- [from steve_portigal] Marvel faces mighty foe: publishing world uncertainty [New York Times] – ['Prototyping with comics' usually refers to a UX method on smaller scale, but as Marvel grapples with its own massive scope in both comics and film, they have natively derived an analogous method, or at least mindset] Though Marvel’s publishing side does not directly control the content of Marvel films, Kevin Feige, the president of production at Marvel Studios, said the storytelling in the comics had a strong influence on the movies “because it’s a hell of a lot less expensive to take a chance in a comic than it is take a chance in a movie.” Repeating a phrase he said he had heard from Quesada, he added, “It’s the cheapest R&D there is, but the best R&D there is.”
- [from steve_portigal] A big admission ahead of bigger mission for Batman [AP] – [While the reporting here is primarily about Bruce Wayne revealing his secret identity as Batman, more interesting is the fictional franchising/crowdsourcing approach. The creators of the Batman product are talking about the brand within the story of Batman, but in fact by incorporating real-life businesses themes, they are refreshing the actual Batman brand within our world. Layered!] The confession..is part of a detailed effort that puts into motion a plan for Batman Incorporated, a global network of Batmen from China to Argentina to fight crime worldwide…In doing so, Wayne is free to take his crime fighting international by building what Morrison calls a "global, international army of Batmen. Batman in China, Batman in Japan, Batman in Russia. Expanding the Batman brand to areas where he really hasn't been before."
- [from julienorvaisas] Austrian phone booths repurposed to charge electric vehicles [Springwise.com] – [Creative monetization of unconsumption.] Now that mobile phones are ubiquitous, public phone booths are fast becoming obsolete. In a bid to find a viable new use for its 13,500 phone booths around the country, Telekom Austria has begun converting them into battery recharging stations for electric cars, scooters and motorbikes. Unveiling its first phone booth-turned-recharging station in front of the company's Vienna headquarters in May, Telekom Austria announced plans to convert an additional 29 phone booths by the end of this year. During the initial trial period, recharging is free. The company eventually plans to charge a single-digit euro sum for the recharging service, with payments to be made via mobile phone.
- [from julienorvaisas] Adding By Leaving Out: The Power of the Pause [Liz Danzico, interactions magazine] – [We have noted the power of the pause during interviews; Ms. Danzico explores the notion at points further down the design process.] I propose that we’re too impatient with the pause, and as a result, we’re missing out on a great deal. What would happen if, as communicators and designers, we became more comfortable with the pause? Because it turns out we can add by leaving out. The pause has power.
- [from steve_portigal] Wonder Woman, 69, Has Style and Mythos Makeover [NYTimes.com] – “She’s been locked into pretty much the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941,” Mr. Straczynski wrote. "I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility.”…The new costume was designed by artist Jim Lee. Given the assignment, “my first reaction was, ‘Oh my gosh,’ ” Mr. Lee said. He welcomed the challenge: “When these characters become so branded that you can’t change things, they become ossified.”…The new look with an understated “W” insignia, a midnight blue jacket and a flinty fusion of black tights and boots is darker than the famed swimsuit-style outfit, and aims to be contemporary, functional….In 1968 Wonder Woman lost her powers, dressed mod and practiced martial arts. It took the attention of Gloria Steinem to protest the change, and to help get the Amazon back into her star-spangled duds. Ms. Steinem went on to use Wonder Woman on the cover of the first issue of Ms. magazine in 1972 with the line “Wonder Woman for President.”
- Fanboy! The Strange True Story of the Tech World’s Favorite Put-Down [Technologizer] – To understand the origins of “fanboy,” you don’t need to go back to 1919…but you do need to start earlier than 1985. Try 1973–when a handful of copies of a fanzine were distributed at a Chicago comics convention. The zine was credited to two fans who took Marvel Comics, the work of Frank Frazetta, and other matters a wee bit too seriously, Alfred Judson and Bill Beasley.
- Brains, Behavior & Design: A toolkit by graduate students at IIT Institute of Design – In the real world, people are often irrational. Over the past few decades, researchers have codified many of the patterns that describe why people behave irrationally. As researchers, how can we be on the lookout for these patterns of behavior when we go into the field? As designers, how can we use our understanding of patterned irrational behavior to help people make better choices? We are developing tools that apply findings from the fields of cognitive psychology and behavioral economics to the design process. These tools provide a head start on framing research as well as developing new strategies for solving user problems.
- Reading on iPad before bed can affect sleep habits [Los Angeles Times] – Staring at the screen before bed could leave you lying awake. That's because direct exposure to such abnormal light sources inhibits the body's secretion of melatonin. Light-emitting devices, including cellphones and the iPad, tell the brain to stay alert. Because users hold those devices so close to their face, staring directly into the light, the effect is amplified compared with a TV across the room or a bedside lamp, said Frisca Yan-Go, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center in Santa Monica. Some say e-ink is easier on the eyes than the screen on a computer (tablet or otherwise). However, the Wall Street Journal published a report this month to the contrary. Yan-Go was eager to point out the advantages of books over e-readers. Paper books are often lighter; they can be dropped when you doze off holding them; and if they get wet, it's not the end of the world. And they won't mess with your sleep cycle…However, "Kindle is better for your sleep," Avidan wrote in another e-mail.
- A New Character in Archie’s Town [NYTimes.com] – A new man is moving into Riverdale, the home of comics’ perennial teenager Archie Andrews and his gang. His name is Kevin Keller, and he’s blond-haired, blue-eyed and gay. Kevin will be introduced in Veronica No. 202, in a story titled, “Isn’t it Bromantic?” The inclusion of the character meets twin goals, one real world and one in-story. “Riverdale has to reflect the diversity of the world today,” said Jon Goldwater, co-chief executive of Archie Comic Publications. “We want to be all inclusive.” Mr. Goldwater also said he’s not afraid of any repercussions. “We think everyone is going to enjoy the story,” he said. “It’s completely in the tradition of your typical Archie comic.” Dan Parent will be writing and illustrating the story of Kevin’s introduction. “Veronica is always chasing guys and getting what she wants. Who could we introduce that she could not get?” Mr. Parent said Kevin would be more than a one-off character with future stories already mapped out.
- Exercises in Style – 99 visual retellings of the same story – Matt Madden's visual version, where the same one-page story is told in graphic novel form 99 different ways.
- Exercises in Style – 99 retellings of the same story – Exercises in Style, written by Raymond Queneau is a collection of 99 retellings of the same story, each in a different style. In each, the narrator gets on the "S" bus (now no. 84), witnesses an altercation between a man (a zazou) with a long neck and funny hat and another passenger, and then sees the same person two hours later at the Gare St-Lazare getting advice on adding a button to his overcoat.
- Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work – "Wood created this piece not for others, but as a reminder to himself to not become bogged down in unproductive eddies" – like Oblique Strategies or McLuhan's Distant Early Warning Cards, this is another go-to set of tools for a creative problem (in this case, how for comic illustrators to present information in different ways)
- The Comic Strip Museum in Brussels (Centre Belge de la Bande Dessiné. Belgisch Centrum voor het Stripverhaal) – A really interesting museum; I had no idea of the rich and important history of comics in Belgium, beyond Smurfs and Tintin they've produces an insane number of titles over the decades.
- Comics is the ninth art? – Although this post attributes the source to someone besides Morris, it does offer a bit more explanation about the set of arts
- Maurice De Bevere aka Morris – Belgian comic strip author who (according to the Comic Strip Museum in Brussels) coined the term The Ninth Art to describe comics
- What is the deal with Jughead's hat? – This is something the Internet is truly great at: as an archive for the exploration and explanation of the obscure aspects of the familiar. What will future anthropologists make of the Internet of our generation?
- Karachi, Pakistan manufacturing firm produces corsets and fetish wear (for export) – The brothers said Pakistan’s “stone-age production” worked to their advantage. The country, they said, lacks visionary product development. “Everyone’s still making the same products,” Adnan said.
Then, they discovered a kind of straitjacket online. At first, they thought it was used for psychiatric patients, but it quickly led them to learn about the lucrative fetish industry.
Today, they sell their products to online and brick-and-mortar shops, and to individuals via eBay. Their market research, they said, showed that 70 percent of their customers were middle- to upper-class Americans, and a majority of them Democrats. The Netherlands and Germany account for the bulk of their European sales.
“We really believe that if you are persistent and hard working, there is an opportunity, in any harsh environment, even in an economically depressed environment like Pakistan,” Rizwan said.
- Average frustrated chump – for what's a subculture without its jargon? – Often abbreviated "AFC," is seduction community jargon for a heterosexual male who is unsuccessful at finding sexual or romantic relationships with women] This person seeks attraction and longingly desires intimacy, but only finds cordial friendship and platonic love with women. The term AFC is pejorative, and is attributed to NLP teacher Ross Jeffries.
- Seduction? Yeah we've got a group for that – The "seduction community" refers to a loose-knit subculture of men who strive for better sexual and romantic success with women through self-improvement and a greater understanding of social psychology. It exists largely through Internet forums and groups, as well as over a hundred local clubs, called "lairs" Supporters refer to the subculture simply as 'the community" and often call themselves "pickup artists." Origins date back to Eric Weber's 1970 book How to Pick Up Girls.
- If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice: the appeal of simplification by choice elimination – At the bottom of the Heaven's Dog cocktail list there's a category called "Freedom from Choice," where you leave it up to the bar staff to decide your drink. Diners choose the spirit they'd like and whether it should be "citrus-driven or spirituous."
- Home + Housewares Show 2009…in Cartoons! – Pithy, brilliant, hilarious. Applies pretty much to every tradeshow I've ever been to.
- Ask Jeremiah: The Comprehensive FAQ Guide to Twitter – It's a great document, but an online FAQ on someone's site is good for the type of user who is going to seek this document out…the mass adoption from Twitter is not going be as well supported by documents like this as it would be through the experience that Twitter itself creates
- Lisa Smith and Caroline Linder at the Home + Housewares Show 2009 – "a maze of the bizarre and the banal, including picture frame air fresheners, pet hair picker-uppers, fingerprintless garbage cans, antibacterial marinaters, high-power vacuum cleaners, automatic hair-cutters, gas-powered blenders, anti-static dusters and instant boot dryers."
"the spectacle is especially nightmarish; it represents the darker side of our discipline–product design gone wild and unchecked in the marketplace"
"Who knew that both Miami Vice and the Southwestern pottery craze are preserved within the wide color range of KitchenAid Mixers?"
"Q: How did you pick these forms? A:Oh, these are historical forms that we made up.""
- What were arcades like? – This thread is making the blogosphere-rounds. The video game arcades that I and many of the posters grew up with are gone; gaming takes place in the home. But the question has produced a lot of good (if not yet thick) descriptions of the environment, the participants, and the social rules that developed. Personally, "arcade" suggests a dedicated business that would provide video games, pinball and billiards. But in high school, we would typically go to local merchants and hang out. Variety (or convenience) stores were obvious candidates, but we spent a lot of time and money in a laundromat/laundry service place. I opened my first ATM account at the bank next door and would take out $5 and get change from the laundry proprietor and play after school for a few hours. Even though we had computers at home with games on 'em, this was more fun.
- WonderCon: Comic book subculture now mainstream – "This is popular culture now," said Ferioli, 41, of Oakland, who attended his first comic book convention in New York when he was 16. "Look at Heath Ledger winning an Oscar for playing the Joker (in 'The Dark Knight'). These things that used to be fringe are now icons. It's not a subculture, it's the popular culture."
- Steve's photos from WonderCon 2005 – There's something utterly delightful seeing an Imperial Stormtrooper at a drinking fountain
We saw these kawaii decals for sale in Tokyo. According to the in-store display, they are intended for mobile phones and iPods, but could go on anything.
I was amazed to see the familiar and consistent visual brands of Marvel superheroes so dramatically localized, reflecting the Japanese kawaii (“cute”) aesthetic by infantilizing Wolverine, Spiderman, and the Hulk.
Nicolas Cage has named his newborn son Kal-El, which is also the birth name of the Man of Steel, Superman. Kal-el Coppola Cage was born on Monday, and both baby and mother, Cage’s wife, Alice Kim Cage, are said to be doing well.
Cage, a huge comic-book fan once sold his entire collection for $1.6 million, hence the chosen name for his child. Cage even adopted his name from the Marvel comic-book character Luke Cage (his realy name is Coppola, his Uncle being the famous helmer Francis Ford).
Cage will next be seen in the big-budget comic book adaptation of GHOST RIDER.
That $1.6 should just about cover the therapy bills for that poor kid.