Pixel Scroll 7/14/18 Did You Feed Them After Midnight? Well, I Gave Them Some Pixels

(1) STOKERCON 2020 AWARDED TO UK. The Horror Writers Association will hold StokerCon in the UK for the first time in 2020.

The Horror Writers Association is very happy to announce that the 2020 StokerCon™ will be held April 16-19 at the historic Royal and Grand Hotels in Scarborough, England. For the first time, HWA’s annual gathering will be held outside of the USA, but will continue to incorporate such popular StokerCon programming as Horror University, the Final Frame Short Film Competition, the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference and the presentation of the iconic Bram Stoker Awards®. HWA’s President Lisa Morton noted: “HWA is committed to celebrating horror around the world, so I’m especially pleased that our fifth annual StokerCon will be held in the UK, where we have such a committed, strong chapter.” More information on StokerCon UK, including website and ticket sales portal, will be announced soon.

(2) BRADBURY MURAL. The Chicago Tribune interviews the creator: “Artist behind Ray Bradbury mural in Waukegan hopes his work will inspire kids who don’t have access to art”.

The little boy wore white-framed sunglasses, his stance confident as he stared into the sun.

Everett Reynolds, a 23-year-old Waukegan resident, stood on a stepladder, adding detail and depth to one of the boy’s hands.

The boy, wearing a homemade astronaut suit with a matching backpack made with two-liter bottles, was the center of Reynolds’ original concept for the mural, which he’s been painting on the side of the Zuniga Automotive Service and Towing building on Belvidere Road.

“I wanted to put up something that symbolized forward thinking and to dream big,” he said….

Everett Reynolds, a Waukegan artist, paints a mural Thursday, July 12, on the Zuniga Automotive Service and Towing building on Belvidere Road. The mural aims to inspire kids “to dream big” and pays tribute to Waukegan native Ray Bradbury. (Emily K. Coleman / News-Sun)

(3) YA HORROR. The Horror Writers Association has revived its YA blog. The first installment, “Q&A for The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael”, features interviews with author Bonny Becker and the appropriately-named illustrator Mark Fearing.

Whether you write horror for young people, or want to share more horror stories with the kids in your life, check in every Monday for Young Horror Writing Prompts and every other Thursday for new articles and interviews. Managing members Ally Russell, Mac Childs, and Shanna Heath have each graduated from Children’s Literature professional programs, and are eager to let you pick (not eat) their brains about Young Horror.

Future Young Horror feature topics include: weekly writing prompts; best horror picture/board books; author Q&A’s and podcast episodes; diseases in horror tips and tricks; secrets of a horror-loving children’s librarian; why write short-form horror for kids and teens; and more.

(4) VENERABLE AUDIENCE. James Davis Nicoll flips the script in “Old People Read New SFF: Tongtong’s Summer by Xia Jia”.

For the second entry in Old People Read New SFF, I chose Xia Jia’s Tongtong’s Summer. I selected it because of the authors in Ken Liu’s exemplary anthology Invisible Planets, Xia Jia’s skillful combination of fantasy and science fiction—what the author called porridge fiction—was the fiction I liked best. Of the three Xia Jia works on offer in Invisible Planets, Tongtong’s Summer (available here) was by far my favourite. I grant “I liked it so surely my readers will too,” generally blew up in my face over on the Young People of the project but if there’s anything experiences teaches me, it is that I don’t learn from experience! Surely the Old People will like this example of recent speculative fiction! After all, I did.

(5) LESSONS FROM SPACE. As part of their One Strange Rock series, National Geographic has published an interview with Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who holds the record for most cumulative days (879) spent in space.

Q: What can we learn from the way the space station is run?

A: During the last 20 years, I’ve been working in an international project. I visited the U.S. several times per year. Canada, Europe, Japan—all the countries that participated in this project. I have lots of friends. And being in space, flying above, we knew that whatever the situation is, we knew that the life of your friend depends upon you, too.

The major thing, actually, that I have gained during space training was friendship. I started it in 1989, the end of Cold War, and our first project was the Mir shuttle project. We started to meet with the Americans and European space people. And then ISS project, it has brought us even closer to each other. And we are tied up so tightly that we can’t live in space without each other.

This is probably my best discovery, that the people of different nations, from different countries, under very severe conditions, can work very successfully, can be friendly all the time, understand each other, though their situations are sometimes really stressful.

But there’s something wrong in the fact that only such difficulties as I’ve just mentioned unite people. This is wrong. There should be something else.

(6) CONTINUED NEXT ROCK. Vice headline: “This Bizarre Monument Is All That Will Remain of Humanity in 4,000 Years”. Sub-head: “Jacques André-Istel has written the history of the world on stone in the middle of the desert.”

Just across the California border from Yuma, Arizona, lies the town of Felicity, established in 1986 by now 89-year-old Jacques André-Istel. Pretty much the only reason you’d ever visit the town is to see another creation of his, the Museum of History in Granite.

The outdoor museum is made up of a series of 100 foot-long granite panels engraved with a history of civilization as a record for future generations, sorted into categories like History of California and History of Humanity. According to Istel, they’re designed to last for 4,000 years, to serve as a record of our time for future beings, whether from Earth or elsewhere.

(7) SOMETIMES THEY DO GET FURRY. At Green Man Review, Cat Rambo branches out: “An Armload of Fur and Leaves”.

In the last year or so, I found a genre that hadn’t previously been on my radar, but which I really enjoy: furry fiction. Kyell Gold had put up his novel Black Angel on the SFWA member forums, where members post their fiction so other members have access to it when reading for awards, and I enjoyed it tremendously. The novel, which is part of a trilogy about three friends, each haunted in their own way, showed me the emotional depth furry fiction is capable of and got me hooked. Accordingly, when I started reviewing for Green Man Review, I put out a Twitter call and have been working my way through the offerings from several presses.

Notable among the piles are the multiplicity by T. Kingfisher, aka Ursula Vernon, and two appear in this armload. Clockwork Boys, Clocktaur War Book One (Argyll Productions, 2017) is the promising start to a fantasy trilogy featuring a lovely understated romance between a female forger and a paladin, while Summer in Orcus (Sofawolf Press, cover and interior art by Lauren Henderson) is aimed at younger readers and will undoubtedly become one of those magical books many kids will return to again and again, until Vernon is worshipped by generations and prepared to conquer the world. Honestly, I will read anything Kingfisher/Vernon writes, and highly recommend following her on Twitter, where she is @UrsulaV….

(8) JENSON OBIT. Oscar-nominated visual effects artist George Jenson (1930-2018) died May 25. The Hollywood Reporter profiled his career: “George Jenson, Illustrator on ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘Return of the Jedi,’ Dies at 87”.

George Jenson, an Oscar-nominated visual effects artist, illustrator and art director who worked on such films as Close Encounters of the Third KindReturn of the Jedi and Everybody’s All-American, has died. He was 87.

Jenson died May 25 in Henderson, Nevada, of complications from melanoma, publicist Rick Markovitz announced.

A native of Canada who specialized in science fiction, Jenson received his Oscar nomination for his visual effects efforts on the 1984 film 2010, Peter Hyams’ sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Jenson was hired by Steven Spielberg and served as the director’s production illustrator on Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and 1941 (1979), then worked on such films as 9 to 5 (1980), Looker (1981), Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983), Christine (1983), Romancing the Stone (1984) and Red Dawn (1984).

(9) PERRY OBIT. Occasional genre actor Roger Perry died July 12: “Roger Perry, Actor on ‘Star Trek,’ ‘The Munsters’ and ‘The Facts of Life,’ Dies at 85”.

Also, on a 1965 episode of CBS’ The Munsters, Perry played a young man with admirable intentions who’s out to rescue the beautiful niece Marilyn (Pat Priest) from a band of ghouls. However, they are, of course, members of her loving family.

On the big screen, Perry appeared in not one but two Count Yorga movies; was a doctor in the infamous Ray Milland and Rosey Grier classic, The Thing With Two Heads (1972); and played the father of Linda Blair’s flautist character in the musical drama Roller Boogie (1979).

On the first-season Star Trek episode “Tomorrow Is Yesterday,” which debuted in January 1967, Perry starred as Capt. John Christopher, an Air Force pilot in the 1960s who is suddenly transported aboard the Enterprise in the future.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born July 14 – Joel Silver, 66. Producer of, among many projects, Weird Science, Streets Of Fire, Predator and Predator 2, Demolition ManTales from the Cryptkeeper and Tales from the Crypt animated series, The Matrix and Sherlock Holmes franchises, V for Vendetta and an apparent forthcoming reboot of Logan’s Run.
  • Born July 14 – Scott Rudin, 60. Producer of the forthcoming Justice League Dark live action film (this being Warner, there’s already a splendid animated one) plus Annihilation, The Addams Family Values, Jennifer 8, The Truman ShowA Series of Unfortunate Events, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs to name some of his work.
  • Born July 14 – Jackie Earle Haley, 57. Roles in RoboCop,  Watchmen and A Nightmare on Elm Street; series work in The Planet Of The Apes, The Tick, Human Target, Valley of the Dinosaurs and Preacher.
  • Born July 14 – Matthew Fox, 52. Lost and Lost: Missing Pieces, other genre work includes World War Z, Speed Racer and the Haunted series.
  • Born July 14 – Scott Porter, 39. Roles in Scorpion and Caprica, the X-Men and Ultimate Spider-Man animated series and myriad genre video games.
  • Born July 14 – Sara Canning, 31. Major roles in A Series of Unfortunate Events,  Primeval: New World and The Vampire Dairies, also appeared in Once Upon a Time, War for the Planet Of The Apes, Android Employed, Supernatural and Smallville to name some of her other genre work.

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) LIFE EXPECTANCY OF COMICS. The Los Angeles Times’ Geoff Boucher analyzes why “Superheroes are thriving in movies and on TV — but comic books lag behind”.

Few people in Hollywood have more history with comic books adaptations than Michael Uslan, who began writing comic books in the 1970s and used that expertise as an executive producer on Tim Burton’s “Batman,” the 1989 hit that launched a new generation of superhero movies. Uslan recalled recently that top Marvel Comics executives treated him to a lavish Manhattan meal after the movie stirred fan interest in all comics and gave Marvel a hefty spike in sales.

“That was the case for years, big superhero movies brought new fans to comics, but it’s not the case now,” Uslan said. “The biggest comic book movies now have little or zero impact on the comics sales. The movies aren’t rescuing the comics; they’re replacing them. So now I really worry about comics. Any entertainment medium that can’t connect with new generations, doesn’t it have one foot in the grave?”

(13) 55 YEARS AGO. At Galactic Journey, Victoria Lucas celebrates a Presidential visit: “[July 14, 1963] JFK gets a Ph.D.”.

I really wish I had been able to be there.  Fortunately my friend in San Diego came through again, and I’ve been drooling over the prints and tape she sent.  She was at the commencement ceremonies on the 6th of June at San Diego State College (SDSC) when President John F. Kennedy was presented with an honorary doctorate in the Aztec Bowl.  Kennedy is one of my favorite people, and I look forward to voting for him when I vote in my first presidential election next year….

Well that’s staying in character.

(14) RESCUE ANIMAL. His employer went out of business, and he almost ended up in the street: “Giant Toys R Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe starts second career at children’s hospital”.

Geoffrey the Giraffe, the 16-foot-tall fiberglass Toys R Us mascot, has made a move to a new home less than two weeks after the retailer’s U.S. toy stores closed their doors.

At one point, the future of Geoffrey — about as tall as a real male giraffe — was in doubt as the 70-year-old company filed for bankruptcy and liquidated operations, including its corporate headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey. Because of Geoffrey’s size and the cost associated with transportation and installation, the company struggled to find someone to buy him.

No one made a bid.

As the June 30 deadline to clear out and clean up drew closer, the Toys R Us liquidation adviser, Joseph Malfitano of Boulder, Colorado, bought the giraffe and paid $10,000 to have Geoffrey packed and shipped the 50 miles here to Bristol-Meyers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Malfitano thought a children’s hospital would be an appropriate home for the beloved mascot.

(15) BET THE UNDER. It’s not being overlooked anymore: “In Ireland, Drought And A Drone Revealed The Outline Of An Ancient Henge”.

A drone flight and a lingering dry spell have exposed a previously unknown monument in Ireland’s Boyne Valley, forgotten for thousands of years and long covered by crops — which, struggling to cope with a lengthy drought, finally revealed the ancient footprint.

Photographer and author Anthony Murphy discovered the site. He was flying a drone near Newgrange, a famous prehistoric stone monument in County Meath, on Tuesday, taking pictures of the known archaeological attractions. Then he saw something strange — a perfect circle, etched in the color of the crops, in an otherwise unremarkable field.

Murphy runs the website Mythical Ireland (also the name of his latest book), which focuses on the megalithic monuments of the Boyne Valley. He knew the local sites well — every passage tomb, every banked enclosure, every archaeological dig. And he’d been flying drones here for months.

He’d never seen this.

(16) THIS JOB ISN’T EASY. Like you need teeny tiny branding irons…. BBC tells how “Source of cosmic ‘ghost’ particle revealed”.

Step One: Catch a neutrino

It all starts with IceCube, a highly sensitive detector buried about two kilometres beneath the Antarctic ice, near the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

“In order to get a measurable signal from the tiny fraction of neutrinos that do interact, neutrino physicists need to build extremely large detectors,” explains Dr Susan Cartwright, a particle physicist at the University of Sheffield.

Measuring cosmic neutrinos against those created closer to home is, she told BBC News, “like trying to count fireflies in the middle of a firework display”.

(17) THE TWO TOWERS. Long ad for a short clip of a bit of space history: “Nasa launch towers demolished in Florida”.

The two towers were used to assemble rockets for missions to Mars from 1957 until 2011.

(18) WHEDON’S NEXT. According to Variety — “HBO Lands Joss Whedon Sci-Fi Series ‘The Nevers’”.

HBO has given a series order to “The Nevers,” a science-fiction drama from Joss Whedon. The series is described as a sci-fi epic about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.

Whedon will serve as writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner.

(19) MAN OF THE CLOTH. In Don Glut’s new Frankenstein film, Edward L. Green plays a Priest. Ed says, “While not as cool as a trading card, I guess ‘Father Florescu’ is worth his own postcard.” Order them from Pecosborn Press — “Tales Of Frankenstein Postcards (package Of 8)”.

(20) BE THE BEST VILLAIN. A new board game, Villainous (2–6 players, ages 10 and up), from Wonder Forge will let you play as one of six famous Disney villains (“Disney’s Villainous Board Game Debuts With Classic Characters”). The $35 game is expected to be in stores August 1. Quoting an io9 article:

In the game you can play as one of six infamous Disney villains: Captain Hook, Ursula, Maleficent, Jafar, Prince John, or the Queen of Hearts. The actual gameplay and goals mirror the events each character experienced in their corresponding movies: Peter PanThe Little MermaidSleeping BeautyAladdinRobin Hood, and Alice in Wonderland.

There aren’t any interactions between the various villains; each player remains on their own “realm” gameboard so it’s not like Captain Hook and Maleficent could team up to vanquish Robin Hood. […] But board games are really only fun when you can frustrate your fellow players, so Villainous includes hero cards featuring the protagonists that, at least in the original movies, foiled these villains’ plans. The hero cards allow other players to make it more difficult for your villain’s scheme to come to fruition […]

 

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Edward L. Green, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

80 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/14/18 Did You Feed Them After Midnight? Well, I Gave Them Some Pixels

  1. @Standback: I think I’ll have to give it a re-read – months of Hugo reviewing have driven a lot of the salient details out of my memory! However, I think the overall plot is a sort of quis custodiet ipsos custodes thing, centering on the guy who is invisible to the panopticon-state’s machinery – the various subsidiary narratives salvaged from the dead woman’s memories are oblique clues to how he and his cabal operate (the invisible shark living in the financial data, the stuff about the “Fire Judges” who make elaborate decisions about stuff which no longer technically exists, the hidden alchemical chamber where the real magic happens, and so on.) So, on a purely plot level, it’s the investigator piecing together these clues to expose the villain. And, on the purely plot level, I think it works pretty well.

    I suppose I could do a proper(ish) review on my own blog – step into the shoes of those Sharkes, or something. (It would be nice if we’d heard a bit more from the Sharkes. I disagreed with them a lot last year, but there’s no denying they had some interesting perspectives.)

  2. Those granite panels will end up recycled into other structures, just like the panels covering the pyramids. Or any number of other ancient monuments. (At least they won’t be burned for lime like Greek and Roman statues.)

    The coolest thing about Pisa IMHO was not the Tilted Tower but the backside of the cathedral – which was mainly composed of recycled stone: you could pick out Roman gravestones, mileage markers (or whatever they called them), bits of miscellany – it seems it was a lot easier to use those old pieces that were just lying around than to quarry and ship new stone (but I bet the contractors charged for the latter!)

    Almost finished with my Hugo reading for the fiction categories I intend to vote on. The picks for #3 and #4 novel are still changing every hour or so, but novella is settling down. I’m not overly impressed with novelette so far (two more to go).

  3. Greg Hullender on July 15, 2018 at 8:41 am said:
    @Hampus Here in Seattle, we don’t usually use Canadian Degrees to measure temperature, but a quick check online tells me that even on the hottest days of the year (early August), 30 C is in the top 10% for us. Most houses here don’t have air-conditioning.

    They’re not Canadian degrees, they’re Everywhere But The US degrees.

  4. @Hampus — That “more than five days” is important, because it means people aren’t getting a chance to recover from the heat.

    Do they take overnight lows into account? High of 30, low 16 is better for sleep than high 29, low 24.

  5. No, it is just the maximum temperature that counts. Only the second time we have had this class 2 warning. Last time was in 1994.

    Still 24C inside know when time for bed. I’m placing frozen soda bottles in my bed to suck up the heat.

  6. @Hampus,

    We have had some wild weather* recently. And no warnings came up on Pokemon Go. I wonder how Niantic sets up their weather warning system.

    *Truly wild. It even says so in the headline!

  7. Cat:

    Actually the sales by DC, Image and Marvel as a percentage of total sales has stayed constant by quite some years now, averaging around seventy percent. Myriad other publishers led by Dark Horse account for the rest of the sales. And numbers are up but not as much as everyone thinks they should be.

    Up some months, down some others, but overall very consistent.

    Magewolf:

    Isn’t that a bit disingenuous?

    No.

    Sure about the same number of units are sold but as spread out as they are profitability is down.

    Yes, if all you look at is the periodicals.

    And a lot of those units come from continually restarting low selling series, variant covers, and stuff that stays right on the edge of cancellation.

    In the paragraphs you cut, it notes: “They’re trying to figure out how to best feed the growing profit streams and what to do about SKU declines in periodicals.”

    Restarting series, variant covers and “stuff on the edge of cancellation” (that makes money in other formats) are a part of that, sure.

    Profitability isn’t down. Unless you look only at the print periodicals. Not doing that was the point of my post.

    Cat:

    Ok it must be stressed that neither DC or Marvel needs to actually make money, any money,

    You can stress that if you want, but it doesn’t have to be stressed, since Marvel and DC both make money, and have in recent times been making record amounts.

    It’s not that long since people at both companies told me they’d had their most profitable year, two years in a row (and not counting movie income), and TPB and digital sales have gone up since then.

  8. Kurt notes

    You can stress that if you want, but it doesn’t have to be stressed, since Marvel and DC both make money, and have in recent times been making record amounts.

    It’s not that long since people at both companies told me they’d had their most profitable year, two years in a row (and not counting movie income), and TPB and digital sales have gone up since then.

    Oh they’re quite profitable. I was just pointing out that you can’t treat them as stand-alone enterprises as they’re not. And much of their income is the fact that they’re old corporations with decades of intellectual property worth a great deal of money.

    Just take Gaiman’s Sandman which started life as single issues but which has had trade paper and hardcover editions plus Absolute Editions and a series of action figures and statues ranging from fairly cheap to, well, really quite expensive.

    And I’ve no how film rights are accounted for as that certainly should generate a fair profit each year. Because they’re not creator centred companies like Image is, who gets the money generated is pretty much a black box.

  9. The question is does it make sense to keep publishing single issue comics given the sales levels? Maybe it would work better to just have web serials and book format comics. I don’t know.

  10. Best placard seen so far from Edinburgh’s presidential welcome parade: “With great power comes great responsibility. Ya radge orange bampot!”

    Carried by Spiderman too.

  11. bookworm1398 asks The question is does it make sense to keep publishing single issue comics given the sales levels? Maybe it would work better to just have web serials and book format comics. I don’t know.

    Oh they make money off of them too with some being quite profitable. Like the book business, it only looks sometimes like they’re losing money on a given title. And nearly everything sold as‘floppies’ ends up being sold again in hardcover and / or trade paper editions. Not to mention Marvel use the floppies as the release issue format on Marvel Unlimited about six months after the date of being on sale as single issues.

  12. Cat:

    I was just pointing out that you can’t treat them as stand-alone enterprises as they’re not.

    On the other hand, Marvel hasn’t been a standalone company since 1968, and DC since 1967. But both Disney and Warners expect the comics companies to make a profit as if they were solo entities.

    [And since the movie divisions like the accounting to keep the movie profits on their side of the ledger rather than crediting part of them to the comics companies, they’d be _more_ profitable if they were standalone (assuming, that is, if the same movies and TV shows were being produced, which is not really a fair assumption).]

    And much of their income is the fact that they’re old corporations with decades of intellectual property worth a great deal of money.

    Definitely. But that’s not altogether different from their parent companies or other publishing companies — Disney has a fabulous backlist of properties as well, and even a company like Random House, while it doesn’t outright own most of what it publishes, has contracts that keep the perennial sellers in the Random family, etc.

    Making money off backlist and IP is the goal of lots of IP-focused companies, standalone or not.

    Just take Gaiman’s Sandman which started life as single issues but which has had trade paper and hardcover editions plus Absolute Editions and a series of action figures and statues ranging from fairly cheap to, well, really quite expensive.

    Yep. That doesn’t have anything to do with them not being standalone enterprises, though, because they’d be able to do that even if they weren’t owned by Warner Bros.

    And I’ve no how film rights are accounted for as that certainly should generate a fair profit each year.

    Parsimoniously.

    It’s much easier to have film money flow into your accounting system when you’re not owned by a large film company that wants the money to flow into theirs. When you’re dealing with a separate company, they actually pay you. When you’re part of a conglomerate, it’s about moving numbers around the way the higher-ups want them moved around.

    Bookworm:

    The question is does it make sense to keep publishing single issue comics given the sales levels?

    Yes.

    At least, it does at present. Because even I it costs you, say, $12,000 an issue in art and editorial costs to make a comic, and the individual issues only make $9000 of that back (picking numbers out of thin air), then when you publish that 6-issue book-format collection, you only have to make $18,000 to break even, instead of $72,000.

    The single issues bring in money that goes into the bucket. So do the digital sales, so do the hardcovers, the TPBs, the foreign-rights sales. You want that bucket to be as full as possible, so even if the single-issue sales aren’t profitable by themselves (and for much of Marvel and DC’s lines, they are), that income isn’t an inconsiderable amount.

    However, the more the book market for comics grows, the more the book-format stuff generates money by itself, and then publishers start looking at whether going to book form as initial publication might get you to a larger revenue stream faster, and might benefit from being the form first and most heavily promoted. Original graphic novels have a stronger launch than reprint GNs, because you haven’t already sold the story to thousands of customers.

    [I say this as someone who’s just recently converted a long-running periodical series into a series of original GNs, in part because book-format and digital-book-format sales are more robust.]

    This happened in SF prose publishing, too, as novels used to be routinely serialized in the pulps first, but as the pulps faded and book sales grew, that stopped being as attractive an approach.

    Maybe it would work better to just have web serials and book format comics. I don’t know.

    There are a lot of comics that are web serials collected as book-format comics. DC even does some of them. Not sure if Marvel does, but I think they’ve at least experimented with it.

    And there are more and more original graphic novels, too, including at Marvel and DC.

    We’re in a period of transition, but it’s not going to be an either/or flip-a-switch transition; it’s going to be gradual, as it was with SF prose moving from being largely a periodical-based genre to largely a book-based genre.

    Comics are more expensive to produce and to print, on a per-page basis, than prose, so it’s probably going to be a longer transition. And of course technology and society aren’t the same, which will throw in other wrinkles.

    But comics are in the midst of change. Then again, everything’s in the midst of change at all times — it’s just a question of how fast and how extreme.

  13. Hampus Eckerman on July 15, 2018 at 1:04 pm said:
    No, it is just the maximum temperature that counts. Only the second time we have had this class 2 warning. Last time was in 1994.

    Still 24C inside know when time for bed. I’m placing frozen soda bottles in my bed to suck up the heat.

    London is not prepared for this kind of weather, even the places where thye have air conditioning (John Lewis) aren’t really cool. And while the temperature goes down at night, I have a hard time making it circulate inside.

  14. @Kurt: “This happened in SF prose publishing, too, as novels used to be routinely serialized in the pulps first, but as the pulps faded and book sales grew, that stopped being as attractive an approach.”

    Prose serialization is making something of a comeback in ebooks, especially given Kindle Unlimited. One doesn’t have print constraints to deal with, there’s an active inducement to publish relatively short works at a relatively high price ($2.99), and there’s a second enticement to collect them into “box sets” of various sizes and price points, usually up to $9.99. The big downsides, as far as I’m concerned, are that (1) it encourages people to call any size story a “book,” whether it’s a ten-page short story or a thousand-page trilogy, and (2) that’s some pretty steep price padding at the bottom end, primarily caused by Amazon’s royalty policy and the way its 70% scale has absolutely nothing to do with length.

    I’ve actually been discussing the marketing/building of such a series lately. It’s being sketched out as a set of 26 short stories* that could be strung together in multiple ways that each make sense. It’s entirely possible that we could publish each story separately as a premium, then collect a few at a time into larger chunks at a more value-priced point for a wider release, and so forth. It’s really a matter of guessing what the market will bear and what the optimal chunk sizes are. Then there’s the matter of procuring cover art for each permutation…

    * Yes, the 26 figure is based on the alphabet. The series has been described to me as multiple intersecting subplots taking place over a hectic day or weekend, hopping between different main characters as time passes. A bit like Southland Tales or Pulp Fiction in that respect, I suppose. The author’s done that before, but on a much smaller scale. Anyway, collecting by time and by subplot both make sense, but an all-in-one is likely to be unfeasible due to pricing concerns. Doesn’t make much sense to put 26 one-dollar stories between one set of covers when your effective price cap is $10, especially if you can collect ’em as two different sets of four $5 books instead.

  15. @Kurt

    I am not as well acquainted with the digital side of thing so I will bow to your greater knowledge. However unless there has been a huge change in the last few years periodical profitability is the single most important part of the comic food chain. Profitable periodicals fund the direct market and without the direct market comics as we know them are gone.

  16. Magewolf:

    I am not as well acquainted with the digital side of thing so I will bow to your greater knowledge. However unless there has been a huge change in the last few years periodical profitability is the single most important part of the comic food chain. Profitable periodicals fund the direct market and without the direct market comics as we know them are gone.

    This is not as true as it used to be.

    When I say that the comics industry is in a period of transition, this is what I’m saying — not that periodicals have suddenly become unimportant overnight, but that they are less important than they used to be.

    There was a time, not long ago, when periodical sales were all Marvel and DC measured by, and other formats existed or not purely based on whether periodical sales were healthy. That’s not true any more. Based on periodical sales, MS. MARVEL and SQUIRREL GIRL would have been canceled years ago — but they sell huge through the Scholastic Book Club. So nowadays, they measure all revenue sources, and it’s possible to be a success without strong periodical sales.

    Which is one reason that we’re seeing more OGNs. But this does not mean that periodical sales are not important; they’re still important. It just means they’re less important than they used to be, and not important to all projects.

    And of course, those periodicals _are_ “comics as we know them,” speaking historically. But if they went away, comics would continue — books like Raina Telgemeier’s outsell Marvel and DC, and don’t depend on the direct market to do so.

    Marvel and DC are currently looking for ways to embrace the new while not letting the old fade faster than it needs to.

    But the times, they are a-changing.

    [Not that they’re ever not.]

    King Bob;

    Prose serialization is making something of a comeback in ebooks, especially given Kindle Unlimited.

    I don’t doubt it a bit. But the historical transition I was referring to still happened and is still a reasonable example to bring up in discussing what’s happening to comics at the moment.

  17. @Kurt: Thanks for these posts on how the industry works!

    Comic books as single-issues have always seemed to me like such a precarious business model (particularly when you’re printing dozens or hundreds, which are in some competition with each other). At the same time, the attraction of a constant, steady stream of exciting content is fantastic, and that’s a lot of what the industry is based on.

    Your explanation of individual issues as (among other things) being a base for TPB sales makes a lot of things click into place for me.

  18. @Standback: Prince John is the villain in the animated (furry version) Robin Hood. So yeah, he’s a Disney villain. Peter Ustinov as a scrawny lion.

    @Kurt: Aren’t we calling the publishing house Random Penguin nowadays? (I don’t care what they call themselves, they’re Random Penguin to me)

  19. @Kurt

    Thanks,I can not argue with that. Especially since most of my comic buying moved over to trades years ago.

  20. @Lurkertype: Oh, I’m not saying he’s not a Disney villain! I’ve seen the Disney Robin Hood too 🙂

    He’s just… so… non-iconic.

    Like, Disney have so many fantastic villains.
    Scar. Hades. Gaston. Cruella De Ville, for crying out loud. Ratcliffe; Rattigan; the critic from Rattatouille, for all I care. You’ve got choices.

    Who chooses Prince John?

  21. “Like, Disney have so many fantastic villains.
    Scar. Hades. Gaston. Cruella De Ville, for crying out loud. Ratcliffe; Rattigan; the critic from Rattatouille, for all I care. You’ve got choices.”

    Chernabog. Always, always Chernabog.

  22. Lin McAllister on July 15, 2018 at 11:48 am said:

    The coolest thing about Pisa IMHO was not the Tilted Tower but the backside of the cathedral – which was mainly composed of recycled stone: you could pick out Roman gravestones, mileage markers (or whatever they called them), bits of miscellany – it seems it was a lot easier to use those old pieces that were just lying around than to quarry and ship new stone (but I bet the contractors charged for the latter!)

    Found a few photos of that.

  23. @Kurt: “I don’t doubt it a bit. But the historical transition I was referring to still happened and is still a reasonable example to bring up in discussing what’s happening to comics at the moment.”

    Oh, sure. I was primarily mentioning it in a “digital unlocks new options” and “what’s old is new again” sense

  24. @Hampus: Chernabog. Always, always Chernabog. Sure, he looks threatening for a few seconds — but how can he be a great villain without a single line? I’d accept him as a force like (e.g.) an earthquake, but he lacks dimension.

  25. @Cat Eldridge “I once sought out and read the DC Comics annual report and discovered that they claim gross revenues of less than ten million a year. Not bad but consider that a film, even one the critics consider a failure, can make hundreds of millions by the time all revenue streams are accounted for.”

    Can you remember which year’s annual report you read?

    Also- I was first to bold the spelling correction in an earlier scroll. I apologise. I will follow Rob Thornton’s method of correction in this scroll’s first post if I delurk again to correct any mis-spellings.

  26. @Steve, re: Gnomon:

    I guess those elements just didn’t work for me (ROT13):

    Vafgrnq bs srryvat nf gubhtu nal bs gur fgbel ryrzragf znccrq gb n “cenpgvpny” be zrnavatshy fbyhgvba, V srry yvxr gurl jrer whfg pbqr jbeqf sbe ryrzragf gung n frperg pnony jbhyq, fgrerbglcvpnyyl, unir. Gur funex vf yrff n *pyhr* gbjneqf vzzrafr, ehguyrff cbjre; vafgrnq vg’f n zrgncubevpny *ercerfragngvba* bs vzzrafr, ehguyrff cbjre, fb gung jr riraghnyyl tb, “BX, V thrff gur funex unf n erny-yvsr pbhagrecneg,” ohg jr qba’g npghnyyl trg nal zber ba vg guna vgf rkvfgrapr. Gur Punzore bs Vfvf, fvzvyneyl, vf n ybphf bs cbjre (gung’f abg fhccbfrq gb rkvfg), naq… gur snpg gung gurer *vf* fhpu n guvat vf zhpu zber vzcbegnag guna nal npghny qrgnvy nobhg vg.

    Jurernf V sryg gur guehfg bs gur abiry jnf zhpu, zhpu zber ba gur tnzrf bs zrzbel naq aneengvir. Gurer pna’g or n punzore bs Vfvf; V znqr vg hc! Npghnyyl, V znqr guvf punenpgre hc! Urer’f nabgure punenpgre gung *ur* znqr hc gb vagresrer jvgu gur punenpgref *V* znqr hc; yrg’f frr juvpu bar nofbeof gur bgure! Npghnyyl gur jubyr guvat vf n snyfr aneengvir!

    Gung frrzf gb zr gb or jurer gur fgbel vf chggvat vgf jrvtug — abg ba svtugvat na bccerffvir nyy-xabjvat Flfgrz, ohg engure ba gelvat gb qhry jvgu fgbevrf, vqrnf, naq zrzbevrf nf obgu lbhe jrncbaf naq lbhe onggyrsvryq.

  27. @Mix Mat,

    Speaking for myself, I did not have any problems with your typo highlighting approach; bolding really draws one’s eye to it. And we already have a tradition of pointing out typos in the Pixel Scrolls (See also: appertain). If Mike prefers not to have typos bolded, I’m sure he’ll let you know.

    Also: Welcome! Read any good books lately?

  28. Also – since I lurk and don’t click the follow-ups, just saw @Soon Lee, I find I don’t read as much SFF or books as much as I did in my younger days (80s to the mid-00s). The last new book I read may have been Maggie Shen King’s “An Excess Male”. Liked the idea and enjoyed while I was reading it but seems to have less impression on me than Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota. Which I’m eagerly awaiting the fourth book to come out. While waiting I’m also interested to get Rachel Heng’s “Suicide Club”. Hope it’s ok if I crosspost this to 2 pixel scrolls. (7/16. Which I got title credit for because I started the bolding situation in {7/11} Pixel Scroll. Ah Stephen Lang what mischief hath your name wrought?)

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