Friday, April 21, 2017
I started 2017 getting ready to work a short schedule. Due to my limited financial resources I’m starting the year forced to delay the release of several titles.
The first of two books released on the short schedule, Isis: Samurai Goddess did well in its initial launch. Thanks to the Bill Walko cover paid for by a donation by one of my regular readers, the book got an incredibly positive reaction from readers on social media and from casual customers and regular Isis series readers.
Isis: Samurai Goddess some sales in Kindle and Paperback and a 4-star review on Smashwords. I rarely ever get reviews on any social media platform so it looks like Isis: Samurai Goddess left a powerful first impression on readers.
The second book I released this year E’steem: Little GirlLost did a lot better on Smashwords than Witches of Eastland. Little Girl Lost brought back the humor, the cheesecake and the wardrobe malfunctions, and it seems to have brought back the readers. Do people like the comedy? Or do they like the Demon strippers?
Even though I’m working a short publishing schedule, I’ve finished writing a couple of Isis and E’steem series books over the last few months. These include:
Isis: House of Isis, a story where The goddess next door takes on a Hotep Pro-Black priestess who’s out to exploit the Black community. In this story I ponder what would happen if a Nubian goddess ran into these Hoteps and these Pro-Blacks and make a commentary about the philosophy of the Hoteps.
Isis: Escape From Transylvania, a follow up to Isis: Bride of Dracula and Isis: Night of the Vampires. This is a FUN story where Isis and John Haynes take on Dracula and Dracula’s Daughter. Oh, if I had the money I’d turn this one into a graphic novel!
And E’steem: Ascension, the conclusion If you saw the cover concept you know there are BIG changes coming to the E’steem character. There’s a LOT of feels in this story and you will tear up when you read it!
All three of these books are edited and ready for publication. Along with Isis: Imitation of Life which has sat on my shelf for over a year and a half now. I’d love to launch them this year but I just don’t have the money to pay for the covers. I’m hoping someone will donate the money to help pay for them or I’ll find another full-time job. I’ve been getting calls and going out on interviews, but no takers yet.
Since early February, I’ve been hard at work on the third part of the Spinsterella trilogy The Legend of Mad Matilda. I’m getting close to the climax and the first draft should be finished soon. Like the other books it’s in limbo because of the money issues related to the covers. I’ve got an amazing concept in my head for Legend and I’d just love to seen it drawn up by a comic artist.
Spellbound did very well over the Holiday season, and the feedback I’m getting on it is incredibly positive. Goths and regular people of all races have told me they enjoyed the story and those who have read it are anticipating the next chapter in Matilda’s story.
Some people have told me that they’d love to see a Spellbound movie. Could you imagine Zendaya as Matilda Crowley? I think it could be her signature role.
Spinsterella broke 1000 downloads on Smashwords. The Goth N’ Lovely romance is the fourth book I’ve had book to break 1000 on that platform and its affiliates.
I’m very happy with the response to Spinsterella and Spellbound, These books meant a lot to me. I wanted to make every effort to present Goths and the Goth subculture in a positive light because I love it so much.
Last year’s Stop Simpin in the Workplace also did well. And it’s gotten an incredibly positive response from many of the men who have downloaded it. A lot of men have told me that the book has helped them and given them perspective on the workplace. If that book helps one man keep his job I’ll believe it’s made a difference.
Due to my ongoing financial issues delaying the release of new titles I’m gonna do something different for my summer promotional campaign this year. A lot of older books are gonna get rotated in the free campaign on Smashwords instead of the newer titles I usually release. Right Now readers can download The Thetas for Free on that platform. The Thetas has never been free on Smashwords, but I’m hoping to build some word of mouth with one of my more popular titles.
I’m mulling putting a book back on Kindle Unlimited and going back to doing weekend promotions, but I’m apprehensive due to the elitists and book snobs who have overtaken that platform.
On the YouTube Front I broke 3,000 subscribers. The ShawnJames channel is growing, and I’m putting together a second channel just for comic, fantasy, and Goth Content. A lot of people say they like my comic, fantasy and Goth videos and I figure I’d make a second channel exclusive to that content.
This is gonna be a rough year. But I’m gonna persevere and do what I can to get new titles out. I’ve published two titles, and I’m hoping I can release the rest of the catalog this year.
Monday, April 17, 2017
I’ve been recovering from a bicep tear for the last week. However I’ve been feeling well enough to do some drawing. And I had an idea for the E’steem Ascension cover.
To celebrate the major change E’steem goes through as her first story arc comes to a conclusion, I wanted to go with something bright. Something divine. Something joyus. This is a major turning point for the E’steem character and I wanted readers to share in the celebration!
The story for the cover is simple. A smiling E’steem is flying above New York City and feeling free of her past life. I got the inspiration from a comic panel George Perez did of Diana in her Themyscarian gear flying high above Paradise Island. When I saw that panel, I immediately got inspired to do something similar for the E’steem Ascension cover.
E’steem: Ascension is the climax of the story arc that’s been building in the E’steem series for over six years. This story chokes me up every time I read it, so you’re definitely gonna get the feels when you read it.
I’m really eager to get E’steem: Ascension to readers, but I just don’t have the funds to pay an artist to design the cover. So it’s one of four books being delayed until I can get the funds to pay for the cover. I’d love to hire a professional to design this cover because I believe it’s a concept that’d POP and really grab new readers!
Monday, April 10, 2017
I came into with Netflix’s Jessica Jones expecting a top-notch detective show. With a great actress like Krysten Ritter starring in the lead, I thought I’d be seeing a strong intelligent heroine solving a series of mysteries filled with suspense and intrigue. Unfortunately, all I saw onscreen was another shallow SJW girl power program featuring a poorly developed heroine who is just onscreen to be a hapless evil victim of an evil Purple Pervert who symbolizes the Patriarchy.
In the comics Jessica Jones is supposed to be this hard-boiled detective in the vein of pulp fiction detectives like Mike Hammer, Michael Shayne and her Indie comics’ Max Alan Collins and Terry Beatty’s Ms Tree. Unfortunately, Brian Michael Bendis can’t craft a character with the depth and substance of Michael Tree. And thanks to Bendis’ poor character development of Jessica Jones in the comics, there isn’t much for the writers to work with in adapting a Jessica Jones program for Netflix.
While Ms. Tree was a strong, confident intelligent woman who solved cases using her wits and her detective skills, Jessica Jones is a by-the-numbers insecure basket case who’s personal life is just as much a shambles as her office. In the opening scene of the first episode we’re shown Jessica Jones working at Alias Investigations. While she does a voice-over her client argues with her over what she’s found out about an affair his girlfriend is having. When he attacks her, she tosses him through the window of her office/apartment door.
When you look at the opening scene of Jessica Jones it’s a really weak opening to a show featuring a super-powered detective. And a textbook example of the weak writing on many of these Netflix shows. The big problem with Jessica Jones is that the writers don’t answer the most critical question a screenwriter has to ask before they start writing: WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
In that first episode I didn’t see a single reason to care about Jessica Jones. She had no personality. She had no “voice”. She didn’t have any character traits anyone could relate to or identify with. Outside of being a surly woman detective with super powers, she was a FLAT One-dimensional character with no personality and no soul. I kept looking for a reason to like her, but couldn’t find a single one due to the uninspired way she was written.
Along with her flat characterization the writers showed me more screenwriting mistakes a first-year student would make in writing that first episode. Instead of showing viewers what’s so special about a super-powered private investigator, they tell us about her in a voice-over. That doesn’t make for compelling Television. I really wanted to see Jessica using her super powers to get into places other people couldn’t, sharing information a network of connections like Matt Murdock and working on cases related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, the first episode did none of this. Instead of giving us a super-powered detective show worthy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jessica Jones was just another detective show, and a poor one at that. I’ve seen episodes of Rizzoli & Isles with better stories than what’s in an episode of Jessica Jones.
Over the course of that first episode where she’ s investigating the disappearance of a missing co-ed, Jessica meets Jeri Hogarth to talk shop, follows her chocolate fetish Luke Cage around, talks to Patsy Walker, has sex with Luke Cage, goes, Then she gets clues to the mysterious Purple Man who has the girl captive at a hotel. This makes Jessica freak out and make plans to go to Hong Kong. When she can’t get a ticket, she reluctantly goes to solve the case. Only to have the girl she saved kill her parents at the end of the episode. It’s supposed to be a plot twist, but it’s not one we can care about, because we have no reason to care about Jessica Jones.
For a detective show Jessica Jones has no mystery, no suspense, no intrigue. No twists and turns. Story often takes a backseat to the characters, and they’re just not compelling at all. Instead of giving us a mystery filled with twists and turns stuff just happens. And then we’re supposed to move on to the next episode looking for a reason to keep watching.
I’m about done after one episode.
Jessica Jones is supposed to be the super-powered detective. But instead of giving us a show about a creative, resourceful woman who uses her powers to find clues ordinary cops miss and solve crimes without a costume, we get a hapless perpetual victim who is being tormented by The Purple Man, a sexual deviant who enjoys controlling and humiliating women.
Good Gravy, that’s just so by the numbers it’s not funny.
The way I see it, using the Purple Man as Jessica’s nemesis is just a COP OUT so the writers don’t have to think about developing a real rogues gallery for her to take on. The Perverted Purple Man gives Jessica’s audience an easy bad guy to dislike, an easy opponent for her to beat and someone the feminists in the SJW audience can easily hate because he’s a…Man who humiliated her in the past and she wants to keep him from hurting her or other women.
I’m sorry, that’s not a good enough story for me. If Jessica Jones is supposed to be a super powered detective I want to see her matching wits with a series of formidable opponents, not some Purple Straw Man she can easily tear apart. As a writer of strong heroines, I know that heroines get more of a challenge fighting other women than they would a fighting man. And I know that women can find ways to humiliate another woman she HATES worse than a Perverted Purple Man could ever imagine.
But that doesn’t fit the SJW/Feminist narrative of the show and Brian Michael Bendis’ shallow foundations for Jessica’s character. In their eyes Only White (Well, Purple) men are evil. And by snapping the Purple Man’s neck she kills a misogynist from the evil White male Patriarchy.
Damn. Just Damn.
|BLOWS THE DOORS OFF JESSICA JONES!|
If Jessica Jones was actually thought out with some sort of depth or substance, she’d be facing off against a series of rogues who challenged her intelligence, creativity and resourcefulness the way Michael Tree did in the pages of Ms. Tree. While Ms. Tree’s primary nemesis was the Muerta organization that killed her man, she also took on both men and women who were just as dangerous when she was working cases. (Read the Abortion storyline to see this) What made readers respect Ms. Tree in the comics was the fact that she was a PROFESSIONAL who could go out and solve the toughest cases and outsmart mobsters, serial killers and rapists. Yeah, she usually wound up with a huge body count in every issue, but watching her stand toe-to-toe with those criminals and the best of male detectives at the end of the day is what made her a the badass Jessica Jones wishes she could be.
The big difference between Jessica Jones and Ms. Tree is that Jessica is a VICTIM and Ms. Tree is a SURVIVIOR. On the show Jessica is just there to take abuse from the Purple Man and never comes to a point where she takes her personal power back. We never see her develop the strength of character Ms. Tree did to stand up for herself and keep fighting as she took over her man’s detective agency and continued fighting his fight. As she survived, she overcame the mob and went on to become one of the best private investigators to ever grace a comic page.
I wanted to see Jessica Jones be that kind of survivor. But SJW Marvel gave us a character with none of that courage or conviction.
|A Mystery Done RIGHT!|
As a writer of strong heroines, I expected WAY more from Jessica Jones than was offered onscreen. I’ve written strong heroines with far more depth and substance than this mysteries like Isis: All About The Goddess, so I know It’s possible to write a super-powered mystery story filled with intrigue, suspense and plot twists that keep the audience compelled to find out who did the crime. And it’s possible to create an engaging heroine that the audience has a reason to like and care about. With all the money Marvel Studios spent on Jessica Jones, there’s no excuse for the absolutely horrible storytelling on this show.
I’m a big fan of Krysten Ritter. And I’ve loved her work since I saw her in Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23. And I believe an actress of her caliber deserves better than the amateur hour writing on Jessica Jones. Because those writers give her absolutely nothing to work with. She does her best, but there’s not much she can do with the garbage scripts she has to deal with.
I can’t recommend Jessica Jones. It’s a shallow show based on shallow source material from a terrible writer. The first episode’s not worth a watch let alone a binge. If you want to see a really strong heroine doing detective work, go pick up some back issues of Max Alan Collins & Terry Beatty’s Ms. Tree. One issue of that comic blows the doors off the entire season of Netflix’s Jessica Jones.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Over the last few years Marvel Comics gave readers A Black Spider-man. A Black Captain America, a Female Thor, a Black Female Iron Man. An Asian Hulk A Pakistani Ms. Marvel. And a female Wolverine.
Unfortunately no one bought any of those comics.
In their efforts to please critics like Social Justice Warriors who said that the Marvel Universe was “too white” Marvel Comics hoped to appeal to audiences of color by diversifying their catalog of titles by creating comics featuring characters of different ethnicities.
Unfortunately, Marvel Comics core audience was 40+ year old White males. And when they didn’t see the characters they grew up with in between the pages of the comics they bought on the regular every Wednesday, they just voted with their wallets.
And Marvel’s publishing division learned a hard lesson about social justice. And how full of shit many Social Justice Warriors actually are.
Many of the so-called Social Justice Warriors who complained about Marvel Comics being “too white” weren’t out buying the comics on the regular like middle-class White males were. And when Marvel went to cater to them, these same complainers didn’t put their money where their mouths were.
Proving to the world that the SJW is all talk and no action.
Most SJWs just don’t understand that Comic book publishing is a BUSINESS. If people want diversity in comics, they’d go out and support the titles featuring those characters. If people don’t put money on the table, a publisher is NOT going to publish that book. Simple as that.
White men put money on the table at the comic shops. White Men buy comics online. White men buy and collect action figures and Marvel mechandise at comicons. That’s why so many superheroes are White in comics. It’s a business decision, not a racial one.
Don’t get me all wrong, I’m all for diversity. However, the way diversity was done at Marvel wasn’t constructive at all. In some ways SJW Marvel reminded me of The Falcon’s first stint as an Avenger way back in the early 1980s. Back then Henry Peter Gyrich insisted that the All-White Avengers put The Falcon on the team to meet an Affirmative action quota. The result was Falcon, a street hero was an awkward fit for a team called “Earth’s Mightiest heroes and eventually wound up quitting the team because he couldn’t perform effectively against the super-heavyweight threats the team took on the regular.
Yes, we need more heroes of color at the Big Two. But we don’t need those heroes of color shoehorned into roles that don’t fit them. Diversity only works when it’s executed in a way where the character of color is seen as hero is someone distinct and enriches the universe with their presence like Black Panther, Mr. Terrific, Icon and Static do. All those characters are rich, multidimensional and each stands out in a roomful of other heroes.
As I see it, there was no need to create all these SJW diversity heroes. Many of them were redundant and weren’t doing anything existing characters weren’t already doing. Marvel already had a catalog of great characters of color who could be pushed and promoted in a serious diversity campaign. Who needs RiRi Williams to be a Black female Iron Man when we had Jim Rhodes as War Machine? Who needs Jane Foster to be Thor when he has Lady Sif at his side? Who needs Sam Wilson to be Captain America when he was already a competent hero as The Falcon? And NO ONE can replace Logan as Wolverine. He’s the best at what he does. PERIOD. Storm or Phoenix could have easily been pushed in a solo title to see if they could carry a book on thier own.
With a little creativity many of these characters could have been written in a way to make them interesting and compelling heroes. And with a little hard work quite a few of them could carry a book and have done so in the past.
But because the creative teams at Marvel want to push an agenda they tried to FORCE diversity down readers’ throats. And when you FORCE things people resist it.
Many of the diversity characters were just TERRIBLE. Not only were they shoehorned into roles where they didn’t fit, but their characters were never put through any of the hardships their White Male counterparts went through. What made them heroes was the fact that they were able to go through a character transformation arc, acknowledging their flaws and overcoming obstacles along the way. On that heroes’ journey we saw them change into the hero that went on to have those fantastic adventures and beat the bad guys.
With the SJW characters they were just There. RiRi Williams is as smart as Tony Stark at 15. Jane Foster is worthy of becoming Thor…Because. Amadeus Cho is the Hulk without any of the tragedy of Bruce Banner. X-23 is a test tube baby who never went through any of Logan’s trauma. Almost all the diversity heroes have no backstory that enables readers to relate to them or identify with them. Outside of their gender or the color of their skin, there was next to no content to their character.
With the comic book industry in a 25-year slump, Marvel is in desperate need of new readers. However, pandering to audiences who have not put any money on the table and refuse to put any money is not the way to reach them. The SJW experiment at Marvel was a hard lesson on how NOT to diversify a comic book universe or how to reach an audience of new readers. If a publisher like Marvel really wants to get new readers of color to buy their comics, they just have to write great stories and hire great artists. Good comics will find an audience, bad ones will just find a dumpster.
Monday, April 3, 2017
There’s a lot of excitement regarding the upcoming release of Avengers: Infinity War. However, there’s a good reason to worry about the long-term impact of the movie on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios and Marvel as an overall brand for Disney.
In 1986 Transformers: The Movie opened. And a generation of horrified kids watched their heroes they grew up with like Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Prowl and Ironhide get murdered in the first twenty minutes of the film.
While the producers of the film wanted to show the horrors of war, Parents were shocked and disgusted. Kids were crying in the theater as they watched characters that came to be their friends on TV were slaughtered onscreen. At the end of the day, Transformers: The Movie bombed at the box office. And the damage was so extensive to the Transformers Brand Hasbro struggled to move a single Transformer product for nine years.
Marvel Studios has been building up to adapt the Infinity Gauntlet into a film with Avengers: Infinity War. And many comic fans are anticipating Thanos coming to the screen. However, in the twenty-five plus years since The Infinity Gauntlet was published, the perception of guys like Thanos has changed. In the world outside of comics most people probably won’t sees Thanos as the uber badass he was in 1990.
Back in 1990 when The Infinity Gauntlet was published, there was no Julio Gonzales, Eliot Rodger, or Dylan Roof, committing mass murders of people just because they couldn’t get the attention of a woman or the approval of a woman in real life. When today’s casual viewers see Thanos onscreen worshipping Lady Death and killing superheroes to win her approval, they’re going to be reminded of these mass murderers and their psychotic behavior.
In today’s world Thanos isn’t a badass. He’s pathetic. And most viewers who see his story today won’t perceive him in the same way as readers did in 1990. Instead of seeing him as a serious threat they’re going to see him in the same way they see Eliot Rodger, a Psycho SIMP with a god complex. A man so narcissistic he goes out and kills people because he can’t get the attention of a woman and tries to use their deaths as some sort of social currency with her.
That’s not bad like the Iron Monger in Iron Man. That’s not evil like Ultron or the Red Skull. Heck, it’s not even anarchistic like the Joker in The Dark Knight. That’s SICK. And you really don’t want casuals, families and children seeing someone who is SICK in a superhero movie. It just makes them uncomfortable.
I see a lot of parallels between Transformers: The Movie and Avengers Infinity War. A generation of kids have grown up with the version of Marvel Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And for them to see characters they grew up with murdered onscreen could scar them for life the way kids who saw Transformers: The Movie were scarred.
Sure, some kids today grew up with violent video games and reruns of ultraviolent shows like Dragon Ball Z. But most families that aren’t that familiar with comics who go to see Marvel Studios movies could get so alienated they might get turned off Marvel products for years. These aren’t generic baddies being set up to be killed. These are people the audience has grown to have a connection with and come to care about. And I believe Marvel Studios and Hasbro and Disney are underestimating the emotional connection viewers have with these characters the same way Hasbro underestimated it in 1986.
The last thing Marvel Studios and its parent company Disney wants is a bunch of kids crying over the death of Captain America, Spider-Man, or The Hulk icons in the eyes of generations of people.
Marvel Studios really should have studied Transformers: The Movie and the effect of that film on the Transformers brand. The Rodimus effect as I call it, is a real thing and it does long-term to fantasy/Comic related brands. It took nine years for Hasbro to rebuild the Transformers brand in the aftermath of Transformers: The Movie. DC Comics seven years later is still struggling to rebuild its brand from the disastrous New 52 reboot that alienated comic fans. That reboot led into its failed Justice League Cinematic universe that features films so dark they turned off an entire generation of casual viewers to the DC brand. With the comic book industry in the twenty-fifth year of a two going on three decades long slump that seems to have no end, the damage to the Marvel brand and the entire comic book industry could be devastating If Avengers: Infinity War is seen negatively by the casual public after the opening weekend.
I’m hoping that Avengers Infinity War is a hit like Captain America: Civil War. And I’m hoping they modify the story to appeal to families and children they did with Civil War. Because I’d hate to see The Winter Soldier could become Marvel’s Rodimus Prime.