with an unlimited digital options; I’d gladly wait a year to read something if it mean I could fall down an unlimited comics rabbit hole for a few hours every so often.

So, if I had my druthers, I would propose that the major comic publishers get together and do what Marvel has already done: a year or two after the initial publication of the comic (and associated trade), the comic is available on a digital site for people to read for a monthly fee. This could be the future of comics! For those that still want the books the day they hit the stands, go buy the book from their local comic shop! But for the comic book fans who can’t drop $45 a week on books and don’t even have the time to read them if we did, a catch-all subscription program would be a Beyonder-send.

Why isn’t this happening now? I believe publishers think that they can get more loot from publishing comics by paper than they can get from digitally providing them. Not everyone has a computer or the ability to get access to digital comics. Some people (yours truly) will not buy paper books and will wait until the digital comic is released (thereby depriving the publisher of revenue) (ed. note: Cruel).

So perhaps the future of comics that I would prefer will not come to pass.  I understand the comic book publisher is in the business of making money (not pleasing thegreekdog), so I’m not going to gripe too much. But DC, Image, Dark Horse, etc should know that I’m not reading their books, I’m reading Marvel books. My allowance of comic book funds goes to Marvel Digital Comics and classic trade paperbacks. It doesn’t go to monthly paper comics or digitally downloaded monthly comics. Some would label me a philistine. But I’m hardly that. I’m old school. I’m not on Twitter (ed.note: But I am! Follow me @imperviousrex!!). I don’t use Facebook (ed. note: We are! Follow us at facebook.com/modernborefare). I want good stories and will seek out the best, most efficient way to get them.  I could never buy 200, much less 10,000 comic books but in a way,  Marvel Digital Comics allows me to do that for a low monthly fee & opens up the vaults to let me read those stories that I would otherwise not read. SO in my mind, I think that means they win the comic book publisher battle.

Note: In a turn of high hypocrisy, I refuse to read digital novels.