Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Deaths in the Family

Some fleeting items of interest that keep careening across my desk today....

I have mixed feelings about the quietly reported death of Premiere Magazine. While what had once been one of the most comprehensive, tightly written film magazines in the world had suffered greatly in the past five years and become a mere snobbish shadow of its former was the ONLY movie magazine in America. The British appetite for all things film supports Total Film, Empire, a host of DVD review titles and weird fusions like Uncut. Has the American appetite for US Weekly (which lacks, um, articles, mind you) completely corrupted any need to find out what's happening at the movies, or is the Netflix contagion simply killing the market for movies in general? A mixed blessing and a damned shame at the same time.

Galleycat and others in blogtopia are commenting on the Wall Street Journal's gruesome commentary on the death of the book review section. For myself, I just keep looking for alternative venues where genre authors and their fascinating backstories might attract an audience. But while I wouldn't consider myself an old-school literary critic, I can definitely see where the gallows environment in the print industry would rattle more than a few cages.

A smart bit of observation on Galleycat's part regarding the WSJ's pronouncement that, "The book review as a separate section is endangered not only at the Los Angeles Times but at other major newspapers like the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and San Diego Union-Tribune.": Wait, like those papers? Do the math: If the LATBR goes, and that leaves five stand-alone book sections left, and the NYTBR is one, then logically those are the only other four. Those darned clever bloggers and their arithmatic.

There's also some noise about Barnes & Noble and Borders merging and some scuttlebutt suggesting that Amazon should buy them both. To which I can only add the dead silence of a complete and utter lack of concern. In pursuing a particular publication this past week, I couldn't find a copy at either of my nearest superstores because they were still hoarding their stock in the storerooms. I finally found a copy at the local gas station, who manages their wares properly. Couldn't care less if the big box stores are hurting, thank you very much.

Finally, to all those mainstream publications who have bought into Marvel's little stunt regarding Captain America (spoilers in the link) and splashed it all over your front pages in a pathetic plea for readers: please die. All of you've done is ruin this week's Comic Book Day for those intrepid souls who actually purchase one of the blasted things once in a while. Anybody who's been paying attention to the frustrating Civil War arc already knows that there's someone else in the flag suit. Most leads point towards Frank Castle. My bet is on the Winter Soldier. ("The who?" say the dumb reporters. Go die now. Go on.) I wonder if Mark Millar cashed his check already...

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