Comics Archive

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Marvel’s Push Into Digital Comics

Rob Salkowitz for Fast Company:

Augmented reality might be the most overblown trend on the digital radar right now, and that’s saying a lot. Do we really need to wave our smartphones and tablets over every object in the physical world to find some gimmicky Easter egg or unlock some cheesy video clip? Does it add anything to the story to strip a page down to its pencils or see Iron Man come flying off the page onto the screen of your iPad? How soon till that gets old, even for a teenage male? Five times? Ten?

Bingo. I’ve been reading “Avengers vs X-Men” with the Marvel AR app and it gets old pretty fast. There’s only about 4-5 times you can use the AR functionality and even then, about 80% of the “content” is just panels stripped to pencils. Yes, it’s hard work producing a comic, but *yawn*.

It is nice that Marvel is thinking of ways to add value to their content, but AR is probably a novelty at best, especially considering that you have to hold your phone over the comic, which is kinda like attending a live concert and watching it through your phone camera. How about we work on making a Spotify equivalent for comics, first? Now, that would be something truly valuable.

Marvel Announces Big Digital Comics Push, But Will It Fly? | Fast Company.

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Working At Marvel Is Apparently Shitty

From The Beat:

It gets downright messy. Marvel’s new offices have only one restroom for each gender. In a company of hundreds of people. The post-lunch hour piddle line is said to be especially long and people actually stagger their lunches so as not to wait in it. There’s a human resources staff of one for the whole company. Review copies? You’ve got to be kidding. Editors have to purchase copies of the books they worked on.

God, that’s depressing to read. It’s just sad to see a place called the “House of Ideas” to be such morale deflating misery factory. Makes one wonder how many great ideas are being stifled by penny pinching.

Warren Ellis had a great tweet about this last week given the success of “The Avengers” movie:

via Marvel layoffs: The cheapskate is coming from inside the House of Ideas!  | The Beat.

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Joss Whedon Thanks His Fans

I can think of few other directors today who engender a similar amount of fan passion that Mr. Whedon does. The fact that he took the time to write a sincerely grateful, yet humorously self-deprecating post to his biggest fans after the biggest domestic movie opening weekend of all time speaks volumes to why he’s so beloved.

Joss Whedon interviewing himself:

RDA: What do you feel is the greatest achievement of “the Avoiders”?

JW: Getting “mewling quim” out there to the masses. Also, Hulk.

For the record, I had to look up what “mewling quim” means and when I did I could do nothing but smile and give Joss a mental high five.

Well played, sir. Well played.

via Whedonesque.com.

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Review: The Walking Dead Game Episode One: A New Day

Think you had enough The Walking Dead after that mess of a season two ended on AMC? As much as you might be, try to carve out a couple hours to at least try the first episode of Telltale’s new five-part “adventure” game on PC/Mac, PS3, and Xbox 360. I wrote a full review for Comics Alliance that you can peruse at your leisure if you feel so inclined, but suffice to say, I dug the characters in this game way more than the A-holes on the AMC series. I mean seriously, could those people be any less likable? (If you’ve seen Season Two, I know you’re with me)

Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly if you aren’t a fan of the TV series), the new characters introduced in “A New Day” are more likable than their television brethren. Lee’s a complicated guy with a past shrouded in mystery. He’s not necessarily the natural “leader” that Rick is and that allows for a more interesting dynamic when you encounter characters in the game. Clementine, the little girl you meet early on in the game, is everything that Carl isn’t on the show. She’s vulnerable and innocent, yet strong and resourceful when called upon to be. Playing through the game, I actually began to care for her and wanted to go out of my way to protect her. That’s something that I can’t say the same for any character on the show.

The game as a whole isn’t too bad, either. It’s more of an “interactive story” than a traditional Sierra adventure game, but that’s OK, because I was always terrible at those and usually needed help with them anyway. At $5 ($4 if you get a season pass on the PS3), it’s not a bad price for a couple hours of good episodic writing. Telltale is ambitiously setting up the choices you make in this game to really differentiate the story that you get from each play through. Kinda like Mass Effect with less shooting, if you will. Let’s just hope the ending doesn’t piss off as many people as that game did.

Read my full review on Comics Alliance.

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Marvel’s Free Digital Copy Bundle With Physical Comics

David Gabriel, Marvel SVP of Sales:

We’ve seen a tremendous response to the digital codes in Avenging Spider-Man, our Season One graphic novels and the Ultimate Comics line. The positive reactions from both retailers and fans make it clear that including these codes with our books drives customers into comic stores on a repeated basis.

Awesome move on Marvel’s part. With every $3.99 physical comic purchase, you get a digital version via the Marvel Comics App on Android or iOS. Leave it to a comics company to pave the way for a languishing publishing industry.

via Comic Book Resources.

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The First Seven Pages Of Avengers Vs. X-Men

It sounds like something that should get comics fans wet with excitement, but Marvel’s upcoming super event, “Avengers Vs. X-men,” rubs me the wrong way from the get go. Maybe it’s because I’m not a kid anymore and not “in the demo” for superhero comics, but the thought of reading the comic book equivalent of mashing two action figures together to “fight” doesn’t sound too appealing to me.

The whole story just feels to me like a shameless pandering project set to capitalize on the upcoming release of The Avengers movie in May. Reading the first seven pages of the first issue didn’t change that viewpoint.

Read the preview of ‘Avengers Vs. X-Men on Comics Alliance

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Gotham City Imposters

Earlier this week, I wrote down some impressions from playing the Gotham City Imposters open beta for ComicsAlliance (read them if you are so inclined). After playing a little bit of the final version, I haven’t changed my opinion much. I’m a little disappointed that there aren’t any other gametypes other than Fumigation, Psych Warfare, and Team Deathmatch. I was hoping for some other really creative gametypes to complement them, but perhaps Monolith decided to just focus on getting the three that they had right. All three are fun and substantial, so at least there aren’t “filler” gametypes that no one will ever play.

There’s a couple of other differences that I noticed right off the bat. The first is the addition of many (I’m talking 100+) microtransaction pieces. They’re all vanity-related and don’t affect gameplay, but there’s a few pieces of flair that are only obtainable via extra purchases. This may or may not annoy you, but I personally don’t mind.

The other big difference is the addition of a single player challenge mode, which tasks players with moving around each of the 5 levels using the glider, grapple, and skates. You can earn up to three different medals on three tiers of challenges which also award you XP. It’s an elegant way of incorporating a “training” mode where players can learn how to maneuver around using the gadgets while also giving an incentive to spend time there rather than learning on the fly. I dig it.

At $15, I still think the game deserves a good, long look if you’re into team-based shooters with oodles of unlockables. It’s almost as robust as the multiplayer components for full retail games, but at a fraction of the cost.

Gotham City Impostors Beta Impressions on ComicsAlliance

Download Gotham City Imposters on Xbox Live (It’s also available on the Playstation Network for PS3 and Steam if you own a PC)

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Review: Judge Dredd Vs. Zombies (iOS)

 

What could be a more fun iPhone game than shooting the crap out of zombies as a badass postapocalyptic British lawgiver? Turns out, there’s quite a bit of alternatives. I had the opportunity to review Judge Dredd Vs. Zombies for Comics Alliance late last year and while the core gameplay was competently fun, it was sucked dry by the hollow presentation and shameless difficulty due to a freemium model-friendly unlock system.

If you’re looking for an epic Judge Dredd gaming experience based on the comics, let’s stop right there. This is not the game for you. While the word “zombies” in the title could imply a tie in to Garth Ennis’ epic “Judgment Day” zombie storyline, Judge Dredd vs. Zombies involves nothing of the sort. The closest you get to a story is a single briefing screen telling you that Zombies have infested Mega City-One and that Judge Dredd is the “Solution.” In fact, other than scattered badges and the occasional logo in each level, the only sights you’re going to see are Judge Dredd, zombies, and generic looking building interiors. To be fair to the developer, though, it’s what was promised in the title and by golly that’s exactly what’s offered.

Read my full review on Comics Alliance here

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Avengers vs. X-Men Digital Strategy

Brian Truitt, USA Today:

Each of the 12 Avengers vs. X-Men issues will be available in comics shops and digitally on the same day beginning in April, with each print issue including a free copy for download on the Marvel app.

Perhaps it should be the other way around as well. Buy a digital version, get a coupon for a print one too. It’s easier to obtain a digital copy, especially for new or casual comics fans who may never have even thought about visiting a comics store. Give them a reason to go to the store and explore other books.

via Marvel event reaches ‘critical mass’ – USATODAY.com.

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Review: Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3

Full disclosure: I’m a huge comic book and video game geek and have loved the Marvel vs. Capcom series ever since I was a kid. I’d buy each and every release, even if they only add new characters and come up less than a year after the last one. It’s a really fun fight experience and I find the ridiculous speed and combos a nice change of pace from the more methodical Street Fighter or Tekken series.

That being said, I really wish Capcom would include a nice tutorial mode or something to make it easier for newcomers to get into the game. It’s a blast to play and there’s definitely a larger audience for this stuff now that Marvel’s successfully launched so many high profile films.

You can find my full review of the game on ComicsAlliance. I’d feel honored if you read the whole thing, but I’ll admit it’s a bit detailed for you impatient types out there.

If you’re one of those people, here are some tl;dr points:

If you skipped out on the original Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and love the characters and/or just love a good brawling game, then picking up Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a no-brainer. It’s strictly superior to the previous version in virtually every way. Even if you’re not normally a fighting game person, you may want to at least rent the game once just to experience your beloved characters brought to full interactive life (LifeTip for overworked readers: I’ve found that setting the game to an easy difficulty and breezing through arcade mode is a wonderful stress reliever).

As for those who own the first version, whether or not you’ll find the right value in UMvC3 depends on how often you play with others — either online or on the couch together. This is a game meant to be played competitively. Things will get very tiresome on your own once you’re done experimenting with the new characters. Feel free to skip UMvC3 if you got the idea the first go-around and have no desire to see the new characters. It doesn’t bring a whole lot new to the table.

Read the full review: ‘Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3′ review on ComicsAlliance.