Welcome to the weblog of the writers and artists of Ferret Press (a publisher of fine comix) and PANEL (a Columbus, Ohio comic creators collaborative.) Here you will find our musings on comics, art, the creative process, politics, the web, and life.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2004
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/29/2004 02:10:00 PM :

      

Adrian Tomine Article
New York Newsday has an interview and cursory biographical sketch of Tomine:

You could view the melancholy souls floating through Tomine's comics - graphic short stories, you might call them - as the spiritual offspring of Charles Schulz's creations. They're who the doleful, philosophizing Peanuts kids might have become if they had grown up and moved to the Bay Area in their 20s.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/29/2004 11:38:00 AM :

      

The Real Bullseye?

In the comics world, Daredevil mainstay villain Bullseye is renowned for killing opponents with razor sharp throwing cards. So I found it rather interesting when I saw this article about magician Ricky Jay, who in 1977 wrote the definitive book on card throwing, entitled "Cards As Weapons". The site has reprinted one of the techniques from the book,




Once you've mastered the basic throw, you can go on to such advanced techniques as "The Sea-Urchin Spin", "The Butterfly Swirl", and "The Lethal Four-Card-Fist".


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  Posted by Dara on 6/29/2004 11:24:00 AM :

      

Comfest, Day 3 - Addendum

Forgot to mention Sunday's Stoner Moment of the Day (TM). Guy walks into the booth, ignores all the comics and zines and heads for the table with the BigCityBlues music CDs. I had a little portable CD player setup for people who wanted to sample the CD before buying it (this comes in to play soon). He asked me a question, which I thought was "how much for the CDs?". Hmmm, the price is right there next to them, I thought. But whatever, maybe he didn't see it. "The CDs are $8, or you can get the CD/comic package for an even $10", I replied.

"No man, I mean how much for the CD Player? It's sweet."

Oh, right. The CD player. Because, you know, this looks like a pawn shop booth where we sell comics, zines, and one lone CD player. After I informed him the player wasn't for sale, he looked rather disappointed and turned around and left.

PS. The portable CD player in question is over 10 years old, beat up, and you could easily buy a brand new one with 10 times the features this one has for 1/3 of what I originally paid for it.


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Monday, June 28, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/28/2004 12:24:00 AM :

      

Comfest, Day 3

"Hey, what happened to day 2?" is probably what you're thinking. well, I didn't have access to a computer Saturday night, hence no update. And seeing as how it's past midnight on Sunday now, and I'm dead-ass tired, this will be a quick note.

(unrelated story: was checking the referrer logs on the site and saw that someone Googled "con festival goodale park" and the ferret Press site was the number 1 listing returned. And that's just from me putting a short blurb on the home page a few days ago telling people we'd be at Comfest. Cool)

So anyway, while Saturday was slow sales-wise, today more than made up for it, and in fact was the best day of the three. Several more topless women were sighted, colorful (and drunk and/or stoned) people walked in the booth and chatted with us, Andy's dog, Luna, drew in a total of 11 cute women (according to Steve), and Steve's mothman painting that he was working on drew in even more people, male and female. In short, it was another great day at Comfest.

Extra special shout-out to Steve, Andy, and Tony for staying late and helping to tear down the booth and haul everything to the truck. Double extra special VIP shout-out to Tony for carrying the big blue tub which not only had a ton of comcis in it, but was also weighed down with 15 lbs of barbell weights (don't ask). And thanks to everyone who helped out over the 3 days: Tony, Steve, Craig, Sean, Tom, Geoff, Andy, and of course Wendy.

I'm gonna' crash now...


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Friday, June 25, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/25/2004 11:57:00 PM :

      

Comfest, Day 1

Just got home and took a nice, hot shower. I'm still a bit wired from the whole day, so I figured I'd type up a short summary of my experiences as a first-time Comfest vendor.

We got down to Goodale park around 10 AM. As I suspected, there was a long line of cars waiting to get through to the setup area. Between myself and Tony, we probably spent a combine 45 minutes sitting in "traffic", but that's as expected. (By the way, big shout out to Tony for helping haul most of the stuff down there in the truck.) Craig had been waiting at the spot for over half an hour, and helped with assembling the canopy before having to head off to work. We had the whole booth setup by around 12:30.

At 12:50, we made out first sale. AKA #1, to an older gentleman. Right on!

Shortly thereafter, a guy who recognized the Panel books from Motor-City-Con stopped in and bought a handful of other books. That, too, made my day. After that, there was a steady stream of people, and we did pretty well. A couple of people mentioned that they had heard Craig on the "Blue Collar" radio show the previous week (talking about his new comic, Me and the Devil Blues) and had made it a point to find our booth at the festival, which was way cool.

As luck would have it, the booth my girlfriend was helping out at is just a few spots away, which is quite fortunate given that there are over 300 vendor spots this year. Wendy was able to hang out with me on and off throughout the day, and we even took Hanna to shake her booty at one of the live band stages! Plus, she had the idea for how to best layout the tables to maximize traffic in the booth, which worked out great. Thanks, babe.

And before I go, I should point out the Stoner Moment of the Day (TM). A young man, obviously baked out of his mind, wondered into the booth and stared at the long table where most of the comics were laid out. We had placed a couple of long bamboo poles across the books to act as paper weights, since it was pretty windy in the early afternoon. After staring at the bamboo for a while, he picked it up, turned to me, and asked "dude, what's this?". After I explained that we were using it to keep the books from being blown off the table, he pondered the strange wood-like object some more, placed it down, said "huh...cool, dude", and promptly turned around and walked out.

I love Comfest.


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  Posted by Tom on 6/25/2004 03:09:00 PM :

      

Hey gang,
the writer speaks at CBR today on NO DEAD TIME. And here I was freaking out because Oni hadn't sent a press release about September. More pages are up in the article now lettered by the writer. Now back to the drawy-draw.


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Thursday, June 24, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/24/2004 10:30:00 PM :

      

Comfest Bound

Well, I've got boxes and boxes and boxes of comics and art to haul to beautiful Goodale Park tomorrow for 3-days of Comfest! Those of you in the Central Ohio region, I hope you can make it to this fantastic, all free music festival. We're talking 3 days, 4 stages, over 100 bands.

And the Ferret Press booth.

Stop by and say hi.



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  Posted by Dara on 6/24/2004 12:47:00 PM :

      

Blogging Gives Iranian Women a Voice

Interesting little article.
"Take one exasperated Iranian woman. Add a computer. Hook it up to the internet. "And you have a voice in a country where it's very hard to be heard," said Lady Sun, the online identity of one of the first Iranian women to start a blog - a freeform mix of news items, commentaries and whatever else comes to mind. Initially created to defy the nation's tight control on media, these web journals have turned into a cyber-sanctuary - part salon, part therapist's couch - for the vast pool of educated, young and computer-savvy Iranians."


Also, check out this story: 137-year old Iranian woman enjoys high morale. There's really no way to verify the veracity of this story, but heck, it wouldn't surprise me.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/24/2004 12:44:00 PM :

      

Rule Your Own

Art boards, that is. I know most of you artists already do so, but here's a link to a great little tutorial by Nate Piekos (font maker to the stars!) on how to do it.



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  Posted by Tom on 6/24/2004 01:26:00 AM :

      

Hmmmm, I found this on my lunchbreak on the CBR boards- Jumping on the bandwagon of Comic Book Idol- Dimestore Productions has created you guessed it... Small Press Idol. Seems kinda lame as the only way to enter is to become a member of the SPA and you're prize is a spot in a book that traded around to SPA members. Aren't SPA members already doing that? I guess the winner's winnings is that he or she doesn't have to pay for printing for once. Why?


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Wednesday, June 23, 2004
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/23/2004 01:26:00 PM :

      

Time Magazine (Canuck Edition)
Time Magazine Canada highlights independent publisher Drawn & Quarterly in their latest issue. Use the link to get to a PDF of the two-page article with a sidebar on Chester Brown and his graphic novel Louis Riel.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/23/2004 11:42:00 AM :

      

Your Art Site of the Day

NY Photographer Fred Lasenna has a nice little site with various pics. My favorite is the Commute series, which he introduces with: "Every day, more than six million people use the New York city transit system, approximately two billion customers annually."



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Tuesday, June 22, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/22/2004 11:26:00 PM :

      

My New Hero

Wired.com has an article about "what happens when politicians neglect to snap up websites containing common variants of their name and election year." For instance, Brian Rodgers has bought the domain name Bush2004.com and put up a satire site ridiculing the Prez. Snippet from article:
"Since then, Rodgers has received calls from Bush supporters who have offered to pay as much as $135,000 for the domains. He declined to sell, citing animosity toward the incumbent president as the chief reason. "He's a sorry son of a bitch and I'll do anything I can to bring him down," said Rodgers."


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  Posted by Dara on 6/22/2004 11:12:00 PM :

      

Cool Watches and Clocks

According to the WristFashion.com website, "Wrist Fashion is a Web Magazine that stamps out the latest news, trends and products from the Wristwatch Industry in little pocket size morsels." There's a 12-sided clock that switches time zones to the labeled cities on each side when you turn it. My favorite is the "Time Table", which is, you guessed it, a table with a surface made of electro-luminescent film which displays a digital time readout.



(link courtesy of BoingBoing)


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  Posted by Tony on 6/22/2004 11:19:00 AM :

      

And speaking of boobies ...

... here's a little love from Wonkette (http://www.wonkette.com).

With Clinton so much in the news, it's good to know that the Dems are not the only party who can overlook a candidate's outlandish sex-freak ways. Illinois senatorial GOP candidate Jack Ryan's divorce papers have been plaguing him the entire campaign and the latest revelations are Starr report-level steamy: In them, Ryan's ex-wife (Jeri Ryan, former alien hottie, later cast in the equally improbable role of a Boston public school teacher) accuses him taking her to several sex clubs and says he asked her to get jiggy with him in front of other couples. Bright side for the family values folks: She insists he didn't cheat on her.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/22/2004 09:52:00 AM :

      

You Kids Like Boobies?

WorldWatch, self-published by Chuck Austen, featuring art by Tom Derenick. Good to know we're distancing ourselves from the stereotype that superhero comics are T&A/Bondage fantasies for adolescent boys.

 

 

More about the 7-issue limited series at Newsarama.


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Monday, June 21, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/21/2004 11:23:00 PM :

      

JMS Pitches New Star Trek Series

Via my pal Tony Maric: SciFi.com is reporting that "Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski told fans on a B5 Usenet group that he and Dark Skies creator Bryce Zabel have put together an idea for a new Star Trek series, which he said would revive the ailing franchise. "I got together [with Zabel] and wrote a treatment earlier this year that specified how to save [Star Trek] and develop a series that would restore the series in a big way," Straczynski wrote. "I actually think it could be a hell of a show. Whether that ever goes anywhere with Paramount, who knows?"


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  Posted by Dara on 6/21/2004 01:24:00 PM :

      

Christian comics publisher just as unscrupulous as regular comics publishers

Yeah, I know, big surprise there. Business is business in when it comes to capitalism, so it would seem.

Anywho, interesting article at Newsarama about Christian comic book imprint Metron Press going under, and taking a whole slew of projects with it. Seems its parent company, the American Bible Society (ABS) decided they weren't making enough money fast enough. Former Creative Director Mario Ruiz says:
"ABS got nervous with the content and how it was being told,” Ruiz explained. “It's very easy for religious organizations and churches alike to criticize and complain about how society is running amok and is out of control. But when it comes time to put your money where your gripes are, indifference and non-commitment are the end result. ABS worried how they would be perceived in the religious community and what affect it would have on their donor base. When they saw what it would take to reach this market, and how it would ruffle the feathers of some in the religious community, it was better to play it safe and not serve the secular market and save face in their own community."
and:
"I kick myself in the butt for not getting a lawyer sooner when I first started developing these products for them. They told me that they would honor a contract and would give me a proprietary stake in the books through verbal and email agreements. I believed them and why not? It's the American Bible Society we are talking about.
So what kinds of books were they working on? Check out a partial list, featuring some top industry names:

  

Unforgiven by Brian Augustyn, Dick Giordano and Terry Austin. A 36-page novella that deals with an incarcerated man's struggle for forgiveness in the midst of living a life of crime. “A period piece, think Shawshank Redemption.”

Mary Magdalene by Barbara Kessel and Jason Alexander. A graphic novel that was a modern day take of the story of the New Testament character, Mary Magdalene.

Son of Man by Jerry Novick, MarioRuiz, and Bill Sienkiewicz. A graphic novel set in an "elseworld" environment. A what if the story of Jesus Christ and the Roman Empire happened now?

Damascus Road by Christopher Priest, Sanford Greene and Dexter Vines. A graphic novel set in the world of Hip-Hop. Paul the Apostle meets Tupac Shakur. “Powerful, funky stuff.”

The Revelation of John Clay by Dan Jolley, Kyle Hotz and Ray Snyder. A graphic novel that continues where The Son of Man leaves off. “A series of gruesome murders leads a homicide detective down a road of deception, horror and redemption. It's the movie 7even meets the book of Revelation.”

Finding Hope by John Ostrander and Bret Blevins. A short story that deals with HIV and AIDS.

’Till Death by Jim Krueger and Scott Hampton. A case bound book on an original allegory by Jim Krueger and beautifully painted by Scott Hampton. “A must for fans of C.S. Lewis.


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/21/2004 08:24:00 AM :

      

A Much More Positive Review of McSweeney's
From the Time.comix column.


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Sunday, June 20, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/20/2004 09:38:00 PM :

      

He Still Can't Draw

All these years...ALL THESE YEARS!!!...and that asshat Liefeld still hasn't learned to draw. Check out Cable's right arm, and what passes for a hand...



Man, I really feel for all you real artists. That's gotta burn to see this douche bag keep getting high-profile work.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/20/2004 09:30:00 PM :

      

Comics Worth Reading reviews BigCityBlues

Johanna Draper Carlson reviews BCB in her "Cognitive Dissonance" blog on her Comics Worth Reading website.


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Saturday, June 19, 2004
 
  Posted by Tony on 6/19/2004 01:51:00 PM :

      

As seen in Business First ...

Columbus can be assured one of its largest conventions is here to stay – well, at least for the rest of the decade.
The Game Manufacturers Association, a trade group for the hobby games industry, has moved its small headquarters to the city from Denver.
The association has held the Origins International Game Expo, its main revenue generator, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center since 1996. To be closer to the show and vendors, association administrators moved last month to 1,800 square feet of leased offices at 280 N. High St.
Months before the move, officials signed a contract to hold the Origins exposition in Columbus through 2010.


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Friday, June 18, 2004
 
  Posted by Andy Bennett on 6/18/2004 03:30:00 PM :

      

More good cross-promotion...

The classic Hellboy story "The Corpse" will be included as a 4.5" x 6.5" 32 -page insert in the Hellboy movie DVD sold exclusively through Blockbuster Video stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Full press release on teh Pulse at http://www.comicon.com/pulse/


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  Posted by Dara on 6/18/2004 02:30:00 PM :

      

Pavitr Prabhakar: The Spectacular Spider-man?

According to NewIndPress, Marvel and the India-based studio Gotham Entertainment Group are creating a completly "localized" version of Spider-man for the Indian market. His name will be Pavitr Prabhakar, a "frail-looking Indian boy." He will wear a dhoti, fight the "evil Rakshas" (instead of the Green Goblin), and instead of a radioactive spider's bite, he "gets his magical powers from a yogi."



From the article:
"Incidentally, a soothsayer to the Spiderman phenomenon was director Shekhar Kapur, who at the recent Bollywood awards in Singapore, said that as countries like India and China rival the Western economic superpowers, there will be a reverse cultural colonisation.

‘‘We will still have Spiderman, but when Spiderman takes off his mask, he will probably be Chinese or Indian,’’ Kapur predicted. Now we know he was right."
(link courtesy of neilalien)


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  Posted by Dara on 6/18/2004 11:14:00 AM :

      

Publishers and Conventions

For those of you interested in the business side of comics, especially that of smaller publishers, Newsarama has a very informative interview with Chris Staros of Top Shelf about their convention appearances. They do about 18 cons a year, which is more than just about any other publisher out there. And it's not just to meet-and-greet, it's a vital part of their cashflow equation. here are some interesting snippets:
“Conventions are an absolutely vital part of our cash flow, probably more so than other publishers, as I think we do more conventions than any other publisher out there,” Staros said. “This year we're publishing 36 books, mostly graphic novels, to the tune of about $400,000 in printing costs alone - ouch! Do you have any idea how many books you have to sell in the small press to generate that kind of money in a year? It's staggering.”
  
"On the side of logistics...getting the books to the shows begins to resemble a military maneuver – one that has to be extremely cost conscious...“With Blankets packing ten copies to a box; From Hell, eight; and Box Office Poison, ten, you can start to get the picture of how many boxes it takes to represent even a modest cross section of our titles at a show. So, the most economical way to get the books and people to the shows is to drive to them. So that's how we get to all of them, in a cargo van or large SUV. We even drove to San Diego the last two years from Atlanta, just to save on all the airplane tickets and shipping costs. Egads, that's a long haul.”


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/18/2004 08:24:00 AM :

      

What if I'm More of a Dummy
Comic Book Resources has a story (Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Wire) about the release of The Complete Idiot's Guide: Creating a Graphic Novel. It is written by Nat Gertler and Steve Lieber with illustrations by Lieber.

"[The book] covers the entire process of creating a graphic novel -- and by that, we mean longer-form comics stories, whether serialized in a pamphlet or released directly in a single book -- and getting it to market," Gertler told CBR News. "So we cover coming up with a concept, fleshing out and designing your characters, finding collaborators, writing the script, penciling, inking, lettering by hand, lettering by computer, coloring, finding a publisher, publishing it yourself, getting distribution, and promoting the work."



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Thursday, June 17, 2004
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/17/2004 05:58:00 PM :

      

Toby Craig's got a feature on him up at Pulse on comicon.com. Last year I contributed to his anthology Engine. The anthology's theme was monsters. Other contributers include Jim Rugg (who's mini Street Angel got signed @ Slave Labor) who I first met back at s.p.a.c.e. a couple of years ago. More on Toby's anthology can be found at his site at www.ithinkican.com. Currently he's got a strip running on Modern Tales.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/17/2004 03:21:00 PM :

      

So You Wanna Submit to Vertigo?

Vertigo Submission Guideline. I'm sure it's an old page that some webmaster forgot to remove, since DC/Vertigo no longer accept open submissions. But then again, maybe they only want resourceful people to find it...

Oh, and after a bit of playing around with the URL, I found the no-longer-officially-existing DC Submission Guidelines. Enjoy


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  Posted by Dara on 6/17/2004 02:36:00 PM :

      

Cool Robot Sculptures

Check out these very cool "combat robot", "atomic weapons", and "scientific apparatus" metal sculptures by Greg Brotherton, a California-based artist, sculptor, designer and machinist.

 
 

My favorite is the Mercury-5000, which the artist describes thusly:
"A massive piece of articulated steel. Mercury stands 9 feet tall and weighs around 400 pounds. The hand polished and intricately welded steel skin is coated inside with a rust blocking agent that is used on oil tankers and outside with a tough clear marine varnish. The base is a torch cut steel plate bolted to inch thick plywood with casters."
Also, check out the cool "ad" for the Electrolux DeathRay, featuring great lines like "this monster is the finger of god..."

(link courtesy of the awesome BoingBoing site)


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/17/2004 01:01:00 PM :

      

A New Comics Fan
Brandy and Tim McClurg are happy to announce the birth of their son,
Owen, born yesterday at 4:32 PM. Owen weighed in at 7 lbs, 8 ounces,
and measured 20 inches long.

Owen's first action was to reach for a copy of Panel (available from Ferret Press).


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  Posted by Dara on 6/17/2004 12:32:00 PM :

      

Science Catching Up with Fiction

An article on the NewScientist.com website talks about the advances being made in stun gun technology to target entire crowds, rather than an individual.
"Weapons that can incapacitate crowds of people by sweeping a lightning-like beam of electricity across them are being readied for sale to military and police forces in the US and Europe."
"...Meanwhile, Xtreme Alternative Defense Systems (XADS), based in Anderson, Indiana, will be one of the first companies to market another type of wireless weapon. Instead of using fibres, the $9000 Close Quarters Shock Rifle projects an ionised gas, or plasma, towards the target, producing a conducting channel. It will also interfere with electronic ignition systems and stop vehicles. "We will be able to fire a stream of electricity like water out of a hose at one or many targets in a single sweep," claims XADS president Peter Bitar."
(link courtesy of Disinformation)


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  Posted by Dara on 6/17/2004 11:55:00 AM :

      

4th Graders Sell $100 Worth of Mini-comics

Right on! From the Palisadian-Post weekly newspaper:
"Canyon School fourth graders Casey Alexander and Anthony Fedorko have turned their love of comics into a thriving business with their comic series 'Boom'...The classmates work on the comic during recess and after school....In January, the comic books began selling at HiDeHo in Santa Monica. So far the boys have earned close to $100, which they are putting back into the business to pay for copying costs.
(link courtesy of Artbomb)


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  Posted by Dara on 6/17/2004 11:32:00 AM :

      

Another Smart Move by a Comics Publisher

We need more publishers to do cross-promotions like this...from an IDW press release:
"IDW Publishing, known for innovative products and merchandising, has produced a mini-comic version of its Underworld movie adaptation one-shot. The mini comic has been inserted as an extra with the Underworld 2-disc Unrated Extended Cut DVD, released on May 25, 2004."


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  Posted by Tom on 6/17/2004 12:33:00 AM :

      

Well my hit count should perk back up as Oni's officially announced my graphic novel's set to release in September. (Eeek! I mean yaaa!) They've mentioned my sub-page as a link to the book. Weee-ha! If I keep up my progress I should be kissing that August deadline oh so close. It's odd as there's a release circling of projects coming out in October but not September. I'm going to run out and buy a copy of Previews and frame the page.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2004
 
  Posted by Craig on 6/16/2004 05:19:00 PM :

      

I recorded the interview about my Robert Johnson comic with WCBE's "Doctor Steve" last night. I managed to make it through the conversation without making a complete ass of myself, though at one point for no apparent reason I used the cringe-inducing nonword "absotively".
Mostly I kept my foot out of my mouth, and plugged both Panel and the Laughing Ogre. The interview will air sometime between 8-9 p.m. this Sunday (6/20) on "Blue Collar", the blues show on 90.5. It can be heard online at http://www.wcbe.org


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  Posted by Tony on 6/16/2004 04:58:00 PM :

      

Spent 45 minutes this morning waiting to cover a sentencing hearing -- unbeknownst to me there were two other hearings before it.

Before my hearing came up, I sat through a middle-aged man throwing himself on the mercy of the court. He pointed out he'd taken every educational and vocational course available in prison, and said he needed to take care of his grandmother and 6-year-old daughter. His grandmother, a wizened, shrunken woman, was in attendance.

Just as I'm sympathizing, the prosecutor reminds the judge that this fellow was caught with 7,000-8,000 child pornography images on his computer.

"The number of images is greater than this court has ever seen -- or even heard of, for that matter," the judge said, imposing the full nine-year sentence.

"Why I did what I did, I don't know," the guy said. "I'm hoping she (my daughter) never finds out what her father did, for her sake."

And while I’m listening to this, I get a parking ticket. I'm off to drown my sorrows in comix,
Tony.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/16/2004 01:48:00 PM :

      

Garfield's "soulless-by-design" Principle

Slate has an interesting article about how Garfield became such a huge success due to Jim Davis' intentional plan of making a strip that's, as the article's writer puts it, "Predictable, unfunny, and eminently forgettable." And of course we all know he succeeded...just check out these numbers:
"Today, Garfield the comic strip appears in nearly 2,600 newspapers around the globe, and its readership is estimated at 260 million. If the readership number is right, then 4 percent of the world's population reads Garfield every single day. Garfield products—sold in 111 countries—rake in between $750 million and $1 billion each year."
So here's the thing: I can't really begrudge the man for intentionally setting out to make a money-making merchandise machine. After all, in any other field we call those people entrepreneur and hold them in high esteem. And he didn't just get lucky, he did his research, studied other successes, and had a definite business plan. But still...

I think it bothers me because in this case the insipid, bland, soulless corporate machine intersects with the world of art and that just somehow makes it less palatable to me. I guess I have more respect for people like Bill Watterson who had a fair amount of success (both artistically and financially), but did so with a bit of restraint. There are no Calvin and Hobbes plush toys, pizza boxes, pez dispensers, or tired old Bill Murray movies. The work stood on its own merits, and based on that strength translated into huge book sales and financial reward for its creator.

By contrast, you've got this with Garfield:
"Davis makes no attempt to conceal the crass commercial motivations behind his creation of Garfield...The genesis of the strip was "a conscious effort to come up with a good, marketable character," Davis told Walter Shapiro in a 1982 interview in the Washington Post. "And primarily an animal. … Snoopy is very popular in licensing. Charlie Brown is not." So, Davis looked around and noticed that dogs were popular in the funny papers, but there wasn't a strip for the nation's 15 million cat owners. Then, he consciously developed a stable of recurring, repetitive jokes for the cat. He hates Mondays. He loves lasagna. He sure is fat...Garfield's origins were so mercantile that it's fair to say he never sold out—he never had any integrity to put on the auction block to begin with."
Oh well, whatever floats peoples boats.

(link courtesy of PvP)


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  Posted by Dara on 6/16/2004 11:42:00 AM :

      

Local Boy Sean McKeever in The Dispatch

Well, it's no ThisWeek article on Ferret Press and Panel, but I suppose McKeever's done good :-) Despite the funny goof on the reporter's part:
"The Waiting Room, his first work in comics for an independent publisher, involved youths in a small Wisconsin town.
Click here for The Dispatch article on McKeever's new Mary Jane series.

"Sean’s characters are all believable," said Gib Bickel, coowner of the Laughing Ogre, a comic-book shop on the North Side. "When Sentinel ended with issue 12, I had to call him to find out what happened."


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  Posted by Dara on 6/16/2004 11:29:00 AM :

      

Franco-Belgian Marvel

Also from this week's Lying in the Gutters column: "Marvel Transatlantique" is the official name of a series of original European Marvel graphic novels, done in the standard hardcover, large-size format.="">
"...veteran Italian creators, Tito Faraci and Giorgio Cavazzano are also working on a US Marvel project, this time for Spider-Man. A one shot story set in Venice..."
And here's the official French solicitation copy:
MARVEL TRANSATLANTIQUE - 1 - Marvel France
22/04/2004
48 pages, en librairie seulement

Premier volume de la collection TRANSATLANTIQUE ! Cette nouvelle ligne accueille des aventures, mettant en scène des personnages Marvel, écrites et dessinées par des artistes européens ! Tito Faraci – un pilier des éditions Disney – et Giorgio Cavazzano (Pif, Mickey Mouse) donnent le coup d'envoi avec Spider-Man qui mène une surprenante enquête pendant le carnaval de Venise. Un magnifique album agrémenté de croquis inédits et d'une interview des auteurs.
Prix couverture 10.5 €





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  Posted by Dara on 6/16/2004 11:26:00 AM :

      

Retired Superheroes

Um, not sure what this is all about...found it at this week's Lying in the Gutters column...



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  Posted by Tony on 6/16/2004 11:04:00 AM :

      

"I want a book to break my heart; everything else is television."
-- novelist Jim Lewis, debating Jeffrey Eugenides on the history of modernism for slate.com.
http://slate.msn.com/id/2102446/entry/0/


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  Posted by Tom on 6/16/2004 12:38:00 AM :

      

Has Catwoman let you down? It has me. It might pick back up in the next arc but the end to this last arc with the fantasy ending was hugely dissapointing. The thing I always liked about Brubaker's story was it's grounding in reality. (Well about as real as one get's in comics) To suddenly jump like that with a cheesy Dallas-style ending can make one drop a book. This doesn't take into consideration the shitty shitty penciling of Gulacy. He's DC's answer to Marvel's Mark Bagley. Catwoman used to be an oasis from all the cliche's celebrated by Gulacy's work. I tolerated Gulacy's pencils because of Brubaker's writing. Now I hear that Gulacy will be penciling the book basically till he tires of it. Yikes.


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Tuesday, June 15, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/15/2004 07:34:00 AM :

      

Teleportation

Full story here.
"Last month, the ANU [Australian National University] announced it was "the first in the world to demonstrate the sharing of secrets via teleportation...researchers used crystals, lenses and mirrors to produce a pair of 'entangled' laser beams that are then used to carry fragile information in the form of quantum states. These quantum states cannot be measured or copied, making eavesdropping impossible."


(link courtesy of Disinformation.com)


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  Posted by Dara on 6/15/2004 05:42:00 AM :

      

The Funkiest Hotel Ever

Check out the 43 different themed rooms in the Propeller Island City Lodge in Germany. For around 100 Euros a night, you can stay in rooms featuring coffins as beds, a giant plastic bag shower, spy-mirror to the next room, bed in a cage, or designed like a prison cell with the toilet right by your bed! I love those crazy Germans! (link courtesy of BoingBoing)







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Monday, June 14, 2004
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/14/2004 03:27:00 PM :

      

Our Own Tom Williams
Today's featured review on the Optical Sloth Web site is Panel's Thomas Williams.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/14/2004 03:25:00 PM :

      

The Independent...reviews? bashes?...McSweeney's 13

(link courtesy of ArtBlog)

England's The Independent has a review of sorts by Martin Rowson of the all-comics edition of the McSweeney's issue edited by Chris Ware. It starts with some backhanded compliments, and ends with a big ol' dis of the genre.
"I'm not entirely sure what point Ware's making, or indeed what the point of this lavishly and beautifully produced book actually is. Is it, as it first appears, an anthology of contemporary American comic book art, a rather heavier version of Spiegelman's Raw? At that level it works very well, with contributions from Ware himself, and from modern masters like Robert Crumb, Kim Deitch and Joe Sacco, who with his comic books on Palestine and Bosnia has more or less single-handedly created a new genre of politically engaged cartoon reportage. Naturally, this is interspersed with a good deal of badly drawn, badly scripted and self-obsessed stuff typical of the current trend for solipsistic autobiography in American comics, sub-Crumb and mostly crummy, but there you go. The reader can pick and choose as the mood takes him or her (no, that should just be him)."
"Except that comics aren't and shouldn't be respectable...Ware, after all, is rich and famous, and thanks to this book will doubtless be mobbed by the thousands and thousands of ageing retards for whom comics still float their boat. Which is fine, but I wish he and the rest of them would accept that, in the ecology of culture, comics flourish where they are for a reason, and so he should stop pushing against an open door into an empty room.
"
Ouch!


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  Posted by Dara on 6/14/2004 03:20:00 PM :

      

Hey Tom, was this your neighbor?

Somali Charged with Plotting to Blow Up Ohio Mall.
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Somali man living in Ohio was charged with plotting with al Qaeda supporters to blow up a shopping mall in Columbus, Ohio, Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Monday."
Tom, I remember you saying someone in your neighborhood was recently arrested for being a terrorist. Was it this guy?

Man, the local media is going to have a field day with this story for weeks. It's the most exciting thing to have happened here since the "lion on the loose" story!


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  Posted by Dara on 6/14/2004 03:01:00 PM :

      

Illegal Art

Check out the website of Illegal Art: Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age for some cool works, including Wally Wood's disturbing "Disneyland Memorial Orgy".

 
 
"The Illegal Art Exhibit will celebrate what is rapidly becoming the "degenerate art" of a corporate age: art and ideas on the legal fringes of intellectual property. Some of the pieces in the show have eluded lawyers; others have had to appear in court."


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  Posted by Dara on 6/14/2004 02:55:00 PM :

      

Reagan's Osama Bin Laden Connection

From an article on Slate:
"Ten years earlier, had Reagan taken Gorbachev's deal, Afghanistan probably still wouldn't have emerged as the "friendly, neutral country" of Gorby's dreams. Yet it might have been a neutral enough country to preclude a Taliban takeover. And if the Russian-Afghan war had ended earlier—if Reagan had embraced Gorbachev on the withdrawal, as he did that same autumn on the massive cutback of nuclear weapons—Osama Bin Laden today might not even be a footnote in history."


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Sunday, June 13, 2004
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/13/2004 02:34:00 PM :

      

I just caught the MTV Movie Awards which I know I'm well out of the target audience (by about 5 or 6 years.) I made an exception with live performances from the Beastie Boys and the YYY's. The bit at the begining with the Sam + Frodo gay flick was priceless. The Yeah Yeah Yeah's stole the show. Now if only they'd hit Columbus. Maybe they could bring the midget keeper of the corn.


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Friday, June 11, 2004
 
  Posted by Tony on 6/11/2004 04:27:00 PM :

      

"I've seen a lot of old clips of President Reagan this week," adds Nikita. "And I see why he got over: When he was in front of a microphone, he made his point. He really was the Great Communicator. He would have been a great wrestler."

Nikita Koloff (Scott Simpson), formerly of the Charlotte, N.C.-based National Wrestling Association.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2102264/


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  Posted by Dara on 6/11/2004 03:49:00 PM :

      

Anatomy of a Blockbuster

So when it comes to those $100+ million movies, where exactly does the money go? The Guardian's Archie Thomas takes a look at the budget for Spiderman 2 and attempts to break down the costs. Some very interesting facts and figures. Snippets:

"Script & development: $10m - The script budget on a film is typically 5% of the total budget. In 1999, Sony inked a potentially revolutionary deal with 31 A-list Hollywood writers, promising 2% of gross receipts once the studio had recouped costs...Considering Spider-Man made $821m [£446m] worldwide, writer David Koepp is considered to be the biggest beneficiary of the Sony deal, netting an eight-figure payday."
"Stan Lee, the co-creator of the Spider-Man comic character, acts as executive producer on Spider-Man 2. Marvel pay Lee an annual salary of $1m [£540,000], but Lee has threatened to sue for a share of profits from licensing."
"...one of Hollywood's better-kept secrets is the phenomenal fees producers can get. Including performance-related bonuses, or "bumps", from Spider-Man reaching box-office targets, producer Laura Ziskin is rumoured to have pocketed over $30m [£16m]."
And of course this piece of movie gossip, which is for some weird reason interesting to me despite the fact that I abhor "movie star gossip":
"Tobey Maguire landed the title role after first-choice Heath Ledger passed. His payday of $4m [£2m] for Spider-Man leapt to an upfront $17m [£9m] for the sequel, although it was not always a foregone conclusion he would keep the Peter Parker role. In fact, Maguire was fired, replaced, and then rehired. His fee was not the problem but Columbia felt his petulant behaviour during pre-production didn't reflect enough gratitude to the studio. Coming off the demanding Seabiscuit shoot, which had required strict dieting, Maguire persistently complained of a bad back. Unimpressed, top brass considered recasting the movie. An offer was made to Jake Gyllenhaal. This made sense because his turn opposite Jennifer Aniston in indie hit The Good Girl had made him hot property, and he was the new date of Kirsten Dunst, Maguire's ex-girlfriend. The move for Gyllenhaal was a shot across the bows for Maguire.

At that point, Maguire's team of representatives stepped in, as did Ron Meyer, president of Vivendi Universal, and father of Jennifer Meyer (Maguire's current beau). They all assured the studio that Maguire would behave, as would his achy back. Maguire agreed to medical tests that would prove his fitness for duty after Columbia took the unusual step of insisting that the renegotiated contract contain specific clauses stating that Maguire's back was in good condition."
(link courtesy of Thought Balloons)


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  Posted by Tony on 6/11/2004 11:40:00 AM :

      

Here’s a company in Canton, Bosley Bobbers, that makes bobblehead dolls of political figures such as George Dubya, John Kerry and Gov. Bob Taft. I assume it’s a nonpartisan bobblehead site, as most of the likenesses are pretty straight-up.

They also have other celebrities such as Sammy Davis Jr., Alfalfa and Vince Lombardi. The company is a division of ODM Inc.

http://www.bosleybobbers.com/index.html


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  Posted by Dara on 6/11/2004 09:34:00 AM :

      

Sign O' The Times? More Comics for Women...

Snippets from a press release by A18 publishing group:
"A18 Corporation is pleased to announce the upcoming August launch of Be Beautiful, a brand new graphic novel imprint devoted to romance and relationships aimed at adult female readers."
"Both books are examples of "yaoi"- a popular Japanese publishing genre created by female artists and writers for the enjoyment of female readers, usually featuring relationships involving impossibly beautiful men, and diverse interpretations of the “pure love" concept. Be Beautiful graphic novels offer beautifully illustrated stories of romantic fantasy similar to traditional romance novels."
"A18 Corporation is the industry leader in mature anime and manga graphic novels. Be Beautiful, a graphic novel imprint aimed at college age and older female readers, depicts stories about love and relationships similar to those found in traditional romance novels. A18 Corporation products are distributed exclusively by Central Park Media."


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/11/2004 08:12:00 AM :

      

D'oh
This picture of Homer Simpson really freaks me out.


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Thursday, June 10, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/10/2004 04:52:00 PM :

      

Comic Book Galaxy reviews BigCityBlues

Chris Allen of the newly re-launched ComicBookGalaxy.com reviews BigCityBlues.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/10/2004 04:49:00 PM :

      

Broken Frontier reviews AKA

Columnist Shawn Hoke of BrokenFrontier.com reviews AKA, along with several other indy books. Check it out.I also sent him Panel: Space, but it's not reviewed. Maybe next time.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/10/2004 04:18:00 PM :

      

Chinese Comics

The East Bay Express newspaper has an article on Chinese comics and the US distributor trying to position them as the next managa-size blockbuster, Comics One. Of the company's foray into the translated Chinese comics market, it has this to say:
"But the rights to the biggest [manga] titles were already locked up, and [Robin] Kuo couldn't catch a break. That's when he had an epiphany: the Japanese line may have been monopolized, but no one had bothered to secure the rights to the booming Chinese comic book industry."
And this about the differences between the two:
"Not only were Chinese comics available, but their sensibility, aesthetics, and pacing were so distinct from the manga style that Kuo and ComicsOne editor Sean Sanders became convinced that theirs was an untapped cultural niche. Whereas manga is typically black-and-white, heavily stylized, and covers everything from sports to superheroes to girly coming-of-age stories, Chinese comics are luridly painted, usually restricted to medieval and ancient settings, and obsessed with kung fu."
I also found this tidbit to be interesting:
"And ComicsOne may have an even bigger hurdle to jump: the structural limitations built into Chinese pop culture itself. It's no accident that Chinese comic books almost exclusively deal in ancient settings and kung fu; just like mainland Chinese movies, they're pursuing the few plot lines that won't get them in trouble with the communists."
Sort of reminds me of the current Iranian cinema, which deals exclusively with slice-of-life stories in order to avoid government censorship, a genre which in turn allows for subversive social and political commentary.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/10/2004 03:23:00 PM :

      

It's a Bird...(for real this time)

Comic scribe Steven seagle's interview was finally aired on NPR's Fresh Air yesterday. Here's a link to listen to the archived show online. From the site:
Seagle has written for Superman and Uncanny X-Men as well as House of Secrets: Foundation, a supernatural court drama comic. He's teamed up with artist Teddy Kristiansen for the new graphic novel, It's a Bird... In this semi-autographical book Seagle deconstructs the classic Superman myth and reflects on power and powerlessness.


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  Posted by Tony on 6/10/2004 09:45:00 AM :

      

How Uncanny Is My Valley?

In 1978, the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori noticed something interesting: The more humanlike his robots became, the more people were attracted to them, but only up to a point. If an android become too realistic and lifelike, suddenly people were repelled and disgusted.

The problem, Mori realized, is in the nature of how we identify with robots. When an android, such as R2-D2 or C-3PO, barely looks human, we cut it a lot of slack. It seems cute. We don't care that it's only 50 percent humanlike. But when a robot becomes 99 percent lifelike—so close that it's almost real—we focus on the missing 1 percent. We notice the slightly slack skin, the absence of a truly human glitter in the eyes. The once-cute robot now looks like an animated corpse. Our warm feelings, which had been rising the more vivid the robot became, abruptly plunge downward. Mori called this plunge "the Uncanny Valley," the paradoxical point at which a simulation of life becomes so good it's bad.

...

Comic-strip artists have known this for years. As comic-book theorist Scott McCloud points out, we identify more deeply with simply drawn cartoon characters, like those in Peanuts, than with more realistic ones. Charlie Brown doesn't trigger our obsession with the missing details the way a not-quite-photorealistic character does, so we project ourselves onto him more easily. That's part of the genius behind modernist artists such as Picasso or Matisse. They realized that the best way to capture the essence of a person or object was with a single, broad-stroked detail.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2102086/


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Tuesday, June 08, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/08/2004 05:38:00 PM :

      

Stop Eating Poop!

Check out The Top 25 Weirdest Items You Can Purchase Through Amazon! We're talking everything from Solid Gold S.E.P. (Stop Eating Poop), to live lobsters, to owl puke, to chocolate-dipped pork rinds! Mmmmmmmmm.

    


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  Posted by Tony on 6/08/2004 02:37:00 PM :

      

Decent idea, so-so writing, awful name:

“Team D Magazine, the first statewide magazine ever to focus exclusively on Ohio politics and national political issues from a Democratic point of view has recently been launched bringing political news, social commentary in depth features and humor to people inevery county across Ohio.”

http://www.teamdmagazine.com


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Monday, June 07, 2004
 
  Posted by bigbaldkid on 6/07/2004 11:32:00 PM :

      

http://www.stpetersburgtimes.com/2004/04/26/prompictures/page1.shtml

soooo. how was your prom?
it was fine mom.
you didnt let johnny get to second? did you?
noooo.... he was a perfect gentleman.
i did get an autograph from flock o seagulls though. an lisa spilled punch on....hell you get the picture. enjoy. i boycotted my prom.


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Saturday, June 05, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/05/2004 01:59:00 PM :

      

We're In!

Gentlemen, I just received the official letter from Comfest confirming our booth! Naturally, I'd like as many of you to be able to help (and have your artwork available for sale) during the 3-day festival, so please plan accordingly:

Friday, June 25, noon-11
Saturday, June 26, noon-11
Sunday, June 27, noon-10

More info can be found at the Comfest website. Rock on.


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Friday, June 04, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/04/2004 12:23:00 PM :

      

Comic Book Idol 2

So what do you guys think of the 10 contestants chosen for this year's Comic Book Idol? Any favorites? Wanna bet on the winner?


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  Posted by Dara on 6/04/2004 09:50:00 AM :

      

Embroidered Comics!

Sculptor Mark Newport knits life size superhero costumes as art. he also does other funky stuff like embroidered comics books, beaded trading cards, etc. His gallery show SUPERHERO PANTHEON runs in Seattle August 5 - 28, 2004. (link courtesy of BoingBoing, who call him "charmingly strange")

The superhero costumes go for about $5000. The embroidered comic covers are $1800.





And my favorite, "THE STRIPPERS SERIES, 1994-96". Found trading cards with hand-beading by the artist 3.5 x 2.5 inches $300. each.




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  Posted by Dara on 6/04/2004 09:33:00 AM :

      

Simpsons - Map of Springfield

What happens when a bunch of Simpsons fans with waaaaay too much time on their hands examine each episode in detail? They create a detailed map of the fictional city of Springfield, complete with a business directory.



And check this out:
"The Map of Springfield has been added to the Harvard Map Collection of the Harvard College Library. The Harvard Map Collection is the oldest map collection in America, and has a strong commitment to digital resources."
A few of my favorite shop/location names:

Abercrombie & Rich
Alternative Knifestyles
Bloodbath and Beyond Gunshop
Call Me Delish-mael
Cost-Mo
High Pressure Tire Sales
The Golden Banana (Male Exotic Dancers)
J.R.R. Toykins
Mom and Pop Hardware (a subsidiary of Global Dynamics)
Museum of Sadness and Oppression

...and so on...


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  Posted by Dara on 6/04/2004 09:27:00 AM :

      

Cool
For you artists looking to draw sharp looking sports cars...Toyota is naming the first high-performance hybrid vehicle in honor of Alessandro Volta, who invented the electric battery in 1800.




From HowStuffWorks.com:
"The Volta is powered by a V6 with an electric motor on each axle. The engine provides 408 horsepower and allows the car to travel 435 miles (700 km) on a 13.7-gallon (51.86 liter) tank...To prove that hybrid technology can be used in a high-performance vehicle, the Volta can go from 0-60 mph (95.56 km/hour) in 4 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph (249 km/hour). It won't compete with Lamborghini or Ferrari with that top speed, but it uses a lot less gas."


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Thursday, June 03, 2004
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/03/2004 03:46:00 PM :

      

Rapidograph
eye - Rapid progress - 06.03.04 is an article about a tool of the trade: the rapidograph.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/03/2004 03:32:00 PM :

       Non-comics News

Non-Comics news

Also from Steven Grant's column:
"The scenario now being choked back in Washington is that the Iranians, through their agent Chalabi, played on the Hand Puppet's long-announced obsession with Saddam Hussein by feeding him what he and his trusted advisors most wanted to hear, and getting the United States to eliminate Iran's most hated enemy for them while leaving their hands clean. Such manipulation may not be unthinkable, but raising the specter of it in an election year apparently is."


Nice.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/03/2004 03:24:00 PM :

       Stupid-ass Reporters

Stupid-ass Reporters

Check it out, the first sentence of a Wall Street Journal article about DC comics taking over Archie Comic's advertising sales:
"NEW YORK -- Zap! Pow! Batman and Jughead are joining forces to help comic books vanquish their kiddie-magazine competition."

AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGH! Stupid fucker! What is it with mainstream reporters that they feel the need to start EVERY - SINGLE - FUCKING article or story about comics with "Zap! Pow!"

God, I swear that shit just drives me crazy.

Anyway, in case you're interested in the article, it's reprinted in this week's Permanent Damage column. Here's the gist of it:
"DC is taking over Archie's advertising sales, and presenting marketers with a "kids' network" of what should be more than 20 comic-book titles in 2005 aimed at children. The companies will guarantee advertisers a total monthly circulation of 1.3 million. Ads will run in the same position in all network comic books each month. Such four-color derring-do is aimed at foiling competitors such as Viacom's Nickelodeon Magazine, Walt Disney's Disney Adventures and National Geographic Society's National Geographic Kids...The projected rate for a full-page ad in the new "DC Comics 2005 Kids Group" will be $36,478. By contrast, a four-color full-page ad in the adult-skewing Maxim, published by Dennis Publishing, costs $179,000; the magazine guarantees advertisers a 2.5 million circulation."


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/03/2004 01:54:00 PM :

       The Onion A.V. Club | Feature

The Onion A.V. Club | Feature
Batman, Charles Schultz, Don DeLillo, Chris Ware are all mentioned in this interview with artist Chip Kidd.


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Wednesday, June 02, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/02/2004 10:18:00 PM :

      

Comfest Update

Well, no official update yet. They were supposed to let everyone know by the end of May if their Street Fair application was accepted or not, but still no word.

However...

The check I sent them has been cashed, so that's got to be a good sign. Right?


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  Posted by Tony on 6/02/2004 04:09:00 PM :

      

"Mundanes"

Many of you were wondering why an Imperial Death Star gunner was walking down Nationwide Boulevard Saturday. The answer is: Marcon.

The sci-fi convention was originally held in March, but a source tells me the Hyatt moved it to Memorial Day to reduce "occasional unfriendly or drunken encounters" with civilians. My source adds conventioneers refer to civilians as "mundanes."

"Mundane," if memory serves, is a term from Piers Anthony's "Xanth" series that refers to anyone without a magical talent. Your humble correspondent was a sci/fi-fantasy geek in middle school, before deciding comix were a less debilitating form of geekdom.


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/02/2004 12:07:00 PM :

      

New to Me

This was created by the Church Sign Generator, something I hadn't seen before, but is pretty cool. It would have been cooler if I could have thought of something more witty to say.


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