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Friday, September 12, 2008

Due to Hilarious Printing Error, Latest Batman Comic Includes F-Words, C-Words

Two of the offending swears.

Two of the offending swears.Photo: Courtesy of DC Comics, Comic Book Resources

If you were hoping to hit a comics shop today to pick up the latest issue of Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder series (#10), you're in for a disappointment: Due to an unfortunate printing mistake that left all the comic book's censored profanities visible through black bars, DC Comics has ordered a recall of the entire run. Though previous issues of the series have included the same trick — bits of lettering stick out from behind the bars, giving the reader a hint of what is actually being said — the tactic backfired this time around due to some unforeseen production problem. The hilarious result? A comic book in which the c-word is dropped several times, and exclamations such as "This here arcade belongs to the fucking Batgirl!" are completely legible. Check out the slideshow below to see for yourself.

Since the comic was shipped out to stores across the country, the issues are in circulation despite DC's recall, meaning that the offending pages have turned up online, and unreturned copies will no doubt be sold at a premium as collector's items in shops and online auctions. So, you know, if you're in the market for a comic that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination in terms of cartoon profanity, you'd better start haggling with your local comics retailer — just watch your language!

Family Guy creator opens Cavalcade of Comedy for business

Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane has launched his new site, which focuses on ad-supported comedy shorts, located at sethcomedy.com. The site's offerings, titled "Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy," is part of Google's Content Network, which in turn is part of Google's AdSense network. There are currently only two videos available (plus a couple of teasers for the site), but more are expected to roll out over the coming weeks.

McFarlane's plans were originally announced back in July, along with the Google deal, which would run his (total) 50 mini-episodes across what's expected to be "thousands" of websites that his target audience frequents. The episodes are short, ranging from under a minute to no more than two, and so far, they only consist of a preroll sponsorship-type ad (which is animated in McFarlane's style, so it's not very jarring at all) before the actual video. For now, the two available shorts are sponsored by Burger King, and they are cross-posted to the "BK Channel" on YouTube.

As with much web video these days, episodes of the Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy can be shared with friends and embedded onto blogs and websites. The interesting part of the deal, however, is the revenue distribution. The videos will be run on sites across the web, basically as both content and advertising. Each time a viewer clicks on a Cavalcade video or ad, advertisers will pay a fee that gets split between MacFarlane, Google, the production company partner Media Rights, and the site hosting the video. Media Rights declined in July to offer details on pricing for ads in the Cavalcade series, saying only that its rates are "significantly higher" than if the same ad was placed in AdSense alone.

While Google tested the waters with its Google Content Network in May via a deal to distribute real estate listings from the Washington Post, McFarlane's venture is a significant step in original Internet distribution both for Google and the TV industry. Some networks have dipped their toes in the Internet-only distribution pool, but Cavalcade is the first series with major funding in both advertising and production, not to mention a well-known celebrity behind the efforts.


Just one example of Cavalcade's offerings

Whether or not you dig McFarlane's style of humor, the novel approach to content distribution could help change how content creators and advertisers approach this kind of thing in the future. Videos don't have to be limited to a kiddie pool of online destinations—paired with advertising, they can be blasted across the web as ads themselves.

Variations on "Hotel California"

Yes, it's probably one of the most overplayed songs in both the Arrow's and K-Hits' libraries, but the Eagles' "Hotel California" deserves to be. Written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Don Felder (who was fired from the Eagles in 2001), the title song to the band's 1976 album captures the creeping dread, substance-driven burnout and growing malaise that characterized so much of America (and especially California) in its bicentennial year like none other. More than three decades later, the song - 1977 Grammy winner for Record of the Year - has lost none of its forlorn potency or haunting beauty; it's said to be part of the repertoire of this fall's Guitar Hero: World Tour. Not surprisingly, it's been covered many, many times.

First we'll hear from Nigerian-born reggae mon Majek Fashek, who recorded it for 1998 Tuff Gong compilation Tuff Tracks:

Here's Scottish trio Alabama 3's, best known for Sopranos theme song "Woke Up This Morning," techno-country take from 2000's La Peste:

Who else has checked in any time they liked? Read on...

The song's heavy flamenco guitar makes it a natural for Spanish superstars the Gipsy Kings, whose version appears in The Big Lebowski:

Frightful American Idol reject William Hung recorded "Hotel California" on his 2004 album Inspiration. Yes, it's every bit as bad as you imagine:

Lounge-pop pranksters The Moog Cookbook did it ska-style - with popcorn! - on 1997's Ye Olde Space Band: Plays Classic Rock Hits. Not sure how Del Shannon got in there, but what the hell:

It's hard to think of a less appropriate song for children, but of course it made it onto the Eagles edition of popular toddler-pop series Rockabye Baby!:

Even Tupac succumbed to the warm smell of colitas:

One more. Stevie Nicks, who lived the song more than most, performed it with special guest Don Henley on her 2006 tour:

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any video of "Night and Day" R&B crooner Al B. Sure!'s version, from his 1990 LP Private Times... and the Whole 9!. Now that's one I'd really like to hear. - Chris Gray