Upcoming 2/13/2008

February 12, 2008

I need to just abandon introductory paragraphs on these things and come up with some lazy boilerplate, because they’re becoming increasingly feeble. Something like…

Some picks from the ComicList for Wednesday, Feb. 13:

Dark Horse offers the third volume of Kazuhiro Okamoto’s Translucent, a coming-of-age comedy about a girl you can see right through. I know, it sounds like it will pound your skull to jelly with the metaphor hammer even if you manage to find protective headgear, but it’s really sweet, often very funny and populated by charming, quirky characters.

I was instantly smitten with the first volume of Yuki Nakaji’s Venus in Love (CMX), a slice-of-life college comedy about a girl and a guy in love… with the same guy. The second volume arrives Wednesday, and I’m really looking forward to it.

I’m not entirely sold on Lewis Trondheim’s Little Nothings: The Curse of the Umbrella (NBM), but I’m willing to be convinced. The pages posted at the blog NBM has erected are absolutely gorgeous, though it’s hard to get a handle on the general subject matter and tone. I guess what I’m asking is if it’s good mundane or bad mundane?

More free dairy products

February 12, 2008

It’s not a direct follow-up to yesterday’s piece in The New York Times, but it’s interesting to see how many groups are dealing with the possibilities of distributing content free on the web in addition to or instead of through traditional print models. This time, it’s the faculty of Harvard:

“‘In place of a closed, privileged and costly system, it will help open up the world of learning to everyone who wants to learn,’ said Robert Darnton, director of the university library. ‘It will be a first step toward freeing scholarship from the stranglehold of commercial publishers by making it freely available on our own university repository.’”

This all sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?

“The publishing industry, as well as some scholarly groups, have opposed some forms of open access, contending that free distribution of scholarly articles would ultimately eat away at journals’ value and wreck the existing business model. Such a development would in turn damage the quality of research, they argue, by allowing articles that have not gone through a rigorous process of peer review to be broadcast on the Internet as easily as a video clip of Britney Spears’s latest hairdo. It would also cut into subsidies that some journals provide for educational training and professional meetings, they say.”

The interesting difference is that nobody seems to think there’s a reasonable argument that free content will support those traditional models. In fact, aside from the gatekeepers of those traditional models, nobody seems to care much whether it does or not.