Saturday, July 21, 2012

Future Publishing's COMIC HEROES app: When FREE isn't Free!

I own an iPhone and I like apps.
So when I came across... the App Store, I thought "Kool"!
When I read the description...
Comic Heroes is your exclusive guide to all things comics related - from the books themselves through to the films and games they inspire. Released six times per year, every issue brings you interviews with creators from around the world, definitive reviews of the latest comics, news and reports from the biggest conventions and loads more.
****Note: This digital edition does not include the covermount items or supplements you would find with printed copies****

 ...and saw the screenshot of the cover...
...I thought "Nifty"!
When I saw the price...
...I thought "WOW"!
So, I "bought" it, which because it was "free", didn't cost that point!
Then, after I scrolled down to the bottom of the screen (which isn't visible without considerable scrolling), I saw...
The terms of subscription are 1 year and your subscription will start with the latest available issue.
Individual issues are priced at:
Single issue £4.99 / $6.99 / €5.49
With subscription prices at:
1 year £21.99 / $30.99 / €24.99
• Payment will be charged to your iTunes Account at confirmation of purchase
• Your subscription automatically renews unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24 hours before the end of the current subscription period
• You will be charged for renewal within 24 hours prior to the end of the current period, for the same duration and at the current subscription rate for that product
• You can manage your subscriptions and turn off auto-renewal by going to your Account Settings after purchase
• No cancellation of the current subscription is allowed during active subscription period.  This does not affect your statutory rights
• Any unused portion of a free trial period, if offered, will be forfeited when you purchase a subscription
• We will be collecting information about your use of the app both when you are online and offline. To find out more please see our privacy policy.
By purchasing a subscription or downloading an app you agree that you have read and accept Future Publishing Ltd's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
(Remember, NONE of this was visible without considerable scrolling!)
This is NOT "Free" by any definition!
$30.00 for a digital-only subscription to a magazine you could pay less for in it's print incarnation!
They claim on their "Responsibility" page...
Future is absolutely committed to ensuring that it conducts its business in a way that is environmentally, ethically and socially responsible.
Corporate responsibility is inextricably linked to the reputation and commercial performance of our business.
Yet they deceptively advertise something for "FREE" that's NOT free!
I don't want to be billed for something I can't afford to "buy", though it's listed for "free".
So how do I remove it from my iPhone?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Midnight Movie Massacre at 'Dark Knight Rises'

I'm a bit freaked about the massacre in the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre during the midnight screening of Dark Knight Rises, so the regularly-scheduled post will not appear today.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reading Room: SPACE ACE "Space Patrol"

Magazine Enterprises' Space Ace was a curious strip...
...starting out relatively-sophisticated, as we'll show you here in this tale from ManHunt #1 (1947)...
 ...and progressively becoming more juvenile as it's first incarnation progressed, as seen in the final tale of that version.
When the series was rebooted, it was extremely, shall we say, "kid-friendly" as shown HERE and HERE, but ended with more adult-oriented scripts and art as seen HERE and HERE!
The Grand Comics DataBase attributes the art to Fred Guardineer (who also did the final story), but it doesn't look like Guardineer's other work, so I'm skeptical as to the accuracy of the assessment.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reading Room: BIG APPLE COMIX "Token"

In the early 1970s, there were a lot of underground / alternative comics...
...but this HTF 1975 one-shot is one of the koolest, if only for it's awesome lineup of big-name New York-based comics talent including:
Wally Wood (who did the amazing cover above as well as a NSFW spoof of his classic "My World" strip, plus he wrote a second strip and inked a third.)!
Al Williamson, who illustrated the NSFW strip written by Wood, illustrating a Roy Thomas-lookalike nerd thrust into a world of barbarians, nude princesses, and monsters, becoming a loincloth-wearing, sword-wielding hero!
Plus: Neal Adams, Larry Hama, Ralph Reese, Paul Kirshner, Archie Goodwin, Marie Severin, Mike Ploog, Alan Weiss, Stu Schwarzberg, Linda Fite, and Herb Trimpe.
Edited and published by Flo Steinberg (known as "Fabulous Flo" when she was Stan Lee's Gal Friday during the Silver Age), the comic was sold primarily in "head shops" and sleazy bookstores since the direct market was in it's infancy and there were maybe two dozen comic book shops in the entire country!
The comic is a tribute to New York City, the city we love, the city we hate, the city we love to hate and hate to love.
(Yeah, I'm born and raised in NYC...Brooklyn, to be exact!)
There's lots of venting of cynicism and irritation, like the cover with commuters just standing there with an "It's always something!" attitude instead of fleeing in terror as most populaces do at the sight of giant monsters tearing up the skyline.
And then there's the gentle, poetic side as shown by the highly-underrated Herb Trimpe's visual treat...
BTW, the object in question is a subway token.
Their use was discontinued almost a decade ago in favor of "smart cards", so there are probably readers of this blog who have never used, or even seen them.

Penciler/inker Herb Trimpe, who fell into disfavor with Marvel in the 1990s, despite trying to adapt by becoming a Rob Liefield clone, was as much a part of their Silver and Bronze Age success as the Buscema brothers, Don Heck, John Romita Sr, Dick Ayers, Frank Giacoia, Joe Sinnott, or any of the other hardworking craftsmen of the era.
He's still around, making a living as a teacher, and occasionally doing some comic book work.

We'll be presenting the family-friendly stories from this landmark title over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for them!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


There's never a dull moment in the future world of Speed Carter... this tale from Speed Carter: SpaceMan #3 (1954) aptly shows!
The aliens in this story aren't identified by planet of origin or species.
The name given them, "bems", was a popular sci-fi slang term for "bug-eyed monsters"!
So, where are they from?
What species are they?
We'll never know!

Written (as are all the Speed Carter stories) by Hank Chapman.
Illustrated by original artist Joe Maneely in his swan song to the series.
Note: this was the last story in #3, but the first one from that issue we're presenting.
Maneely would later do a Famous Explorers short and a cover, but this was his last Speed Carter story.
There are two more Maneely Speed Carter tales to come.
After #3, each remaining issue features three Speed Carter tales by a different artist or art team...
#4: Mike Sekowsky and Jack Abel
#5: George Tuska
#6: Bob Forgione

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Reading Room: EXPLORERS IN THE UNKNOWN "Demons of Deep Space"

Space, the final frontier...
...where, even if you're in a backup strip in Gold Key's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea comic, if you wear red...WATCH YOUR ASS!
This scientifically-inaccurate tale from VttBotS #7 (1966) was written by Dick Wood (who wrote the entire series) and illustrated by Nevio Zaccara (who remained the strip's artist until the final chapter).

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

22 Panels that Always Work!

Wally Wood came up with a "crib sheet" for himself...
...actually, it was 24 panels, but when Wood's former assistant Larry Hama, who had become the editor / writer/occasional penciler of Marvel's GI Joe series, produced a revised version for fellow artists, he didn't have clean copies of two of the panels!

This year at the San Diego ComicCon, the Wood Estate released a new, authorized version...
Wallace Wood's Panels That Always Work (subtitled, "Or some interesting ways to get some variety into those boring panels where some dumb writer has a bunch of lame characters sitting around and talking for page after page!"), has grown to be one of the Hall of Fame artists' best-remembered works.
While Wood's historic original art for Panels That Always Work survived in the Wood archives for decades, sadly, it was consumed in the tragic fire at the home of the Estate's Director Emeritus, Bill Pearson, in 2004.
The 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego will feature many premiers but none more notable than The Wallace Wood Estate's new print of the classic, Wally Wood Panels That Always Work.
Wood Estate Director J. David Spurlock will be on hand to premiere the new print and other Wood material at booth 1709.
FaceBook readers attending Comic-Con will receive a 50% discount off the manufacturer's suggested $20 retail price on the Wood Panels print.
The print is a revised version of the famous piece, using cleaner art than previously-seen, and in some cases, the final versions of panels that previously were only rough sketches!
Regrettably, none of the press material has included info on how non-SDCC attendees can acquire copies of this kool poster!
When they finally get around to telling us how to get the piece on-line or at your local comic shop, we'll post the links!

On the other hand, the earlier version (the one actually used by comics pros for decades) is now available on a host of kool kollectibles HERE!
So, if you're a comic pro, future comic pro, or comic fan, let your fan-flag fly