Sunday, June 30, 2013

Parody: E-bookmarks Kill Physical Bookmarks

E-Bookmarks Killing Traditional Bookmark Industry 

It’s the eleventh hour for physical bookmarking devices, experts predict. Bookmark sales have been on a steep decline for the last four decades; industry insiders say, “...sad middle-aged ladies who buy Kindles for reading BDSM erotica will be the last nail in the bookmark coffin.”

Mondy Chalmers, a bookmark making veteran, feels hopeless. “We used to think the biggest threat to our profits were using old reciepts or just dog-earring the pages--we couldn’t have been more wrong.” 

Chalmers is the owner of a silk screen machine used primarily for printing bookmarks for over 25 years.

Freelance bookmaker, Jim Paybe is worried about his fiscal stability. “It used to be a honest living, laminating pieces of cardstock then designing an interesting patterns or cats to fit. Just add a decorative tassel, and you’d make a dependable couple thousand bucks every couple months. Now, you can’t even break even.”

“Now, everybody’s just a hobbiest,” said Paybe. 

Physical bookmark specialty stores have already died without (almost) anyone noticing. Former store-owner, Todd Dodson explained, “We had to close Save-Your-Place the first and only combination specialty bookmark store, line and que insurance agency, and Born-Again Christian ministry, in all of America! While plenty of folks said we closed because we had our hands in too many baskets, they are wrong. Really, it was the banking crisis! Also, e-books!” [ed note: Save-Your-Place actually closed in 2003, well before the e-reader boom or the banking crisis]. 

“Things will never be like they used to.” Dodson cried. “I got into the game during the Garfield Golden Age. It seemed like America would never get enough of that snarky, homosexual cat...Nermal! Why!?” Dodson declined to answer any more questions and asked us to leave his car.

But it's not all bad news because thankfully bookmark preservation lives on thanks to e-bookmarksE-bookmarks are hip, flashy, customizable, and utilize GIF technology--unlike their physical media counterparts. is currently testing, “...ways to develop e-bookmarks that suggests purchasable content-places in other content-texts, similar to content-places found in your top-rated content-place from the texts you’ve already read and rated.” Certain to improve content reading experiences.

And e-bookmarks are being embraced by collectors. 

“Oh yeah, I love [e-bookmarks].The best part about them is, I can keep my collection with me where ever I go. Now, when I tell people I collect bookmarks, I show them exactly what I mean--unless they walk away, I guess,” said Josh Sneed.

Sneed later corrected, via fax, that he thought he was being interviewed about “bookmarking” pages of GIF collections on the internet--not devices used to mark a reader’s progress in an e-book, adding “I don’t even read e-books. I just love GIFs.”

Interviewed bookstore employees don’t remember the last time they sold a bookmark, suspecting physical bookmark's high price, often inexplicably costing more than five dollars.

Tiffany Stirf, book-sales professional for over 13 years explained, “I’ve worked at Boarders, Books-a-Million, Barnes & Nobel--all in support of my self-published, erotic-poetry...[and] I never sold anyone a bookmark. I sometimes noticed they’d go missing from their rack, but I assumed they were getting shoplifted by teens looking for cheap thrills--speaking of, Cheap Thrills is, coincidentally, the title of my third chapbook, Cheap Thrills, only available through Midnight Moonlight Press...[Cheap Thrills is currently available for purchase in the Amazon Kindle Marketplace, $2.99.]

Monday, June 24, 2013

Zine Reviews vol. 1! Star Clipper, St. Louis!

St. Louis zines, pt. 1

This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting Star Clipper, a delightfully contemporary comic shop in northwest St. Louis. Star Clipper is clean, organized, and dare I say, trendy!--it exudes a vibe that says, “Reading comics is cool, yo!” Which, duh, of course it is. Best of all, Star Clipper had a huge shelf full of independently published comics. Here’s what I bought! 

Miss Lonely Hearts by Gabrielle Gamboa  

Nathaniel West’s 1933 comic-novella follows the adventures of an flacid advice columnist. While his impoverished readers desperately need solutions to their dismal problems, Miss Lonelyhearts (a pseudonym) can only offer trite platitudes and bullshit. It’s probably the funniest book to come out of the Depression. And thankfully, Gabrielle Gamboa’s adaptation uses the language of comics to retell the story in a fresh way. Gamboa draws the life of Miss Lonelyhearts in soft, textured grey tones; while the lives of the advice seekers are illustrated as popular Depression-era newspaper comic strips characters. I don’t want to spoil every character who makes an appearance, but...the opening pages show Olive Oil complaining about her sexually abusive husband who refuses to stop raping her, Popeye of course! It’s weird/great! Not only does the graphic adaptation let readers see West’s text anew, but it illuminates the strange relationships of classic cartoons. I love this comic and am ordering the second issue from Gamboa’s etsy, where you can buy the first and second issues! 

Brain Dump, Leon Beyond

The facts in Leon Beyond’s Strange and Amazing Facts reveals the thin line between fact and nonsense. While the strip promises to be trivia, I don't know how one would verify facts like 1) Spartans slept on skulls, 2) the first jet-ski was just a modified snowmobile, 3) hoboes used to live in the Amoco gas sign 4) 3.5 million ping-pong balls are lost every year. Besides wack-facts, there's specific references to oddities of Saint Louis--an undoubtedly eclectic city. The strip's humor roots in blurring the truth: sorta like John Hodgman meets Charles Fort. But what separates Amazing Facts & Beyond as a comic is the visual representation. The layouts are brimming with information, playing with space composition and reading direction in every strip. The characters, which remind me of a simplified John K (Ren & Stimpy), are delightfully absurd. Plus, some strips play strange visual games like, "Find the differences between these two pictures!" or quiz questions with answers in mirror-writing. The strip is jam-packed with creativity. Perhaps Leon is an eccentric genius...

Or maybe, Leon Beyond isn’t even a real person! Research reveals he's the collaboration of two cartoonists, Dan Zettwoch and Kevin H. Leon Beyond used to be published in The Riverfront Times, a St. Louis alt-weekly but unfortunately, the last strip posted on the Leon blog makes me think Leon is over (or maybe dead). But good news! You can buy all the zine collections for a mere $15! And, It looks like a nice hardcover omnibus is coming out...eventually? Trivia-rific! 

Everythingness by Neil Jam

This cutie comic juxtaposes a chibi-esque manga style with the profundities of existencial angst...kinda! Neil Jam's 32 page strip collection is good, strange fun. You get birds, a ghost gel (?) and silly metafiction, and well timed jokes with a delightfully irreverence (God's on the cover). I really dig the aesthetic of the drawings. The thick marker line makes the characters look really adorable, yet still animated and distinguishable. I only wished there was a narrative or grander world connecting the strips--but hey, that could be in the next volume! Also, hat-hop to Hic Hoc Publishing for printing a really professional looking comic.  

After Hours

One of the nicest looking, black & white zines I ever did see. After Hours is the brainchild of Matt Questionmark and Lauren B. Matt writes cantankerous poetry--the harshness of Bukowski with the mysterious sage-ness of Ginsberg (albeit, these are the only poets I've ever read). These writings are complemented by Lauren's amazing black and white illustrations: including, surreal landscapes, strange bodies, women in pensive passion, and a really determined boy with dog. You can look at a lot of these drawings on the After Hours Tumblr. Both Lauren and Matt are from Saint Louis, culminating in my suspicious that there's a really cool self-publishing culture in STL. This zine looks great and hopefully they print a second run! 

P.S. I also found this free periodical, The Saint Louis Globe Democrat It's a super kitschy reprint newspaper that writes about historical themed stories and reprints old news copy. The issue I found was about Fredric Wertham, the wacko psychiatrist who testified against EC Comics to the Supreme Court. This paper doesn't even have a website, but if you're in Missouri you MUST find one because it is very weird.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Salutations, Explanations and Empty Promises


If you're reading this, hopefully it is at the bottom of a long timeline perhaps out of curiosity. If not, I blew it.

I recently decided to keep a blog about books on the Internet. Of course, that means e-books will also be surveyed (a small toll when writing for Internet). Also consumed will be magazine-format publications--specifically, but of course by no means limited to, sequential graphic narratives.

While some traditional reviewing will take place, I also hope to present new ways to talk about books like:
1. Fun little Youtube song parodies,
2. Neat search engine optimized lists you can talk about at the water cooler to someone who hasn't (and won't ever) read the article you're talking about,
3. Blindly copying and pasting press releases in hopes of get some of that sweet, sweet publishing public relations swag (Daddy needs a free lanyard!),
4. A phone interview podcasts with entirely inaudible interviews,
5. Utilizing--reclaiming!--obsolete media in kitschy ways like making homemade cassette mixtapes of me reading my blog posts directly to you or exclusive HD-DVD boxsets with complete content commentaries on all potential blogs (po-bo's).

The reason I chose to use Blogger certified Blogger software is simple: I've never used it before and I want to learn how to use it so I work at Internet. Also, I love giving Google all my personal information, with my Gmail, my G-Wallet, and my very finely currated Google+, I just can't get enough Google. Hear that, Google? I KNOW YOU'RE READING THIS! HOW ABOUT A LITTLE BOOST ON MY SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION--PRICKS!

The reason I picked the name Please Boss Man for this blog is because I am lazy. I didn't feel like thinking of a clever name, so I flipped to a page of Billy S. Burrough's Naked Lunch and picked the first thing that stuck out to me. Unfortunately, I since closed the book without checking the page number and do not feel like hunting through the book to find it. I really choose randomly.

Well, actually, I flipped around the pages at first and tried to make a blog called Ambiguous Obscenity (interesting vowel sounds but ultimately very pretentious; thankfully, some software company bought up the URL and never did anything with it so I couldn't use it. In any event, I flipped again, this time totally randomly, and immediately saw "Please boss man" in the upper half of the page. Thus, the name is meaningless--just like everything else en existence! That is why the blog is called Please Boss Man.

Anyway, this is getting lengthy, I promise to write in my new blog every single day, stop c--- c--- every time before I write, and eventually compose all those essay ideas I wrote down in a diary I probably already lost.

Yeah, right! Suck it, chumps!