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  • Go to comment.
    Sep 23, 2014, 09:37AM
    Wow! I feel the exact same way about comics past the early 90s and never knew others shared this view. Rather than go back to pure newsprint, I'd be happy with cheaper uncoated stock for archivability's sake. The voluptuous color and many other artistic leaps are all thanks to digital processes taking over the printing industry. Coloring used to be achieved by hand slicing pieces of film and creating composite plates. It was intensely laborious but rewarding work in what is remembered as the "fun" days or prepress. The result was coloring that oozed with a thing that remains as only a phantom in mainstream comics now: deliberateness. It's hard to imagine that losing deliberateness could topple the entire tastefulness of an art form but I believe it has. Or maybe I see graphic books with old man's eyes. Equally important as the change in coloring, I think, is the degeneration of the discipline that was Inking. At their best, Inkers were in the league of master engravers. Two elements were at the core of it, the calligraphic hard line, and hatched shading. This is an incredibly intense skill, and the rewards speak for themselves: ornate beauty decorating your pages; each image perfectly sculpted; every pica considered. But it seems that step has been increasingly seen as a needless middleman, because now we "can" go almost directly from pencils to full color using photoshop. A pencil scan can be manipulated until the edges are hard and the ghost lines eliminated, and shading can be easily applied in glorious 16 bit fidelity, replacing hatches with a 3D-rendered depth. What classic comics lacked in flash, they made up for in sheer power. I hope it's not too late for the fans to see this, or maybe they don't care about the art so much as feeling like they are watching a movie. Or just maybe I have very strange taste in absolutely everything I enjoy.
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 20, 2014, 01:44PM
    The other thing specific to comic book stores is that the stereotype for collectors, while exaggerated, has a basis in fact. Social skills can be lacking. Combine that with hiring minimum wage teens to work the store and it's often not the best combo. Recently, a similar store opened around the corner from me. When I got the chance to visit I tried to start up a friendly conversation with the man working asking him about the business, their goals, their stock etc. The man could barely be bothered to grunt out monosylabic replies (and, yes, I was the only customer there). Again, I want to stress that not ALL collectors stores aren't on the up and up.
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 19, 2014, 05:07PM
    Thanks - I'd never even considered that angle, but it might explain things in this particular case.
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 19, 2014, 02:48PM
    Unfortunately, a lot of these comic book stores are private little tax havens for their owners who build up their own personal collections. They collect and horde the good stuff, meanwhile writing off the 'losses' of the store on their taxes. Then when they inevitably go out of business, they can take a big loss on all those unsold copies of items nobody wants to buy, meanwhile they abscond with the valuable items. Essentially, it's a way of turning collecting into a business. I know that there are many legit stores, so I'm not damning them all, but, I've known more than a few of these professional collectors with half-assed "stores" as fronts. (and, NOT just in comic books)
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  • Go to comment.
    Sep 18, 2014, 12:26PM
    Mary, I'm sorry. I remember you writing about this house, I remember when you moved out. I wish the tide would turn. Wishing sucks though, not much ever comes of it. Sending love and hugs....
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 16, 2014, 06:53PM
    OK, I can match that. One day I decided to take the upcoming P.E. exam (you could look it up). I took a review course but did not study a lick. Some time after the exam I received a post card that said, "Congratulations, you have passed the P.E. exam with a score of...70. The minimum passing grade was ...70! People in my line of work call that optimization of effort.
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 16, 2014, 06:11PM
    Nice story! But seriously...the balloons are added in post production? Falling around your unresponsive heads? This fits with the 70's style set I suppose.
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 16, 2014, 10:10AM
    The saddest thing is the disappearance of the inspirational sign on the First Unitarian Church's corner. Where did it go?
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 15, 2014, 10:16AM
    Oh no; that's horrible.
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 15, 2014, 09:59AM
    That is really hard.
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 15, 2014, 07:58AM
    Oh, Mary; that's rough.
  • Go to comment.
    Sep 11, 2014, 03:34PM
    Besides lacking character, Charles St.'s desolation isn't practical. There are Subways and other fast food chains on every block, cell phone and liquor stores, but no department or clothing stores, no serious grocery stores besides Safeway at 25th. Imagining record stores on this strip is almost impossible for me. What blow my mind is how you can't buy cheap clothes or department store stuff anywhere but the suburbs. I mean, is the only option really Walmart/Target/et al?