Wait, What?, Ep. 337 – The Assassination of Comixology By The Coward, Amazon.com

February 20, 2022

00:00-7:30: Greetings! We are off and running with a rather…potentially offensive line of greetings? Or at least Jeff is potentially offended; Graeme seems quite pleased with himself! But admittedly Jeff is a bit unsettled generally, what with all of his tech gadgets disappearing for hours on end because he had the audacity to clean…fortunately, some of his picayune complaints uncover hints of a time travel paradox with him and Graeme (you know, as you do)…
7:30-57:31: But from there, we go right into the news, and the news this week is the Comixology “upgrade” to 4.0, with the storefront going away, smart lists going away, and a tremendous amount of customer goodwill going away! (and props, by the way, to the fabulous Matt Digges for the perfect image above.)  Jeff and Graeme talk about what a shitshow it is, what it’s meant for Jeff—and for a guy who insists he’s pretty okay with it, Jeff has *a lot* to say about the transition—and what we think it might mean for the future of digital comics. (By the way, Jeff has some good intel in this segment and some very *bad* intel—for example, Marvel does indeed still have an app running on pre-4.0 Comixology that allows reading and purchasing, but DC’s app is long gone—so cave canem, and my apologies!
57:31-1:18:30: Also, in the “noteworthy news” category: JLA/Avengers is coming back into print with a *very* small print run to benefit The Hero Initiative and to pay tribute to George Perez while he’s still alive to see it! And you’d think that would make everyone happy, right? Welllllll….. By the way, if you haven’t signed up for Graeme’s newsletter (still?! really?!), he did some excellent work reporting on this which we rely on quite heavily during this talk…well, that and Jeff’s absolute fear at the demonic menace that is, y’know, Ike Perlmutter.
1:18:30-1:21:36: Okay, that’s the news! (Or at least Jeff’s demolition of all the careful news and facts that Graeme is reading.) Before we move on, though, let us have our mouths write a check I pray our asses will keep: a special skip week edition of My Four Manga is forthcoming! We hope.

1:21:36-1:43:39: Season 1 of Peacemaker just wrapped on HBOMax and Jeff is pretty sure (kinda sure?) we hadn’t discussed the show on here yet so….here you go. We also talk about Gunn’s approach to superhero movies and the recurring theme in most of the work, the Aquaman: King of Atlantis cartoon on HBO that Jeff had no idea was even a thing, The Doom Patrol TV show, The Virgin Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Chad DCU, and more.
1:43:39-1:49:01: Jeff tries to ask Graeme what he thinks of Grant Morrison’s Substack annotations about Superman and the Authority and—to put the best spin on this possible—only manages to misgender Morrison, not Morrison *and* Graeme, in the process.
1:49:01-2:05:46: Jeff wants to talk about some comics he’s read! (Too much so, unfortunately.) And doubly unfortunately, those comics happen to be those contained in The Savage She-Hulk Marvel Masterworks, Vol. 1, almost entirely written by David Anthony Kraft (RIP) and Mike Vosburg (but also Stan Lee and John Buscema pitching an episode of TV’s Incredible Hulk). Also discussed: The Complete Man-Wolf largely by DAK and George Perez and some comments about Ghost Rider Marvel Masterworks Vol. 2 and the work of Tony Isabella.
2:05:46-end: Jeff ran long (and was also a ninny) so Graeme steps in for…. Closing stuff!  Graeme’s newsletter (https://www.getrevue.co/profile/ComicsFYI!  Stitcher! Itunes! Instagram! Twitter together and separately: Graemeand JeffTumblr, and  on Patreon where a wonderful group of people make this all possible, including Empress Audrey, Queen of the Galaxy, to whom we are especially grateful for her continuing support of this podcast.
NEXT WEEK:  Skip week…but keep your ears open just in case?

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17 comments on “Wait, What?, Ep. 337 – The Assassination of Comixology By The Coward, Amazon.com

  1. Jeff Lester Feb 20, 2022

    And for your cutting and pasting pleasure:

    • Martin Gray Feb 21, 2022

      Thanks for another great show… Well I say that, I still have about an hour to go, it may go to heck!
      Cheers to Graeme for all the insights into the JLA/Avengers business.
      As regards the Comixology mess, certainly in the UK the DC and Marvel comic buying apps just aren’t there anymore. When Graeme talks to the DC PR people, could he try to get something from them on why people outside the US still can’t get access to the DC library app. It’s about two years since I last saw DC acknowledge that it’s not available to the Rest of the World.

  2. Matt for Hire Feb 20, 2022

    A couple Comixology clarifications: CU discounts are still there. They don’t show up on a list function, but when you go to each book’s individual page, they show up.

    Also, look to see if you’ve got a new Amazon wishlist called Comixology. They transferred my wishlist over under that, though it’s all organized by when I added it.

    • Jeff Lester Feb 20, 2022

      Thanks, Matt! Much appreciated. I’ll take your word on the first point but definitely can confirm the second! Don’t think it was there on the first few days but I could well be wrong.

  3. Justin Harman Feb 21, 2022

    About all I can say that’s positive about the Comixology situation is that books download lightning fast now. Like, seriously ridiculously fast. That’s it.

  4. After hearing what Graeme wants to ask David Steinberger, I now want a version of this Tiger Woods Nike commercial, but with David looking at the camera and Graeme doing the V.O. https://youtu.be/noc6BtUc7xI

    • Jeff Lester Feb 21, 2022

      Good grief, when the hell did that commercial come out? Because depending on what stage of Tiger’s Wild Ride, it hits *very* different.

  5. (I don’t know how to reply to comments here)

    That Tiger commercial is from April 2010. It was their “response” to all the news about Tiger’s affairs. Why a shoe company felt like it had to respond at all is unknown to me.

  6. In older news, I saw that Valentino’s IMAGE TIMELINE was on Hoopla (https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/14844926), and man, even worse than I was expecting. Hard to know what’s worse, that they charged $8 for that or that you guys actually spent it. I got it for a Hoopla credit I probably wasn’t going to end up using and I feel ripped off.

    I just updated to the new Comixology app (Ipad, recent model) today, which I was dreading from previous attempts at reading comics on the Kindle app (years ago) and so far it looks pretty good to me, compared to the old Comixology app, which they seemed to have stopped major changes on about a decade ago. They definitely should have waited until ability to do custom lists/collections was ready, but at least it’s on the table. At least they finally have a system that allows bookmarking and a table on contents (hopefully they actually use that feature). Overall faster, more responsive, easier to use. Using the webstore to buy stuff might be a problem if it doesn’t improve, but I rarely buy anything not on an extreme sale (like $1 or $2 Masterworks). Plus I love being able to finally permanently delete some of the detritus from my collection (previews, random free stuff that wasn’t worth that much).

  7. Garrie Burr Feb 22, 2022

    Was able to find my Wishlist and then did the 1-click Order option on a couple of books there and they both showed up immediately to read in the Comixology app. Definitely still need a lot of work on how to more easily find books for sale, in some ways it seems they never really started the work, but my first experience was at least completed with a minimum of fuss.

  8. Rob Means Feb 22, 2022

    Hi, guys: Thanks for a great episode this week. I’m not a significant user of Comixology (what I read online is mostly either from Hoopla, which I discovered thanks to you, Marvel Unlimited, or by redeeming the codes in the Marvel books I buy in print), but your analysis of where the new system falls short was fascinating.

    I haven’t heard you or other podcasts I listen to comment on Marvel’s short-lived attempt at the end of 2021 to change its digital code redemption system. They set up a system where instead of printing redemption codes on stickers in their books, you had to fill out an online form for each comic you bought, attach a photo of the cover of the book, and then wait for them to send you a redemption code. They also dramatically shortened the window in which you could request a digital code. I guess the pushback was pretty dramatic, because within a month or so they ditched the new system and went back to putting the codes in the books again.

    I was most interested in the look behind the curtains at how the JLA/Avengers deal was put together. Sounds like Marie Javins deserves a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for making it happen. I was wondering whether, in your reporting of it, there was any indication why the cover price on the memorial edition was so low. It would easily sell out if it were priced at $100 or even $150 instead of $30, with more of the proceeds going to Hero Initiative and less to the e-bay flippers. I’m hoping that a lot of local comics shops will donate most of all of their markups, but as you commented, they’ve had a rough couple of years and if they take some profit from this, no one can blame them.

    Thanks again!

  9. Nate A. Feb 23, 2022

    Jeffery Dahmer Lester is definitely worse than Graeme McManson for the following reasons: 1) Dahmer was crueler to his victims than Manson and he did not hang out with Brian Wilson; 2) Putting “Mc” at the front of any name makes it friendlier/less threatening.

  10. I thought this episode was going to start out with more rage and vituperation from Mr. Lester, but I guess he got all that on Twitter beforehand. I haven’t used Comixology since you could still purchase the comics in the app. Nothing against the service; I just didn’t enjoy reading comics on screen Eventually I’ll force myself to do it, because space is limited. Thanks for explaining what was wrong with the changeover; very easy to understand why everyone was angry even though I don’t use the service. But Amazon itself has become more unusable of late, much look Google’s search engine. Even when I type in the exact, case-sensitive title of a book, Amazon forces me to look at five promoted books before I can even find what I searched for. And as you pointed out last week with the bootleg digital Maus, I find that’s happening with EVERY prose book nowadays. They even have the audacity to use the same cover! If it weren’t for the one-star reviews letting you know, you could end up getting scammed. The problem there is that one-star reviews are a turnoff, and unless you actually read it, you won’t know it only got one star for being a bootleg. I’m not even going to talk about how Amazon keeps pushing the Kindle versions over print, and practically hides the wish list button to almost trick you into ordering it. I think Jeff’s theories are definitely on the money. Think of the average reader buying ten books a week. Money-wise, that’s only $40-50 or so, but unit-wise? That’s 10 units sold on Kindle to one customer every week! Whereas they may buy 1 prose book for half that price every month or two. If Amazon does some fancy accounting, and all businesses do, then because comics readers don’t usually buy one digital floppy a month, but more like 10 or 20 a week, reporting Kindle unit sales figures is going to make that part of the business look like a bustling venture.

    Regarding JLA/Avengers: Couldn’t both propositions be true? I feel the sense of entitlement froing from fans is not the same issue as retailers who have legitimate grievances about how this whole thing will play out for them. Given the history of them being screwed over by publishers, distributors, and customers (thinking of the ones who never pick up their pull stack), it’s only natural they would feel less than charitable to the whole situation.

    I’m glad you were able to discuss Peacemaker! I think you could have done a full hour on this show. Jeff’s right, John Cena was given some difficult material and he completely pulled it off. Amazing the performances Gunn can pull out of wrestlers. I think Gunn definitely overwrote a number of the talky scenes, as you could see in the post-credits outtakes. Jeff, you’re not wrong about the restaurant scene. I feel Gunn is the type of person who would keep repeating the punchline of a joke at your until you laughed. Some nice sight gags in the show, too. I also really liked Robert Patrick’s performance. I thought he was even more menacing than as the T-1000.

    One thing I would like to note, and I don’t know if this is the place for it, but I feel the character of Amanda Waller has been done dirty by the two movies (and this show). In the first Suicide Squad, she’s a traitorous murderer, and in the second film, she’s a crazy, hysteric tin-pot dictator. That was never the impression I got of her in the comics. I always thought she was ruthless (in the way Batman is ruthless in his war on crime) and hard as nails, but never an outright villain. Definitely antagonistic toward the superheroes we know and love, but never evil. She was the only one not afraid to stand up to Batman. She even had a sympathetic backstory. Am I misremembering Ostrander’s run, or is the Hollywood version just a complete misinterpretation?

  11. Nate A. Feb 24, 2022

    Miguel wrote:
    “One thing I would like to note, and I don’t know if this is the place for it, but I feel the character of Amanda Waller has been done dirty by the two movies (and this show)… Am I misremembering Ostrander’s run, or is the Hollywood version just a complete misinterpretation?”
    I had the same reaction, right down to wondering if I misremembered the comics. Assuming our memories are correct, the fact that they have Viola Davis, one of the more talented working actors in Hollywood, playing Waller makes the lack of dimension all the more frustrating. That having been said, I enjoyed the show quite a bit.

  12. Miguel, you and Nate A. definitely aren’t misremembering. The key thing to me about Ostrander’s Amanda Waller is, not only does she have some morals, lines she won’t cross, but she’ll admit when she’s wrong. After the first mission, when plastique betrays the team, she has Dr. Moon use a mind-altering device to wipe Plastique’s memory of the Squad. Flag, Nemesis and I think Nightshade all object and Waller admits they’re right and backs down. It’s too late for Plastique, but she never does that again.

    There’s no way Ostrander’s Waller sends 8 members (or however many it was) of Task Force X knowingly into a trap just to die as a diversion for another group, like she did in the 2nd movie. She may not have liked everyone she used, but she didn’t callously throw their lives away, not even Captain Boomerang.

  13. Thank you, Nate A. and CalvinPitt! I knew I wasn’t misremembering! Your Plastique example distills what I remember. Sure she could play fast and loose with rule, made unethical decisions, and let her pride get in the way, but she very much had a ends-justify-the-means attitude, and many times she thought she knew better than others, usually politicians and bureaucrats, and she was often right about that. She was a complex character in a world where the gov’t was not to be trusted. I feel the modern interpretations of her (flim, television, comics) is just, “Oh, she runs something like the CIA and the CIA is evil, ergo she too is evil. But we have to make sure the murder jester is NUANCED!” Her making mistakes and learning or not learning from them was what made her great. Oh, well. Someday we’ll get that version of her, I’m sure. (Maybe the Justice League cartoon was the closest?)

  14. Jonathan Mar 14, 2022

    Coincidentally I’ve also been re-reading Savage She-Hulk, and it is indeed quite bad in story and art, except quite a good origin issue. The funniest thing is the letters page, which is downright rude- in #5: “She-Hulk is a disaster. She is an insult to Marvel’s ingenuity and to all your fans”, “What next? The INVINCIBLE IRON MA’AM??- that letter had two names claiming credit. “I wish you all the luck in the world with this strip- you may need it.”. We tend to think of ComicsGate-type sentiment as a social media phenomenon – but it was actually there in the letters page, which no doubt only scratched the surface, Maybe it was better then…