Tag Archives: United States

Quote of the Day

6 Nov

“I didn’t even know that my health insurance has a $75,000 limit. If I got my legs cut off by a train or if my wife had her head chopped off by a helicopter and needed a head transplant, we would be screwed. Those operations are expensive. So my insurance is getting canceled and we’re getting a cheaper policy with no limit. I can now be eaten by a giant army of ants and I will be covered. So there.”

– Tony Millionaire (Maakies, Sock Monkey, Billy Hazelnuts, etc.)

Advertisements

I made a comic

10 Jul

by Mike Hansen

Hey everybody,

I’ve finally finished my work on my first original comics project, just in time for Comic-Con next week! WOOT!

It’s a new series called THE BEAT DOWN! and it’s written by me and drawn by comics newcomer Elvin Hernandez. Elvin’s a terrific artist, and I have a feeling he’s going to get a lot of comics work thanks to his work on this book.

Here’s the cover art for the teaser comic we’ve printed for Comic-Con, colored by Donovan Yaciuk (creator of the awesome SPACEPIG HAMADEUS series) – click to big-ify:

The Beat Down! cover

Is that sweet, or what?

Elvin’s drawing this series in no less than THREE different art styles. It’s looking pretty fantastic so far.

We’ve published a “teaser” comic that Elvin will be selling at his Comic-Con table in Artist’s Alley (booth #EE-15). If you’re at the Con, swing by and say hi!

I’ll post some more of Elvin’s art over the next few days, before I drive down to San Diego.

My Comic-Con ticket buying experience

20 Feb

by Mike Hansen

So unlike a lot of folks’ horror stories, I had no problem buying Comic-Con tickets this year.

I got a Member ID in advance. I clicked the link in the email. I read the instructions. I watched the video. I clicked the green button and waited for the screen to reload, until the webpage loaded the waiting room. I was number 450 in line. I waited for the page to refresh every two minutes, until it allowed me to purchase tickets after about 5 minutes. I bought tickets. A few hours later, I got confirmation emails.

That’s it. Feel free to hate me now.

If it makes you feel better, I’m applying for professional status (thanks to my comics writing and freelance research work for Marvel), so hopefully you won’t have to worry about me taking a paid badge from you next year.

Sales charts and the lies they tell

8 Jan

by Mike Hansen

Michael Jackson Thriller zombiesNow that comics shops have only one nationwide distributor that carries the major U.S. publishers, it’s easy to look at Diamond’s sales figures and assume they’re pretty accurate. Except that Diamond adjusts the numbers for comics with various sales-incentive schemes, and doesn’t release figures on returns or overseas sales.

There are ways of tracking actual sales to customers (not just to retailers). The music industry used to certify Gold and Platinum albums based on how many albums were shipped to stores, not how many sold to customers. Then along came SoundScan, which revealed that a lot of so-called hits were getting returned unsold to the record labels.

Bookstores have a similar program called BookScan, but it doesn’t cover Walmart or book club sales, among others.

A friend shared with me a recent New Yorker article about the top-selling albums of all time, worldwide. It turns out that Michael Jackson’s Thriller didn’t sell anywhere near a hundred million copies, as Sony Music (remember them?) has claimed. Here’s the actual top ten sales (click on the article link for more):

1. Michael Jackson, “Thriller”: 66,200,000
2. Soundtrack, “Grease”: 44,700,000
3. Pink Floyd, “The Dark Side of the Moon”: 44,200,000
4. Whitney Houston et al., “The Bodyguard”: 38,600,000
5. The Bee Gees at al., “Saturday Night Fever”: 37,200,000
6. The Eagles, “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975”: 36,900,000
7. Bob Marley, “Legend”: 36,800,000
8. Led Zeppelin, “IV”: 35,700,000
9. AC/DC, “Back in Black”: 35,700,000
10. Shania Twain, “Come on Over”: 35,400,000

We already know Continue reading

COPYRAGE: Sony screws Bob Dylan fans with ridiculously limited-edition box set

7 Jan

by Mike Hansen

Bob Dylan 50th front

Way to rub it in everyone’s faces, Sony!

U.S. copyright law tends to revolve around ensuring that Disney continues to own Mickey Mouse in perpetuity (along with Warner Brothers clinging tenaciously to Superman and Batman, Marvel to Captain America, etc.). In Europe, it seems to be all about its music superstars.

Today, Rolling Stone reported something sure to annoy 99.999999999999% of Bob Dylan fans: about 100 copies of an official 4-CD, 86-song Bob Dylan box set of 1962 outtakes (Dylan’s first year with Columbia Records, now owned by Sony Music).

“This isn’t a scheme to make money,” a Sony Music source tells Rolling Stone. “The copyright law in Europe was recently extended from 50 to 70 years for everything recorded in 1963 and beyond. With everything before that, there’s a new ‘Use It or Lose It’ provision. It basically said, ‘If you haven’t used the recordings in the first 50 years, you aren’t going to get any more.'”

Bob Dylan 50th backSo even though Sony doesn’t intend to make money from these recordings (most of which are widely available on bootleg), it wants to ensure that they don’t enter the public domain so they can be freely copied and shared. Really? Is Sony that afraid of having to compete with anyone’s ability to package, release, and distribute the material in a manner of their choosing?

Bob Dylan’s 1962 debut LP became a part of the European public domain on January 1st, meaning anybody in Europe can release the music without paying Dylan one dime. “The whole point of copyrighting this stuff is that we intend to do something with it at some point in the future,” says the source. “But it wasn’t the right time to do it right after he released Tempest. There are other things we want to do in 2013 though.”

Oh, okay: so Sony DOES intend to make money off it. LATER. So they’re lying. Classy!

I’m all for compensating artists for their work, but these are recordings that sat on the shelf for over 50 years while the artist and record company made no effort to make a penny off them. And instead of just allowing the material to become public-domain (like Dylan’s first album and, I assume, the Beatles’ earliest recordings), Sony released just *100* copies of the material to protect its copyright while ensuring that virtually 0% of Bob Dylan fans will actually (legally) hear the material. In a business where record labels routinely underpay their artists (and overpay their executives), this is simply a corporate move to hold onto property it doesn’t care about, just in case it might be worth a few dollars later. This doesn’t benefit the artist; it doesn’t benefit the consumer; and it doesn’t benefit the corporate behemoth greedily clutching the rights. What’s the point?

According to the New York Times, it looks like only Dylan fans in France and Germany can legally download this material from the artist’s website. What?

… Sony is not alone. Universal, which owns the Motown catalog, has released a series of jazz, gospel and rhythm and blues albums under the rubric “Motown Unreleased 1962,” which makes a large body of its unissued archives eligible for the European copyright extension.

Wow. If this isn’t abuse of copyright law, I don’t know what is. It’s no wonder music fans continue to use extralegal methods to acquire music. This is Exhibit A for why copyright law needs to be amended for the benefit of creators and the public, instead of for corporations that behave like mental patients.

Goodbye, 2012

31 Dec

by Mike Hansen

goodbye 2012Another year down already? Man, where does the time go? I miss the days when I could pack in a zillion things in one day and collapse at night, instead of just trying to make progress on a few things until the day’s over. Is this what old people feel like?

I was thinking about writing what I thought of comics in 2012, but I honestly don’t have much to say. (Which probably explains the lower frequency of posts on this site in the last several months!) There were a lot of good comics in 2012, and a few great comics, and way too many comics that could have (and should have) been better. The bottom line, though, is that I LOVE COMICS, and that’s never gonna change. Putting words and pictures together as a flexible, hybrid storytelling language is the most creative and direct way of communicating and entertaining people. Thanks to the internet, more creators are reaching more people. With digital publishing and print-on-demand, the costs and barriers of entry for both producers and consumers of comics are dropping. It’s only gonna get better, folks.

(And VERY SOON, I’ll be sharing some NEW comics work of my own. I’m finishing a script for a story that’s being drawn RIGHT NOW. Can’t wait to share it.)

Have a happy and safe New Year’s celebration, everyone!

R.I.P. Craig Miller

13 Nov

by Mike Hansen

I just received this notice from Lone Star Comics owner Buddy Saunders as part of Lone Star’s weekly email, and I thought I should share an excerpt:

Everyone here at Lone Star Comics is mourning the loss of our good friend, Craig Miller.  Craig died Nov. 7th from a heart attack at the age of 53.  You may know Craig from the magazines he published.  Publishing under the name Win-Mil Productions, he edited and wrote much of the content for Following Cerebus (12 issues), Wrapped in Plastic (75 issues), Spectrum Magazine (35 issues), and Renegade Rabbit (5 issues).

Craig was my first employee at Lone Star Comics, coming to work for me back in 1977. In those days the Lone Star Comics warehouse was my two car garage, and there Craig would join me to pull comic orders after he completed classes at the local university. Craig continued to work for Lone Star off and on right up to the end. During that time he became one of my best and most trusted friends, and a man I will always admire.

I’ve read several issues of Following Cerebus, Wrapped in Plastic, and Spectrum. The passion and effort that went into these publications was undeniable. Craig Miller and his efforts will be missed.

VICTORY! Swedish manga translator NOT guilty of child porn

15 Jun
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth at Won...

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth at WonderCon 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Mike Hansen

Good news!

The other week, I posted my dismay at a manga translator in Sweden being charged and convicted of child pornography possession for Japanese comic-book drawings on his computer, who was ordered to stop referring to himself as a manga expert, resulting in his loss of work.

In other words, no children were exploited, and no harm was done to anyone. Except one citizen who dared to do research for, y’know, his job.

The CBLDF has reported that Sweden’s Supreme Court has overturned the conviction, ruling in favor of free speech over draconian and unjust laws:

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein welcomed the ruling, stating, “This is an important victory for free expression and for manga. Continue reading

Happy Friday! I said, HAPPY!

1 Jun

by Mike Hansen

Hope you have a better weekend than Archie:

sad Archie

What the hell, Archie? You’ve married a hot blonde, and you’ve got a sweet-ass guitar. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?

Maybe Adrian Tomine is writing Archie now? (Except even he’s done happy marriage comics, so who knows?)

Thanks to Orion for showing me this great artwork!

The internet reacts to gay people in comics

29 May

by Mike Hansen

A lot of folks have piped in on this already, but here are a couple of images that I thought worth sharing:

TERRIBLE PARENTING

(Personally, I don’t have a problem with kids looking at either – kids are smart enough to know what they can handle. But this still makes a good point.)

Ty Templeton on why gayness matters in a super-heroThat’s really shoving it down our throats!  (Originally posted here.)

%d bloggers like this: