Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marvel and DC Duke It out in the Digital Realm

As a business student and comics fan, I enjoy watching how the two big players in the oligarchy of comics react to one another. It is hard to call it coincidence that both Marvel and DC have both made strives in the past week to up their game in the digital world, and I have a feeling the actions take by one of them will be copied and altered by the other and vice-versa.

Marvel Infinite's logo
Last week, DC unveiled its new website to go with its new logo and its new universe, isn't rebranding the best? Yet, this rebranding is more of a facelift rather than a restructuring. The same titles are being written, with similar stories, and similar writers, they are not bad, but most are not all that new. The website, is both massive, and attractive to browse. The DC site has taken a page out of Apple's book with an ample amount of whitespace and a sleek tone. The website features links with social media, character pages outlining their bios and major appearances, and information about upcoming issues, games, movies and tv. The character pages are currently lacking, they only feature mainstream heroes at the moment, but I have a feeling it will be updated in time. DC's new site effectively seeks to take all the resources taken from third-party sites and bring it under an official DC umbrella. Marvel could learn a thing or two from DC's site. While Marvel's site isn't atrocious, browsing through it can often become tedious and it is difficult to find a specific thing when searching.

DC's "controversial" new logo

As I wrote yesterday, Marvel is taking big steps toward total integration between their digital world and their print world. You can check out the whole article here. With the added digital copies to their $3.99 titles, the new augmented reality app, and digitally exclusive comics, Marvel both added to their product line and increased the value of their already existing products. While most of DC's titles still only cost $2.99, most would agree that they could stand to increase the connection between their print and digital medium. While AR is just a novelty for now, I would not be surprised to see smartphone and tablet users jump at the idea of buying some of Marvel's upcoming Avengers v. X-Men. While AR is not a priority, DC should pay close attention to how the free digital copies affect Marvel's sales in comic shops, as they may want to, I hope they do, get in on the print+digital idea.

While it may not be wise to clone your main competition right after they try something new, I would not mind seeing Marvel and DC exchange ideas, as both have something to contribute and something to gain from an increase in digital quality.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Marvel's ReEvolution Desires Inclusivity Across Comic Mediums

Sunday, March 11 was a big day of news for Marvel Comics. At Screenburn Arcade of Austin's SXSW Festival,  not only did Marvel announce that every print copy of their $3.99 will come with a digital version, but the company showed of its plans for the new Marvel Infinite. Both of these features are part of an initiative Marvel calls ReEvolution. Infinite is a new comics medium that creators will now be making exclusively for tablets and smart phones, in an attempt to use device technology to enhance the storytelling. Print comics are being revamped as well with Marvel's Augmented Reality program that they will be releasing with the first issue of Avengers v. X-men on April 4. The smartphone/tablet AR program will use a code reader to scan throughout the book in order to unlock special features to the comic.

If there has ever been an impetus for me to go buy an Ipad, it is Marvel's ReEvolution. I don't know how all the new programs will work out, but they seem like they will be both cool novelty to boost some sales, and a better way to support comic shops. By including digital copy and AR with their print books, Marvel has effectively increased the value of every print comic they plan to sell without, to my knowledge, an increase in price. Considering how many people cite the new digital comics as one of the many reasons comic shops fail, the digital copy should be a major boost for shop owners. While the Ipad comics wont help sales of shops, it is hard to believe they would cause any further harm. I look forward to April 4 and what will hopefully be a successful ReEvolution for Marvel.

Here is Marvel's official story regarding their announcement:


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Google Adsense Dissappoints

First, I would like to apologize to the few people who regularly check this site. I'm just a college kid who likes comics, and feels good to see views pop up on my tracker. I have not been posting recently. I usually try to get a couple of posts in a week, but I have had a lapse in content. I have been busy with school leading up to my Spring Break and haven't had time to write regularly. The other factor leading to my current feeling of discouragement is that my Google Adsense was deleted. I didn't start tis blog in hopes of generating much income, but I appreciated seeing some physical benefit to my hobby.

I was sent an email last week informing me that Google believed some of the clicks I received were fraudulent. I would elaborate more, but I have no other information. I never clicked on my own ads. Google apparently will, without warning, suspend any website's advertisements without any previous notice or negotiation. While I had not amassed a great deal of receivable funds, it totalled about $40 for the two and a half months I had the ads up. Even if I were to appeal, I would not receive the funds due to the suspicions. Because of all this, I may be switching to another blog service in the near future. I appreciate all who view, follow, or support Nerd in the World and I will be writing again shortly.

-Peter Hanneman

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thursday Video Reviews: Justice League: Doom

I'm mixing things up a little this week with my first dvd/blu-ray review.

I have been excited for this video for a while now. I first heard about Justice League: Doom last year when my roommate picked up the animated adaptation of Batman: Year One. Justice League: Doom came out on the 28th and I didn't waste much time in picking up the blu-ray, which at Hastings cost the same as the plain dvd. As far as package deals go, Doom is pretty inclusive. The edition comes the blu-ray, the dvd, and the Ultraviolet digital copy. The disk itself includes the film, three featurettes made up of interviews, two commentaries, and a digital comic of "Justice League: Tower of Babel", the arc Doom is based on.

While in the past I haven't looked at or cared about special features, the three featurettes were all very interesting. The first was about the history of Cyborg. While he has been a fairly prominent hero since the 80's, he has recently been moved into the new52 Justice League title and is one of the more famous black comic book heroes. His role in the Justice League has greatly increased due to everyday increase in computer technology, and it was interesting to see how both the creator and other comic professionals felt about his character.

The next featurette follows a similar format, but regards Batman's role on the Justice league. Since Doom is based on the "Tower of Babel" arc, in which the Justice League appears to be defeated by Batman's contingency plans, a conversation about Batman's role as equalizer is fitting. Of those interviewed, several pointed out that Batman's main role on the Justice League, since he sticks mainly to Gotham, is to protect Earth from the Justice League. I enjoyed this featurette more than Cyborg's, if only because it was a fairly serious conversation about Batman.

The third, and noticeably more solemn featurette, was about the life and work of Dwayne McDuffie. Sadly, the featurette both informed me of the importance and brilliance of his work, as well as his death last year. McDuffie founded Milestone comics, created the character Static, and wrote for several shows and animated films I enjoyed, including "Static Shock", "Justice League Unlimited" and "All-Star Superman". The featurette surmised McDuffie's quality and staggering quantity of work in his career, and informed me of a creator I never fully appreciated when he was alive.

Aside from the collection of special features, this set actually came with film! Justice League: Doom is a very solid animated feature and effectively represents the high quality being put out by DC animated. The premise is simple, what if Batman's failsafe plans against the Justice League were stolen? Vandal Savage enlists some of the Justice League's most prominent villains to neutralize the heroes in an attempt to throw the world into chaos. As anybody familiar with Batman should know, if Batman plans it, it will probably work. This predicament leaves the JL to battle not only villains, but their own weaknesses.

While not a particularly silly movie, Doom does make obvious reference to the wonderfully campy "Superfriends" show from the 1970s. Savage constructs the Hall of Doom in the middle of a swamp, and it even rises and sinks into the murky water. This evil lair is an interesting throwback to the megalomaniacal villains who do evil for evil's sake. The movie also includes a solid supporting role from Cyborg, who has come up to the big leagues of comics recently.

Given the price of the set, it was only $19 at Hastings for the Blu-Ray, I would suggest it to any fan of the old Justice League show from ten years ago.