A Porn Company is Using Cirsova’s Name and Amazon Refuses to Act

A company that primarily sells posters of pornographic images and cars on Amazon is selling a poster of a Caspar David Fredriech painting that we posted once years ago and is using the name “Cirsova” in the listing.

Cirsova is a unique word that was not used for anything prior to the existence of this blog, the publishing company and the magazine it publishes.

Amazon’s IP protection department, however, refuses to act, claiming first that we failed to make proper “identification of the intellectual property right asserted” and later claiming that our rights were unenforceable.

All we want is the name “Cirsova” taken out of the product listing; the company can sell their posters and their porn–we just do not want our company and magazine’s name associated with them!

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Will Cirsova Crowdfund?

No. We won’t.

Recently it was revealed that not only had Kickstarter blocked Richard Meyer’s Jawbreakers campaign for alleged TOS violations [it was, as I understand an apolitical comic, and despite being mildly too salty for people with emotional hypertension, Richard is a fairly apolitical guy], they leaked their communications with him to Richard Pace who dumped them all over Twitter.

Now, IndieGoGo decided to tank Chuck Dixon’s Alt-Hero Q project after it had finished funding for nebulous claims that it had violated their terms of service. Backers have been refunded their money, but there’s nothing on the project page that would seem to violate the terms of service. IndieGoGo pulled the plug on Alt-Hero Q the same day that a Bleeding Cool article featuring an in-depth interview with Vox Day was posted. Following the outcry of their lunatic readers, Bleeding Cool took down the article and issued an apology. This is certainly not a coincidence.

Cirsova has never really NEEDED to crowdfund. All of our projects are finished and paid for by the time that the Kickstarters have gone live, which is how we’ve been able to ship out as soon as the money clears. Before the Alt-Hero Q incident, we had considered moving to IndieGoGo; we even have an extensive Illustrated Stark project page setup and waiting for us to flip the go-live switch. This changes things, however. Going forward, we plan on taking our products straight to print, making them available on Amazon and through retailers without spending a month flogging a crowdfunding event.

We hope you will stick with us despite no longer using these platforms.

[Disclosure: While I backed for Chuck Dixon’s Alt-Hero: Avalon on Freestartr, a platform that was recently murdered by its payment processor, I was not a backer of either Jawbreakers or Alt-Hero Q.]

Submissions are Open!

We’re accepting Submissions now for Cirsova volume 2.

Details are here.

We’re looking to acquire ~100K words in text in total. That’s enough to fill two issues of Cirsova.

Payment is .0125 per word. That’s less on the short end than we used to pay, but more on the long-end. [mostly it keeps our expenses flat, which we need on such a tight budget, as opposed to when we paid a .01 cent bonus on the first 2500 words and costs fluctuated based on the number of stories rather than actual wordcounts.]

 

Outsiders Vol 2 Rambling

Now that I got a solid, consecutive run, I’ve started on Outsiders Vol. 2! I’m glad I waited until I had both #1s and #3 to start it, because the opening of this story is a hot chaotic mess. Like, even starting at #1, I feel like I missed something, and the Suicide Squad “Dragon’s Hoard” arc did NOT fill anything in like I’d hoped it would.

There’s clearly a case of typical DC timeline reset/telescoping, even though Zero Hour hadn’t happened yet, because the events of Millennium are suggested to have happened just a few months in the past for Katana, who is still watching over the comatose Gaby.

From a throwaway line of dialogue explaining that he was busy and couldn’t attend Brion’s nephew’s christening, it’s revealed (to me, at least) that Metamorpho is alive.

The last few issues of Outsiders vol.1 did something really weird where Atomic Knight showed up for the event for a couple issues before the end of the run, and rather than just having him as a guest, he got listed as a member of the Outsiders and is included in the ‘remember when we were a team?’ splash. He was a dull late edition, and they’re teasing him showing up, but he’s not made it to Markovia just yet.

Technocrat shows up practically out of nowhere, giving off the feeling that he’d come in from another title with the amount of backstory that’s implied but never mentioned—the first minor villain is a guy who has a past with him who his wife sent to have him assassinated. But sure enough, this is the first time he makes his appearance.

No one behaves around Faust like he’s a guy everyone just met who’s turned someone into a werebear—it’s weird.

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Eradicator even shows early on as one of the first supers to try to “punish” the Outsiders for the crimes they were alleged to have committed.

Anyway, Outsiders 2 picks up in Markovia, which is now overrun with vampires. A vampire king has gained control of the throne, framed Brion for the murder of his sister the queen, and framed the Outsiders for atrocities against the Markovian people.

The first issue had a weird gimmick; I’m not sure I’m okay with it—there were two #1s, and each had a more or less different story, except for about half a dozen pages where the stories intersect which were the same. Confusingly, it would make more sense to read #1 “Omega” before #1 “Alpha”, because the Omega issue has more details catching you up on what’s happened since Vol. 1 ended. Not to mention, it shows how Halo gets revived. Anyway, Looker dies, which is great, except I know that she comes back as a vampire in 8 or 9 issues. Oh well.

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The art is better than okay. Even though the aesthetic isn’t really comparable to Jim Aparo’s, I like it better than Alan Davis’s and it’s miles above Erik Jensen, who filled in on the last few issues and drew GeoForce with a chin a mile long.

I don’t like that they went with Davis’ ‘squished head’ interpretation of Katana, but at least they made her cute (I think they wanted to give her a younger look, which again kind of goes to ‘soft continuity’ that I think Vol. 2 is using). I’m not a fan of the body-suit version of her costume; it looks and feels more generic super-heroey.

I still hate Looker, but at least her design is no longer an on obvious Dazzler knock-off and at least she looks more feminine and less drag-queenish.

Halo looks terrible, and I wish that they’d let her hair grow out while she was in her coma.

GeoForce looks solid, and the rest of the new characters are pretty good.

While I don’t think the Outsiders will ever look better than they did in the two-issue Convergence tie-in, this is probably the best of the rest of the non-Aparo stuff.

 

Outsiders Are Making a Comeback

Over the weekend, I managed to link up a pretty good run of Outsiders that I hadn’t yet started on. Outsiders Vol2. #3 has been out of stock from most places where I could have bought it at a reasonable price, and I’ve been reticent to pay ebay prices (especially S&H) for a single issue, when I knew that if Midtown had it in stock, it would’ve only cost maybe a dollar [and I’d just fill in some other gaps to make the S&H worth it]. But, the guy at one of the local flea markets finally got his booth organized [and kind of sorted!—almost unheard of for flea market comic booths], and while ain’t nobody is paying his prices for some random-ass Rai & the Future Force issues, I was ready to pay $3.25 for the issue of Outsiders I’d been looking for since this spring.

But this is a post about Bryan Edward Hill’s upcoming Batman & the Outsiders Volume 3.

Back in the summer of last year, Scott Snyder teased a return of the original Outsiders lineup in The Forge [the prelude to the Metal event]. It was just a tease—a holo-dossier image of the team with the quip “Batman has a black ops team?” And then we got nothing, until the No Justice epilogue of Metal when Batman tells Black Lightning he could use someone working from the Outside.

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It’s pretty clear that whatever’s going to happen with the team, it’s not going to jibe with how the team was originally teased [all 5 original members, a team that had been together for some time in the background, just without their exploits featured in any current Rebirth titles or the Geoff Johns version that is appearing in Doomsday Clock], but right now, I’m okay with that.

Bryan Edward Hill was given the reins of Detective Comics for an unfortunately brief 5-issue run which will lead into his book: Batman & The Outsiders Vol. 3. All of my fears and trepidation about the quality of an upcoming Outsiders book have melted away in the wake of this series.

One of the complaints I’ve seen about recent Detective is not just that it’s a Bat Family book, but that the Bat Family has gotten rather crowded. It’s strange that the lone-wolf Dark Knight seems up to his elbows in teenagers who “dilute” the Batman brand. At least in the Detective books, Wayne Manor is overrun by unruly teenagers. Hill runs with this idea, with a villain intent on targeting Batman’s weakness: the young Bat Family members who he’s relied on.

Batman realizes that the kids need to be reined in. To this end, Bats brings in Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning. Why? Because Pierce was a high school teacher [now principal, IIR] with years of experience working with troubled teens who have issues with authority. Oh, and Katana’s back!

So what have we got here?

-A new Batman & the Outsiders team with fan-favorites Black Lightning and Katana at the core with some of the new Bat Family kids having a chance to shine without it having to be in Bat’s books.

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-New Bat-villains with ties to Markovia; Karma, the main villain of this 5 issue arc was a terrorist that Batman severely injured in Markovia—which definitely feels like a callback to 80s Mike Barr callous asshole Batman—who would be worthy of recurring in other Bat stories, if writers could figure out how to make him more than a one trick pony. Other new main villain will be explored more in the opening story of the new BatO, which will likely see the team back in Markovia to investigate.

-80s fans who were constantly writing in saying that Black Lighting or Katana should be leading the team are finally getting their wish. Geoforce was a good dude but a poor team leader. It always made sense that Katana, who was already “mom” for the team or Black Lightning, who had both practical street smarts and leadership experience as a teacher, should be leading the team. When Batman was around, cases could be made that either of them were his “second”. But with Batman gone and only Markovian financial backing to keep the team going, the job fell to Brion Markov—and it went about as well as you’d expect: the team went from one screw-up to the next until Batman showed up and took over again.

-No Looker. I am more than okay with this.

What we’re probably not getting:

-We’re in the Rebirth continuity and Dr. Jace was never reintroduced Post-Crisis. There has never been a Dr. Jace in the current continuity. This is a good thing for Dr. Jace fans. I thought she was a cool character, and I hate that she got thrown under the bus for the Millennium event [all DC writers were instructed that they had to throw one character from their book under the bus to be a Manhunter sleeper agent; in the case of the Outsiders, it was decided that the woman who had given the team leader his powers and acted as the chief science advisor and almost defacto leader would suddenly betray the Outsiders for no reason, get Metamorpho killed, and be buried without honors as a traitor. It was terrible]. There is a chance we could have Dr. Jace back and all of that “she was a Manhunter sleeper all along” could be wiped out. I don’t think this is a real possibility, but I can cross my fingers.

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-I’ve never liked the modern look for Katana. It’s ugly and dumb, and the association of the Rising Sun iconography with her because of her ethnicity is double so with a character whose ethnicity was not her defining characteristic. Sure, the orange and gold costume was garish [though I prefer it to even the crimson/maroon and gold she had in later stories], but it had a charm that’s thoroughly lacking in her black & white get-up she’s had for the last several years. IIRC, one of the rules of Suicide Squad was “no costumes”, so maybe that’s part of the justification for the look, but I’ve always though it was drab and made worse by the one spot of color being that lampshade hung on her race. The new look is a more streamlined, though slightly more colorful version of her look from New 52. She’s drawn “sexy”, which, while not a problem in and of itself, feels out of place for Katana, as she was an inversion of the “dragon lady” trope. The unflattering nature of the original costume vs. what was typical of female comic characters underscored this.

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Anyway…

Hill can tell an exciting story and has shown that he can add some reflective depth to the characters; one of the things that always kept me sticking with the Outsiders was the potential that these characters had to show some real depth—we got flashes of it with Barr writing, but I think that under Hill’s writing, we’ll finally see some of them really living up to that potential.

I’m completely stoked for this, and at this point, I don’t care that the origins of the team may contradict how Snyder set them up. The wheels fell off Snyder and at this point, I’m done with him. Hill, on the other hand, I’m open to and see loads of potential, and I am looking forward to his run—I can hardly wait until the new book launches.

Labor Day Comic Haul

Man, the early 90s was a hectic time in the DC Universe! Superman was dead and several other competing Supermen were filling in, Batman was out of commission because Bane had taken over Gotham City, AND an alien invasion of spinal-fluid drinking monsters took place smack dab in the middle of it! I have also learned that I love creepy robot Superman. He is like if Batman was robot but had Superman’s personality… it’s cute how he’s sad that everyone is creeped out by how horrifying he is.

I had a chance to pick up some new old comics over the weekend, as the Vintage Stock in the town I was visiting was having a BOGO sale on their backstock.

I REALLY wish more stores that sold comics bothered to, if not fully alphabetize, sort them by first letter in the title so that you didn’t have to go through each and every box. What often ends up happening is that you find a couple issues you might be interested in, only to decide that you don’t want just the one or two and would only be interested if there were a few more, and then, twenty minutes and two or three long-boxes later, find enough issues that it would’ve been worth grabbing those others, but now they’re hidden away two or three boxes back and not worth sifting through to get. There MAY have been a complete set of Robin Vol 1. scattered across 20 boxes, but when the first issue you find is #2 of 5, you tend to pass over it.

On the other hand, going through ALL of the boxes gives you a chance to see some weird stuff you might not have been looking for and end up picking up. Still, good lord was there a lot of Rai, W.I.L.D. Cats, and I swear, there must be more polybagged copies of Blood Syndicate #1 out there in discount bins than any other comic in the world.

With the hot, hot savings, I snagged as many various Outsiders issues as I could find, so that if and when Outsiders 2.3 shows up again at Midtown, I’ll have a good solid run. I also picked up several issues of the Bloodlines event, because why not?

For some reason, I’d avoided it, because I think someone I knew had said it was really bad, but I’ve been loving it.

I love the concept of an “event” that is mostly stand-alone stories. I can read any of the Annual issues that make up the event and get a full story. Sure, it doesn’t resolve the alien invasion, but each offers a pretty good action-packed adventure and the origin story of a new super hero. The one thing that makes me kind of sad is that I haven’t heard of ANY of the new heroes created from the event, which probably means they all flopped. One of the few other full cross-title events I have to compare it to is Millennium, which to me showed that there have been attempts at diversity for diversity sake coming at the expense of titles that actually featured diverse characters for decades. So far, Bloodlines has been better in every imaginable way. Now I need to see if there are any more comics featuring the Psyba-Rats, because I love them.