Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Thoughts On The DC Relaunch

When I first learned of DC Comics relaunching their entire line I wasn't a fan, as I considered it a giant waste of 70-plus years of continuous publication for some small short-term gains. Now the first few weeks worth of books have appeared and my anger has subsided, so what do I think?

Actually I don't mind it, or at least I don't mind certain aspects of it. One aspect I like is the best of the books feel like they inhabit their own little corner of the universe. Titles like Grant Morrison's 'Action Comics', JH Williams' 'Batwoman' and Jeff Lemire's 'Animal Man' all provide very different reading experiences. Indeed, apart from the ho-hum 'Justice League' book, there has really been only minor interaction between the various major characters at this point. Kind of like Marvel Comics in the old days, rather than Marvel now, where there's a crossover and 50 tie-in books every six months and everyone hangs out in the Avengers Tower.

Another aspect that I'm really liking is the digital versions coming out the same day as the print versions. There's quite a few #1s that I wouldn't pay full price for in the store (or are sold out), but are quite happy to pay a reduced price to read it on my phone. Basically it's another example of price discrimination, which as an economist I find intriguing. And I think that's really part of the rationale for this whole relaunch thing (beyond the gimmick), that is to give readers a chance to try out a bunch of stuff and work out what types of titles suit them. Actually I wish they'd been even a little bit bolder in the types of titles they tried out rather than have a dozen Batman and half a dozen Green Lantern titles, but I suppose they've got to keep the cash flow going, and hey, that's kind of what they have the Vertigo imprint for.

Already some are suggesting that Marvel do the same thing. Speaking for myself, I hope not - I think you can achieve creative diversity and savvy marketing without necessarily hitting the reset button. But if it helps you find new audiences then I guess it's all up for grabs. Either that or go the way of the pulp novel!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

AFL Power Rankings - 2011 Summary

To finish off the home-and-away season, here is a summary of the ranking of each team for each round:

The graph might be a little crowded to follow, so let me summarize:

Adelaide - Biggest fall for the season, starting at 6th and ending in 14th. They dropped steadily until round 10, and then settled in the 12th-14th range.

Brisbane - Spent most of the year in 15th or 16th, but jumped to 11th after narrow loss to Collingwood, and ended in 12th. Their average net margin was not too bad considering they only won 4 games.

Carlton - Started in 7th, climbed to 4th by Round 3, and then spent most of year switching between 3rd and 4th.

Collingwood - Was in top spot for almost the entire year, often by a considerable margin, but lost it with Round 24 thrashing to Geelong.

Essendon - Climbed from 12th to 6th by Round 8 with a good start to the season, then fell back to 10th by Round 13, and spent rest of season in 8th-10th range.

Fremantle - Billed as a top four prospect early in the season by the media, the rankings showed that the Dockers were vastly overrated - they started in 11th, never climbed higher than 9th, and finished in 13th, not too far away from their final ladder position. (Good for me, because I bet on the Dockers to miss the eight on the basis of this ranking system.)

Geelong - Was in 2nd for most of the season, but nabbed 1st in the final round with huge win over the Pies.

Gold Coast - Should have started them off in 17th, because after their huge loss to Carlton in their first game that's where they stayed.

Hawthorn - Spent entire year in either 3rd or 4th.

Melbourne - Got some criticism earlier in the year, but maintained a ranking between 9th and 11th up to Round 18. Alas, maybe the criticism was justified, as they fell away badly, finishing in 15th.

North Melbourne - Was between 10th and 12th for first half of season, and between 7th and 10th for second half.

Port Adelaide - Started in 13th, dropped to 15th by Round 5, and stayed in 15th or 16th for rest of season, though only narrowly missed bottom ranking in the end.

Richmond - Was 16th in Round 5, but then spent most of season between 13th and 15th, though relatively strong finish to the season moved them up to 11th.

St. Kilda - The Saints' supposed early-season slump was always vastly overplayed because they had a tough fixture to start off with. Fell from 3rd to 5th by Round 3, then stayed between 5th and 7th for rest of season.

Sydney - Stayed between 5th and 8th for entire season.

West Coast - The biggest improvers by far: started in last place, climbed to 12th by Round 8, and then vaulted to 8th with huge win over the Bulldogs. Managed to climb into 5th spot by end of season.

Western Bulldogs - In contrast to the media, never considered a grand final chance by the rankings. Was in 6th-8th range until Round 8, when huge loss to Eagles saw them dive into 13th. Clawed their way back into 9th in the end.

There you have it. I'll wrap up with the final rankings after the Grand Final.

AFL Power Rankings - Round 24

In a stunning end to the home-and-away season, Collingwood lose the top ranking spot they have held all season to Geelong, with the Cats beating the Pies by 96 points in the final round. A bit further down, the Eagles and Saints close in on the Hawks and Blues, who have been the clear 3rd and 4th placed teams for most of the year. And at the other end, Gold Coast make up some ground with their narrow loss to the Hawks, but finish up in last place.

1 (Last week 2) Geelong 47.2 (Last week 36.3)
2 (1) Collingwood 43.3 (51.6)
3 (3) Hawthorn 29.2 (33.8)
4 (4) Carlton 25.3 (27.7)
5 (6) West Coast 23.1 (18.5)
6 (5) St. Kilda 21.2 (18.6)
7 (7) Sydney 9.8 (7.8)
8 (8) North Melbourne 3.0 (3.0)
9 (9) Western Bulldogs -2.9 (-5.9)
10 (10) Essendon -5.6 (-6.1)
11 (12) Richmond -15.1 (-17.2)
12 (11) Brisbane -16.2 (-15.4)
13 (13) Fremantle -21.2 (-17.6)
14 (12) Adelaide -22.6 (-19.5)
15 (15) Melbourne -28.4 (-27.3)
16 (16) Port Adelaide -44.1 (-45.6)
17 (17) Gold Coast -45.3 (-50.0)

The Wooden Finger 2011 All-Australian Team

In contrast to previous years I am going to have the courage to jump the gun and name what I think will be this year's AFL All-Australian team before the squad of 40 is named.

B: Grant Birchall, Darren Glass, Corey Enright
HB: Heath Scotland, Ben Reid, Leon Davis
C: Dale Thomas, Scott Pendlebury, Marc Murphy
HF: Steve Johnson, Travis Cloke, Andrew Walker
F: Stephen Milne, Lance Franklin, Adam Goodes
R: Dean Cox, Chris Judd, Gary Ablett
I: Sam Mitchell, Todd Goldstein, Dane Swan, Matthew Boyd