Thursday, May 26, 2011

Do You Like Free Books? I Like Free Books.

Oh, books, you lovely, paper-filled, unfortunately going out-of-style, leather bound compilations of stories, poems, myths, legends, and byzantine number problems. How I've missed you so much more now that the economy has driven you from my home. Your presence was once plentiful, now it is seldom.

For those of you who, like myself, enjoy reading but due to the closing gap between the labels "USA" and "CAN" on the back cover are no longer able to enjoy any form of story, be it trash fantasy or otherwise, there is a marvelous solution! Breadline Books is a blog hosted by a wonderful chap who wants to make books available for anybody who has the desire to read.

It's really a simple thing. Each month you send off an e-mail with a link to a book you want, and if you're one of two lucky blokes who happen never to sleep, you're going to get your book. By the miraculous actions of either divinities of inactivity, I have been fortunate to be the second placer this month. And what book did I choose for my reward?

Comics of course!
I'd been meaning to get into, or rather, to check out Marvel's Noir line of books for a while now, and not even half-expecting to win, used the opportunity presented by Bradline Books to do so. Because of Breadline's relatively low traffic, I managed to win. Which is unfortunate, because there are many more deserving readers who would have requested a book of much higher merit.

This current low-traffic also means you'll have a much higher chance of getting a free book out of the next couple of months. If you like reading at all, now is your chance to not have your arms and legs ripped off by Random House. Well, not your legs, anyways. So you can still get around.

So, just incase you missed it, there's another link here.

And while I've introduced the topic, I think I'll use this time to discuss the sorry state in which the comics industry is finding itself.

Many of you will probably not agree with me, because either you live by the philosophy that "things need to change" or that "Hollywood adaptations means the books are selling." Both of which are right, and both of which are wrong. When I say that the industry is in "a sorry state" I'm not really referring to their sales, which I'm amazed aren't declining nearly as much as they are. No, I'm talking about the actual creations being pumped out by the big two (not so much Dark Horse. I love me some Dark Horse.)

And when you say "things need to change" I will happily agree with you, despite my unrequited love of Golden Age cheesefests. Things do need to change. Characters and elements need to evolve. That doesn't mean you need to evolve them in such a way that you alienate the original fanbase, nor does it mean that you need to convolute crap anymore than it already is.

Come on. Does Sega write comics now?
Originally I was going to complain about the new Venom design and host, but then I thought about it and realized that this isn't some new stupid idea. This is actually a better appreciation for the original nature of the Symbiote and is a worthy evolution of both Venom (the Symbiote) and Flash Thompson as characters in the universe. And it beats the hell out of an army of bizarre monsters that never fit the original idea to begin with.

Instead this rant is more about the garbage that Marvel and DC think they can just spit out. It's almost as though they don't have a grasp on the artistry of the comics anymore. Be gross, be big, be exploding. These days it's impossible to find any stories worth a damn in the monthly publications. If you want to read something even remotely worth your time, stick to miniseries and isolated universes (which can include reinventions of the current main universe. The Marvel Zombies line is usually a good amount of fun.) Even if they do manage to push out a good storyline now and then, sifting through the four or five current Spider-Man titles isn't worth it. Especially not at $3.99 a pop.

I'd love to see some independent publishers take the lull in quality big name titles to their advantage and push out something phenomenal. The Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels has already made the journey from small fry to big guy, and I'd love to see other independents do the same. Even rise out of the conglomerate clutches to forge an entirely new universe of stories. Especially considering the print-on-demand and digital formats available to the everyman in the current market, this is really the time to kick crappy comics in the ass and make quality become the selling point.

Oh, before I leave you guys with an awesome new book source and a rant about garbage, I have to apologize for those who noticed yesterday's blog about the Animaniacs wasn't formatted properly. The links opened in the current window instead of opening in a new one because I forgot to fix the coding before I posted. I'll be fixing that in the next couple of minutes, just as soon as I'm done restructuring the wall with my forehead.

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