odds and ends

I MUST take an opportunity to geek out about this. I’m on an incredible run of good reading in the past few weeks- you can become my friend on GoodReads if you’re interested in a more in-depth take, but trust me friends… the last FIVE books I’ve read this summer have been fantastic. Perhaps my favorite of the lot is 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Albert Brooks. Brooks is, to me, one of the pillars of American comedy. I’ve loved his movies ever since my parents took me to see Defending Your Life, causing me to go back and rent all his older stuff. The man is Hank Scorpio, for God’s sake!

2030 is an engrossing “what if” scenario for America’s future, equal parts bleak and hopeful, featuring a huge cast of characters and some very prescient thoughts about the next twenty years and I loved it. When I noticed Albert Books had a Twitter profile, I had to say:

@AlbertBrooks The accolades may not even register anymore, but 2030 was terrific. My favorite book of the year. Thanks.

To which, not ten minutes later:

@capearce81 Are you kidding? I have never had an overabundance of accolades. Thanks!

I swear to God, this made my day.


As of last week, I am finished with the David Tenant/10th Doctor episodes of BBC’s long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who.

I started watching Season Two sometime back in March and two and a half months later, I’m done. That strikes me as both fantastic and weird. Folks who experienced this television show first-hand had YEARS of enjoyment and anticipation of new episodes, where as I just slotted them in whenever I had a free afternoon.  I can’t tell if this heightened my enjoyment of the show (which, for the record, I absolutely love) or if perhaps I lost something in the experience. I never got the chance to sweat out the time between the final four “special” episodes… I just binge-watched them all.

Going on a TV show binge can be fun, but I think there’s something to be said for watching a show in the way its creators expected you to watch.


Last thing: A few days ago, I received an e-mail from one of my former students. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to collect the kids who have an interest in comic books… they flock to my classroom when they hear about my library.

 Pearce: What do you think of all the new DC Comics comics?

He went on from there a little bit, but I think you can catch his drift if you’re a comic book fan: This past week, DC Comics announced a huge new publishing initiative, including day-to-date digital publishing AND a line-wide relaunch of ALL their major superhero titles with brand new #1 issues. I’ll put some of my thoughts behind a cut.

I’ve been a reader of comic books for (Good Lord) almost twenty years, so I can’t say I very much care about renumbering. The numbers printed on the front of a modern comic are a courtesy that comic book companies often take back. Marvel has been doing this for years- restart Daredevil with a #1 issue, get a significant bump in orders and purchases from people who want to be in on the ground floor with a first issue. When that bump in orders goes away after a few years, Marvel will go back to the original numbering, touting the change as a “return to greatness” or whatever. It’s the same comic if it has a number 1 or a number 67 on the cover, so I don’t care much.

I’ll also say that aside from one or two interesting choices, I’m unexcited about most of the talent working on these comics. It doesn’t strike me that I am seeing anything new or innovative in DC’s choices in who will be steering most of these books. Tony Daniel on Detective Comics? J.T. Krul and Dan Jurgens on Green Arrow? These don’t feel like exciting moves to me. It’s like they’re just rearranging furniture, when they should be buying new stuff. Even some of their biggest creative choices, like Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on Justice League seem a little old hat. You can look at the complete list, with 52 new titles, here. So having said that… I am likely to try a few of these new books, so there’s clearly a couple of winners in the bunch. Cliff Chiang’s artwork and Brian Azzarello’s words have guaranteed a purchase of Wonder Woman out of me. Francisco Francavilla’s dark and moody pencils will get me to try out Swamp Thing for the first time since Alan Moore was writing the book.

Certainly I will also continue to keep up with the comics I had already been reading from DC, regardless of whatever changes they make to the titles or the numbering. I was following Scott Snyder on Detective Comics, so I will continue to look at his run on the character as he shifts from Detective to Batman. I love Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey’s work on Jonah Hex, so I will continue to enjoy their work on All-Star Western, although I’m going to miss Jordi Bernet.

Now here’s the rub: for every one book I’m going to buy, there are around THREE new books that I just have no money, time, or interest to read. Mister Terrific? Batwing? Demon Knights? Although I have no vested interest in DC making any money off of this glut of books, the fact that I can only find five out of fifty-odd books to be excited to read doesn’t exactly bode well.

The other part of the equation is DC’s new “day and date” approach to digital publication. The overall day-and-date strategy is bold… the details are not. I’m glad that everything will be available online the day it comes out… however the pricing on these digital publications is a little drab. $3.99 for day-and-date seems a bit much, even with assurances that these prices will go down a month after the release. This measure is designed to give comic book stores a bit of a buffer, as is DC’s idea for a “dual pack” where customers can get both the physical comic AND a digital download for $4.99.

I’m aware how notoriously cheap comic book people are (heck, I have a weekly blog post devoted to it!) but $4 bucks seems a BIT much for me. Knock a buck off that, you might get me to sample some books I wouldn’t normally pick up at my LCBS. Knock two bucks off? I might sample half the line. Again, there are economic and strategic reasons behind some of DC’s choices with this stuff and I’m not entirely hip to the world of online publishing to the point where I can speak with voracity on what would and would not work. That’s just my two cents.

3 Responses to “odds and ends”

  1. Tennant was fine, but I don’t much care for the guy with the bowtie who replaced him. He seems to want to emulate Tennant, but doesn’t hit the mark. I liked the guy who preceded Tennant also, but the current guy is unappealing. The young woman he travels with is kind of interesting, though.

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      It’s funny you should say- tomorrow’s comic is ALL about the new Matt Smith series. In short- I think he’s alright, but my wife LOVES him. I don’t think I’ll ever like a Doctor as much as Tennant, but from what I gather… that’s par for the course. Whichever actor was playing the role when you became interested in the series is “your” Doctor, forever more.

      • I was watching Dr. Who with Tom Baker years ago and really liked it. I also liked Eccleston very much. While I got used to Tennant, I still can’t muster a lot of enthusiasm for Doctor Bowtie. I’m becoming very fond of the new Torchwood series on Starz though, which is quite a bit better than Dr. Who has been for some time.

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