The iFanboy Letter Column – 04/24/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s time to start binge drinking until the cold light of reality smacks them in the face about about 5AM Monday. For others, Friday is the day when you crawl inside a bottle to die.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming — contact@ifanboy.com

 


When you read a book that contains a sorcerer and the sorcerer says an enchantment, do you read the enchantment like it’s written, in your head? Or do you just think “blah blah blah enchantment enchantment enchantment?” I think I fall into a category of the latter. Keep up the decent work… just kidding it’s great work.

Ryan

Every so often, we get an email or a voicemail that poses a question that really makes me think. It’s something I never even considered, and this week, Ryan gets that award. I’ve never really thought about how I approach the idea of reading spell casting in comics. It really kinda blew my mind to think about it.

To explain a bit more, in the world of comics there are pretty much two sides of the world: magic and science. Now I have a leaning towards the science aspect of comics, always have. Folks like Iron Man, Spider-Man, Batman and the X-Men seem to have more going on in terms of gadgets and technology. That’s something that I can wrap my head around and relate to. But you can’t ignore the magic aspect, because it seems as if most writers can’t ignore it either. Magic from the like likes of Doctor Strange or Doctor Doom seems to be the easiest way to make anything happen (after all it’s one of Superman’s weaknesses). But I also have a sneaking suspicion that writers like writing magic because it gives them a chance to just make up magic-babble. Look at how much fun Bendis seems to have writing Doctor Strange in The New Avengers.

So that leaves us with Ryan’s question — how do I read the incantations? I definitely don’t skip them over like he does. I do try and read the word balloons with the spells, if anything to see if I can pronounce what’s being written. Hell, I’ll even go as far as to admit that sometimes, when I’m not in a rush, I will read the spell word balloon with a little dramatic inflection. Come on, admit it, you do too — when they get that funky font and heavy word balloon going, it’s hard not to, right?

Ron Richards

 


I heard you had an iPhone. I am debating whether to get one myself because my phone is so old it rusts! Is it the same as an iPod? Can I play video podcasts? More importantly, what kind of device is it for reading digital comics and is it any good? Where can you find digital comics and is it the future? Are we waving goodbye to paper in favour of the touchscreen? How many comics are out there which are available for the iPhone and are they the very latest comics? Keep the excellent work up.

James R. from Derbyshire, England

James, welcome to the family! As Conor, myself, and many others have joined the cult of iPhone, we are glad to see you are ONE OF US! I could also point out to you a few dozen top comic creators who live their lives on their handheld mobile as well, but that’s really kind of irrelevant. As far as features go, you can look that stuff up yourself. But when it comes to comics on the device, I have to say, I’m a bit of a convert.  Not too long ago, I wrote a piece decrying the reading of comics on my iPhone, and I’m while I generally don’t like that as my first choice of comics consumption, I’ve been shown the tiny pixelated light in a couple of different ways. I know of a couple pretty good options I have personal experience with.

First up is iVerse Media, of whom you must have heard as a sponsor of the show. When we talked about them, we said it works pretty well, and I can guarantee you that it wasn’t paid schilling, but my actual opinion. They take comics, and recut them by panels to fit on the phone, and you flick through them like that. It works better than you’d think it would. You do have to buy each comic separately, but at $.99 an issue (or 4,632 Super Queen Rupees, or whatever it is you’re using in the UK these days, I’m not sure of the conversion), you can see the savings over a regular comic book issue. All the content, none of the clutter, 1/3 the price sounds pretty good. Plus the first issues of various titles are free, so you can give it a shot.

Next up is a program called Pull List. It’s available from the iTunes store for $2.99. This is a program that imports .CBZ or .CBR files to your phone, and uses an iTunes-like interface to sort through them by title, publisher and number. Of course the problem with this one is the only way to get content is by pirating, and that is a conversation we don’t need to have again here for a while. Still, the interface is pretty nice, and you can read the whole page, zooming and scanning as needed. I read one issue on it, and despite a severe case of the squints directly after, it did the best you could do with the small iPhone screen. Plus, should there be a day in the future when publishers decide that, yes, we do need a widespread digital solution, Pull List will have been a frontrunner in getting that to the mobile device.

Truth be told, I still prefer paper for my comics, but if you’re stuck in a dentist office, there are worse ways to spend your time than zipping through some word balloons on The Great and Powerful Oz Machine– er, iPhone.

Josh Flanagan

 


I’ve been watching a few older iFanboy videos recently, and heard Conor mention a few times that he has his single-issue long boxes in a storage unit miles away from where he lives. He made it sound like he rarely sees them.

I have a very similar situation. In high school, I bought a lot of single issues back when I was a big DC nerd. When I went off to college, these long boxes full of single issues stayed at my parents house and that’s where they’ve stayed. Recently, I started getting back into single issues and I suddenly have a yearning to read old copies of Blue Devil or, strangely enough, Young All-Stars. It’s a little tough to get back to my parents house, as we live a state apart these days and I know that my two-bedroom apartment is just too small to transport these boxes to where I currently live.

How often do you make it to the storage to check out these books again? Do you ever get cravings for books you just can’t get your hands on? Does it frustrate you as much as it does me?

Jeff R.

P.S. I guess I should visit my parents more often.

First of all, Jeff — call your mother. She misses you.

It’s okay, I’ll wait.

…..

….

(Tell her I said hello!)

….

…..

Okay, good.

Yes, it is indeed true. I live in Brooklyn, and while I don’t have one of those cliche super tiny New York City apartments, it is still no place for 30+ long boxes. At least that’s what my roommates told me.

So I keep my long boxes full of single issues in a storage unit. I just did some Google Mapping and said storage unit is 1.6 miles from my apartment. This was not a big deal back when I had a car. You’ll notice I said “when”. A little over a year ago my car finally gave up the ghost. One too many trips along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and its pot hole obstacle course, I reckon. So now I can’t just pop over to see my comics whenever I please. Now I actually have to make plans that usually involves Zipcar. As a result, I have seen my long boxes no more than three times in the last year. I usually see them once in the summer when we go get the air conditioners, and once in the winter when we drop them off. And I might see them one other random time in the year. Other than that, they are but a distant memory.

And you know what? I don’t really miss them. It’s kind of like an ex that you might not have feelings for anymore but you still have particularly strong physical chemistry with. When they are out of sight, they are (mostly) out of mind. But when you see them… whoa, look out!

But at the end of the day, my stack has only grown since last you saw it and even if my long boxes were here I’d probably rarely ever open them up.

Conor Kilpatrick

 

Comments

  1. Great questions all around this week!

  2. I like zatana enchantments. They’re like amusingly easy word puzzles.

     

    Also, Conor, why don’t you sell them?

     

    Also, the iphone sucks. What kind of stupid phone doesn’t have text forwarding? The ammount of ridicule hurled towards be by my Nokia 1208 using friends. DAMN YOU APPLE! DAMN YOU TO HEEEEEEEEELL

  3. I don’t know how I feel about reading comics one panel at a time but then again I’m so impatience that I look at the bottom couple panels of a page before I start reading it.  Plus your really kind of lose the sense of juxtapostion.  I’m interested to see how it works in pratice though.  

  4. My longboxes are only in "storage" in my house, and I still never look in them. I’ve been thinking about them a lot this week as I prepared to move, and they’re like a practical illustration of ambivalence. On the one hand, as I lug each one to the basement I curse my own name for ever entertaining this inexplicably heavy hobby; on the other hand, I keep thinking, "I can’t wait to get a new house with an office and some shelves, so I can take these out again! The first thing I’m gonna do is buy some sturdier boxes and alphabetize the $#*% out of these magazines!" Then I cry "what has my life become?!" until the neighbors send the police.

  5. If you want to know the most awesome presentation of Digital comics just google:

     

    Wolverine old man logan widescreen edition.

     

     

  6. Oh I forgot to mention that hate reading Zatanna’s spells cause it makes my brain hurt.

  7. Hehe, did anyone else notice in this week’s New Avengers how Dr. Strange’s incantation included the syllables "Yamama," as if he was looking at the Hood and saying, "Yo’ mama?"

  8. @Ron-Agreed.  Screw Zatanna and her headache enducing spells!

    @Conor-I’m with muddi900; why not just sell your long boxes?  Or donate them?  I have a felling the answer is because of the sentimental value, which is always the answer I give the wifers.

  9. Wow, it’s like conor has his old comics in some secret FBI facility. I was hoping to see the shot from Indiana Jones with the warehouse of millions of boxes….

    As for the magic question; which is a very good question btw Ryan, I tend to ignore the magic spells except for two people. I pay attention to Zatanna’s cause since she’s saying the stuff backwards I want to know what she’s going to do. I also pay attention to Dr. Strange just because…..well because I have the voice of Dr. Orpheus in my head….if you know who I am talking about and know the background music for his scenes, it’s perfect.

  10. Also reading magic spells can make my head hurt in additional ways–I’ll look at something and feel sure it’s gibberish and be ready to ignore it…then I may catch part of a legible word in the muck and decide it’s just an annoying font they’ve chosen to challenge the reader to work harder for whatever’s hidden in the incantations…then I’ll drive myself crazy trying to read it only to surrender with the unlikely notion that there is gibberish randomly thrown in between the legit words.  This happened with the Chthon storyline in Mighty Avengers recently.

  11. You know what would really make your brain hurt? Bizarro Zatanna: Pots T’nod Namtab

    I really like the new Dr. Strange spell font. And "translating" the spells from Slott’s recent Mighty Avengers was one of the better things about that run (which isn’t necessarily saying a lot).

    On a related note, did anyone translate the Skrull language during Secret Invasion? In the early issues there were English translations but later they stopped. I’ve meant to make a key and go back to see if there were any good Skrull utterings in those later issues.

  12. This is basically what I hear everytime I see a comic with Dr. Strange:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioEgPlxjDok

  13. @Conner- I agree that you should sell your single issues and use that money to buy trades on titles that you believe you will re-read.  I had my comics stored at a public storage for 8 years and recently had it broken into.  What upset me was these were books from 2000-2008.  Why didn’t they steal my 1990’s collection?  I went to my parent’s house and got my 90s collection and reduced my long box from 15 to 5.  It had no value because these books are overstocked at comic stores and I know I will never re-read them.  So I trashed them.  With just a few long boxes, I don’t need a storage facility anymore and I’m saving $40 a month on unit space.  My books had sentimental value so when it was stolen, I was upset.  But I got over it and I don’t miss it that much.   

  14. Just so you know, I’m the guy with who wrote that third e-mail up there.

    Maybe my problem is that I’m currently trying to get a list of all the comics that I own and I’m trying to get it all down based on memory alone.  Like, I know I own the entire first volume of "Suicide Squad," but do I own all the 90s "Eclipso" series? I don’t know!  Drives me nuts to do this without my comics in front of me.  The second problem is that as I’m getting this list together, it’s just making me think about these series again and suddenly I want to re-read them.

    Maybe someday my wife and I will own a house just so I can have room to store my comics.

  15. I thought that Dr. Stange’s speach bubbles were not made to be read when he’s spell casting.

    Aw Dr. Orpheus I just love that guy. Why can’t Stange be more like him.

  16. A) He’s not going to sell his comics. Conor has every book he’s ever read, and some day he plans to have vast archives meticulously cataloged featuring his life’s readings.  This is a futile effort to get him to get rid of them.

    B) There’s no one to buy them if he did.

  17. @James – iVerse on the iPhone is really worth checking out, as Josh said. I’ve stated before that I hate reading comics off a screen, and still prefer the paper format by miles. But the iVerse format is really user-friendly and works pretty well. I’m currently reading Proof on the phone, and the current UK rate is 59p an issue which is pretty cheap.

  18. zipcar is badass.

  19. 10/10 ex-gf analogy.

  20. @cman12-Werd!!  Zipcar gets it done!

  21. well how about that zipcar, that’s pretty interesting

  22. That picture looks like its from an episode of CSI…Connor are you commiting murders in your storage unit?

  23. Conor, my mom says "Hello" back.

  24. There’s a nice documentary about storage units like the ones in the picture, but I can’t remember its name…

  25. @cenquist: Or is conor turning men into transexuals?…..That was an episode of CSI….the grossest CSI episode ever.

  26. I DO have one of those cliche small apartments in NYC (im in the nice part of Queens so it’s all I can afford :() and my long boxes I assume are going to become a problem soon. They fill up fast, and I gotta plan my apartment around them, cause lets face it, they’re the most important thing, right??

  27. You’re obviously not married.

  28. @Conor 30+ Long boxes? …30+……. Can I please have a photo? I can’t wrap my head around this picture! Do you have dividers, an excellent labeling and filing system, numerical order by title alphabetically?

    @josh My wife’s hundreds of handbags, shoes and clown figurine collection is utter waste and clutter , whereas my 3 longboxes and shelf full of trades are indispensible & a necessary and vital mood stabilizer.

     

  29. @Jesse1125: Nope, there is no labeling or filing system, which is out of necessitiy more than anything else.  My older comics are all grouped together, but once I moved the comics to the storage unit that ended. Now a new box gets filled up with about a year’s worth of new comics and goes into the storage unit.

  30. Wikipedia will eventually collapse, and someone has to step up and conserve DC’s continuity for future generations.
     They will get grouped and bounded like the Zohar books – no child will be able to read them because he will go mad from all that enlightening and sacred texts.

    God created a rainbow to manifest the peace bond god and Moses made after the great flood. God created DC’s continuity as  a sign – that he is still out there. That he has not forsaken us. Conor is that sacred bond’s keeper. I don’t really know where I’m going with this so I’ll end it.

  31. the wife clutter/comic book clutter is an endless debate and I often come out the loser.  I sometimes think they are only here until she decides paying for the storage might not be so bad.

  32. One of my favorite uses for the iphone is viewing my ifanboy pulllist at the comic store. Bookmarking the printable pulllist view has often saved me from the media-buying amnesia I always suffer at comics stores, record stores, etc. I guess its not iphone-specific, but it still rocks!

  33. @josh Nope…do have a girlfriend though, which makes it double as hard to plan the room. Thank god she’s into comics too, or else I’d be royaly screwed

  34. @conor: You could make your own LCS if you wanted too. I have the perfect name for it!

    ‘Conor’s Cavalcade of Comics’

  35. or

    A Consortium of Comics by Conor and his Cohorts, inc. 

  36. How about: ‘Konor’s Krazy Komics’?

    Yeah that sounds good….nothing wrong there

  37. PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

    That picture makes Danny Rand look more upset than a kid without a ride to Free-Comic Book Day