Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hackers are NOT Heroes

Many hardcore comic collectors are ALSO hardcore gamers. I know that I am! In recent weeks I have had the pleasure of combining both hobbies through the playing of DC universe Online.
This is the first MMORPG that is not only available on the PC but on the PS3 as well. Console MMO’s if successful will revolutionize the genre and bring in millions of new players! Very exciting stuff.

Readers of my posts know my take on the game so I won’t rehash that here. Instead I would like to discuss the ongoing issue with the Playstation Network.

For those of you who don’t know, Sony was the victim of an external intrusion into their system on or about Wednesday of last week. This prompted Sony to take the network off line which lead to a suspension of all PSN related services such as online game play and access to the Playstation Store.

Sony has been very tight lipped as to who might be responsible for the attack. (Though it is widely believed the hacker group known as Anonymous is responsible, though they deny this allegation) Sony is also not saying whether or not sensitive user data such as credit card information has been compromised. There is also no timetable for when users can expect PSN to be back online as the outage nears one full week.

So, here is what PSN users are faced with,

1) Suspension of Services

2) No online play

3) Possibility that their personal information is now in the hands of criminals.

Yes…criminals. That is what hackers who violate a closed system are. Even though we tend to romanticize Hackers, they can cause a great deal of damage EVEN WHEN THEIR INTENTIONS ARE BENIGN. The simple fact is that once a hacker breaks into a closed system he/she has blazed a trail for anyone who happens to be hacking THEM. And of course not all hackers are good guys.

They ain’t all Neo!

Sony has become a target for suing tech heads who have done what is referred to as “jail breaking” their PS3 systems. This Jail breaking allows a user to do anything from running a new OS on the hardware to running homebrew applications like game emulators. Taken to the extreme jail breaking can enable a user to pirate a PS3 game.

You may not like Sony as a corporate monolith.

They may be arrogant in their dealings with the customer base.

They may not always pay attention to the voice of the online community.


They are completely within their rights to bring suit against people who make fundamental changes to their intellectual property. That does not mean they are right in their argument but that is for the courts and NOT hackers to decide.

Because of the emergence of the online Console network and cloud computing the argument of what you can do with your personal electronics takes on a whole new dimension. Where do your rights end and the rights of the community begin?

Is changing a device that you purchased but use on a network accessed by millions the same as making a back of a DVD that you purchased legally as a hedge against damage, or ripping your CD collection so you can play the songs on your iPod?

Do you have the right to change your PS3 in a fundamental way that COULD compromise the network and expose another user’s information to intrusion? Does a hacker even KNOW he is exposing the network to this sort of thing when he/she enables the console to run homebrew?
I can tell you this. Whenever you hook ANY computer into a network (and the Ps3 is a very powerful computer) there is the potential that any vulnerabilities inherent in that box COULD compromise the network.

How does Sony or for that matter Microsoft hedge against this vulnerability?

They create a CLOSED OS. It is the only way they can reasonably protect a network of 70 to 100 million users. Even with a closed OS and static hardware configuration, a network is vulnerable to attack. Imagine how much MORE vulnerable that network is when you have millions of consoles all with different configurations.

It seems to me that there IS a certain amount of responsibility to the larger community and that you do not have the right to change your system in any way that might compromise the security of other users. In any event that is a question for the courts and not a bunch of self important Hackers with delusions of bringing down the Matrix.

That’s 30!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Sexiest Superhero You Never Heard Of!

From time to time I will bring you Golden Age or Silver Age Heroes that you may never have heard of.

Phantom Lady!

She was a Golden Age super hero that you probably never heard of!

Phantom Lady first appeared in Quality's Police Comics #1 (Aug, 1941), an anthology title the first issue of which also included the debut of characters such as Plastic Man.

Phantom Lady was really Sandra Knight, the beautiful daughter of Senator Henry Knight. This first story already had Sandra established as Phantom Lady. It was not an origin story. Her origin would not be established until decades later when DC Comics came into ownership of the character, which was altered several times to give Sandra a more active role.

DC changed the origin of Phantom Lady established in Quality's Police Comics, so that she now belonged to the Knight family of Starman fame.

Her costume, what there was of it, was eventually explained as a deliberate tactic to distract her usually male foes.

Sandra Knight assumed the identity of Phantom Lady in a costume consisting of a green cape and the equivalent of a one-piece yellow bathing suit. She used a "black light projector," which allowed her to blind her enemies and make herself invisible. (It also worked well on those funky 1960’s black light posters of Elvis!) She was assisted by her fiance, Donald Borden, an agent of the U.S. State Department.

After Quality stopped publishing the adventures of Phantom Lady, Iger Studios believed it owned the character and gave it to Fox Feature Syndicate. The Fox version which premiered in Phantom Lady #13 (taking over the numbering of Wotalife Comics) is far more famous among comic fans than the Quality books because of the art of Matt Baker. Baker altered her costume by changing the colors to red and blue, substantially revealing her cleavage, and adding a very short skirt. A classic example of “Good Girl Art (GGA)

Baker's cover for Phantom Lady #17 (Apr, 1949) used in Seduction of the Innocent, the 1954 book by Dr. Fredric Wertham denouncing what he saw as the morally corrupting effect of comics on children.

Today we just like to think of Matt Baker as our friend!

That’s 30!


Sunday, April 17, 2011


Hooray, it's Socko's Birthday and you know what that means! Join us at the store all day long on Friday, April 22nd for a nifty 25% off discount on everything in the store! Comics, graphic novels, collections, apparel, toys, statues, back issues - EVERYTHING will be on sale. It's been awhile since we had a sale so be sure not to miss it!

By the way, this is definitely my favorite store flier by far.

Monday, April 11, 2011


So, back again for another exciting dose of rants and raves by yours truly. So I'm sure everyone was excited with the past couple of weeks worth of comics. Between all the major companies gearing us up for their respective summer events and some sweet sweet new books dropping from everyone and every genre.

For those of you in the not so know, I suggest if you're as big a horror movie buff as I am, you do yourself a favor and go get your hands on two comics right the "F" now and get caught up because the train has left the station.

First up is Clive Barker's amazing property that's been whored around more than.. well a hooker. HELLRAISER is back and going to blow your friggin mind. Barker has been in the process of trying to find a way to finally finish all the movies without all the b.s behind production and studios, etc.. so he's done us all a giant favor and decided to finish up HELLRAISER and kill off Pinhead once and for all in easiest and best way to do it..in COMICS!
Now, I know what your probably thinking to yourself.."I don't know anything about this movie/story/comic" or "I've never ever heard of this because I get scared easily." well, let me assure you faithful reader, this is by far my favorite story and cast of characters ever in any medium. I have HELLRAISER tats because I love it so much and with that said, I would never steer you in the wrong direction. Luckily for you as your tour guide through the puzzle box, Boom Studios! who is releasing all this awesome stuff is putting out the original EPIC Comics, HELLRAISER stuff in an all new set of Trades, so those of you interested can catch up on all the madness that's been unleashed in the name of Leviathan. Do yourself a favor and at least watch the first movie, tell me you didn't like it and you don't want to learn more about the series. Read the "Hellbound Heart" by Clive Barker to really appreciate this series.

Onto some OLD/NEW stuff!

I've been raving about this mini-series finally seeing the light of day after the one-shot came out so long ago. If you've never had the pleasure of reading "68'" then I really feel bad for you and cant wait for you to check it out and get as hyped as I am for the "68'" mini coming out this month from Image.
"68'" is the tale of a small squad of soldiers in Vietnam who meet the zombie plague in the middle of fighting the Vietcong. Not only is it just an awesome story, it's also written and drawn by some of the most amazing creators in the horror genre; Mark Kidwell, Jay Fotos and Nat Jones. This time around, not only are they on the project but they have Tim Vigil and Josh Medors in on the fun. If you're as huge a horror buff as I am or just like really great stories and some amazing "wanna steal this for a tattoo" artwork, this make sure you check out "68'" when it drops!

So, Marvel dropped "Fear Itself #1" this past week and does anyone else feel the looming feeling of being overwhelmed and broke in the near future? I love a great Marvel Event/Crossover as much as the next comic fan,,maybe a little more but still I can't shake this feeling that with the 10 billion tie-ins that Marvel's dropping bannered with "FEAR ITSELF" that it's either going to be so overwhelming the story is going to get lost and misdirected or that it's just going to lose people because not everyone can afford to buy all the tie-ins or has the pleasure of sitting down and just reading them all.
The first issue of the series was pretty decent. I'm still waiting for something over the top to really hit. I mean the big things in this issue were The Asgardians leaving Earth (Finally) and Sin becoming the Avatar for the Norse Goddess of Fear; Skadi.
Not a bad first issue but not the greatest. The thing I really like the most about the concepts behind this series are they almost mirror the real world in so many aspects. The fact that Fear binds us to our daily lives and that it guides us into the directions we choose based upon such simple things of "If I don't go to work, I fear I'll get fired." Matt Fraction really takes this simple concept and does it up right in the Marvel U. The riot in the beginning of the story really sets the tone for the story and most people didn't even get that. The idea of fear makes people do things they normally wouldn't do and makes some people do the things they do. I'm rather excited to see how the concept of fear is going to be "exploited" and used not only as springboard but as the platform and main direction of the story as well as the characters. What's Steve Rogers going to do when he's afraid of tomorrow? The man has outlived his peers, his loved ones and HIS TIME-PERIOD, yet he still manages to stay on top and leads the other heroes without a second thought, what happens when the head honcho can't move because he's afraid of the outcome and it's effects on other things and people.
I think that we as readers should obviously pick and choose what we like and what we want to read and shouldn't feel overwhelmed with all these books coming out but don't be closed minded to checking out something dealing with this series that you know nothing about (Alpha Flight) because for all we know that could be the one book you skip that's the best of the bunch.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This N' ThaT

This N’ That!

Last time around we wished Captain America a happy 70th birthday, and now marvel is celebrating by re-launching Captain America with a brand new #1 and continuing the original run with Captain America And Bucky starting in issue #620

“Two Marvel icons fight side-by-side once more as Captain America becomes Captain America And Bucky with issue #620, co-written by Eisner Award winners Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko with art by Chris Samnee for only $2.99! From the trenches of Nazi-occupied Europe to the halls of Avengers Tower, Bucky Barnes has seen it all! Now, learn the whole truth about this life spent in the crosshairs – and the secrets of a future primed to explode like a powder keg.” (source – Marvel Comics) to another level. She’s an amazing talent and I couldn’t be happier with the pages I’ve seen from her so far.” And… Marvel Entertainment is proud to announce Captain America #1, the first issue of an all new ongoing series premiering in July from two of the comic industry’s most acclaimed creators—writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve McNiven! Steve Rogers is back as Captain America, but when a mysterious figure from the past returns with the Sentinel of Liberty in his crosshairs, deadly secrets will surface and send shockwaves through the lives of everyone Cap holds dear. An all-new, high octane Captain America series begins here, just in time for the First Avenger’s highly anticipated feature film from Marvel Studios.( Source – Marvel Comics)

I for one am thrilled that Steve is taking up the shield and mantle of Cap once again!

Here is some news about upcoming DC Animated features!

The origins of the ultimate intergalactic police force are revealed across six interlocking tales of the legendary Green Lantern Corps in the all-new Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Building up to the release of the highly anticipated live action film, Green Lantern, in theatres June 17, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights arrives on Blu-Ray™, DVD, On Demand and for Download June 7, 2011 from Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. The full-length animated Green Lantern: Emerald Knights will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack and DVD. The film will also be available On Demand and for Download. Green Lantern: Emerald Knights weaves six legendary stories of the Green Lantern Corps’ rich mythology around preparations for an attack by an ancient enemy. As the battle approaches, Hal Jordan mentors new recruit Arisia in the history of the Green Lantern Corps, telling tales of Avra (the first Green Lantern) and several of Hal’s comrades – including Abin Sur, Kilowog, Laira and Mogo. In the end, Arisia must rise to the occasion to help Hal, Sinestro and the entire Green Lantern Corps save the universe from the destructive forces of Krona.

And hold on to your hats for this one.

The NEXT DC Animated feature is going to be the adaptation of the critically acclaimed Batman YEAR ONE!!!!

For those of you who, like me are addicted to DC Universe Online, the newest update was released earlier this week and includes a HUGE list of patches and content additions. Listing them all would take forever but I WILL let you know that: A Two Face/Penguin Quest has been added Mxyzptylk is now available in the Watchtower for goofy quests that reward you with new items to buy. An Intergang Quest that teams you with The Question and Batwoman has been added A Green Lantern Duo has been added! As for me I am looking to establish a COMIC BOOK JONES LEAGUE on the RELENTLESS Server! Imagine Socko and Tiger’s troops laying a big can of SMACK DOWN in the DCU! Anyone who wants to team up, send me an email at sholmes202@gmail.com and we can put it all together!

Now I am a HERO in DCU but if we have enough CBJ VILLIANS out there we could have TWO leagues and one heck of a TURF WAR!!! Dare I say it? Together we could RUUUULLLL EEE THE WORLD! (sorry I got carried away there for a minute!) And… That’s 30!