Another Case For Physical Media (reposted BW article)

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I’ve mentioned my other website, BW Media Spotlight, in the past here at the Clutter Reports and even used a few reviews as filler posts, since reviews are part of what I do here and these reviews are things I own and considering whether to remove or not. The books I reviewed here were also reviewed over there, only the book reviews here are an overview while the other site goes over them a chapter at a time. Even the times I’ve shown off new art supplies and my art desk were things I use to make logos and comics for my other site.

I’ve defended keeping physical media in the past, music in that case, how while going all digital sounds good on paper (pun intended) there are negatives that don’t always work. There’s nothing wrong with a comic, novel, video game, CD/cassette/record, or home video library if they are things you actually plan to read, play, or watch. Recent events with popular digital comic site ComiXology are another example. I want to get rid of the comics I don’t want to read anymore, making a digital archive for my website’s purposes (it will easier to look them up and get the panels I need) but having that comic in my hands and knowing it stays mine is a good thing. What follows is my look at the changes ComiXology went through after being bought by Amazon, the recent huge layoff alert, and why the paper stuff is still a good option. I’ve made a few changes if I thought the more casual fans that would stumble on this site would find something hard to follow or don’t follow my other site. Here’s the original post if you’re curious. And now….the repost:


I have no idea what’s going on with ComiXology these days. Just recently I posted a BW Ramble v-log about how they finally fixed the Guided View feature, which reformatted the normal comic page for cleaner viewing on smartphone and tablet screens, and even the larger computer monitor, a feature they dropped when Amazon bought the digital comics service and decided to integrate it into Kindle. Now they’re cutting a huge chunk of their workforce. Almost 75% according to Bounding Into Comics. Yes, with people being allowed into that area of space we call “outside”, which I vaguely remember visiting once or twice, demand for at-home media has gone down. Streaming services are not making as much money as they were during the lockdowns and that’s only partly blamed on some…questionable decisions by streaming services that a Clutter Report version of this article would be out of place going on about. Part of it can also be blamed on our current economic issues and I won’t go into a political rant here because, again, I’m reformatting this article for a decluttering blog and I don’t even like doing those kind of rants on the storytelling discussion site.

Even people currently working at ComiXology are complaining about the layoffs, not to mention high ranking types who are already hitting the job sites for work. That’s certainly bad news in this climate and I wish them all the best of luck, but BW Media Spotlight and The Clutter Reports aren’t business sites, it’s a storytelling or clutter organizing site. Digital comics, for some, have replaced physical comics because they take up less floor space and are a bit cheaper since there isn’t printing costs to deal with…I mean, in theory they’re cheaper. However, with such a huge drop in people running the site this is a format of comics that may take a hit of its own, and frankly just pushes my belief that physical comics are still superior in the end.

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Comic Report: Transformers Armada UK comic

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The project for this week hit some snags and I don’t have time to do a full article going over those snags. A plan for next time perhaps or maybe I’ll just move on to something worthwhile. So to make up the time I’ve reworked an old article from my other site for the more casual crowd I expect comes to this site versus that one..

For those of you who don’t read that site or haven’t seen me talk about it here, Transformers Armada is based on the toyline in which the Autobots and Decepticons were joined…quite literally…by, or rather to, a third faction called the Mini-Con. If you only know them from the recent Robots In Disguise series it’s a modified version of the original concept. By connecting to certain “hardpoints” on the larger figures the Mini-Con would activate hidden weapons and such, but on the “dead points” kids could pretend they were giving them a huge burst of power, which extended for the next few toylines until the 2010s RID. (Interestingly a couple of toys from the 2000s RID, which came from Car Robot, were able to accept Mini-Cons due to the molding.) To me the gimmick was never fully showcased however.

I wrote about the little Transformers and my love of them in a previous report, where I noted that these were small Transformers who turned into vehicles that had things like headlights or little jets. (And as we’ve seen in Rescue Bots and Rescue Bots Academy headlights can double as water cannons, but since they’re headLIGHTS you could argue they’d make for good lasers.) Some of them not only turned into weapon-bearing vehicles but the toy itself may have launching projectiles. The helicopters had spinning blades. One Mini-Con team had a gimmick that they turned into mounted or hand-held weapons, but the only ones anyone following the media would know are the ones that combined into the superpowerful weapons like the Star Saber, Requiem Blaster, and Skyboom Shield. There was so much more play and fight scene potential in the Mini-Cons that was never realized, nor was their non-weapon potential realized outside of being referred to as “smart tools” in the cartoon. This has constantly bothered me but with the gimmick altered after Power Core Combiners (which didn’t even have a non-toy appearance) to what it became in Robots In Disguise and the related toyline (which was these disks fired by launchers or little robots that turn into weapons) it’s just more wasted potential. It’s a sore spot for me because I really love the classic Mini-Con toys and wish we could see the full extent of the gimmick beyond robo-steroids.

Enough about that though, because this getting too long intro hasn’t even touched on UK comics. I’m not from the UK and I’ve only seen a small number of comics from the UK but they don’t appear to come in the traditional comic size but in more of a magazine format. Someone actually from the UK can correct me if I’m wrong. I’m not sure how because my memory is only slightly less damaged than Sam Beckett but I ended up with the first issue of Panini Comics’ Transformers Armada, a comic adapting the toys into comics for the UK rather than simply reprinting the US comics from Dreamwave. And it does appear to be a magazine, as you’ll see from the cover. There are a few character profiles and an activities section that includes how to draw Megatron. Not that this is the artist I would choose to draw Megatron but I’ll get to that. I’ll be focusing on the comic story, which makes four versions of the origin of the Mini-Cons on Earth I own, along with the Dreamwave comic, the cartoon, and a junior novel. Also, this is Simon Furman’s chance to do his own telling of the origin since he came in during the second story arc of the US comic. Readers of the other site know my issues with Furman’s writing style and his darker take on Transformers but his Dreamwave run, including the Armada comic, was quite good. How well did he do here?

I also don’t remember if this had a sticker album but I get the feeling it didn’t.

Transformers Armada #1

Panini Comics (May, 2003)

“First Encounter”

WRITER: Simon Furman

PENCILER: Jon Mitchell

INKER: Bambos Georgiou, and Martin Griffiths

LETTERER: Neil Porter

Oddly there is no coloring (or in this case colouring) credit despite the whole magazine being in full color.

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Comic Report: Superman’s War Of The Worlds Crossover

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Today’s project is dusting and some mild reorganizing. Seeing as I haven’t had the most interesting article lately I wanted to make up for it with something worth reading. So here’s a review from my primary project, BW Media Spotlight, about one of my favorite Superman crossovers, a different take on the H.G. Wells classic. Enjoy.


 

The year was 1938, which would see the debut of two influences from fake aliens. The first was Action Comics #1, which debuted among other characters the hero known as Superman. Unlike the Superman we know today his powers didn’t come from the Sun but because Earth’s gravity is lighter than Krypton’s. He couldn’t fly or had any special vision powers but he was superstrong, could leap an 8th of a mile and outrun a train, and while he was still bulletproof he wasn’t as invulnerable as he is today. The force of a bursting shell was the minimum to pierce his skin, and that was by 1938 levels. That wasn’t the only difference between the Superman of history and the later known iconic take on Superman.

1938 was also the debut of the Mercury Theater’s Halloween radio broadcast The War Of The Worlds. Loosely inspired by the H.G. Wells novel the setting was moved to then present day, with the framing device of a music broadcast constantly interrupted by a mysterious threat from the planet Mars. While the public reaction has been greatly exaggerated (one source suggesting it was the newspapers taking a shot at radio because radio news came faster than the twice-daily newspaper–and given modern reactions to new media I’m willing to believe it), the story still earned a place in our culture, and TV specials have used the same framing device.

1999 may be a year late for the two stories to have an anniversary, but it’s the reason 1938 was chosen as the setting for one of my favorite Superman Elseworlds stories. Superman: War Of The Worlds uses the original incarnation of Superman while mixing elements of the original Wells novel and the Orson Wells radio drama and tells a story of what could have happened had this relatively weaker Man Of Steel had to protect the world from the other Red Menace.

“Geez, J’onn, I said I’d pay you back on Friday!”

Superman: War Of The Worlds

DC Comics (1999)

WRITER: Roy Thomas

ARTIST: Michael Lark

COLORIST: Noelle Giddings

SEPARATIONS: Heroic Age

LETTERER: Willie Schubert

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Comic Report: Final Faction #1

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Recently we took a look at Churro, the flying chihuahua with guns from the Final Faction toyline. In case you missed it, Final Faction is a toyline exclusive to Dollar Tree stores in the US and Poundland in the UK. Inspired by the 1980s version of G.I. Joe and similar action figures, the line’s gimmick is a series of accessory packs used by the heroic Final Faction and the evil invading alien Karn for control of Earth’s resources. Churro is a chihuahua with a canine mech suit, the FD-O, that you can attach various weapons to, but the human and alien figures have those as well. There are also a set of vehicles and robots for the heroes while the villains’ troop builders come in the form of synthoid robots.

On my last shopping trip I went to see if there were any more accessory packs that might work for the FD-O in case I wanted to alter Churro’s load out now and then for display, since it’s the only thing in the line that interest me. I saw some that I want to look into online to make sure they’re compatible (I saw one that was actually reviewed on the FD-O and I may end up getting it, giving it VTOL engine wings and machine guns) but what surprised me was a comic book based on the toyline. I mean, that’s nothing new. Over at my other site I review comics on the daily, sometimes twice a day, and between regular and pack-in minicomics I’m certainly used to it. I just wasn’t expecting it for the $1.50 toyline. So I figured I’d check out the first issue at least and see if it’s any good. Plus it’s the origin so we get to see how best doggy got his robot. And I have a review format that I use on my other website for the deeper reviews (you’ve seen it here during filler posts), but there will be spoilers for this comic. I mean, it’s for your kids. Were you going to read it? If you’re like me, probably.

I wonder what the first faction was?

Final Faction #1

Dollar Tree (2022)

“First Impact”

WRITER: Toby Osborne

ARTIST: Chris Rarrinan

INK ASSIST: Luis Rivera

COLORIST: Mimi Simon

LETTERERS: John Heebink & Mike Manley

SPOOF AD PAGE ARTIST: Pete McDonnell

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Quick Report: Prepping Comics For Unloading

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Last week I mentioned that my local comic store (the one I used to go to when I could buy new comics) might be willing to take some of my old comics or at least help me get rid of them. So for this week I wanted to get the process started. I have three shopping bags filled with comics and this week I wanted to get the first bag ready to be brought over. The project was to mark down all the comics in that bag I wanted to sell, make a last decision if they were going (two ended up staying for the time being), and get them into a disposable bag to bring over. I’m listing them on Google Sheets so I can access it outside the house. I just have to download it to my phone. Whatever he can’t use I’ll add to the Clutter For Sale page, where a few comics are already listed, until I get a better idea. I still need to figure out what to do with the untranslated manga and even some of the translated ones and American graphic novels.

Sadly I had trouble sleeping the night before so I didn’t have time to complete this assignment by post time. None of them were priced in case he can’t use them (since the store needs to make a profit I don’t expect to get the full current market price, but it beats keeping them here where I’m not making any money out of them and they’re cluttering things up) and I still have two small stacks of comics to list so I know what I’m bringing. I can’t bring them to the store until later in the week anyway so I have plenty of time to get the rest of this done, and I’m going to try to do that before the week is out. I’ll keep you updated on what happens next as this is part of the comic organizing mega-project.

Quick Report: A Chance To Unload Some Comics

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It may be strange for someone trying to unload way too many comics to then go out and get new comics, even on Free Comic Book Day. For the uninitiated, Free Comic Book Day is when publishers release a special free comic to get readers into the comic store to check out their stuff and hopefully boost the comic stores with potential buyers either for the stuff being previewed or by going through comics on the shelves and in back issue boxes as well as buying other merchandise the store carries. Sadly the comic store pays for these “free” comics so over at my storytelling discussion site I push for people to buy something while they are there. I practice what I preach and bought some stuff while I was there, comics I wanted to fill holes in my collection that I feel comfortable getting because I’ve opened some space with more space opening to come.

I also had another reason for going…to get out of the house! I’ve been cooped up here between various medical issues I’ve had and brought up on this site, the pandemic and associated lockdowns, and just not having any money. Actually the reason was to go to my favorite comic store and ask the owner, whom I have a friendly acquaintance with, about advice to sell those comics I’ve been pairing down. I was hoping he might point me somewhere but he mentioned he might buy them off of me himself if they’re what he needs. So I need to put at least one set together to show him, which I have some time for as he has a few others he’s looking through at the moment.

The plan is to take one of the bags I have with comics for sale, price them for the Clutter For Sale section just in case I can sell through here or just to have prices on hand if he suggests another avenue, and then bring that bag to him to go through. Maybe there’s something he can sell and if not he can point me to another way to get rid of them. At this point I just want to get some of these shopping bags off of the floor and put them away for their intended use…as bags for when I go shopping. I want to get a good price because I need the money but right now I really want to clear out the clutter so I can’t be too pedantic about it and I went to this store for years (I probably even bought a lot of these comics through him or the previous store I went to before it closed) so I trust him to not do me wrong. I’m only going to bring one bag at a time to not overwhelm him with comics because there really are a looooootttttt of comics. I’ll let you know what happens.

Seeking A Comic Price Guide

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This is what I posted to my Twitter feed. (My official Twitter is for my main website; The Clutter Reports being a side project it doesn’t have its own Twitter.) Let me back up a bit and explain where this comes from, but that’s this week’s topic.

The plan this week was to price up a bunch of my comics and put them on the Clutter For Sale page. Given my low reader count the odds of selling it there are quite low. The two sales I’ve made are a fluke and I know it. I want to be able to list them on other services where I have a better chance of selling them. Also, it’s a list for myself of what I have to sell and what they might be worth selling for. However, to sell any of them anywhere I want to find out what they’re worth. While part of me wants to sell them for what I paid them for, that’s kind of silly when I really need the money. Not to mention that some comics may have gone down in value rather than up so if I price them too high they won’t sell, while if I sell them too low I lose out on money I could really use.

For this I need a price guide. Note that it’s a guide. It’s not a given that it will sell at the price they list and it does depend on condition, though most of my comics are in very good condition at least. So I went searching around, using a few different search engines in the hopes of finding something that would give me some prices to go by. You’d think with all the websites out there I’d find a few, average the prices listed between the sites, and come up with a fair price based on the condition of the comic. As you can guess from that tweet, I was not successful.

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Quick Report: Update On The Comics Project

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The report may be quick but this project took all day. If you’ve been here long enough you’ve already been exposed to the “mega project” of organizing and cutting down my comic book collection. Well, that tied into the project I really wanted to do this week: getting these comics out from under my art corner desk. I’ve grown tired of the limited foot room since I can’t put my feet through this particular stack of comics. I’ve pulled a number of comics from my collection and I was hoping there would be room to finally put those comics into those drawers.

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Quick Report: Listing Comics For Sale

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I’m not going to get rid of the comics unless I can sell them off. So this week I started listing comics on the Clutter For Sale section’s comic page. I actually had a few up there I didn’t realize I had already priced. I was going with the “new comic every day” plan but this week had numerous stop gaps and while I tried I fell a bit short. So yesterday I popped a whole bunch on there. Apparently I also need to add to the books for sale section and I though I had gotten them all. I must have lost some when I reorganized the section so I’ll have to fix that.

I’m actually low on long-term projects. The comics I do almost every day as far as going over them. The books I only get to read a chapter a week. The Transformers reviews may bring bonus traffic to the site (now that one I have completed of the ones I’ve gone over) but that’s not the mission of the site and it’s not like I couldn’t organize better. Plus I’d like to sell some of the ones already on the toy page before building that pile any further. And I just noticed one figure I didn’t list like a dummy so I need to fix that.

Now I have to see what the new computer can run software wise and what I actually need. That’ll be “fun”. The real clutter is my schedule. This is what I need to work on the most as far as getting my life back on track but that’s actually harder than you think. I’m also taking on another video project that requires specific artwork. Timing is probably my biggest barrier for anything. That and figuring out how to get rid of stuff I can’t just throw away. The work goes on. Advice is welcome.

Comic Organizing Mega Project: Sort To Sell

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More of a quick report this week but the project did take all week to do. Granted it’s only because of other projects I had to do. This is an old picture but I broke out the sorting table and organized the piles (well, three bags) of comics I plan to sell. I want to look up what they’re worth and slowly add them to the comics for sale section of the site. I put them in a better order to post them to the section, using the same layout I use in my regular comic collection (like combining titles of the same continuity: i.e. DC universe, Marvel universe, Elementals universe, franchise, etc.)

I have two more comic I know are going into the pile after I review them over the next two weeks and there may well be more in the future, but I do plan to do a comic a day minimum (though we know how my plans work out) if I can and add them to the sale section, so keep an eye out in case one you might be interested in shows up. By the way I’m STILL finding comics in the wrong order but at least it’s not as bad as it was and adjusting is easier than before this megaproject began. This is still far from being done.

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