Saturday, October 23, 2010


I’ve known Damon for a number of years. An admirer of the way he thinks and someone I have and always will consider a friend and so when I decided I wanted to finish this three interview series talking to a consumer of the arts and new technologies, the first person that came to mind I wanted to send questions to was Damon. I’ve never talked to Damon about any subject without coming away from the conversation thinking from different lines to what we talked about.

-Damon, thank you for taking time out of your day to answer some questions.

*You’re welcome. Despite some initial surprise at being asked, I’m happy to try to articulate some of my thoughts here.

-Over the time I have known you it seems like you have always had a interest in how technology effects us all and this series of talks deals with technology and the arts; so, to start how about you give us some insight in how technology has changed how you encounter art and how you consume it in your life?

*To start, technology has certainly made art more accessible. Whether that be through purchasing a DVD, reading something online, buying a book that is not released locally (or even just finding out about artists that don’t release / have a presence locally) – technology levels the playing field.

Recently, a New York Times article highlighted a marketing position of some publishers to give away e-books on the kindle. Distribution / publication costs are minimal, so in some respects makes sense. But it also reinforces that ‘e’ is also a code for ‘free’, and there are a generation of consumers that consider online content is, or should only be, free. And for this, content providers really only have themselves to blame. I have, and will continue to pay for content that is valuable to me online, and in some cases would start to pay, if the content provider actually started charging for their content. I just don’t follow the logic of giving content away online, but charging a premium for that same content being in print.

Perhaps this legacy has come about from the fact that just getting online has traditionally cost quite a bit of money (and while falling rapidly is still generally not ‘free’) - content providers have in the past faced a challenge getting people to pay again once they are online.

Of course, people will (and do) pay when the content is packaged in a way that the consumer values – witness iphone / blackberry apps (and ipad ones), or when the content is time sensitive, like the markets data and analysis of the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times.

Working out just what consumers will pay for online, how much, and in what delivery form, is going to be one of the big challenges of the next several years. And personally, I have no idea what the successful models will end up being – that is something for others to work out.

- I remember us once discussing pdf books and reading on handheld devices. How often have you read materials of any length on an handheld device? Do you see this becoming more and more the normal fashion for artists to communicate with their audiences?

*I’ll admit that as a primary medium I prefer print, even when I have to wait a week or so for delivery of print editions of international magazines that I subscribe to that also have free online access for subscribers. So, while I will peruse the tables of contents, and perhaps look at some online only content, when it comes to reading / interacting with a text, I like the tactile involvement of words on paper. And I’m prepared to pay for it, because it is of value to me.

However, I say this at a time when e-books / e-reading is in its infancy, and the devices for reading content are, to be honest, less than impressive. A friend had me order a kindle for his wife as a Christmas present, which was both wanted, and eagerly awaited. And then, on Dec 26 I was asked to help out, because they could not get the kindle to connect to a wireless provider. A google search gave me the information I needed to help out, but it was not an intuitive solution, and even knowing what I had to do, it still took over half an hour on the kindle to make it work.

The challenge that technology companies are going to have to overcome in bringing e-readers and their associated technologies to market is that there is still a significant proportion of the community that is not comfortable with these sorts of products, and don’t understand why they don’t just ‘work’. And when you’re experience is opening a book or magazine and not having to fight the medium to get content you had paid for ….

So, while e-reading has potential, there is much work to be done on the devices, and the software running them. I have every intention of ordering an Ipad, because I’m curious to discover if it has the potential to change the way I read / purchase content. I have a feeling that in time it will, but perhaps not with this initial release of the product. I definitely see a substantial change in the way publishers will have adapt to these new products over the next 6, 12 and 18 months.

-Reading or viewing art forms, which do you prefer in a non-personal way(though personal may not be the right way of saying it): Website, email, pdf, all?

*For reading, I like pdf, and always have. It’s all about the visual for me, and pdf fonts / layout just seem much more readable.

-Do you believe technology is an advancement with bumps in how it mates with art or is technology an enemy of the artist and art itself? This is a question I've asked several artists and I was wondering about the view from someone who is sort of an outside view on art as you like to say you are not an artist. Though in my eyes everyone is artistic, I consider intelligence artistic.

*I would consider technology to be a provider of opportunity, and how the artist uses (or chooses not to use) any new technology would I think be made on an individual basis. Technology need not be an advancement per se – it’s more about a different way of doing something – and I think that art grows with every new way there is to present an idea.

-Since we are both of the age that technology was beginning to really grow in its modern fashion during our youth to how it stands today, do you think you enjoy the way art is presented now over then when you where younger?

*I consume a lot more art now, thanks to the internet, especially in the sourcing obscure music, movies, tv shows, books etc. I remember back in the mid 1990’s when I first ordered cd’s online – the idea that I could source music of artists that I wanted but which were not released locally was both amazing and addictive. It’s those initial feelings of wonderment in the sudden expansion of opportunity that was presenting itself that I have never forgotten. And I don’t think we should ever forget that. And even now, every time I order something online it amazes me that, within a week or so, it will arrive at my door, and I didn’t have to go anywhere for that to happen.

So in the sense that ‘presented’ means ‘available’, I certainly enjoy things now.

Damon has worked with NSW Department of Human Services- Ageing, Disability & Homecare. He attended the University Of Wollongong class of ’93 and ’98: ’93 Primary, Bachelor of Education. ’98 Special Education, Master of Education.

Picture provided by Damon Ford.
Interview questions by Brian C. Williams

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


brian michael bendis
david lafuente
justin ponsor
vc's cory petit

marvel comics

I  have missed a few volumes of Ultimate Spider-Man leading up to and including The Ultimatum Wave but this volume is my first introduction to the new look Ultimate Universe and as the only book I was following was Ultimate Spider-Man that's how it should be.

There are a lot of Bendis haters out there. People who will only judge his books just by his name being connected to the project. I'm not one of those. Some of his work I have enjoyed, some not so much, but I think when time has passed his run on Ultimate Spider-Man will be considered one of the top five takes on the character ever.

Even though there is a lot of back story to this series, don't let you lead you away from reading it, most of the back story is explained before the collection gets started or easy to understand as the story goes forward. I consider this a great jumping on point for those who may not want to start with the very first Ultimate Spider-Man volumes, though I think you should, you can start here.

I've always looked at Ultimate Spider-Man as one of the best YA books out there. Better writing and drama than most of the big prose books YA books AND YOU GET REALLY COOL ART WITH THE COMICS!
4 Out Of 5 Stars


2 Out Of 5 Stars

2 Out Of 5 Stars


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


WRITTEN BY tony lee
ART BY matthew dow smith
COLORS BY charlie kirchoff
LETTERS BY robbie robbins; neil uyetake
EDITS BY denton j. tipton
COVERS BY paul grist, phil elliott, matthew dow smith; charlie kirchoff

The first two issues of the final 10th Doctor IDW storyline begins here with SACRIFICE Parts 1 and 2. As always my reviews are short and without many details or spoilers (but when I start ranting about something) but what I will say about these issues right off is how much I wish we had gotten the chance to see more stories of the travels of Matthew and Emily with the 10th Doctor. With it appearing like the 11th Doctor IDW time will start with Amy Pond as his traveling companion it does not sing that well in my eyes for us seeing Matthew or Emily again. I have Part 3 of this story on a stack to read so no SPOILERS for me please.

The story smells a little of the Black Gaurdian Trilogy of stories from the Classic Series during the 5th Doctor's time with Matthew sort of taking on the Turlough role; which is highlighted more in my mind by the Turlough Diary angle the story takes. Maybe Tony Lee found a little inspiration there.

3 Out Of 5 Stars
My star rating is for the most part based on a hope that the story pays off in the end. I have enjoyed almost all of the art IDW has used for the Doctor Who books but the writing needs to pay off more. At times is seems like they are costing on it being a big brand tie-in.

review written by Brian C. Williams


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crazy Hair

The art within this book makes it one of my favorite picture books ever and everyone knows I will read anything and own anything written by Neil Gaiman. But my Star rating might show I didn't care for it but I have to say the price alone for picture books makes me rate them rather low.

2 Out Of 5 Stars


Runaways, Vol. 1

I had always wanted to check out this series as I had heard so much about it and then recently a Mar's library got a number of the volumes in. I was not let down an really hope when they do make this into a movie they do not let me down either. The Marvel Universe is not as strong in my eyes without this series currently going. Though I enjoyed the artwork and the story, I have to say I was hooked right away by how strong each of the characters were.

2 1/2 Stars Out Of 5


Vampire Kisses, Volume 1: Blood Relatives

I read this because Mar has read all of the Vampire Kisses stories. I have to be up front and say this is the only thing I have read of the stories. I wasn't that pulled in to make me want to read other books in the series either prose or manga.

1 Star Out Of 5

I'm going to start moving my reviews over from my LibraryThing since I never use it and this way all of my reviews can be in one place. This blogger account needs to be the starting point for all things ME and this is another step in doing that.