Pixel Scroll 9/17/16 Mjölnir She Wrote

(1) FANAC FANHISTORY YOUTUBE CHANNEL. The FANAC Fan History Project has a website at Fanac.org with over 20,000 pages of photos, fanzines, references and other material. Their Youtube Channel will be used to provide a variety of audio and video recordings from conventions, clubs, interviews and other fannish endeavors. Most Recent video posts:

  • Albacon (2004) – David Hartwell interviews David Drake (1 hour, 16 minutes):

  • MidAmeriCon (1976) Worldcon – Alfred Bester interview (1 hour, 2 minutes):

(2) SORRY FROM PARIS. Norman Spinrad felt the need to apologize to the world via Facebook for the cover of his next novel, due out from Tor on February 7, 2017:

the-peoples-police-by-spinrad

My apologies to the people and the City of New Orleans for the misleading and insulting cover that Tor has insisted on putting on THE PEOPLE’S POLICE which will be published in February 2017. I’ve done all I can to no avail to get cover to reflect my true feelings about the city as does the novel. As does the novel’s dedication:

To THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF THE BIG EASY…
Past, Present, and Future
Never let your song sing surrender

One picture is not always worth a thousand words. Trust me that with THE PEOPLE’S POLICE 65,000 heartfelt words are worth more than one darkly misguided picture.

Spinrad added in a comment:

But part of it was the tragic death of my editor David Hartwell. Leaving the novel as an orphan novel without a mommy, daddy, or hero, which just got thrown in the machinery. This is just the kind of shit than can happen with nobody to blame. But handling it the way they have by completely stonewalling me is not proper professional treatment.

(3) SJW CREDENTIALS TAKE OVER. Both Anthony and “As You Know” Bob linked to this wonderful story of crowd-sourced SJW credentialing at London’s Clapham Common tube station: “Every advert in a London Underground station has been replaced ith cat photos”.

The Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (CATS, if you didn’t get that) started a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to replace the standard adverts for new protein shakes and mortgage apps with pictures of, well, cats.

We reported on it back in the wishing and hoping stage, and now the plan has blossomed into the beautiful thing it is today, with more than 60 adverts displaying cute kittens and cats from every angle at Clapham Common tube station.

Or should we say CAT-ham Common.

At first, the plan was just to put up pretty pictures of cats.

But after thinking things through CATS decided to display photos of animals in need of loving homes – so many of the pictures you can see are cats from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home or Cats Protection, the UK’s largest feline welfare charity.

cats

(4) TELL YOUR FRIENDS – IT’S BATMAN DAY. Remind Hollywood to make money! Movie makers took to twitter to celebrate Batman Day and hype the Justice League movie.

Holy sands of time! It’s Batman Day, DC Entertainment’s official celebration of the Dark Knight’s birthday, and as the internet blows up with tributes to the co-holder of the title for world’s most well-known superhero, Batman v. Superman director Zack Snyder has given the world its first glimpse at his version of two of Batdom’s most iconic elements. We’ll cut to the chase: Snyder tweeted out set photos from his upcoming Justice League showing off the new version of the Bat-signal, and in the process snuck in a glimpse of J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon. Check it out below.

(5) PRINT THRIVES AGAIN. Actual comic books are doing okay, too, according to Vulture “Comics circulation just hit a 20-year high”.

But due to momentum that’s hard to pin down but is likely owed to the increasing dominance of comics adaptations at the box office, companies have found their footing — and a wider readership — again. In fact, circulation just hit its highest level in 20 years.

According to the industry’s leading sales analyst, John Jackson Miller of Comichron, the monopolistic comics distributor Diamond shipped 10.26 million copies of comic books and graphic novels to comic-book shops in August. That’s the biggest distribution month since December of 1996. What’s more, DC Comics had a 44.59 percent share in that circulation, which is remarkable because the company lagged behind eternal rival Marvel for nearly five years before clobbering the latter in July. DC’s ascendance continues, and they had the most-ordered comic of August with the first issue of their Harley Quinn reboot.

(6) TIME BANDITS HEADLINES ART HOUSE CELEBRATION. Yes, there’s a day for everything – which means fans can look forward to seeing an old favorite from Terry Gilliam on the big screen once again, as Entertainment Weekly reports in Time Bandits and Phantasm: Remastered to play in cinemas on Art House Theater Day”.

EW can exclusively reveal that a 2K restoration of Terry Gilliam’s family-friendly fantasy-adventure Time Bandits and filmmaker Don Coscarelli’s horror film Phantasm: Remastered will both play in cinemas as part of the inaugural Art House Theater Day, which takes place Sept. 24. The event will also feature a collection of stop-motion short films from animation distributors GKIDS called A Town Called Panic: The Specials. Over 185 venues are participating in what is being described as a nationwide celebration of the cultural and community growth that art house theaters provide.

“Art House Theater Day is a chance to show film-lovers that their local theaters are part of a larger cultural movement,” event co-founder Gabriel Chicoine said in a statement. “These cinemas are not passive, insular venues — they are passion-driven institutions that collaborate with distributors, filmmakers, and each other to deepen film appreciation and to increase the diversity and artistic integrity of what you see on the big screen.”

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • Born September 17, 1951 – Cassandra (Elvira) Peterson.

(8) ANCILLARY SOUVENIRS. Twitter user Ellie squees about her Radch swag from Worldcon.

(9) CAN’T RAISE AWARENESS HIGHER THAN THIS. An astronaut wore a flight suit painted by pediatric cancer patients.

An astronaut on board the International Space Station debuted a colorful flight suit on Friday (Sept. 16) as part of an effort to raise awareness about childhood cancer and the benefits of pairing art with medicine. NASA flight engineer Kate Rubins revealed “COURAGE,” a hand-painted flight suit created by the pediatric patients recovering at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The unique garment was produced by “The Space Suit Art Project,” a collaboration between MD Anderson, NASA Johnson Space Center and ILC Dover, a company that develops NASA spacesuits.

news-091616a

(10) FINALLY, A REASON TO VISIT WINE COUNTRY. “’Martian Chronicles’ artist at the library” promises the Napa Valley Register.

Local writer and painter Lance Burris will exhibit 16 paintings illustrating visually evocative passages from Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles,” on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Napa Main Library.

The event is free of charge and scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. in the magazine section of the library at 580 Coombs Street in downtown Napa.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an hour-long commentary by the artist on the art of illustration and Ray Bradbury’s writings.

The works and commentary are part of the artist’s 48 painting “Bradbury Collection,” which illustrates Bradbury classics that also include “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Illustrated Man.”

(11) FAN NOW CLASSIC PORTRAIT PAINTER. Nick Stathopoulos, a leading fine artist with roots in Australian fandom, was interviewed for Maria Stoljar’s podcast Talking With Painters.

Nick Stathopoulos at home with his painting ‘Don’t touch that dial!’

Nick Stathopoulos at home with his painting ‘Don’t touch that dial!’

Nick Stathopoulos has been a finalist many times in Australia’s Archibald and Doug Moran Portrait prizes (including this year’s Archibald portrait of Deng Adut). Last year his painting of Robert Hoge was shortlisted in the renowned BP Portrait Award in London which attracted over 400,000 visitors.  The portrait was also reproduced on the cover of the Times.

His art career spans many fields including illustration, book cover design, computer game design, animation, screenwriting, film making and sculpture and this is all on top of an arts/law degree. He has won several awards for his illustration work but has found a real passion in hyper realist painting of portraits and still lifes.

In this interview Nick talks about how children’s television of the 60s provided him with the inspiration to draw toys, cars and machines as a child, he explains why he can never eat another Freddo frog and reveals how he came to name his 2009 show ‘Toy Porn’. He generously discusses his art techniques in detail from the first sketches and meeting with the sitter to the final portrait. He also gives moving accounts of how he came to paint Deng Adut and Robert Hoge and the emotional impact those experiences had on him.

(12) THE NEXT GENERATION. Taking Flight is a charming video about a grandfather’s adventures in outer space and the jungle with his grandson.

Taking Flight is a short film inspired by the life and heritage of Antonio Pasin, inventor of the Radio Flyer wagon. In this fictional tribute to Pasin’s legacy, what begins as a small boy’s over-scheduled, over supervised, boring day with Grandpa turns into a larger-than-life journey, narrowly escaping wild monkeys and battling aliens to save the universe. Through the power of imagination and epic adventure, a boy learns to be a kid, a father learns to be a dad, and a grandfather reminds us all what childhood is about.

 

(13) THE BLACK COOKIES. If Dread Central asked a contributor to design thematic Oreo cookie packages for his favorite horror movies.

I recently discovered that my friend Billy Polard, who is primarily a musician but also happens to have some serious self-taught Photoshop skills, was creating his own wacky Oreo flavors over on Facebook, and though his Taco Bell and Pizza Hut-flavored creations didn’t necessarily excite my taste buds, they damn sure caught my interest. And they also, as you’ve probably gathered by now, inspired this very post.

I recently reached out to Billy to see if he’d be interested in whipping up some faux horror movie-inspired Oreo packages, and to my delight, he took the project by the horns and totally ran with it. You’ll find the results of his handiwork below, which we hope you’ll enjoy and share across social media.

Here’s one of the tamer examples.

gremlins

GRATITUDE.  My continued thanks to everyone who contributed to upgrade my technology. Today John King Tarpinian was over to copy my PC files onto the new external hard drive and then to the new laptop. Now I have easy access to all my archival material. Here’s a photo John took of me laboring over today’s Scroll.

mike-laptop-crop

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

120 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/17/16 Mjölnir She Wrote

  1. Covers and marketing: I was googling for a couple of pieces I remembered (one by Charles Stross, one by Justine Larbalestier) and something about the Larbalestier struck me–I was looking for it for the “authors have little control over covers, cover artists often know nothing about the book” aspect, but renoticed the “publishers think black faces on the cover of a book put it in a literary ghetto (so to speak) in who buys it and where it is shelved, so they try to avoid those kind of covers” aspect. Now I’m wondering if that played a role in the cover choice for the Spinrad book (and part of his upsettedness about it.)

    (As an aside from my googling, this is a clickbaity site, but holy crap is that a horrible cover for Steven King’s The Shining!)

  2. Finished:

    Wolfe’s The Sorcerer’s House. I’d always heard his writing is multi-layered, and the books of the X Sun fit that description, so I was a little surprised to see such a narrator so obviously unreliable that the “real” plot is obvious to anyone paying even half attention. Two very thin layers. Once I’d finished, though, and thought about it, I started thinking about various details, and remembering that if Wolfe mentions the middle initials of a character just once, you need to pay attention because it’s a major clue. Then I started wondering just how many layers deep this goes. I checked out a conversation about the novel on Goodreads, and started getting the feeling of being on the edge of a vast yawning abyss. This would be a good book to read for a small class with a lot of discussion. By the end of the novel, though, I was growing very sick of the “aw shucks” tone of the main character (this was an essential element of his character, I realize). This book could maybe have been shaved down a bit.

    Kij Johnson’s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe. The second trek through Lovecraftia written from the point of view of someone who would have been invisible or reviled in Lovecraft’s writing. This one didn’t have a Lovecraftian atmosphere – it was working within his world, but not working with his vibe. I like what the author did with the gods. And there’s a cat. Or two. But I think just one.

    Up next:
    Graydon Saunder’s Stand and Deliver
    Kinda in the mood for something fluffier, but characters and scenes from the previous two books keep popping up in my head.

  3. … and that now makes three 2016 SFF books IN A ROW I have just read where someone gets turned into a statue.

    I can only assume that it is this year’s equivalent of last year’s, “let’s destroy the moon!”

    They should impliment a rule restricting the number of books that can use that plot element. Some sort of limitation of statues…

    The original title for THE PEOPLE’S POLICE seems to have been POLICE STATE. (Which sounds a lot more marketable to me.)

    Okay, it wasn’t until you emphasized the title that it made me think “The People’s Court”, and now I’m seeing silhouettes of Harvey Levin and Marilyn Milian for the cover. (“I’m an officer!“)

  4. Is any author ever completely pleased with the art for their covers? I mean sometimes they say they are, but I have my doubts.

    ObMention of the horror that was the US release for Hogfather. Anytime bad covers are discussed, I have a flashback and must share it with someone.

  5. One of the classic bad covers is for the first printing of the MMPB edition of Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book. Very much looks like a historical romance novel. That was quickly replaced by the cover they are still using. Yes, there is a DNA helix (which indicates there may bescience, but not indiciative of time travel).

    http://lovehistory.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/81w5jnvFDGL.png

    In other Connie Willis News, the latestedition of the Coode Street Podcast has an interview with Connie done at WorldCon.

    http://jonathanstrahan.podbean.com/e/episode-285-connie-willis-and-crosstalk/

  6. ObMention of the horror that was the US release for Hogfather. Anytime bad covers are discussed, I have a flashback and must share it with someone.

    Speaking of Hogfather, here is yet another cover (from this series) that is similar to the Spinrad one.

  7. Say, should I review Westlake’s A Likely Story?

    Yes, always. With particular attention to Scott Meredith’s dead bone collection.

  8. Dawn Incognito on September 18, 2016 at 11:33 am said:

    Headache. Been working on Annihilation and it is subtly unsettling just the way I like it. Cree Pee.

    Story rec: “Sea of Dreams” by Alter S. Reiss. The story of an exile and the new addition to Exile Island.

    I enjoyed that story – I didn’t like the moral of the story (so to speak) but it was well done.

  9. Today’s read — The City of Woven Streets, by Emmi Itäranta

    (no translator — book was written simultaneously in Finnish and English by the author)

    Fantasy; the appearance of a mysterious mute stranger leads a weaver into a web of conspiracies. I’ll be adding this one both to the recommended 2016 reading list, and to my pleased surprise, to the Good Lesbian Romance SFF list.

    One of the best things about this book is the beautiful, poetic language it’s written in; that’s makes it a pleasure to read. It might be possible to argue that the plot depends too much on coincidence, but i think that’s intentional here; I choose to believe (and there are certainly elements of the book which make it plausible to believe) that the plot of the story moves with the logic of dream and myth; correspondences, half-glimpsed pieces, a journey to the underworld. The book is about dreams on a literal level; it’s an easy step to see it on the metaphorical level as well.

    Thumbs up.

  10. @kathodus: “The basic unit of construction of a Gene Wolfe story is the trap door” (Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 4th St. Fantasy (2008)).

    @Darren Garrison: Thanks for the Larbalestier speech; interesting, although I wish she wouldn’t assume the whole from the part so much.

  11. FYI, City of Woven Streets will be out in the US on November 1st under the name “The Weaver.” Thanks, Kyra, it sounds great.

  12. 5) Sadly, anything I read about comics distribution is inevitably colored by knowing exactly how Diamond operates. Calling them “monopolistic” doesn’t even begin to cover it. They have an ironclad protection-racket policy: if your store carries ANY comics not distributed by Diamond (including comics being directly distributed by the creators), they blacklist you and won’t deal with you at all. This was challenged and upheld in Texas courts a few years back.

    8) I got a “Not Tea But Blood” badge ribbon, and a Republic of Two Systems pin which is now adorning my Bag of Holding. Late on Saturday there were also some of the plain-jewelry memorial pins available, and I snagged one of those in memory of Mike Liebmann.

    @ Arifel: I haven’t read most of those, but I picked up The Cloud Roads on a friend’s recommendation and have gone head-over-heels into the series as a whole. The world-building is absolutely stunning, and Wells’ characters are a perfect balance between “human enough to understand them” and “you never forget that they’re completely alien”.

    @ Bruce A: I’m not a Spinrad fan, but that Amazon blurb is enough to get me to at least check it out from the library!

  13. @Lee

    Sadly, anything I read about comics distribution is inevitably colored by knowing exactly how Diamond operates.

    Argh! Yes. Never any love for Diamond.

  14. They have an ironclad protection-racket policy: if your store carries ANY comics not distributed by Diamond (including comics being directly distributed by the creators), they blacklist you and won’t deal with you at all.

    I’d like to see details of that Texas case, if you know any more about it. I know too many comics retailers who get comics not distributed by Diamond who are not blacklisted by Diamond to believe it offhand.

    Heck, there are retailers who get comics that _are_ distributed by Diamond, but through other sources. DC distributes GNs to the book trade via Random House, for instance, and stores that want the books on a returnable basis and have an account with Random House distribution can get them that way.

    Diamond does many, many things wrong, but I don’t think this is one of them. Or at the very least, if they do, they do it quite sloppily, as I can find instances of stores advertising that they will have comics not carried by Diamond.

  15. Arifel, if it helps the Meadows also covers the women (well, girls) romancing other women angle. And, yeah, the women with swords angle too. I loved it. But, really, any choice will be good. Gladstone is good, the Hartman is excellent, Swordspoint is excellent and while I’ve not read the others, well. Certainly their reputations are enviable.

    I suggest assigning each of them a number and rolling a die.

  16. Dawn Incognito, thanks for Thinking, Fast and Slow. I’ve got a copy on its way to my local library.

    Kathodus: Are you sure you don’t mean Safely You Deliver? I thought for a moment there was a new Commonweal novel and went “Squee!” And hit Google. Which says no new books from Saunders.

  17. (12) I loved the short film Taking Flight, Mike – thanks for posting it. It appears to be brand new, so eligible for next year’s Hugos (not that a short short is likely to win, but we can still nominate if we want!).

  18. Is any author ever completely pleased with the art for their covers? I mean sometimes they say they are, but I have my doubts.

    Yes. It’s not the majority of the time, but yes. Since I get covers and know what’s in my own heart, and since other writers who I know well tell me in private their reactions to their covers, I can state with certainty that there are covers that the writers are completely, unequivocally happy with.

  19. @ Kurt: I’m trying to get further information from the source where I heard about this. It was quite a while back, so it may well be that things have changed in the interim; you’d certainly be in a better position than I to know.

    Texas has a dismal record WRT comics. There was also a Dallas case some while back in which a clerk in a store that carried adult comics was convicted of “providing pornography to minors” even though (1) the store had a proper sequestration-and-ID-check policy, (2) there were no minors in the store at the time of his arrest, and (3) there was no evidence whatsoever of him ever having sold an adult comic to a minor. The prosecution’s entire case was built on the proposition that “comics are only for kids”. The conviction was upheld on appeal, and the guy ran out of money and went to prison.

    ETA: I wondered why this comment had gone to moderation, but on further thought I think I know.

  20. @Lee – I was thinking that claim seemed exaggerated, but regardless, Diamond is terrible and did much to hurt comics in the past, much like the music industry.

  21. emgrasso asked:

    Any feeling for how Kill Process will age?

    As far as the specific technical details, it’s very much a book of this moment, but I’d guess that the larger themes about control of personal information and the ways the relationship between users and technology and tech companies can be abusive are likely to be relevant for some time.

    I’ve heard of Tea With the Black Dragon, but not the technothriller aspect. Now I’ll have to check it out sometime.

  22. Darren Garrison said:

    They should impliment a rule restricting the number of books that can use that plot element. Some sort of limitation of statues…

    Ow.

  23. I’m trying to get further information from the source where I heard about this. It was quite a while back, so it may well be that things have changed in the interim; you’d certainly be in a better position than I to know.

    I don’t think it was ever true, not how you phrased it, at least. I don’t know of a time comics stores couldn’t use multiple distributors, and I’ve been doing business with them since well before Diamond was a virtual monopoly.

    Texas has a dismal record WRT comics.

    Won’t argue with you there, though.

    There was also a Dallas case some while back in which a clerk in a store that carried adult comics was convicted of “providing pornography to minors” even though (1) the store had a proper sequestration-and-ID-check policy, (2) there were no minors in the store at the time of his arrest, and (3) there was no evidence whatsoever of him ever having sold an adult comic to a minor. The prosecution’s entire case was built on the proposition that “comics are only for kids”. The conviction was upheld on appeal, and the guy ran out of money and went to prison.

    You’re probably thinking of Jesus Castillo at Keith’s Comics. But he didn’t run out of money — the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund paid for his defense — and he didn’t go to prison. He ran out of appeals, once the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, paid a fine (with money donated by local supporters) and served a year’s probation. These days, Castillo is still managing Keith’s Comics.

    But yeah, that was a travesty of justice, to be sure.

  24. I was talking to David Mattingly once, early in his career, and said something about Bob Vardeman, who was in SLANAPA at the time. Dave immediately asked me to apologize to Bob for him, because he’d done the cover on one of his books. “I knew the spider was the wrong size, and I wanted to do it the size he said in the book, but the Art Director made me do it the wrong size.”

    I don’t think I ever told Bob, unless I mentioned it in the apa. Pretty sure I simply never ran into him again. I didn’t see much of Dave later on, either, though he is about the first person I met when we moved to Colorado, and we did a lot of stuff together. Come to think of it, he almost single-handedly dragged me into comics, around sixth grade.

  25. I was fortunate enough to get into Ann Leckie’s Kaffeeklatsch at Worlcon. She is delightful in person! Funny, smart, interesting, and charming. She handed out pins of what she had left and I was happy to get mine.

    @ Arifel: move Cloud Roads by Wells up your list. She’s fabulous. She is superb at world-building (complex giant tree houses!), creating interesting complex characters, and fast-paced plotting that moves in unexpected directions. I love all her work! At her Kaffeeklatsch she mentioned some ideas for future books and I am in awe of her imagination.

    I recently finished Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers. Fascinating concept, but I found the implementation wanting.

  26. @Kathodus, BravoLimaPoppa: I made the exact same error, a little before the book was released, and was even quoted by James Nicoll. It’s certainly an easy place to go from the actual title.

  27. Msb: as for not being on Team Anaander, you had a choice of two bowls with pins in them, and a sign telling you to choose a side.

    One bowl had pins with
    “I’m on Team Anaander Mianaai
    Which side are you on?”

    while the other bowl had pins with
    “I’m on Team Anaander Mianaai
    Which side are you on?”

    So as you can see, it was a difficult choice!

  28. @David Goldfarb – that makes me feel better. Now I’m going off to bed at 8:07pm to read about the care and feeding of unicorns.

    That Saunders hasn’t yet won a Hugo shows that the award is dominated by spin-off loving, literary-fiction hating proles! I say we should start a Manic Kittens group to slate fringe works onto the Hugos!

  29. @Ita @MaxL @Lee @Cally and anyone else I’ve missed who helped out with my #spoiledreaderproblems: thanks to all. After careful consideration I’ve decided the best option is to give up reading and put my energies into developing technology to split my consciousness 6 ways. Then I can read them all simultaneously and no choices will have to be made.

    (In all seriousness I am quite excited about working through all of these and not beating myself up about going for new shiny stuff that I’m sure I’ll love rather than Things That Have Been On Kindle Forever but which aren’t catching my attention now. TBR management is the part of reading where anxiety and completionism creeps in way too easily and can turn it from “fun hobby” into “yet another thing you are failing to do right” :/)

    And good to hear another recommendation for City of Woven Streets – that’s another one I’m planning to get to before 2016 is out.

  30. @ Kurt: Further research (some personal sources, some Google) reveals that:
    1) There used to be 3 major comics distributors.
    2) Diamond borged one of the others in the 90s.
    3) The third one was Marvel’s in-house distributor, and Marvel decided they didn’t want to deal with that part of the business and sold it off to Diamond.
    4) Since then, Diamond has had a complete monopoly.
    5) At this point, Diamond does not have the policy I mentioned, but does have a minimum-per-print-run requirement that effectively shuts out most indie comics from being picked up by Diamond.

    Re the court case, I may have been conflating that with Castillo. All I could find about Diamond was a mention that they had been investigated at one point but nothing further was done. In any event, my original comment seems to have been in error; thanks for the correction.

    @ Ita: I’m on a re-read of the Stories of the Raksura books at the moment, and I’ve realized that another reason I like these books so much is that a lot of them have mystery-crossover elements. The one I’m reading right now has the Indigo Cloud colony trying to figure out who or what killed some of their Kek allies, and where the mysterious floating boat found with the dead Kek came from, and who the injured and comatose survivors in that boat are — complicated by a plethora of mutually incomprehensible languages! (There are 2 major trade languages in Wells’ world, but some people don’t speak either of them, others speak only one, and both languages have significant regional variants.)

  31. junego, there’s a problem with the ticky-box functionality right now. I definitely ticked the box on my comment on Mike’s latest post (I clicked “back” on the browser to verify), but never got a “Subscribe” e-mail, and my WordPress subs page doesn’t show a Pending subscription waiting to be confirmed.

  32. 1) There used to be 3 major comics distributors.

    There used to be more than that. Back when I worked for Marvel Direct Sales, there were something like 14.

    2) Diamond borged one of the others in the 90s.

    Diamond bought most of them, as I recall. But what you’re probably referring to is them buying Capital City, their largest competitor for a long time, in 1996.

    3) The third one was Marvel’s in-house distributor, and Marvel decided they didn’t want to deal with that part of the business and sold it off to Diamond.

    You’re thinking of Heroes World, which was a regional distributor until Marvel bought them at one point, then messed them up beyond repair trying to make them go national all at once. I don’t think they sold HW to Diamond, I think HW just went out of business and Marvel signed up with Diamond exclusively.

    4) Since then, Diamond has had a complete monopoly.

    Not complete, but pretty near complete.

    5) At this point, Diamond does not have the policy I mentioned, but does have a minimum-per-print-run requirement that effectively shuts out most indie comics from being picked up by Diamond.

    I’m not sure what you mean by indie, but Diamond carries plenty of indie comics by what I’d figure most people’s description is. Yen Press? Kenner & Company? Acme Ink? Broadsword?

    Re the court case, I may have been conflating that with Castillo. All I could find about Diamond was a mention that they had been investigated at one point but nothing further was done. In any event, my original comment seems to have been in error; thanks for the correction.

    Yeah, it was decided that they were a near-monopoly for comic books, but comics were only a part of the book/magazine market, so never mind. These days, there are even more places to get comics, thanks to trade publishers having graphic-novel lines and comics publishers having distribution deals with trade-market distributors, so they’re less of a monopoly than they were then. But still close enough.

    And they have the problems of a company without serious competition. If they screw up your order, you don’t have any recourse but to ask them nicely to fix it and hope they do.

  33. Back when we were doing our comic and self-publishing, I recall there was one other “major” distributor outside of Diamond. By major, I mean they had maybe 5% of the market, and Diamond had 95%. I can’t recall the name now, but they were cool. We hung out at their Indie Island both at SDCC one year. They were good people (to us, at least).

  34. @Arifel:

    TBR management is the part of reading where anxiety and completionism creeps in way too easily and can turn it from “fun hobby” into “yet another thing you are failing to do right” :/

    QFFT. Are you in my head? Hello in there! 😉

  35. One of the best covers I’ve seen recently is on a self-published book, A BOOK WITHOUT DRAGONS by Olivia Berrier. I left a note on her blog asking who the designer/artist was, but haven’t heard a response.

    Here’s a link to a larger image of just the cover.

    I bought a copy of the book, but haven’t read it yet. Sounds like it might be interesting, but using five tenses also sounds like it might be overambitious.

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