Author Archives: Brett

Unboxing: Nerd Block’s February 2017 Classic Block

Nerd Block Classic‘s February 2017 box has arrived and here’s what you can find inside. The box has a them of “Time Machines” and features items from Rick and Morty, Futurama, Back to the Future, Donnie Darko, Stargate, and Doctor Strange.

What’s inside? Check out the video to find out!

You can get your own Nerd Block here!

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

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Wix Answers Some Questions About the DeviantArt Acquisition

deviantart-logo-wordmark-1024x762Yesterday we broke the news that Wix had acquired DeviantArt for $36 million adding the popular art site to their website platform. There were some interesting details but one stood out, that art posted on DeviantArt would be available for use on Wix websites.

There were also some lingering issues with the DeviantArt community like harassment. Luckily, the Wix team and CEO Angelo Sotira responded to our inquiries earlier today.

Graphic Policy: The news mentioned making the DeviantArt material available to Wix users. Is there any more information on how that would work? Is this going to be monetized? A mix of open source/monetized? None of the above?

Angelo Sotira: Important to note that artwork would never be shared without the artist’s explicit permission. Deviants would always have to opt-in to allow their art to be used.

How this works, and the options for our artists to broaden their audience reach are in the works. Whether this is brand building or new revenue streams, DeviantArt and Wix will look for ways for users to grow, find new fans and potentially monetize their work, if they choose to do so.

Graphic Policy: DeviantArt has had harassment issues and the site hasn’t done much to add tools to report harassment or even blocking tools. Is that a priority or on the road map for the future of DeviantArt.

Angelo Sotira: Our community is at the heart of everything we do – we are committed to providing all of our members with a safe and fun environment to create and grow.

DeviantArt’s community is more focused than other social networks on the expression of deeply personal feelings through art. In addition, the site demographics, again compared to other social networks, skew younger. The site has a clear, obvious and present reporting tool, a well enforced Etiquette Policy, blocking tools, and a well-trained Community Operations staff.

Are there improvements to be made? Absolutely. While it is early to comment on roadmap specifics, we are aware of the issues and are always looking to do better.

Punisher Logo with “Blue Lives Matter” Gets Removed from Police Cars

The Punisher is a vigilante who uses murder, extortion, torture, kidnapping, and threats of violence in his war on crime. He’s also apparently what some police officers look up to. The Catlettsburg Police Department in Eastern Kentucky added the Punisher skull logo to eight police cars with the words “Blue Lives Matter.”

The design was spearheaded by Police Chief Cameron Logan who worked with a vinyl decal shop on Louisiana to print the decals (was there no decal shops in Kentucky!?). A similar decal is being sold by David Klotz Enterprises out of New Jersey. There it’s listed as the “Thin Blue Line Punisher Skull Window Decal.”

The design was approved by the city council and Mayor Randall Peterman. One member objected, but he was elected after the approval. His criticism is over the cost, not the message. The idea was to “give back to the police officers.” Which begs the question what is this “giving back?”

The Punisher is a vigilante who breaks the law by killing criminals, making himself judge, jury, and executioner. A veteran, he’s exactly what the police are being accused of, abusing the rights of individuals. The police chief sees it as a “warrior logo.” Which makes one wonder if he endorses what that skull logo represents.

This is the latest example of the mainstreaming of the Punisher who debuted in 1974 and has starred in numerous films and appeared in the second season of Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil with his own solo television series soon debuting.

The character is the antithesis of the law and order police are supposed to represent. He has in fact murdered police officers in his “one man war.” Not to mention the irony of appropriating intellectual property without permission. You know, theft.

This isn’t the first time controversy over police using the logo has arisen. A Georgia SWAT team used the logo in a video showing off their militarization. The military has often used the symbol in units. If the Punisher is someone that police look up to, it’s no wonder so many citizens are being murdered by police.

(via Lexington Herald Leader)

J.T. Krul Discusses Sand + Bone, Plus an Exclusive Cover Reveal

Out this April, from writer J.T. Krul and artist Andrea Mutti, Sand + Bone is a graphic novel that brings together the Iraq War, PTSD, and a mystery in a small town.

Sean Hitcher has just returned from war. He didn’t die in Iraq, but part of him wishes that he did. He’s home now, back in the small Midwestern town where he grew up. But he is haunted by nightmarish visions of killing and carnage that seem to be the result of severe PTSD. But are they? Is there something he’s missing…

As mysterious acts of violence spread throughout the town, Sean begins to wonder if there’s more going on than he originally thought. What terror did he experience on the battlefield, and what horrifying secret did he bring back with him?

We got a chance to talk to Krul about the new series and have an exclusive reveal of the cover. Sand + Bone will be available at Barnes & Noble April 18.

Graphic Policy: Where did the idea for Sand + Bone come from?

J.T. Krul: Stephen at Adaptive and I had been talking for some time about working together and when he mentioned the idea behind Sand and Bone I was all in. We were both drawn to the concept of exploring the life of soldiers after service and their struggles to return to anything resembling normalcy. Add to it the more mysterious and supernatural aspect and I was hooked.

GP: How long have you been working on it?

JTK: In all, the project took about a year from the time I started talking with Adaptive. Working from the source material, we revised and largely reimagined the story and the overall focus of the story.

GP: How did Andrea Mutti come on board for the art?

JTK: That credit goes to Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. They are veterans in the comic industry and have been consulting with Adaptive on their projects. We talked about a lot of potential artists, but it was Jimmy and Justin that first suggested Andrea. And right away, we all knew it was going to be a perfect fit. There is a very gritty and dark vibe to the tone of the story we are telling, and Andrea’s heavy ink style really drives that aspect home.

GP: The story deals with the current war in Iraq, what got you to want to focus on that particular war?

JTK: Essentially, because that’s the war of our lifetime. Hard to believe it’s been more than 15 years since 9/11, and the struggle continues on. The deployment goes up and down, but there is a lingering presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. I mean, honestly, is there even an end in sight? Ever?

And yet, at the same time, it’s the war that we as Americans are rather far removed from. You think about World War II and the sacrifices people made to support the effort. Being citizens during wartime required us to be aware. With Vietnam, the protests against the war were front and center. The controversy was part of everyday life. But today, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nothing is asked of the people. The soldiers represent like 1% of the American populace and the powers-that-be seem to do everything they can to keep it in the background. The war is “over there” and not here. I’ll never forget in the days following the attacks on 9/11 and the government’s response, President Bush essentially urged us to go about our business. He actually encouraged us to go shopping. The whole war and those fighting in it and forever changed by it are largely ignored. People “support the troops” and wear yellow ribbons. They cheer soldiers for two seconds before a sporting event, but they really don’t do anything to support them. For the most part, it is nothing but lip service.

GP: I’ve read some studies that estimated about 20% of veterans from Iraq suffer from PTSD, and to me, it’s a health crisis we don’t focus enough on. How did that become a part of the story?

JTK: That was always a central part of the story. I mean, yes, we are telling a tale of suspense and the supernatural. It’s a thriller. But, at its core, the monstrous elements play into the hidden pain so many soldiers struggle with. We ask them to go into harm’s way, to risk their lives on behalf of our nation, and yet we don’t want to deal with the messy truth of war. Again, we as a nation want to cheer the soldiers before a game, or a salute a flag, or applaud when Air Force jets do a flyby at half-time, but we don’t want to deal with their pain. We don’t want to deal with their substance abuse, their isolation, and their struggles to re-engage with civilian life.

GP: Did you talk to veterans with PTSD or anyone that is involved with treatment of veterans to research it?

JTK: Absolutely. Working in the comic industry, there is a large segment of the fans that are current and former military, so I have been privileged enough to meet quite a few from around the country over the years. I’ve had a lot of talks with them, as they described what it was like overseas, the dread of multiple deployments, and the difficulty readjusting to life outside the service. One friend in particular, I watched literally deteriorate before my eyes over the years as his duty took its toll. His smile lessened, his hair fell out, his body grew frail. He shared stories about fighting just to get treatment through the VA. Sadly, it reminded me of watching someone struggling with cancer and going through radiation therapy. The physical and psychological toll is unbelievable.

GP: I haven’t read the comic yet, but already have some ideas running through my mind about the mystery that’s teased and the PTSD. Can you give us any hints as to how the two are related?

JTK: I think I mentioned that a bit already, but at its core the supernatural mystery of it mirrors the struggles with PTSD. It’s that sense of isolation and the inability to reconnect with society. You feel like a stranger in your own body.

GP: Entertainment can raise awareness of issues like PTSD and veterans. Is that something you’re thinking of while putting this together?

JTK: Definitely. I mean, yes, its entertainment, and I am not trying to equate our story with something like the movie Platoon. It is an effort to catch a glimpse into territory that doesn’t get covered as much. It’s all about connectivity and empathy and getting beyond the stigma associated with PTSD. It’s about putting these stories out there. The suicide rate for veterans is shameful, and the lack of the government, and we as a nation, to help those you have given so much to us is inexcusable. If our story can move readers to reach out, to lend a hand and support veterans’ causes and legislation, that would be great.

GP: Thanks so much and looking forward to reading the graphic novel.

Check out the exclusive cover reveal below!

sand-bone-cover

Unboxing: Marvel Collector Corps February 2017 “Superhero Showdown”

We open up to show off Funko and Marvel‘s latest Marvel Collector Corps box. The bimonthly premium box service features a theme of “Superhero Showdown,” celebrating Marvel’s popular rivalries!

We go over the contents including a variant comic, and some figures! Valued at over a $50 the box is perfect for fans of Marvel Comics.

You can sign up for the next one here!

Unboxing: DC Comics Deck-Building Game Crossover Pack 5: The Rogues

Asking for help is never a strong suit for villains, but sometimes they need a helping hand to snag a big score or take down a worthy hero. Villains like Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, Heatwave and the rest often need to work together to take down The Flash and his speedy allies. With DC Comics Deck-Building Game Crossover Pack 5: The Rogues, you become a Super-Villain who always has some help within reach, thanks to Teamwork.

“Teamwork” is a keyword found on each of the oversized Super-Villain cards and several new cards for the main deck. It allows you to play the top card of another player’s deck. The code “honor among thieves” usually applies here, as the player who you chose to assist you gets a piece of the action.

Speaking of action, every Rogues card in the set immediately grants you Victory Point tokens when acquired. These VP tokens will come in handy during the game. After all, it takes money to make money . . .

We crack open and show off this new expansion for the DC Comics Deck-Building Game.

You can order your copy:
Amazon
Cool Stuff Inc
Miniature Market

 

 

Cryptozoic provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Wix Buys DeviantArt for $36 Million (Update)

deviantart-logo-wordmark-1024x762Wix.com has made an acquisition that greatly impacts the comic community. The Israel-based website building tool site has acquired DeviantArt, the online community for artists, designers, art fans. There’s around 325 million pieces of original art on the site with more than 40 million registered members. Wix purchased DeviantArt for $36 million in cash, including $3 million of assumed liabilities.

DeviantArt was founded in 2000 and raised about $13.5 million from backers including Autodesk, DivX, and individual investors. The site’s growth has really been through community with almost no investment in marketing or advertisement. DeviantArt also has been a supporter of artist allies such as at Comic-Con International San Diego (the site ended that in 2015 for SDCC). Still, it’s a site you see advertised by numerous artists and acts as a vital tool for writers to discover collaborators and artists to show off their skills.

The site will continue to operate on its own, but Wix will use it to help boost its website business. DeviantArt users will get Wix’s tools to build out their online presence, but beyond design, it’ll also cover commerce and other features.

Wix is also using DeviantArt to boost its own offering. The company will open up the community’s repository of art to Wix’s users for use on their own site building. It’s unknown how this will work.

Wix will also help develop DeviantArt’s desktop and mobile apps.

Angelo Sotira, co-founder and CEO of DeviantArt, will join the Wix management team. DeviantArt will continue to be based in LA.

Wix is currently valued at $2.86 billion and this deal will increase their revenue around $8 million to $417 million to $419 million, and its collections outlook by $9 million to between $461 million to $467 million. They said they will make $8 million in investments in the platform.

Update: Wix answered some of our questions concerning this announcement.

TV Review: Riverdale S1E5 Chater Five: Heart of Darkness

riverdaleThe Blossom family’s preparations for Jason’s funeral include a secret agenda; an opportunity to work with a music mentor derails Archie’s attempt to refocus on football; Veronica befriends Cheryl; Hermoine seeks Fred’s help.

Riverdale goes deep into the rabbit hole as the mystery over who killed Jason is the bulk of the episode and things get into some weird gothic horror territory through it all.

The funeral for Jason is still to happen with a goal of possibly finding out who murdered him, but Cheryl also brings herself into the center of it all with a display that’s not unexpected. The show keeps hinting at something more than brother and sister between the two, but I’m still not sure the show is willing to go there. But, there’s revelations that the connection between the Coopers and the Blossoms is deeper and more complicated than originally thought.

And that focus on this episode really is interesting because the investigation driven by Betty and Jughead feels like Veronica Mars or the Hardy Boys, or Nancy Drew, as opposed to Archie. But, even with that genre mash-up, the series has a heavy dose of teenage drama. That is what the show is at its heart, a soap opera featuring Archie Comics’ teens.

Archie must decide where his heart is, with football or music? And what’s up with Archie’s father and Veronica’s mother? There’s a battle for football captain, just a nice smattering of soap opera schmaltz.

The episode veers more towards the mystery of it all with an aesthetic at times that feels like a horror film, but even with that, it doesn’t lose focus or heart as to what it is at its core. Riverdale has done an excellent job of mixing a murder mystery with teenage drama and it all works in a guilty entertainment sort of way. Defying my expectations Riverdale has become my favorite comic adaptation currently on tv.

Overall Rating: 9.05

TV Review: Powerless S1E4 Emily Dates a Henchman

powerlessbigWhen Emily sets her sights on the dating world she unknowingly falls for one of the Riddler’s henchmen; Teddy and Ron find a Batman artifact and discover Van’s superhero fantasy.

Powerless continues it’s slow climb in improvement as it adds a little personal dating experiences to the workplace comedy. While it’s still focused on the office, the various stories in this episode gets characters out of work for what feels like more than usual.

This series is absolutely the most improved of the comic batch. After a rough debut, each episode has improved on the last delivering cute chuckles though not quite the comedic slamdunk that we’ve seen in previous NBC Thursday night comedies.

This episode focuses on two stories, the first being Emily meeting a guy at a bar… and he turns out to be a henchman. The second involves Teddy and Ron finding a batarang and attempting to lure Batman in to meet him.

Each have their good and bad and the series as a whole is doing a much better job of working in the comic aspects of the world its set in, more so than just a name check here and there. The henchman? He works for the Riddler in a getup that has a bit of a throwback to Batman ’66 in its simple style. Robert Buckley guests as the henchmen and for those who watch The CW’s iZombie, you’ll recognize him as Major. Buckley brings a similar swagger to this role as he does that one. He has solid comedic timing in a dry sort of way and it’s fun to see yet another “comic” actor cross over into another property. It’s the details of this plot that really stand out like a ring’s imprint left on Buckley’s face that he chalks up to a rock.

The batarang plot is a bit mixed. The concept is good, but the execution doesn’t quite work. Van comes into it and his inclusion complicates what could easily have been a funny plot of the two trying to meet Batman and using the weapon to do so. Alan Tudyk‘s Van distracts a bit making what is two kids excited to meet their hero into something that’s a bit odder.

The show seems strongest when it keeps things simple with subtle hints and jokes. It’s not the outright name drop that makes the series work, it’s when a ring’s imprint is the ring of a superhero. The series seems to be recognizing that and going in that direction. Four episodes in, it’s getting its footing and showing some impressive improvement. I almost gave up after an episode, but happy I’ve stuck around and excited to see where the series is by the end of its first season. While it’s not quite breaking new ground, it’s getting its formula down and so far that’s working for it.

Overall Rating: 6.95

Monolith’s Next Board Game is Based on Batman

Monolith, the French game publisher, has teased its next tabletop project: Batman: The Board Game. The company who has successfully Kickstarted games such as Conan and Mythic Battles: Pantheon, showed off a teaser on its Facebook page.

Little is actually known, but the picture shared is of the company’s booth at the International Games Festival in Cannes where a prototype will be demoed.

The art of the Joker art is by the artist Jock, but not sure on the Batman and Catwoman art. The image also says “Coming on Kickstarter.”

The company raised $3.3 million for their Conan game and $2.7 million for Mythic Battles (of which I was a backer). The company has said this won’t launch until after Mythic Battles is delivered which isn’t listed until December 2017. Expect this game in 2018.

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