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Great Feed: Bendis!

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Brian Michael Bendis runs a terrific blog featuring comic book art – covers, panels and sometimes pre-production stuff.  Check it out!

iPad Enthusiasm

Yes, I’m looking forward to the iPad release. I set my alarm early on Pre-Order day and raced through the process, just in case.

I’ve been tagged as an Apple fanboy, but I’m not sure that’s the case. I’m a mobile technology fanboy. I’ve tried the gamut of mobile device models and brands, yet I come back to the Apple product lines time and again. I spent months with the Palm Pre (great SDK!) and weeks with Android (the Droid) and Windows Mobile devices, but the iPhone (despite its limitations) is #1 for me. Similarly, I’ve spent a lot of time with the Archos 5 Android, UMPCs, Nokia Internet Tablets and the Kindle. Knowing what I know about the software and hardware that makes up the iPad, it’s clear that Apple has another winner.

I spend a lot of time on the computer. I read and write email, read and write documents, read news (twitter, articles), listen to audiobooks and podcasts, write code, watch video. At home and at work, I’ve been spending less time at my desk – so, for many of these tasks, I rely on my iPhone (especially reading email, listening to audiobooks/podcasts and watching video). Going forward, at home I expect that the iPad will be my go-to device for reading and viewing email, news, and video.

Meanwhile, there are a ton of new experiences that the iPad will enable. It’s not clear which of these will ‘catch on’ with me or with you, but quite a few new possibilities will be opened up on April 3rd at the intersection of the iPad and the terrifically innovative development community that has sprung up around the iPhone OS.

Beyond the obvious use cases mentioned above, I’m looking forward to:

  • The competition for the best iPad Twitter app – who can use the large, multitouch screen the best? I expect that it will be a more compelling experience than desktop/notebook alternatives.
  • Similarly, but probably with a longer horizon, the competition for the best RSS newsreader on the platform will be intense. I version of Reeder 2 or MobileRSS reorganized for the iPad form factor will be a lot of fun to use.
  • I’m still hoping that Netflix and Hulu will work something out with Apple to get their streaming solutions available on the iPad. Apple has an obvious financial incentive to block these apps, but subscription or ad based video streaming is going to win over $2.00 TV episodes some day. I’m surprised ANYONE is paying for TV that way on a regular basis.
  • An iPad optimized Flickr browsing app would be interesting.
  • Remote Desktop. It’s usable on an iPhone, but would be more so on the iPad.
  • Games. Just as we saw completely new kinds of games with the iPhone (and the Wii and the DS), we’ll see some new things on the iPad.
  • Comic books and graphic novels continue to be an exciting narrative model. It will be interesting to see the mix of mainstream and independent content that ends up on the iPad. Lots of people are excited about how magazines will make the leap to this device, but I think the leap that comics make will be just as interesting.
  • Interactive charts and data visualizations via touch. This technique could bring new life to informative textbook and magazine content.

Penny-Arcade – A decade of fun!

Congrats to Penny-Arcade for hitting 10 years of comics, 6 years (and $3.5 million) of charity and 5 years of awesome conferences.

Warren Ellis, Reuters, Second Life

I’ve tried Second Life a few times, but the low-res feal of it always drives me away. That being said, there will be a point at which Second Life actually LOOKS GOOD. At that point, I won’t be able to stay away. In Second Life, you can build stuff and show it off in real time to people across the world – in that sense, it’s AWESOME.

Anyway, imagine my surprise last night when one of my favorite comic book authors sent out a blurb to his mailing list audience that he’s joining Reuters to report on Second Life! Congrats Warren!!!

For a (not safe for work or home) preview of what he has to say about Second Life, read his blog. Congrats, also, to Reuters for recognizing Warren’s talent.

Netflix for Comic Books

I would pay for a Netflix-like service for Comic Books.  I’m thinking, say, $20 a month to have 10 comics or 3 trade paperbacks out at a time.  To keep the pages in decent shape, I imagine the pages would have to be cut from the binding and laminated, then re-bound.  Alternatively, I can imagine paying 50 cents to 1 dollar per comic in some kind of read-online subscription service.

I assume that both of these services would need the backing of the comic companies.

Comics

When I was a kid (grade school and junior high), I actively collected, thanks to a local used bookstore that had ridiculous bulk prices on comics (Beb’s Budget Books, Levittown, PA).

Since then, about once a year, I go on a comic buying spree. The trend seems to be accelerating, though. I’ve been to the comic book store(Lee’s Comics, San Mateo, CA) 4 times in the past 6 months, each time spending more money. Either the overall quality of comics is getting a lot better lately OR I’ve gotten better at selecting great comics.

Why am I writing about comics? Jon invited me to go to this weekend’s Comics Convention. And then Dave, today, mentioned a list at PubSub for comic enthusiast.

Finally, a bit of commentary on “Infinite Crisis”, this year’s crossover event at DC Comics: The stuff leading up to the crisi s is WAY better than the actual Infinite Crisis series. I like where it’s headed, though. The idea is that the lines between good and evil have become much too gray(grey?) among the ‘heroes’ in the DC universe. I don’t think the Earth-2-Crew is going to win. This is probably not going to be a “Crisis on Infinite Earths”-level rewrite of all origins, rather it’s going to be a more evolutionary change where the heroes reflect on the evils their community has exhibited and each find their own ways to reverse or pay for those evils.

If that is NOT what happens – if the Earth-2-Crew DOES win and the past year of reflection is DELETED by a cosmic event, I imagine that I’ll be sticking to Marvel and a select group of non-mainstream DC comics for my reading sprees.

Today at work, I’ve had the hearings going on in the background and I’m struck with the parallels between the issues discussed in the Infinite Crisis(the Identity Crisis comic in particular) and the issues being discussed with Gonzales. In real life, the current topic is eavesdropping and in the fake world the topic was mindwipes, but the common theme is the beings with the most power and whether or not they are hiding unethical uses of that power. It’s funny, because I get the feeling that DC wants me to think that the mindwipes are bad and NPR probably wants me to think that the eavesdropping is bad. For me, though, I’m somewhere in between calling those actions good or bad.