Covers: The Best of the Worst
Stark Holborn, James Smythe and Rebecca Levene Events!

Weirdness Rodeo


Above: Terrific 'Matrix-O-Comics' by Tom Murphy. (More of his work here.)

More on streaming and such

Follow-up to the this week's earlier pondering, here's a piece about distribution, crowd-funding, Netflix, physical formats, new forms of recommendation and... to cap it off... laws shutting the whole thing down:

To their credit, VNYL avoided committing any actual crime; irrespective of what they’d proposed, they never actually rented any records, they merely sold a bunch of them.

Underneath it all, I'm still not sure if there are too many good ideas in here - or not enough of them. Do you need to rent vinyl? If you're shopping for the physical fetish format, isn't it really about discovery and ownership? On the other hand, a sort of monthly 'blind box' music recommendation service is pretty cool. That format does well in food and make-up, why not try it with books (and comics)?

And, on that whole 'maybe artists/writers could become entertainers' thing, here's Billboard on how much (musical) artists really make. A lot of it is performance related, and a whole lot of it has f-all to do with making music.

Another form of content streaming - Kindle Unlimited [Lending Library] - changed its payout structure, to much panic and confusion. Author Craig Schaefer summarises it well:

KU writers will be paid by pages read. To boil it down, if you wrote a ten-page short story and somebody reads it, you get ten shares of the money pool at the end of the month. If you write a 900-page doorstopper and somebody reads it, you get 900 shares. Novelists actually have a reason to join the program now (a good enough reason? That's an excellent question, but beyond the scope of this article), and the KU Pamphlet Gold Rush is pretty much over.

Selfishly, this will do well for Jurassic London. All of our KULL titles, save one, are chapbooks. And the one that's 'checked out' most frequently is The Book of the Dead, the exception. Curiously, anthologies could have a hefty advantage here - it is a format that encourages readers to skip forward quite frequently, and rather than 'quitting', it gets people to simply skim ahead. If that's the case, why not take your anthology, move the obligatory King/Gaiman/Martin story to the very end, and then you're 90% paid by the time the reader even starts "reading"? (Caveat: Most self-published books don't get a Martin story. And I'm not sure that's even how Kindle calculates 'reading' in this context...)

Meanwhile, in other media industries...

Newspapers are struggling:

Steep revenue and circulation declines across the newspaper industry have left many newspapers struggling. Over the past decade, weekday circulation has fallen 17% and ad revenue more than 50%. In 2014 alone, three different media companies decided to spin off more than 100 newspaper properties, in large part to protect their still-robust broadcast or digital divisions.

Does everyone remember that weird final season of The Wire, where the journalism subplot was all about how The Absolute Worst Problem Facing Newspapers Was Plagiarism? Even at the time, Anne and I were like, 'erm, the webbernetz?'. But no - shoddy sourcing = impending doom, apparently. A few years later, the internet has won - and everything is badly sourced! The Wire was double-wrong!

This Grantland piece is this week's absolute must-read, about the changing nature of cinema. Thanks to Marvel (and now Jurassic World), the way studios see films has changed completely. Genuinely fascinating - we've gone from blockbuster to trilogy to 'recurring event':

Some box office analysts will say these movies represent a statistical blip, and they could be right, but here’s the thing: Events dismissed as blips change the course of history all the time... So the Jurassic conversation, I’m guessing, will be less “What’s the next movie?” than “How do we turn this into a semi-permanent enterprise?” 

So... with TV now becoming a fragmented, relative, on-demand, unscheduled experience, are movies now the new TV? I mean, what is the MCU except for a really long and expensive TV series?

All that said, Jurassic World sucked. But hey, here's a cool thing about iconic movie typefaces.

Ales Kot is my new comics fandom:

I could chart my inspirations and they would lead in many different directions: my years spent in Los Angeles, my semi-regular engagement with things we cannot see (after all, we do see only 3% of the electromagnetic spectrum, and there are ways to amp that number a bit), my reading of Clive Barker’s fiction at a tender age of nine or ten, my daily facing of the racial abuse many of our fellow citizens are facing, diving into weird fiction by the likes of Lovecraft and Barron, being lost on the US-Mexican border, encountering ghosts and strange hieroglyphics in a Prague apartment, having visions of things that happened decades ago and only finding out they really happened years later, investigating, paying attention, wanting to have an output for all the weird in me.

And, hell, because [crush-emoji]:

I don’t want to tell the readers what to look for. I want them to find their own way. Being didactic about one’s art strikes me as an equivalent of putting explanations of what paintings mean right next to them in museums. Just let me look at the thing itself. Let me feel it.


Pornokitsch people elsewhere

Jared's getting judgmental - parlaying that extensive One Comic experience into a seat on the Best Artist and Best Comic juries for the British Fantasy Awards.

Mahvesh takes a look at the latest Stephen King - Revival and interviews Campbell award winner Claire North/Cat Webb/Kate Griffin. Plus, she and Jared continue to lance dragons at

Bex's Smiler's Fair has a canine cosplayer.

Anne helps you pick the right mad scientist for your love life.

Rob discusses why flags matter - "Flags are symbols, full of historical meaning."

And finally

Help Becky choose which game to play next!