Quote of the day: Mark Millar on digital comics;

The Not .99 Method

On the heels of my recent diatribe on digital comics, here are two interesting perspectives on the issue. Mark Millar, creator of Kick-Ass and Wanted, breaks down the numbers on digital comics, showing how creators like himself really aren’t making a whole lot off digital sales yet:

1/ Apple take 30% right off the bat.
2/ In the case of Wanted, Comixology then splits 50/50 with the publisher.
3/ Then the publisher pays the agent and creative team out of the remaining cash depending on their deal.

Millar’s description of this profit model provides justification for the naysayers who believe that digital comics simply aren’t profitable enough for creators and downright industry killers for retailers. On the other hand, at the second link, Warren Ellis shares a business model for digital comics that completely cuts out third party distribution and costs and enables comics creators to sell their work directly to consumers. Inherent in this approach, however, is a requirement by comics creators to completely rethink their publishings models and instead use free online tools like Google DocsPayPal and others to set up their own direct-to-consumer publishing – all digital, all creator-owned. Ellis is right: 2011 may very well see tons of comics creators making money hand over fist jumping over publishers and retailers to sell directly to consumers.

Scientists Discover Time Teleportation

WTF???

Before, we knew that quantum teleportation works in space. Two identical particles at different locations are linked in such a way that, when you change the state of one, the other one instantly changes in exactly the same way, no matter how many miles or light-years are between them. This is a phenomenon that defies our understanding of reality, and it just got even more complex with this discovery.

University of Queensland’s scientists Jay Olson and Timothy Ralph claim that the quantum entanglement is a fundamental part of the universe, and it works both in space and time, so changing the state of particle today instantly changes the same particle in the future, even while the particle will not exist between those two points.

The presupposition here (I think) is that there has to be something/someone on the other end of the time pipeline conducting the same teleportation experiment. So we can travel forward in time but not back? Pity.

Shackleton’s 100-year-old whiskey unearthed in Anarctica, soon to be drunk

I’m little more than an amateur scotch and whiskey connoisseur, but I can tell you this with some authority: the older it is, the smoother it goes down. Cool story about how they found this whiskey preserved in an old wrecked ship.

The Batman Nightclub ‘Wayne Manor’ Revealed in 1966 ‘Life’ Magazine Article

Chris Sims at Comic Alliance – also of Chris’ Invincible Super Blog fame – has made a name for himself as the world’s only preeminent “Batmanologist.” He has pored through every aspect of Batman pop culture across all media, and his writing has reflected an intense investigatory passion for new AWESOME Batman finds in pop history. In this post, Sims found an old copy of Life Magazine (apparently the ENTIRE RUN is available FOR FREE on Google Books) that featured this spread on Batman nightclub called Wayne Manor. Wayne Manor was built at the height of the “Bat-craze” of the old Adam West Batman TV show in the 1960s, replete with camp but – as evidenced by this INSANE picture – also more popular with the general American public than at any other time in Batman history.

Courtesy of Comics Alliance. Y’dig?

And finally…

New Image Of Kermit, Jason Segel And Miss Piggy At Muppet Read-Through

Courtesy of Bleeding Cool.

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Heavy on the art this week, so feast thine eyes!

Concept Art from the Teen Batman Series that Never Was, Gotham High

Holy AWESOME, how great would this animated series have been?! More pics at the link.

Image courtesy of Jeff & Celeste

Image courtesy of Jeff & Celeste

A Hands-Off Look at L.A. Noire’s Hard-Boiled Detective Stories

Here’s a first-hand account of Rockstar Games‘ upcoming L.A. Confidential-inspired video game L.A. Noire. This game looks amazing. There’s a trailer at the link with some cuts of in-game video, and it’s some of the most lifelike CGI I’ve ever seen. Can’t wait to play it– I’m a sucker for the old Raymond Chandler type detective stories from the 1940s and 1950s, which this game promises to deliver in spades. Even cooler, Aaron Staton – best known as Ken Cosgrove from Mad Men – plays the lead character in the game, and his visage in the trailer is stunning.

The Evolution of the Batmobile [Infographics]

Keeping with this week’s Batman theme, here’s a supercool infographic of the evolution of the Batmobile’s design over the years. The image below is just a tease, and the full-on insane-o HUGE graphic is available from some crazy mofos over at AutoBlog. The full pic is insanely detailed and accurate with plenty of shout-outs to any Bat-fan of the comics, movies, or cartoons.

Image courtesy of Comics Alliance

Art Break: Annie Wu

I found this via Badass Digest (a new entertainment blog from the creators of the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas). Very fun reinterpretation of the Justice League as a punk band.

Image courtesy of Badass Digest

Dubai Assassination Followed Failed Attempt by Same Team

Speaking of insane-o, here’s a frickin’ MAD story about the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last year. Al-Mabhouh, a high-ranking member of Hamas, was the target of what must the mos clown-shoes black ops unit of the Mossad. This unit assed its way through one botched attempt on the guy’s life and then totally exposed themselves during the second attempt (which succeeded). The story goes into detail about how these supposed “super-assassins” are the Mossad’s most highly trained, highly secretive killers. Yet the team made TONS of freshman errors in their tradecraft surrounding the assassination, things that (in my experience) would make the most junior intelligence operative guffaw in scorn. Some great reporting here from Threat Level.

That’s it!

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Back at it in 2011. Let’s see what’s AWESOME so far.

11 Actionable Trends For 2011

I got burned out on 2011 predictions almost as soon as the first ones started trickling out in November. However, David Armano‘s and Steve Rubel‘s work at Edelman Digital bears some notice. I got really excited to see some of the trends they report because of the work I did in 2010 involved things like Thought Leadership, Attentionomics, and Transmedia Storytelling. Also, Armano is required reading for social business enthusiasts and pros alike, so dive into this AWESOME preso.

A List Of The Best Of The Best Meme Lists Of 2010

Great roundup of all the “best of” lists tracking the best memes of 2010. I’m really surprised the Inception meme didn’t rank higher on most of these lists, because I laffed my ass off reading that one when it first hit. Still, I can’t get enough of The Bed Intruder:

Transcending the Human, DIY Style

This is a crazy article from Wired‘s Threat Level blog about a girl doing low-tech body enhancements out of her kitchen. She’s literally inserting magnets into her fingertips so she can develop a new magnetic “sense,” in addition to many other body modifications. There’s apparently a huge craze for body mods in the UK. It’s transhumanism and posthumanism on the cheap.

Humanity’s Next God: You?

Venessa Miemis continues to ask the questions of the future. In this new post at emergent by design, she references an Economist article that posits humanity is due for a new religion and a new god. The subsequent discussion features some pretty fascinating thoughts about humanity evolving to a godlike state, something I’ve been wrestling with myself recently. Of course, me being me, I had to wonder in the comments section if now is indeed the time for Mark Millar‘s RELIGIMON concept from his run on The Authority to come to fruition.

Image courtesy of Comic Vine

Scraps – by Henry Rollins

This contribution from Henry Rollins to Vanity Fair‘s blog is just… surreal. Rollins does this poetic thing every so often, and it’s just… mesmerizing. To this day, I associate Rollins with his death metal work so I get shocked when he delivers writing of this quality. He did something similar for Les Claypool years ago on a song called “Delicate Tendrils,” which features Rollins reciting this parable of modern life metaphorically represented by hyenas stalking you as an animal. Amazing, AWESOME shit, man. Really worth a look.

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Strained my eyeballs reading stuff this week. Let’s dig in:

6 Reasons Why Social Games Are the Next Advertising Frontier

Image via Mashable

One of my @Du4.llc clients develops episodic social games, and their data confirms how effective engaging, in-game ads can be. A lot of people pooh-pooh advertising in the social age on general principle, but given a certain degree of innovation, I think there’s still a place for them.

5 Predictions for 2011 From IDC

None of these are particularly eye-opening, but IDC’s expectation of 25 billion mobile apps sold via various app stores is something to think about. We’re moving to an app ecosystem where simple web tools that enhance users’ lifestyles are becoming a ubiquitous part of life. Imagine where that could take us in 20 years where we’ll be downloading apps directly to implants attached to our five senses. I’m not seeing much in app futures right now, but the premise is sound.

When Futures Thinking Meets Design Thinking

So one of my favorite reads is Venessa Miemis‘s blog emergent by design. Venessa is the first futurist-in-training I’ve met who sought a formal education in futurism. I got to meet her at Stowe Boyd‘s Social Business Edge earlier this year in New York, and I was blown away by her innate creativity and motivation to discover what’s next. It’s people like Venessa that we should be listening to as they punch through the bubble of the present mundanity and shape positive visions of the future. In this post, Venessa describes Jamais Cascio‘s (another AWESOME futurist you should be paying attention to) process for Futures Thinking. It’s a process I’m going to put to work on some of my client projects. For more, Venessa posted a follow-up called 3 Tools for Futures Thinking and Foresight Development that examines some things that can help you put Futures Thinking into practical application.

Always Be Thinking About These Things

Some excellent advice for creatives, independents and misifts from Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-Conformity. AONC is actually one of the coolest looking blogs I’ve seen in a while, and I’m having fun navigating Chris’s community and discovering old works of his. His commentary is soul food for creatives and wanderers.

Friday Five: Leading Digital Ethnographers

Every time I get ready to delete my content feed for Edelman Digital, they put out something like this. This post is a really great roundup of researchers conducting studies into the emerging field of digital anthropology. Each one has taken a slightly different approach to the task of segmenting internet users for study, and there are some fascinating links to their stories and work contained within. As an aside, last year I worked with a social networking research team at a company called Detica. My teammates were young, talented analysts with digital research aptitudes, culturally relevant skills in other languages, and a whole lot of code-monkeying savvy. Our work was very similar to what Edelman describes as digital anthropology but my teammates – ever the AWESOME crowd – coined the term “netnography” for the type of work we were doing. One of these days, I’m gonna get that to stick somewhere…

Why Wikileaks Is Good for America

4channers Go After PayPal, Swiss Bank in Defense of Wikileaks

I could go on and on with links to commentary about Wikileaks’ recent diplomatic cable dump and the subsequent storm of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against it and in defense of it. This issue is probably one of the most fascinating communications events I have ever experiences. I’ve been on both sides of this debate. Having worked in the Pentagon and understanding the necessities of operational security, I’m on one hand appalled by Wikileaks’ behavior. (Moreso, I’m appalled by the inflammatory anti-American statements Julian Assange has made, but that’s a separate issue.) On the other hand, I’m loving the debate this is creating about what government transparency really is and can be. In this world where some podunk, know-nothing ass-clown NCO can lift the entire SIPRNET via CD-ROM and get it published to the Internet, can the federal government truly afford to continue adhering to default security classification just because they don’t want to deal with information getting out to the public? I’ve certainly been in situations where documents were classified for political reasons and not actual security, so the motivation to break down barriers to transparency is understandable. I just don’t think the way to do it is the Wikileaks way.

Even more fascinating in this situation has been 4chan and the Anonymous community of hacktivists basically declaring war against the internet outposts of Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Amazon, and any other online service provider that cut off its services to Wikileaks. This constitutes a citizen-galvanized retaliatory strike against perceived injustice, and most of the U.S. govvies I know who are monitoring this issue are literally left scratching their heads. I’m also astounded that the U.S. military, its component commands, and even its contractors have virtually stuck their heads in the sand to avoid dealing with the implications of Wikileaks: some defense outfits I know of are scared to death of mentioning Wikileaks in public conversations because they think they’re going to get hacked and lose their security clearances.

All this begs for more thought, so I may develop a separate post about in the near future. I definitely think Wikileaks is forcing us to redefine what we consider “free press,” “mainstream media,” and notions of transparency. It’s just going to be a long, ugly debate getting to any kind of common ground.

Anonymous's OPERATION PAYBACK call to arms (Image via Gawker)

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Some interesting things I’ve read this week that bear mentioning:

These Screens Will Send You Back To The Future

Screenshot from new Back to the Future game courtesy of IGN/Kotaku

Telltale Games is developing a new internet browser-based video game adaptation of Back to the Future. I’m even more excited by the fact that this will be an episodic game with new weekly content AND an iPad version! Here’s an early screenshot on the left, and more higher-quality scans can be found at the link above.

The Anatomy of a Movement

David Armano talks about harnessing the power of movements for ad campaigns. Armano makes AWESOME graphics to help explain his points, and I find his style of visual thinking is among the most cogent on the web.

WikiLeaks Reveals Iran’s Secret, Worldwide Arms Hunt

The big news in DC this week was “Cablegate,” an unleashing of several diplomatic documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks. These documents confirmed something I’ve known for quite a while because of my irregular warfare work: strategically, there is a Cold War-like balance of power between Iran and Arab nations like Saudi Arabia that hinges on nuclear capability and how the United States chooses to engage in the region. There is a lot more to this than anybody truly understands, I think. I believe the Persian/Arab divide is much more of a globally chilling problem than our own existential struggle with Islam.

Activate Wave-Motion Gun! New documentary takes you inside the live-action Star Blazers

Star Blazers was the first cartoon I remember seeing as a child that changed my perspective on animated storytelling from the pedestrian to the epic. Despite its somewhat cheesy American adaptation, Space Battleship Yamato (its original Japanese name) established a cool standard for serialized, mature storytelling in American cartoon programming. I’m super excited to see it being adapted into a live-action film that many are comparing to the AWESOMEness of Battlestar Galactica. It premiered in Japan this week, and it looks AMAZING. Here’s a clip:

I’m experimenting with PulseMeme, an app on my iPad that creates a much smoother way of reading RSS content. Through it, I’ve set up a share feed on Posterous where I’ll share various stories from time to time. You can find that feed at this link if you want to subscribe. I’ve pulled all the links in this post from that feed, as I’ll do on a weekly basis from now on.

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