A Few Thoughts On The DC Relaunch, Comic Commercials & Digital Comics

There’s been a lot of talk t few weeks about DC Comics’ decision to relaunch and reboot all their major characters starting in September. My initial reaction to this was highly negative. “I’m too old for this shit” essentially. A whole new continuity to learn? No thanks. Then I got over my continuity bias and started looking at things a little differently. Some of these books actually look pretty interesting. Decluttering continuity isn’t always a bad thing and really mixing up the characters will hopefully result in some fun, new stories (like Martian Manhunter joining Stormwatch and being part of the DCU). The goal for this relaunch seems to be getting new readers by either appealing to a potential reader’s (not just comic fans, but anyone) genre of preference (everything from big time superheroes and westerns to horror and sci-fi comics have been announced) or appealing to comic readers in the know by tossing out juicy names like Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and Grant Morrison. I’ve read a lot of talk about how some creative teams and projects seem doomed to failure, but my general thought process right now is “Let’s wait and see.” September is pretty far away after all.

The other–and I think larger and potentially more important–announcement to come out of the reboot is the fact that all of these new comics will be available in a digital format the same day that they’re available in comic shops (a practice dubbed day-and-date on the nets). I know other companies have done this already, like Archie, but to see one of the big two companies doing so will be very interesting. I’m assuming this digital venture is an effort to get normal people to know about this relaunch and comics in general. You like the new Green Lantern movie? Check out the comics on your iPad!

Last week, Bleeding Cool posted a rumor that DC might actually be creating commercials to attract an audience. As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I am in complete favor of this practice. Getting the word out to people about how easy it can be to read your company’s comics could be a huge boon right now. There’s lots of theories as to why the general public doesn’t read comics: they don’t know comics exist, there’s no comic shop nearby, they don’t care, they’ve got other entertainment to keep them busy, etc. Commercials would go a long way to helping a few of those problems while digital distribution would deal with another. The necessity of getting those commercials in front of a wide variety of people is also important. Is there a western on TV? Try and get your western comic advertised in that time slot. Hey, WB has the money to try, right? I would also try and get the commercials in front of or behind some podcasts to reach out to early adopters of tech products (Diggnation, Totally Rad Show, that kind of thing).

Overall, I love the idea of digital comics. Last year I wrote a post about how much I enjoy the GIT Marvel comic book DVDs. These are discs with simple PDF versions of every comic from a particular character or book from his first appearance to the then-most recent (circa 2005). I’m now the proud owner of four of these: Avengers, Iron Man, Fantastic Four/Silver Surfer and Ghost Rider. I’ll probably never have time to read through all those comics, but I like the fact that I could if I wanted to. Anyway, being cheap, I’m a fan of getting a lot of comics for not a lot of money. As such, the idea of paying a couple bucks per digital comic just doesn’t excite me very much (not having an iPad also kind of puts the kibosh on that I guess).

So, is there a digital set-up that I would like aside from DVDs? Yeah, I’ve actually long hoped for a kind of comic book subscription service. This could be something through a particular comic company or maybe even a comic shop (I don’t know how that would work, but you get the idea) where you pay one flat fee and have access to all kinds of comics. I personally don’t need to keep the digital versions, so assuming I could read them easily on my computer/tablet/future-goggles, I’d be happy. At this point, I’m done being a comic book collector and just want to read stories. If it’s something I really do like, I’ll probably pick up or Swap for the trade.

Also last week, Brigid Alverson over at Robot 6 asked “Would you buy a digital comic book subscription?” My initial answer was “Definitely,” but then I read on and the piece set up a slightly different scenario than I imagined. Essentially, this idea would be to pay a yearly fee for one particular book, like getting a mail-away sub back in the day. I would be less inclined to get in on something like this for the exact reasons brought up in the piece: the inability of comic people to hit deadlines. If I’m getting less than 12 comics for my sub, but I’m still paying for all 12? Not cool. But it would be an interesting step. Maybe if the overarching subscription system wasn’t available, there would be one for say a group of titles like Batman or X-Men.

I think this is another thing comics will have to deal with–DC specifically–if they really want to compete with/move and shake alongside TV, movies, podcasts and the like. Scheduling is super important, especially to legitimately new readers. We’ve been programmed to expect new stuff on a pretty consistent schedule as a general public, but if you really start messing with that (say something like Dark Knight) those brand new readers will absolutely find something else to go look at. Comics need to be thought of not just as a niche market aimed at collectors, but as a legit form of entertainment that can be easily digested (whether that be thanks to product availability or story accessibility).

At the end of the day, it will be interesting to see how all this plays out. As someone who doesn’t read new comics on a regular basis, I don’t feel like I have as much of a dog in the fight with this. Were I a regular buyer, I’d probably be looking at the list of new books a lot more closely, making a list of the ones I’m most interested in/seem the most important and checking that list against my comics budget. It gives me a headache even thinking about it, so I’m going to stop and go watch some TV.

Casting Internets

Sam Sarkar’s The Vault is a pretty interesting book, check out the story I did on it over at CBR. Same goes for All Nighter, Mysterious Ways and Shinku.

I also did some goodness for Marvel.com about the upcoming Black Panther Point 1 issue!

The hilarious and awesome Rob Bricken of Topless Robot fame did an excellent FAQ based on the never-to-air Wonder Woman pilot.

In the last year, I’ve discovered I’m a big fan of gin, so Esquire‘s Summer Gin Guide was quite informative.

I thought John C Abell’s post on Wired about how eBooks are falling short right now was a fun read.

Ed Brubaker’s Criminal has never really lit me up, but his recent interview with Tom Spurgeon definitely has me curious about this new mini.

I’m linking to my buddy Ben‘s post about Batman being the worst JLAer not only because he name checked me in it, but also because it’s a convincing argument.

This might be a little creepy, but I actually wished I had these kinds of video glasses when I worked in the city because, as David Cross said, when walking the streets of NYC you’re constantly deciding whether to look at the most beautiful woman in the world or the craziest guy in the world. I also would have settled for simple camera glasses. (via Wired)

Anyone interested in comics, regardless of what kind, should be reading Jim Shooter’s blog. It’s fascinating. Take the one about the origin of the Dark Phoenix Saga as an example. I love this kind of behind the scenes stuff.

Speaking of behind the scenes comic book stuff, check out Ron Marz’s latest CBR column where he discusses what went into his decision to leave Witchblade. If you just thought “Pfft, it’s Witchblade, who cares?” I recommend checking out the first trade, it’s good stuff.

Wow, Jimmy Page came out to reprise his role as session guitar player for Donovan’s Sunshine Superman in London. I hope someone recorded it. (via Rolling Stone)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers will have a new album out on August 30th called I’m With You with new guitar player Josh Klinghoffer. Their most recent records have been musically amazing, but not necessarily the most interesting records. Hopefully this one brings back more of the funk. (via Rolling Stone)

I’ve never been so interested in a headline and then immediately worried by a subhed as I was with this Rolling Stone.com example: JACK WHITE MAY RECORD MUSIC FOR ‘SCHOOLBOYS IN DISGRACE’ MOVIE Film version of Kings concept album is being developed by Bobcat Goldthwait.

Dig this crazy skate park designed like a pinball machine! (via Wired)

Kinect Star Wars looks exactly how I want it to. Can’t wait.

Speaking of lovely time wasting video games, Spider-Man: Edge of Time sounds pretty rad too. The fact that it’s written by Peter David is awesome. I’ve still got to get my hands on Shattered Dimension, but have plenty to keep me busy until the used price drops a little lower. (via CBR)

I’ve listened to and really enjoyed Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi records in the past (she’s an amazing vocalist), so I’m happy to see their new band Tedeschi Trucks Band got a good review for their first record on Rolling Stone.

Music Musings: MP3s, iPods and Clouds Oh My

I’m not what you’d call an early adopter. Of anything. That’s usually because I’m cheap and don’t want to spend my money on the latest, expensive gadget around. I’ve been around long enough to read about bugs in first round electronics and I’ve seen enough formats disappear (tapes, laser discs, minidiscs, VHS and HD DVD). I worry about buying the wrong thing and then getting stuck with it. So, I usually hang back in the cut. It was like that with the iPod. A lot of people had them when I was in college (2001-2005) though it took me a while to identify those now ubiquitous white cords protruding from hats and long hair actually were. They were new at the time and I didn’t really know about them or what they could do.

It wasn’t until I graduated and bought my first Apple computer that I realized the potential of iTunes and digital music. I know there’s a loss in quality when you rip a CD and compress the sound files down to an MP3, but I don’t think my ears are good enough to know the difference. Besides, the ability to have all my songs in one place in a kind of juke box was just so revelatory. I began the long process of ripping all my music which spilled out into my first real job where I spent all day at a computer and often had the disc drive whirring away as I worked. The problem, of course, was that I didn’t have any way to listen to this stuff when I wasn’t at my desk or in my room at home because I didn’t have an iPod. Sure I transferred files from work to home just to keep things complete, but it’s not really the same.

For my birthday that year (this would be early 2006 I think) my parents surprised me with a brand new, shiny 30 GB black iPod.  That seemed like almost limitless space and I was finally able to have all of my music in one place! I transferred everything from my personal computer and my work computer to it and that little device’s potential really blew me away. With more space you could theoretically put whole band catalogs or even movies and TV on these things, though why would you want to watch something on such small screen?

But, as these things go and my music collection increased (I buy a lot of used CDs at flea markets, garage sales and even comic shows, plus those Amazon $5 digital album deals) and about a year ago, I realized my iPod was full. I went through and deleted some things I didn’t really listen to anymore and most of the free compilations I got from my now-closed local record store, but it wasn’t enough. It’s not too big of a deal because I’m almost always near my computer (now a MacBook laptop), which holds the music not on my iPod. So, if I’m working at the coffee shop and want to listen to something, I can because I’ve got my computer and iPod. But, that means I don’t have access to a lot of the music I’ve purchased in the last few years to listen to if I’m out and about or in my car. I had an FM transmitter that was always kind of crappy that finally junked out recently. That’s what I get for only paying $15 for it though.

So, I’d been thinking about getting a new iPod lately, one with over twice the memory as the one I’ve got. That should hold me for another few years right? Then I started hearing about the cloud and was intrigued. If all my music could live in the internet (or more accurately be copied there) I wouldn’t need to go with the clunkier 80 GB, I could even go for something sleek and sexy (and app-friendly) like an iPod Touch or possibly an iPhone now that they’re on Verizon. My complaint with both those pieces of equipment was how little memory they had, but if I can just download an app that takes up hardly any space and have access to all my music? That’s a brand new revelation. I don’t even mind paying a yearly fee just for that. I don’t care about pictures or files or any of the other cloud stuff. For me it’s all about the tunes.

Of course, then it comes down to access. There’s no problem when using a computer obviously because most of the places I go have WIFI. I’m nowhere near an expert on smart phones or the WIFI-enabled iPod Touch (our Verizon “smart phones” are close to stupid and failing as I type), but my concern would be their ability to stay in contact with the servers so I can listen to my music in the car or while hiking or what not. I don’t really hike, but it’s a good example, let’s say more realistically that I’m in some comic shop’s dingy basement looking through books. Phones seem to have this nailed for the most part, which might actually play into our upcoming phone plan decisions (Verizon’s getting expensive and taking away a lot of the perks they used to have). But I don’t know how it would work with an iPod Touch say, in the car. Something to think about.

Regardless, I’m excited. I still like to purchase physical CDs when possible, but have moved into the digital world a little more thanks to those can’t-be-beat $5 Amazon deals. I know some people decry the digital revolution, but the truth of the matter is that physical carriers of information and entertainment (CDs, DVDs, books, comics) are most likely on their way out to join laser and mini discs in the great media graveyard in the sky (and landfills). It’s sad for some, a non-issue for others and frankly it doesn’t matter unless the next generation decides to go old school and collect dusty old books and VHS tapes for some reason. For me, as long as the quality is maintained, I don’t generally care. If I can transfer all my DVDs to some cloud and not have to keep huge binders or shelves in my house, I think I’d be cool with that. I’d probably still keep them in storage just in case, and maybe visit them for old time’s sake, but they won’t be my main source of music or movie entertainment. Books are a different story, but that’s a whole separate post.

Wilcats 3.0 Trade Post: Year One & Two

WILDCATS 3.0 YEAR ONE (Wildstorm/DC)
Written by Joe Casey, drawn by Dustin Nguyen
Collects Wildcats 3.0 #1-12
WILDCATS 3.0 YEAR TWO (Wildstorm/DC)
Written by Joe Casey, drawn by Dustin Nguyen, Sean Phillips, Pascal Ferry & Duncan Rouleau
Collects Wildcats 3.0 #13-24
Wildcats 3.0 is kind of a tough nut to crack. If you’re a scattershot WildCats fan like myself (in order to read the James Robinson and Alan Moore stuff, I read everything up to that point and then almost everything after 3.0) it might be a little confusing (you’ve got Grifter, a changed Spartan and a little bit of Zealot in addition to lots of other new characters). Essentially, I missed all of the second volume, so I have no idea where all the other characters are and aside from the ones I already mentioned, Ladytron and Emp, no one else is mentioned (nor are any other WildStorm characters for that matter).

The idea behind the book is that Spartan took over the Halo Corp from Emp and has decided to make it this huge, privately owned conglomerate whose main goal is to make the world a better place. It starts with batteries that never die and go on to cars that don’t need gas. Essentially, a good chunk of this book is corporate melodrama in the vein of an Aaron Sorkin behind-the-scenes TV show that happens to be set in a world with superheroes. It’s a really interesting take on the characters and the world that only seems to have been referenced a little since then (I remember Halo batteries being a hot commodity in the post-apocalyptic world of WildStorm leading up to the imprints cancellation, but also doesn’t take full advantage of the world it’s set in (like Sleeper did). This volume also just kind of ends without tying up too many loose ends. Since I wasn’t paying attention when these issues were coming out, I have no idea if the book’s end was performance based or an effort to move into other territories. I have read Wildcats: Nemesis which followed this series and I remember liking but don’t know how it all fits together. I’m going to flip through that, Captain Atom: Armageddon and Coup d’Etat again to get a better idea.

It’s too bad, really, because Casey really had some interesting ideas going on here. I think one of the problems with WildStorm was that they had all of these ground breaking stories written by excellent creators in books like Wildcats, Authority and Planetary, but they were still trying to keep everything together in a cohesive universe, which is difficult to do when one book is trying to change the world through a company and another through superhero actions. Sometimes combining the groundbreaking and the cohesive don’t always work.

You might be able to tell by this meandering review that I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. I liked it while I was reading it, but the ending was a bit strange and left me kind of flat. Making matters worse is that, it felt like there was a lot of wheelspinning in the first volume that does not play out at all by the end of the book. There’s this dude who’s an accountant that also has some hidden killing abilities. We never find out where these abilities came from. We also never really find out why we’re supposed to care about his former partner who had a lot of personal problems working for Spartan and having his company sold out from under him. So what if the dude wound up being in charge of a front for assassins if it’s never mentioned in the second volume? I had to read this annoying loudmouth for ISSUES and for what?

I’m also not completely sold on a lot of the new characters in this story. You’ve got this secret agent named Wax who bangs his bosses wife while under hypnosis and then makes her forget it, a spook named C.C. Rendozzo who’s supposed to be a pretty huge badass, but doesn’t do a whole lot, an incredibly annoying gangster hacker and a pair of BDSM killers who aren’t explained nor are they all that interesting. I’m sure I’m missing a lot by not having read the second volume, but it also seems like a more complete story would have that information slipped in here and there.

On the other hand, there were definitely elements I loved. Casey went into brand new territory as far as I know with the corporate angle, I just wish I could have seen where it was all leading. Casey also took one of the WildStorm’s biggest badasses, Grifter, and put him in a wheelchair which didn’t make him any less dangerous. I like seeing characters out of their element, but still figuring out a way to do what they do, and without giving too much away, he certainly does. There’s even a solid amount of action and pacing at the end of the second volume that’s a joy to read as GrifterTron and some of his new friends lay siege on the Coda warrior women to save Zealot.

Reading these two volumes reminded me a lot of Ex Machina. Both books take superhero elements but are more about other kinds of drama (corporate and political respectively), both involve lead characters (Spartan and Mitchell) seemingly with humanity’s best interest in mind and both have weak endings. Unlike with Ex Machina, though, I’m definitely keeping these books in my collection. I still have that collecting mentality when it comes to WildStorm U trades. I don’t need to keep them all out on a shelf, but I like to keep them. It’s kind of appealing the idea that most of this universe, from beginning to the-end-for-now is collected and can be read. I’d like to do a reading that’s in chronological order somewhere down the line. Like, maybe when the kid goes to college.

Casting Internets

Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with my buddy Sean Collins and artist Matt Wiegle’s Destructor strip. Check out the whole first story all in one place here.StarWars.com shows off Disney’s new Star Wars Vinylmation figures. They look pretty amazing. Might have to start collecting those next time I go to Disney World like I did the Star Wars/Disney mash-up minifigures.

Tom Spurgeon‘s parsing of the Fantagraphics Carl Barks duck comic announcement was interesting and informative.

My buddy Ben Morse examines the problem of Ka-Zar and his ties to the Savage Land over at Cool Kids Table.

Absolutely not okay.

It’s official, the iPhone’s coming to Verizon. I’m still not sure if my next phone should be this one or the Droid. Thoughts?

Good news! Nick Stahl’s been cast in the Locke & Key TV adaptation according to /Film. Very cool, I’ve been a fan of his since the cancelled-too-soon Carnivale.

My buddy Kevin Mahadeo moves in on my horror beat over at Topless Robot, but it’s okay because I dig his life of the most effective horror movie killers. If he starts writing about toys, we’ll have to have words though. Holy cats. I LOVE Ultra the Multi-Alien, thus I love Thomas Perkins’ version of the cover to Mystery In Space #106 over on Covered.

Wired discovered Suck Lord. Good for them!

Finally, 7 million have already seen this, but I just saw this video of cats playing patty cake on a three week old Diggnation and had to post it. I don’t usually go in for cute cat videos, but this one’s great.

Casting Internets

Hey look, I wrote a list about 10 non traditional Christmas movies over on Topless Robot. Any excuse to watch Gremlins and Batman Returns again is aces in my book.

While I’m tooting my own horn, go check out an interview I did with the Mattel guys working on the new Young Justice toy line for ToyFare which is now up on the general Wizard Entertainment blog Pie Monkey. Also check out the He-Man/Inception Twisted ToyFare Theater I helped work on here.

My buddy Sean Collins just kicked off the lotsa fun Superheroes Lose Tumblr.

I hadn’t thought about this up until now, but someone over on The Fwoosh‘s regular Ask Matty (that’s Mattel) column asked if, now that Vertigo characters are showing up in the DCU, will they be in the DC Universe Classics line. He specifically asked about Swamp Thing, but just think about the possibilities!If the Dalek Christmas tree doesn’t get you in the Holiday spirit, nothing will. (via IHC)Speaking of Doctor Who the new action figures each come with part of the Pandorica and a CD! AWESOME! (via Toynewsi)

I know one person who will be crazy-excited about Marvel announcing their new CrossGen imprint. Dude actually has a CrossGen license plate, or did back when I knew him. Hey, at least they didn’t trying shoehorn the characters into the Marvel U like the Distinguished Competition has done three times in the past few years. (via Robot 6)

This parrot singing “Bodies” made me laugh harder than it probably should have. (via Super Punch)

Tim Heffernan‘s assessment of Marine General James Amos’ fear of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell seems dead on to me.

Esquire continues asking interesting people what they’ve learned from life. In case you were wondering, yes, Robert Redford is still awesome.

Ron Marz has a new column over on CBR. I dig the guy’s work a lot and liked the first column. Can’t wait to see what else we get!

Like everyone else on the comic internet, I found Brian Hibbs‘ assessment of the current comic market fascinating, specifically this bit “I think that the publishers are largely producing too many of the wrong comics at the wrong price point.”

Mmmm, I think a whiskey punch is in my immediate future. Thanks Esquire!

Finally, I think these Old Navy Techno Hoodies with earbuds built into the draw strings are freaking ingenious, but how do you wash them without getting electrocuted later?

Netflix For Comics

Over on Robot 6, my buddy Sean Collins asked readers what they’d add to their queue if there was a Netflix Instant-like model for comic books instead of the current download-one-at-a-time model most of the big companies seem to have gone with after the launch of the iPad. I can’t remember the last time I actually spent money on a new comic, but I can say without much consideration or doubt that I would absolutely sign up for a service like this, specifically for DC Comics, which I can’t help but be curious about even when they’re not that great.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and how things seem to be moving backwards as far as digital comics go. In the middle of the previous decade, Marvel made a deal with a company called GIT to sell DVDs jam packed with decades’ worth of comics. Then, a few years ago, Marvel started up their Digital Comics Unlimited which offers a lot of Marvel’s books past and present for only $59.88 a year. That’s not a bad deal. I haven’t had access to the service for a while, but when it first launched the selections were pretty scattershot. I’m sure it’s gotten a lot better since then. And now, we’ve got the app-based system of buying a digital comics one at a time or in trade format.

From my perspective, I’d love to sign up for some kind of subscription fee. I don’t need to keep the issues and have them cluttering up my iPad or computer (reading comics as PDFs is just fine by me), so having somewhat limited access to them is cool in my book. If I really like the book, I’ll probably pick up the trade (I don’t think I’ll ever got all the way paperless, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world won’t). Personally, as someone who still likes comics, but doesn’t feel the need to collect them anymore (at least new ones), I’d prefer the subscription model.

Casting Internets

First things first, time to let you know about my friends and the cool creations they’ve been creating. Go check out Sean T. Collins‘ new monster comic “I remember when the monsters started coming for the cars” drawn by Isaac Moylan. After that, go read Justin Aclin‘s short story featuring his Dark Horse Presents-starring S.H.O.O.T. First team on Robot 666 called “The House That Ate Halloween.” That’s almost too much Halloween goodness and it’s all free!

To further blow my friends’ horns, Alex Kropinak, Ben Morse and the rest of the What The?! crew over at Marvel.com released a new Halloween themed video starring Dracula, Dracula’s son, Kitty Pryde, Blade and more. Fun stuff!

Speaking of Ben, he did a great post over on The Cool Kids Table about the Thor Corps. I also never read read the comic of the same name but inherently love the concept. Someone get on bringing this book back!

Back to Halloween for a few links, I loved Scott C’s Night of the Living Dead piece today on Great Showdowns. Are these being collected in a book or mini comic because they really should be? I haven’t watched NOTLD this season, but maybe tonight or tomorrow.  I’d never heard of these Dell interpretations of Dracula, Frankenstein or Werewolf before reading Christ Sims’ post about creepy comic characters over on Comics Alliance. I now need to track down all these issues. Saw this piece of art over on StarWars.com. It’s by Katie Cook. I kind of want to hug it and also run away from it.

This review of the Apple Trackpad on Wired.com kind of makes me want to buy one, but I might also have to start working at a desk or table. As it is, I haven’t used a mouse in over a year.

The video of Arizona senate hopeful and Tea Party member Sharron Angle I saw over on Esquire is both disturbing and funny. She says she’ll let people know her opinion of foreign policy once she’s elected and yet people are supporting her. Crazy people in power can be a dangerous thing.

Why didn’t they just get Ed Asner to play Granny Goodness on Smallville like he did on JLU? Let’s finish today’s links with some eye candy. First up, you’ve got Chris Samnee’s What If? entry for ComicTwart. Nick Fury’s Howling Avengers? I would actually go to the store and buy that comic book. That’s saying quite a bit. I want to go to there and draw Ninja Turtles with all these pencils, 6-year-old style. I don’t know if it originally came from Suicide Blonde or not, but that’s where Ffffound got it. Mine would be organized better, but that’s cause I’m a little crazy when it comes to these kinds of things. Sunken boats scare the crap out of me, specifically swimming through them or running into them while swimming (yeah, I know it’s weird). Originally posted on the loveyourchaos Tumblr (via Ffffound)

Commercial Commentary: Dr. Dre Looks Kind Of Like Jason X & Mr. Terrific

The missus actually noticed that Dr. Dre looked kind of like the JSA’s Mr. Terrific in this HP Beats laptop commercial. Good call, I say, but I think he looks like a cross between Mr. Terrific and Jason X, what do you think?

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Hey, Don’t Buy Sony TVs

I know this is just a little blog that not a lot of people read, but one of the things that makes the internet great is that regular people can speak out about the problems they’re having. In this case, I’ve been having a problem with a Sony Bravia TV (KDL-40V4100) that was purchased in late 2008. I went through what exactly was wrong with the set (do they even still call them sets?) in a post last month.

Since then, I’ve had the cable company come out and they told me it wasn’t the signal, which I had already figured because the cable works fine on our little TV perched above the big one (which feels very white trash). Last week I was able to get an electronics repairman to come out and give it a look. After explaining to him what was wrong, he said he’d have to go back to his shop and do some research for pricing. He called me back and told me that the tuner board–the source of the problem–was pretty pricey and the whole thing with installation and all that would be $460. That’s on top of the $120 I paid for him to come out to my house to give it a look (I did the house call route because the TV’s too damn big to wield on my own and the hours are a little wonky so the missus can’t get home in time from work to help me).

Anyway, with that information in hand, I decided to call Sony up today to see if they could do anything. I understand that it’s past warranty, but I thought they might do something to help considering this very expensive television stopped working after less than two years. That doesn’t seem right does it? Well, after getting passed around I was basically told that, since I didn’t have the extended warranty (a gamble at best that I apparently should have taken) and you really can’t tell what’s going to happen with electronics once they’re sold, there’s nothing they could do.

Well, here’s what I can do: tell you about my poor experience and never buy a Sony product again. I can also at least attempt to harness the power of the internet to let other people know what kind of shoddy merchandise these people pass off as high quality and the lack of customer service. I can guarantee that my family and I would have spent far more money on Sony products than it would have cost to fix this problem. $460 from a big company like that to fix a defective product seems like pretty small potatoes compared to a lifetime of buying TVs, stereos, DVD players and whatever else might get invented in the coming years.

So, in the end, pardon my French, but fuck Sony. I’ll get this TV fixed now because I can’t afford a new one, but when the time comes for another TV? You can damn well bet that it won’t be a Sony.