nenena: (lord krsna)
18 Days is available on Amazon for a sweet discounted price of only $17 for a hardcover edition with 120 pages of Mukesh Singh artgasm. A 47-page preview is available for free on Scribd.

I am looking forward to enjoying the Mukesh Singh artwork almost as much as I am looking forward to laughing really, really hard at the "Grant Morrison writes about the Mahabharata" sections of the book. Actual quotes from the preview pages:

Snark behind cut. )

Meh, enough snark for now. The artwork by Mukesh Singh is OH MY GOD ABSFUCKINGLUTELY MINDBLOWINGLY GORGEOUS and makes the entire book worthwhile, especially if you ignore the pages full of Grant Morrison's braindroppings.

Wait, that book was listed on Amazon all the way back in July?! How did I miss that until now?! Oh yeah, the semester from hell. That's why.

Meanwhile! The Liquid Comics website is showing new artwork for Ramayan 3392 AD in several places (check out the front page and the Ramayan gallery under "Titles"), yet no new issues are available on either the Liquid website or on Scribd. Hmmm. Yet Liquid is apparently finishing some of Virgin's unfinished projects, as Buddha was finally completed last summer and is now available in graphic novel format.

Liquid is releasing all of the old Virgin titles on more digital devices now. For the iPad, you can now get the entire Ramayan 3392 series for $9.99, some parts of Reloaded for free, and all five issues of The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma for $4.99. Of course you can still download good old-fashioned PDFs of all of the previous titles plus the entire rest of Liquid's line from their Scribd website and import the comics to your e-reader that way, too. ;) Which is how I got Devi on my iPad right now.

UNIVERSAL FORMATS: DOIN' IT RIGHT. Thank you, Virgin/Liquid! Manga publishers, are you paying attention?!

Speaking of Virgin Comics alums, Abhishek Singh is up to awesomeness, with art shows in New Delhi and Los Angeles.
nenena: (lord krsna)
First, via Saurav Mohapatra's blog!

The complete India Authentic comic book series is now available on scribd, including the never-before-published Krishna issue. The series on scribd has been retitled "Myths of India" for some reason, but whatever. The Ganesha issue is free, and other issues are one dollar per download. Unfortunately, I don't think that scribd downloads are available to customers outside the US, but maybe you can use an anonymizer to get around that?

So it looks like Liquid Comics is putting ALL of Virgin's old series on scribd, including Ramayan 3392 AD, that Kshatriya comic that never got published, The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma, Mumbai MacGuffin, and of course Devi. And a bunch of other titles too, but really those are the good ones. In my humble opinion. The big question, though, is are any of these titles going to be continued in digital format?! I seriously doubt it, but I'm going to keep dreaming of a Devi continuation anyway. Because that's my dream and I'm sticking to it.

Oh, and in case you're new here and you missed all of the artgasms and asskickery and post-apocalyptic questing and metafictional minderfuckery that Virgin Comics brought us three years ago, well, here's your chance to make up for it!

And now for something completely unrelated: Your Soul Eater Moment of Zen.


From YumeIchigo


Thank you, anonymous puppy. I needed that to wash the bad taste of Chapter 75 out of my mouth.
nenena: (Devi versus Bala)
Saumin Patel, Ashish Padlekar, Yogesh Chandekar, and others are uploading illustrated short horror stories to The Feast, for those of you who are interested.

Patel has a preview of his illustrations for "The Owl" on his blog here! (PS - The blog header image is NSFW, but oh so fabulous.)
nenena: (Default)
That's all folks.

Also here, here and here. Edited to add: Val's take, Newsarama, Comic Forums, Brian Hibbs addresses Virgin's failure to properly market their Indian titles, Tom Spurgeon makes a Kali Yuga joke, Dirk Deppey makes with the intellectual masturbation, and then we have BLOGWAR!!

Edited again: Heidi's lengthy analysis. And finally, Gotham Chopra speaks, but about the Virulents movie deal and not about any of Virgin's actual comics. Arrrrrrrrrgh.

Aw geez. I can't believe that Dirk Deppey and I expressed a similar opinion about something. That makes me feel like I need to take a shower.

I wonder if MBX will go through, since it was half of a Perspective Studios project anyway.

I mean, it's always interesting to see another Western-influenced version of the Mahabharata, especially one that I assume was targeted at Western audiences. Worst case scenario is we end up with another Hamletodhana and the Amazing Multicolored Diversicast, but I don't think that's likely with Grant Morrison doing the writing. The more likely outcome is "delightfully batshit insane," rather than "overwrought and far too full of itself."

Well, anyway, this probably means that The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma is never going to get a trade. That's a pity. It was such perfect-for-libraries comic. (And also it makes me selfishly sad because I much much much prefer trades to floppies. I do not like keeping too many floppies in my comics collection. Argh.)
nenena: (Mahabrooks - liek omg OT3)
Virgin Comics to drastically scale back their actual comics.

This makes me a sad puppy because I suspect that they're going to cut back on their actual good titles and focus on their celebrity-backed stuff instead. :(

I also fear that Devi might be canceled. I actually had that suspicion when I picked up the fourth trade last month. At the back of the trade, in the extras section, there are two gorgeous color paintings by Dean Ruben Hyrapiet and Jeffrey Spokes. The Hyrapiet painting depicts a new and yet-unknown character behind Devi. Both of the paintings are obviously comic covers. But I couldn't figure out why Virgin would put two future comic covers in the back of a trade collection... Unless these were destined to be "unused" comic covers. And now I can't imagine that Virgin would actually pass on either a Hyrapiet or a Spokes cover unless the Devi comics had been cancelled altogether.

Devi has been published steadily, every month, since Virgin launched. Until recently. Since there are no new solicits coming up, and no announced plans for any future issues...

Things look bad.

Mmmm. I wonder how Ramayan will fare. Now that the story has taken a delirious turn toward Rama for some reason being more concerned about rescuing a kidnapped chain-smoking monkey prince than he is about rescuing his super-powered girlfriend... Now I gotta see where this is going. Hopefully not into yaoi doujinshi territory.

Oh well. Regardless of what happens next, was anyone really surprised by this? I mean, I'm not an industry insider, just an armchair quarterback. But I know a little something about comics readers, er, being one myself. And I know that:

1. Comic readers will only put up with mediocrity if they have a twenty-year history with and beloved childhood memories of the franchise. Hence, Messiah Complex can be the biggest pile of shit that I've read all year (and it was), but still sell a gajillion copies (including some bought by moi), because readers are deeply invested in the world and the characters. But getting readers to spend their money and invest their emotions in a new comic book series? Unless it's freakin' spectacular (and Devi so totally is), that's unlikely to happen. And y'know, I don't care if you're the Most Innovative Comics Company Ever or whatever, not all of your series are going to be great, or even good. Law of averages. There are only so many Shakespeares and Picassos to go around.

2. You can have truly great titles that are beloved by critics and bloggers (India Authentic, The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma, and Buddha) and still not sell many copies of them. Sucks, but that's the way it's always been.

3. It probably didn't help things, though, that you lost street cred right away by being so upfront about your intention to use your comics as springboards for movie and TV deals. If you don't value your own comics - if you only see them as stepping stones to something more lucrative - then why are we to assume that you will invest anything other than a mediocre effort into them? Also, comic fans are an insular, prickly lot. We don't like Clueless Outsiders, we don't like anybody who smells like they're only latching onto comics as a "trend," and we especially don't like anyone who seems more interested in making money than in making actual comics. Now, you might not be any of those things, but a few misspoken words, or a little bit too much honesty about your marketing plan, and you will instantly become all of those things in the minds of fans.

"You" in the preceeding being a reference to the Chopra Duo and other Powers That Be, as opposed to the actual writers and artists working for Virgin, who were clearly in it for the love of comics, and that showed through. But they were undermined when Gotham and Deepak went around mouthing off about how they primarily wanted to turn those comics into movies/TV. Way to undermine the reputation of your own talent, guys.

4. It probably didn't help things that your CMO behaved like an asshat in public.

5. Fans have long memories.

This is what your Friendly Neighborhood Armchair Quarterback thinks: Fans have limited funds, and it's always an uphill battle to get them to spend money on something new, no matter how good said new comic may be, especially when you're competing against 20- or 30-year love affairs with Marvel and DC. Fandom Financial Inertia is a powerful and terrible force to behold, capable of slaying even the most carefully planned, innovative, creative, "mistake"-free young businesses. But! Virgin clearly did make some mistakes. That probably hurt them in the end, too.

Still, this makes me immensely sad. If not for Virgin, I would never have been introduced to Samit Basu, Saurav Mohapatra, Mukesh Singh, Ashish Padlekar, Harshvardhan Kadam, Abhishek Singh, Shamik Dasgupta, or any of the amazing artists who have worked on India Authentic. I really really hope that Virgin doesn't axe their Indian titles, because so far it's been such a great source of amazing, vibrant new talent.

Sigh. Very sad.

Edited to add: Oh hey look, comments at The Beat now include Jameson-bashing, complete with two sleazy jokes and counting. Arrrrrrrgh. Sometimes I just hate people. I really do.

I also do not regret that the Tweety Effect works really, really strongly on me. Apparently. That probably explains a lot.

Edit the Second: "Scale back" was apparently an understatement. Aw, crap.
nenena: (Default)
In light of my previous post, I thought I'd take this opportunity to write about a Virgin comic that's actually really, really good.

So, Panchatantra. This would be that Virgin Comics kiddie series that I've been drooling over since it was first solicited back in February 2007, and then subsequently delayed oh, about a year. But it's finally here!

Panchatantra will be five issues long, and right now we're three down. And it's a lot of fun so far.

More behind the cut. )

EDIT: A review of the final two issues. I was right! Things did get better!
nenena: (Default)
January releases.

Panchatantra oh fuck yes FINALLY. I've been looking forward to this series since it was first pimped, like, a gajillion years ago, with the title "End of Story." I was afraid that it had been quietly cancelled. But apparently not. Hooray!

Kartikkeya. Hooray!

New Devi storyline. Hooray!

The Stranded:

Over the past two years, Virgin Comics has become the hottest new destination for graphic storytelling. At the same time, SciFi has established itself as THE brand name for fantasy and speculative television, with hit series like EUREKA and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Now, for the first time, these two companies join forces for a new imprint designed to change the face of science fiction entertainment.In THE STRANDED, the first Virgin/SciFi book, five ordinary people must face a terrifying question: What if your entire world — your childhood, your family, all your memories — was a lie? For The Stranded, it’s true; they’re all, secretly, from another world. And now a deadly, otherworldly force has returned to try and kill them, operating through a twisted, altered human called Janus. Their only hope: Tamree, a dark, mysterious woman sent to Earth as their protector. One by one, Tamree must awaken the buried memories of The Stranded — along with their powerful, unique psychic and physical abilities. But even if they can defeat Janus, they must also deal with a deadly threat from one of their own.


Um. There is nothing about that storyline that sounds particularly "destined to change the face of science fiction entertainment." Not to say that it doesn't sound good, but it doesn't sound ground-breakingly original either.

Mmmm. I want to read these, but there is a huge unfinished pile (like 200+) of Amar Chitra Katha comics sitting beside my TV, screaming, "Nenena, read me! Nenena, add me to the batshit insane CBDB AKC Project! Nenena, stop being so lazy!"
nenena: (Default)
I have to admit, Virgin Comics has this marketing thing down pretty well. This month, every single title in their line wrapped up a major story arc and "ended" nicely. Next month, every single title in their line will either feature a special stand-alone to draw in new readers, or relaunch a new story arc with much fanfare. That's kind of fun. So here's what I'm looking forward to:

Rama and Ganesha and Devi, oh my! )

In other news, I'm now three issues into The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born, and my head is already spinning. I mean, the thing is partially written by Robin Furth, the awesome lady who wrote the Dark Tower Concordance guidebooks... Which is both good and bad. It's good because she is the ultimate fan, and she knows every little detail of the Stephen King Multiverse so intimately, that it makes the geek-wang of the rest of us mere mortals shrivel in comparison. This is bad because, well, I shouldn't have to be thinking about the inadequacies of my geek-wang while I'm trying to enjoy a rip-roaring adventure starring Roland Deschain. In short: This comic is difficult to follow. It doesn't feel like it was written for people new to the Stephen King Multiverse, or even for casual fans of the Stephen King Multiverse. This comic feels like it was written for hardcore Stephen King fans, and I need both volumes of the Concordance as well as an annotated copy of Wizard and Glass to follow along.

The thing about Stephen King's actual books was that they worked on multiple levels. A reader could enjoy Hearts in Atlantis or "The Little Sisters of Eluria" *without* understanding how those stories fit into the Dark Tower quest. King's books, even the clearly labeled Dark Tower books, stood on their own. Yes, they were a part of something larger, and yes, because of that, they were probably more enjoyable to well-versed Stephen King fans than not. But those books did not, however, actually exclude casual fans from enjoying them.

I'll admit, it's pretty cool seeing John Farson visualized in the comics. But other than that... Meh? This series is leaving me cold. Confused, befuddled, and cold.
nenena: (Default)
Virgin Comics update, following this post:

In the middle of the night last night, the postman dropped off a package on my doorstep. (Hey, this sometimes happens in rural Japan.) I found it this morning. It was a package from Virgin Comics, which contained the rest of my missing comics, AND a free copy of Virulents to make up for the delayed End of Story.

The package was dated April 16th - just like the previous package - and the customs declaration was signed by the same person who signed the other customs declaration. Conclusion: The two packages were sent at the same time. They just didn't reach me at the same time. ^^;; Oops.

Well, I called and left a message with Virgin explaining that I'd recieved the second package, apologizing on behalf of my local post office, and thanking them for the free comic. (They still never responded to my first message, however.) For the record, I'm still never going to shop at Virgincomicsstore.com again: They take months to ship an order, their only listed email address is still not working, and they have no phone system set up for customer service. Seriously, there's only one contact phone number listed on their website and on the package that I got, and if you dial, it takes you straight to the front-desk secretary of the entire company. I'm sure that she has more important things to deal with than somebody's incomplete order from the online store. Honestly, they should have an actual person in charge of the online store, and his/her phone number should be listed on the store website. I mean, I understand that Virgin Comics is a small company, but... They really, really need to have better service with that online store of theirs. I wonder if there's actually anybody in charge there at all.

I'm sure that they have the budget to hire someone - or a handful of someones - to take charge of customer service. I mean, they're turning The Sadhu into a movie starring Nicholas Cage, so they have to have some kind of budget, right? *

* The Sadhu is my least favorite of Virgin's line and I do NOT want to see Nicholas Cage starring in Dances with Yogi, but that's another rant for another post.
nenena: (Default)
On February 19th, I placed an order at virgincomicsstore.com. I ordered 29 comic books. None were upcoming releases; all had already hit the streets in North America.

Today I finally got my package from Virgin. It was shipped from New York City on April 16th, so it only took five days to get here. On the customs declaration on the package, it listed "25 comics books."

Inside the package were only eighteen comics. None of which were Ramayana 3392 DARNIT.

Plus my invoice, of course. My invoice for the entire 29-comic order. At the bottom of the invoice was possibly the world's most cryptic hand-written note:

"Release pushed back - refund enclosed" (with arrow pointing to End of Story #1 and no other issues)
"Enjoy the free comics & the new VIRULENTS!"

Note that there was nothing else in the package, certainly not a "refund." And no free comics, either - I got exactly eighteen comics that I had ordered, but nothing extra, and am still missing eleven comics unaccounted for. I checked Paypal today, and nothing has been refunded to my account from Virgin Comics.

So I sent an extremely polite email to Virgin asking for more information.

Argh argh argh argh argh argh. Virgin Comics, I want to give my money to you so badly. Why are you making this SO DIFFICULT?! Why aren't your comics sold through any other major online retailers? Why does the customer service at virgincomicsstore.com suck balls? Why does it take you an average of two months to ship out anybody's orders?!

ETA: My email to Virgin Comics Store bounced. The only email address listed on the online store is sales@virgincomics.com, but apparently, that email address is now bogus.

Oh hell, thank you - there's a phone number on the package that they sent me. Am I going to stay up hella late tonight just so that I can call them at 9 a.m. New York time? Oh you betcha.

ETA 2: Oh wait, it's now Saturday morning in the United States. (And it's Saturday night for me, but my internal clock is completely FUBAR because I had a normal 8-5 work day today, so I seriously didn't realize that at first.) Well, no wonder nobody at Virgin is answering the phone. I left a detailed message and gave my email address and asked if there was a working email address that I could contact them with. I do not have high hopes for anything resembling a decent response, however.

Dammit. Well, there's always Ebay.

ETA 3: The story is resolved here.
nenena: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] morchades is made of awesome because thanks to her I now have a whole bucketload of Virgin Comics shipping to me. (Unfortunately, Virgincomicsstore.com was sold out of Ramayana #2, so I will have to hunt that down somewhere.)

ETA: I finally found Ramayana 3392 #2 at Thecomicguru.co.uk. They had only one copy left in stock. Score!

The other thing that I used my credit card for yesterday... I bought a cheap used Japanese PS2. The white one. Because the Ah! My Goddess game drops today (and my copy should be on my doorstep by tomorrow morning), so yeah. In other gaming news... Remember Fate/Stay Night Realta Nua? Likely the most hyped game in Japan short of anything with the words Final Fantasy in the title? Yeah, it was supposed to have been released on January 31st. And that's after the initial release date (Christmas 2006) was pushed back a month. And here it is, February 22nd, and no copies of the game are anywhere in sight. I logged onto my Amazon.co.jp account to see what was up. Realta Nua is still listed among my "not yet shipped" orders, even though the "estimated delivery date" is still listed as "February 2nd". Sure.

But Virgin Comics are coming to me, and that makes me happy. More Virgin Comics blabbing: End of Story, Asura Analouges, and Nicolas Cage. )

And now, ganked from [livejournal.com profile] morchades: Below is the ALA's list of most frequently challenged books (1990-2000), with a strike through the ones that I have read.

Behind the cut. )