Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Friday, October 12, 2021

dead sexy
There’s practically zero chance that I’ll ever tune in to “Women’s Murder Club”.

Not that the new ABC show needs me — I’m sure it has a huge built-in audience from novelist James Patterson’s source material.

However, I’ve been running into the above ad, in giant-sized format, in the subways all over town. And I’ve gotta say: There are a lot more objectionable visuals that I could be getting, instead of a regular dose of Angie Harmon’s exquisite facial features. I’ll even overlook the fact that her skinny ass is married to instant has-been Jason Sehorn.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 10/12/2021 09:50:07 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Publishing, TV
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Wednesday, October 03, 2021

What elevates a mere quotation to the rarified plane of the aphorism? To plug his new book, “Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists”, James Geary sheds some light on NPR:

Geary tells Robert Siegel that he has five laws: “It must be brief. It must be definitive. It must be personal — that’s the difference between an aphorism and a proverb. It must be philosophical — that’s the difference between an aphorism and a platitude, which is not philosophical,” he says. “And the fifth law is it must have a twist. And that can be either a linguistic twist or a psychological twist or even a twist in logic that somehow flips the reader into a totally unexpected place.”

A fair bit of linguistic acrobatics, sounds like. Some definitive examples:

Wieslaw Brudzinski: “The lesser evil usually lasts longer.”

Desmond Tutu: “To be impartial is to have taken sides already with the status quo.”

Karol Bunsch: “Honest conceit is better than false modesty.”

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/03/2021 11:29:40 PM
Category: Publishing, Wordsmithing
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Monday, September 17, 2021

Does going from this:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

To this:

Though I walk in the vale of death’s shadow

Represent the loss of soulfulness?

Robert Alter’s “The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary” is a more accurate/literate English translation of the original-Hebrew Biblical text than the familiar King James version. Along with being (or just seeming?) less lyrical, there was a conscious effort to strip Psalms of conventional Christian spirituality:

Among the most noteworthy absences from his version is the soul. Why Psalms with no soul and no salvation? Robert Alter tells [National Public Radio host] Robert Siegel that those are concepts superimposed on the ancient poems in more recent times.

Who figured the Bible needed a religious cleansing? Good luck selling that one.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/17/2007 11:45:11 PM
Category: Creative, Publishing
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So much for that. Two years after its launch, the New York Times is shuttering the TimesSelect pay-for section of its website, effective about a half-hour from now at midnight tomorrow.

I guess my endorsement of the business model didn’t hold up against all the lost traffic and ad revenue that comes from maintaining a content firewall.

The Times is, of course, giving the long-rumored move a cheerful spin, blaming only the dim prospects of further growth instead of overall stagnation of the service. Obviously, the Grey Lady is sold on the ramping-up of online advertising, seeing it as a bigger money-maker than subscriptions. That points to a more robust ad market today, because one of the main justifications back in 2005 for starting TimesSelect was the inability to make real money with Web advertising. It’s a dramatic turnaround, strategically.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/17/2007 11:32:43 PM
Category: Internet, Publishing
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Monday, September 10, 2021

What if a certain spacecraft from Planet Krypton fell to Earth not in a Kansas wheatfield, but rather in a Bavarian forest? And the Metropolis that the passenger of said spacecraft eventually migrated to wasn’t a fictionalized version of New York, but rather a fictionalized version of Berlin — with Adolph Hitler’s Nazi regime ascendant?

That’s roughly the idea behind Kim Newman’s short story, “Ubermensch!”. It’s one of my favorite alternate history works, not the least because it blends superheroes, German impressionist cinema, and the Cold War into an entertaining yarn. Rather than me trying to explain it, read the first few pages and savor the flavor of a 1930s Germanic Man of Steel.

And after that — and hopefully, after you’ve tracked down a copy of the full story — check out this annotated list of the inside pop cultural references embedded into the story. Some enticing examples:

“That used to be East Metropolis” — the city we see is an amalgam of German Impressionist futurism and real-world Berlin reality…

“He remembered the old uniform, so familiar in the thirties. The light brown body-stocking, with black trunks, boots and cloak. A black swastika in the red circle on the chest. He’d grinned down from a hundred propaganda posters like an Aryan demi-god, strode through the walkways of Metropolis as Siegfried reborn with x-ray eyes.” — this version of the uniform dispenses with the standard coloring, rather evoking the vigilante Brown Shirts of Nazi Germany…

“Avram remembered, the names bringing back Tages Welt headlines. Most of the stories had borne the Curt Kessler byline. Everyone had wondered how the reporter knew so many details.” — Tages Welt translates as Daily Planet, where Kessler is employed as a reporter.

When I first read the story, a decade-and-a-half ago, I got all the comic-book references right away. I got probably half the cinematic ones back then; reading the annotations just now completed the remaining blanks.

Maybe the best/most ironic part of all: In the real world, the Nazis weren’t all that crazy about the Cleveland boys’ version of Superman.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/10/2021 06:08:44 PM
Category: Creative, Pop Culture, Publishing
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Thursday, September 06, 2021

not kosherThose would be vintage Israeli-produced pulp paperbacks based on Nazi themes, called “Stalags”. The lurid publications, which were deemed a social scourge among youths in the post-war Jewish state, are coming under fresh examination in a new documentary film.

The Stalags were practically the only pornography available in the Israeli society of the early 1960s, which was almost puritanical. They faded out almost as suddenly as they had appeared. Two years after the first edition was snatched up from kiosks around the central bus station in Tel Aviv, an Israeli court found the publishers guilty of disseminating pornography. The most famous Stalag, “I Was Colonel Schultz’s Private Bitch,” was deemed to have crossed all the lines of acceptability, prompting the police to try to hunt every copy down.

And for those who aren’t clued in: My title for this post is based upon the historical “penny dreadfuls”, aka the first mass-produced literature for the masses. The time and currency shifts, but the idea stays largely the same.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/06/2021 11:08:44 PM
Category: History, Political, Publishing
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Sunday, September 02, 2021

Why pay for some hack’s multi-city junket when surfing the blogosphere is cheaper and more effective?

“If I had to choose, I’d rather have an author promote themselves online,” said Felicia Sullivan, the senior online marketing manager of Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins, who maintains that the Internet exposes authors to a broader audience than most bookstore readings.

“You can reach at least a few hundred people on a blog, and save time, money and the fear of being a loser when no one shows up to your reading.”

But what if no one leaves comments on your guest posts? That loser-fear is no harder to shake online than off.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/02/2021 09:56:39 PM
Category: Book Review
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Here’s a cheerful thought, brought to you by Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us”: If the human race were to disappear tomorrow, Mother Nature wouldn’t need all that much time to fill the void:

In even the most heavily fortified corners of the settled world, the rot would set in quickly. With no one left to run the pumps, New York’s subway tunnels would fill with water in two days. Within 20 years, Lexington Avenue would be a river. Fire- and wind-ravaged skyscrapers would eventually fall like giant trees. Within weeks of our disappearance, the world’s 441 nuclear plants would melt down into radioactive blobs, while our petrochemical plants, “ticking time bombs” even on a normal day, would become flaming geysers spewing toxins for decades to come. Outside of these hot spots, Weisman depicts a world slowly turning back into wilderness. After about 100,000 years, carbon dioxide would return to prehuman levels. Domesticated species from cattle to carrots would revert back to their wild ancestors. And on every dehabitated continent, forests and grasslands would reclaim our farms and parking lots as animals began a slow parade back to Eden.

A million years from now, a collection of mysterious artifacts would remain to puzzle whatever alien beings might stumble upon them: the flooded tunnel under the English Channel; bank vaults full of mildewed money; obelisks warning of buried atomic waste (as current law requires) in seven long-obsolete human languages, with pictures. The faces on Mount Rushmore might provoke Ozymandian wonder for about 7.2 million more years. (Lincoln would probably fare better on the pre-1982 penny, cast in durable bronze.) But it’s hard to imagine an alien archaeologist finding poetry in the remote Pacific atolls awash in virtually unbiodegradable plastic bottles, bags and Q-tip shafts, or in the quadrillions of nurdles, microscopic plastic bits in the oceans — they currently outweigh all the plankton by a factor of six — that would continue to cycle uncorrupted through the guts of sea creatures until an enterprising microbe evolved to break them down.

As for the creatures who made this mess, the only residue of our own surprisingly negligible biomass — according to the biologist E. O. Wilson, the six billion-plus humans currently wreaking planetary havoc could all be neatly tucked away in one branch of the Grand Canyon — would be the odd fossil, mingling perhaps with the limbs of Barbie dolls.

It seems our collective quest for legacy is an exercise in folly. So much for leaving a good-looking corpse.

Douglas posted a succinct version of this bleakness a few months back, along with accompanying flowchart. I admit his contribution stuck with me ever since, even though I’ve been familiar with the concept of human impermanence since high school. It’s all in the framing: Break it down into demonstrable cause-and-effect chunks, and it becomes vivid. A lesson there, if in no other way.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/02/2021 08:16:37 PM
Category: Publishing, Science, Society
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Saturday, September 01, 2021

If you’ve ever wondered how one scripts an audiobook adaption, writer Sidney Williams provides an inside peek:

Step one is adapting expository material to dialog. “Look there’s a green streak in the sky. It’s going down behind those hills.”

To punctuate that you need an appropriate sound effect, not unlike those Thwapps I was talking about earlier.

SFX: MARTIAN CRAFT CRASHING INTO GRAVEL.

I approached the adaptation of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, now available at Audible.com and on iTunes, the way I approached comics. Tell the story - don’t worry where the word balloons go.

Or in audio terms, write the sound effects needed, let the sound artists worry about the rest.

This specific comics technique is the Marvel style, which is built upon a writer-and-artist collaborative effort at plotting. Contrast that with the DC style, which relies upon a more traditional writer-first, artist-second storyline development. Check out a side-by-side comparison of the two methods.

The issue of who should be the driving force in a collaborative work — not only comics, but music, movies, etc. — is an oft-revisited tug-of-war. In film, a writer often resigns him/herself to punching out the script, then watching as it gets butchered tweaked by director, actor, etc. That’s a linear, almost assembly-line approach. In other mediums, the evolution comes more gradually. A constant struggle, even when relatively friendly.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/01/2021 07:09:31 PM
Category: Creative, Publishing
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Monday, August 27, 2021

I have to give props to former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent Pamela Druckerman for the title of her first book: “Lust in Translation”.

Regardless of the quality of her book’s content — an anecdotal overview of global attitudes toward infidelity — the play on the common phrase “lost in translation” brings a smile to my face. Don’t worry — it’s not a lewd one.

As always, I’m a pure sucker for pun-menship.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/27/2007 10:33:29 PM
Category: Publishing, Wordsmithing
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Sunday, August 26, 2021

easy being green
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon around here. Even though I didn’t spy anything I considered photo-worthy, I forced myself to pull out the loaner Nikon D80 camera I got from MWW Group and took the impromptu photo above. Embiggened version can be found on Flickr.

Not exactly pushing the D80’s high-octane capabilities to the hilt. I never claimed to be Diane Arbus.

Typically cluttered desktop for me. The bright green and yellow of this stuffed plush toy made for as good a pic opp as anything else around here.

As for the little toy turtle itself: His name is Dash, and apparently he’s part of an initiative by Starbucks to launch a series of children’s books. I’m guessing that idea is dead, because when I picked up Dash on a whim a couple of weeks ago, he was sitting on the bargain shelf with a discounted pricetag. He’ll wind up being gifted to some little kid soon enough.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/26/2007 08:15:03 PM
Category: Photography, Publishing
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Friday, August 24, 2021

Not that it’s terribly hard to get a political mudslinging session started, but here’s one way:

Extract a minor demographic detail from a recent Associated Press-Ipsos public opinion poll that indicates one-quarter of Americans don’t read any books:

There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.

Next, take that partisan factoid and wave it like raw meat under the nose of an outspoken former liberal Democrat Congresswoman:

“The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: ‘No, don’t raise my taxes, no new taxes,’” Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. “It’s pretty hard to write a book saying, ‘No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes’ on every page.”

Finally, extrapolate that into a characterization of the book publishing industry as laden with liberals, thus producing tomes that are alienable to the conservative masses.

Voila! Liberals second the idea of simplemindedly dittoheaded conservatives, and right-wingers deride lefties as obfuscating eggheads.

Now pardon me as I go crack open a new novel…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/24/2007 08:45:16 AM
Category: Politics, Publishing
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Saturday, August 18, 2021

Thanks to conceptual artist Sean Dack, the world finally knows how the Cold War-tinged fatalistic prognostications of a late science-fiction writer sound when paired with cheesy 1980s easy listening:

But in a strange booklet of sheet music that was mailed out last week to more than 1,000 people by the Daniel Reich Gallery in Chelsea, [Dionne] Warwick and [Philip K.] Dick share more than page space. They take the stage together in a kind of forced virtual duet, somewhere in the ether between a real and an imagined past. Above musical notes that once provided the heart-touching melody for Ms. Warwick’s 1986 hit “That’s What Friends Are For” (words by Carole Bayer Sager, music by Burt Bacharach), the sheet music substitutes words that Mr. Dick wrote in 1981, a year before his death, from a series of dire and sometimes eerily accurate predictions about the future.

Ms. Warwick sang: “And as far as I’m concerned/I’m glad I got the chance to say/That I do believe I love you.” Mr. Dick’s version might not have quite the same radio potential: Satellites will — key the music — “uncover vast unsuspected high energy phenomena in the universe indicating that there is sufficient mass to collapse the universe.” (He prophesied that this would happen in 1986.)

Listen to the curious mashup yourself. I’m not envisioning a chart-topper.

There’s no hint of ulterior motive, either in the re-lyricized sheet music nor the official press release. But I’m wondering if Dack’s selection of Dionne Warwick for part of his artsy experiment was inspired by her past high-profile association with the doomed Psychic Friends Network.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/18/2007 07:38:42 PM
Category: Creative, Pop Culture, Publishing
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Tuesday, August 14, 2021

Considering my affection for remixed (not derivative) efforts off long-standing creative works, I can’t believe Margaret Atwood’s “The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus” got past me when it was released in 2005.

Especially when it has such an offbeat premise:

It imagines the lives and afterlives of Odysseus’s wife Penelope and her 12 maids, who are hanged by Odysseus upon his return home from war. Atwood gives depth to Penelope’s character, and the maids’ faces, names and rage to last an eternity.

I suppose I’ll have to pick it up. Although maybe I should brush up on “The Odyssey” first.

Then again, I didn’t give myself a refresher on “Hamlet” before taking in “Gertrude and Claudius”, John Updike’s swipe at classical revisionism. And I loved that effort.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/14/2007 11:14:08 PM
Category: Creative, Publishing
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Monday, August 13, 2021

Like many people, my mood tends to darken with the onset of foul weather. Translation: Dank, sun-less days bum me out, man.

I’ve yet to be bummed out to the point where I write an iconic horror novel. Then again, I didn’t live through 1816’s “Year Without a Summer” climactic phenomenon. If I had, like Mary Shelley did, my washed-out Swiss vacation might have yielded the heavily weather-inspired “Frankenstein”.

Mary Shelley started writing the book in 1816, when she was just a teenager. It wasn’t too long after she had run off with the married poet Percy Shelley. They went to Switzerland for a summer vacation.

“I think the plan had been to be tourists and go climbing mountains and things like that,” Phillips says. “And they couldn’t, because of the weather.”

The weather was beyond bad. It was unbelievable…

“It actually really was dark, for days if not weeks on end,” Phillips says. “It was one of the coldest periods in modern history, so it was extremely serious.”

He says that in many places, the harvests failed for three consecutive years. There were food riots, and many people were dying from starvation.

And the cold, always the cold. With which the creature is persistently linked, up to and including the climax:

“He invariably meets his creator at the tops of mountains, in icy caves,” he says. “Then at the end of the novel, they go into the Arctic Ocean and we’re led to believe that they die as they drift off on an ice floe.”

Now, maybe Mary Shelley would have sent her creature to the Arctic no matter what kind of weather was outside her window. But John Clubbe doesn’t think so.

An emeritus professor of English at the University of Kentucky, he has written about Frankenstein’s link to The Year Without a Summer. He points out that in 1816, it was snowing in July.

“Seeing this world of ice and snow at close hand, when you should be seeing green fields and trees in bloom, this is so unusual,” Clubbe says. “It has to affect the way you feel and want to write.”

Proving that, ultimately, we can’t help but be impacted by the way the wind blows.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/13/2007 11:26:13 PM
Category: History, Publishing, Weather
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Saturday, August 11, 2021

The big front-page headline on yesterday’s New York Post (an image of which I’ve tried, in vain, to find):

D’OW!

Which referred, of course, to Thursday’s 387-point Dow Jones Index stock market meltdown.

And while everyone knows that the headline also alludes to the signature exclamation of one Homer J. Simpson, perhaps not everyone picked up on the subtler connection between “The Simpsons” and the Post. To wit: Each one is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Synergy? Had it happened prior to the movie, I’d have strongly suspected it. As it is, I’m looking forward to forthcoming Homeristic headlines to appear in the newly-acquired Wall Street Journal soon enough.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/11/2021 01:52:05 PM
Category: Business, Publishing, TV
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Thursday, August 02, 2021

Here we go. As I said I would earlier this week, I’m giving away some free stuff.

The freebie this time out: A book. Specifically, the hardcover edition of Joshua Ferris’ “Then We Came to the End”. It’s a debut comic novel about cubicle life in a big-city advertising agency that’s slowly going out of business. Click through the link for more. I’ll refrain from giving my review of the book, other than to say that I tend not to give away books that I favor. ;)

Rules are dead simple: Either leave a comment in the Feedback link below, or email me. First one to touch base with me gets the book mailed to them. U.S. addresses only, please.

That’s it! This may or may not become a recurring feature hereabouts, so keep an eye out.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 08/02/2021 10:20:47 PM
Category: Bloggin', Publishing
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Wednesday, August 01, 2021

head-buttIt’s hard to tell what Robert Olen Butler is more pissed off about these days:

- That his wife, Elizabeth Dewberry, is leaving him to join Ted Turner’s girlfriend harem, or

- That the mass email he sent out to announce this personal embarrassment found its way onto Gawker.com.

I’m thinking that if Butler writes a sequel to “Severance”, his creepy collection of short stories about decapitation stream-of-consciousness, there’ll be a chapter reserved for a certain ex-media mogul. It might go something like this:

spanish moss all over trees new groundskeepers maybe put girls to work Fonda motor Honda always humid still sore at Case never would have sold if he left first colorized Casablanca would work today mouth of south could be worse left humanitarianism gold medal in Turner Field private smokeroom best Braves manager ever United Nations one billion down one to go merge X-Games Goodwill Games rejuvenate thought of dad almost puking how did Olen get in here Elizabeth went out

Note: The above is 80 words, on the dot — not the 240-word limit Butler used as the literary device for the “Severance” stories. Because as we later learned, a severed human head has only a third of the time to ponder its situation as was once presumed. Less time to stew about things, I say.

Last word on the matter: Let’s remember that Butler dedicated “Severance” to his then-wife:

For Elizabeth: This book began when I showed you my beloved Saigon and we stood before the guillotine at the War Crimes Museum. My head was already over my heels for you.

And she broke up with him? Go figure.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/01/2021 09:40:38 PM
Category: Celebrity, Internet, Publishing
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Saturday, July 21, 2021

After getting a reporter’s-eye view of the circus atmosphere surrounding the Catholic Church sex scandal in southern California, Los Angeles Times’ religion reporter William Lobdell has lost his religion and his job — both by choice:

As I walked into the long twilight of a Portland summer evening, I felt used up and numb.

My soul, for lack of a better term, had lost faith long ago — probably around the time I stopped going to church. My brain, which had been in denial, had finally caught up.

Clearly, I saw now that belief in God, no matter how grounded, requires at some point a leap of faith. Either you have the gift of faith or you don’t. It’s not a choice. It can’t be willed into existence. And there’s no faking it if you’re honest about the state of your soul.

This coda comes from someone who, prior to seeing the seedy side of organized religion, had been devout. In fact, he lobbied to get assigned to the religion beat, in part to counteract what he saw as prejudicial characterizations of religious people in mainstream media. So he went into it supposedly secure in his faith.

How did Lobdell get so shaken? I can certainly see how encountering constant hypocrisy, exploitation, and dirty-dealing would sour even a lifelong church-goer. That such atrocities were perpetrated under the guise of religious purpose ought to trigger a spiritual struggle.

But.

It seems to me that Lobdell’s faith was misplaced in the first place: More rooted in his church (which wasn’t Catholic) than in his religion. Millions of faithful reconcile a pretty steady flow of church scandals — sex, financial improprieties and other Seven Deadly Sins terrain — by re-confiming their devotion to God and creed, if not the religious establishment. At some point, they’ll abandon their church as being, indeed, too corrupt and out-of-touch to be worthy of allegiance — but they’ll retain belief in God as something purer than Earthly failings. (Whether you think you can claim to be Catholic or Baptist or whatever without belonging to that church is a different debate.)

But to lose faith in God altogether directly because of the evils that take place within the church? To do that is to place greater weight on those crimes because they were carried out by clergy. It even hints at considering a house of worship as an insulator to the outside world, where those same sins are committed every day — and yet don’t manage to shake one’s faith as directly, I guess.

So like I said, to me this comes off as Lobdell losing faith in the church structure, and considering that to be one and the same as God. If he was more dedicated to religious ritual than to the underlying meaning of it, then it doesn’t surprise me that he’d give up. The wonder is how he managed to convince himself that he was ever especially religious to begin with.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 07/21/2007 06:36:23 PM
Category: Publishing, Society
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Monday, June 18, 2021

Tired of relying on third-party Hollywood types to transplant its intellectual property from printed page to silver screen — with the results less than satisfying, both creatively and profit-share wise — Marvel Comics has set up its own wholly-owned production house, Marvel Studios.

This isn’t really relevant to the anatomy of this business set-up, which is fairly complex with regard to the necessary distribution of upcoming projects like Iron Man and Hulk; but I must note the following:

Marvel’s chief rival in the comic book/superhero biz, DC Comics, has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company that is now Time Warner since 1969. That conglomerate has always included Warner Brothers and various other film/television studios. So DC has always had a direct conduit into the movie-making business; that’s why practically every DC character — including the heavy hitters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman — have had movies and TV series release under the Warner imprint for decades, while Marvel’s stable — Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and others — have had to be farmed out to Sony, Fox and other adopted homes.

So, in a sense, the creative stables of each superhero house are now on somewhat equal footing, execution-wise. More of a fair fight at the box office and Nielsens.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/18/2007 11:24:24 PM
Category: Business, Publishing
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Wednesday, June 13, 2021

Even though I received my July subscription issue of Esquire more than a week ago, I didn’t particularly notice the Stephen King full-length novella, “The Gingerbread Girl”, among its pages.

I mean, I’m sure I would have, eventually. But contributions by big-name authors have been routine in this magazine for the past several months, so I didn’t bat an eye at King’s name being in the TOC.

But now that the pub’s Head Ed is touting “Gingerbread” as prime example of his dedication to magazine fiction, I suppose I’ll have to read it.

“Over the last year, we’ve been trying to breathe life back into magazine fiction,” Esquire Editor-in-Chief David Granger said Monday in a statement. “The best way to do that is to publish nothing other than event fiction-stories that have something in addition to their literary merit to call attention to themselves.”

It’s a noble attempt, and certainly a key differentiator for Esquire. But will it fly in the modern men’s magazine landscape? Not only has the golden age of magazine fiction long passed, the current lad-mag template for success calls for short-short-short pieces of copy: Bulleted lists, sidebars upon sidebars, etc. And lots of visual elements, including photos of women. Long-form fiction doesn’t seem to fit in here, neither format-wise nor with the target audience’s preferences.

Esquire’s not quite a lad mag, but like every other men’s publication, it’s incorporated plenty of the elements mentioned above to draw that audience. Running stories by acclaimed authors might serve as mooring to signify that it’s got more substance than Maxim, but positioned next to the “Women We Love” feature, they seem like an odd fit.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/13/2007 09:11:09 AM
Category: Publishing
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