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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Saturday, July 31, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/31/2004 01:25:00 PM :

      

Art of Adrian Barbu

My Romanian partner in crime has a new online host for his artwork. Check out Adrian's kick-ass work over at the VisualArt website. This is my favorite piece ever.




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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 7/31/2004 10:30:00 AM :

      

Indulge Me
Please pardon the interruption with this non-comic news, but Melanie and I received news yesterday about our adoption. There is a seven-month old baby girl waiting for us in China. Her name is Jiang Wen Zhi and she is healthy. We'll probably be traveling in September to pick her up. Read our Adoption Journal for full details, but in the meantime, enjoy this picture of Jiang Wen Zhi.



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Friday, July 30, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/30/2004 03:06:00 PM :

      

This Month's Marvel Comic Covers: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Ok, continuing on with the comic cover reviews that I started back here, today we're going to look at Marvel's covers for books shipping in October. And when Craig said "The good Marvel covers may be a very short list. I seriously dislike their practice of pin-up art covers that don't say anything about the individual issue," he was pretty much right on. If there's a single word to use to generalize all Marvel covers, it's got to be "boring".

As always, for a look at the larger sized images of these covers, go here.

::::::::::::::::::::::: The Good :::::::::::::::::::::::

X-MEN: THE END: BOOK ONE - DREAMERS AND DEMONS #4 (of 6) by GREG LAND (not dynamic at all, but the detail on the background machinery combined with the lighting and the sinister look on the character's face gives this cover a real ominous feel)


STOKER'S DRACULA #1 (OF 4) by DICK GIORDANO (it may still be a single-character cover, but leave it to the old school masters to show the proper use of design, shadows, and placement)


BULLSEYE: GREATEST HITS #2 (of 5) by MIKE DEODATO JR. (dark humor, and I love how the unconscious catcher's feet frame the image of the malicious Bullseye)


WARLOCK #2 by J.H. WILLIAMS III (doing his best Dave Johnson riff, but combining it with his own detailed and realistic style. I could care less about the character, but this cover rocks)


SHE-HULK #8 by MIKE MAYHEW (funny, great facial expressions)


::::::::::::::::::::::: The Bad :::::::::::::::::::::::

Too many to note individually, so let's just change this category from "Bad" to just "FUCKING BORING!!!" (which means the art - for the most part - is good, but as covers go they fail miserably in capturing your attention or making you curious about the content of the books)




::::::::::::::::::::::: The Ugly :::::::::::::::::::::::

ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE #3 (OF 5) by TREVOR HAIRSINE (hideous colors, murky art, lost detail...a disappointment from this otherwise solid artist)


VENOM VS. CARNAGE #4 (of 4) by Clayton Crain (WTF?)


X-FORCE #3 by ROB LIEFELD (Look ma, no backgrounds! Even on a cover! Plus bad anatomy. Yep, I'm one lazy-ass son of a bitch.)


CABLE/DEADPOOL VOL. 1: IF LOOKS COULD KILL TPB by ROB LIEFELD (Look ma, no backgrounds! Even on a cover! Plus bad anatomy. Yep, I'm one lazy-ass...oh, forget it.)


and just for fun, a couple of new categories this time around :-)

::::::::::::::::::::::: The Homoerotic :::::::::::::::::::::::

WOLVERINE: THE END #6 (OF 6) by CLAUDIO CASTELLINI (as drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs used to say, "they're making the sign of the twin-humped aardvark...")


HULK & THING: HARD KNOCKS #2 (OF 4) by JAE LEE (a sweet embrace, a Mike Tyson ear nibble...)


::::::::::::::::::::::: The Pseudo Child Porn :::::::::::::::::::::::

EMMA FROST #16 by GREG HORN (no comment necessary)


The verdict? While there are many talented artists working at Marvel, the editorial edict that covers should be more like pin-ups and have nothing to do with the actual story content are hamstringing these gifted people.


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Thursday, July 29, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/29/2004 05:34:00 PM :

      

Batman Begins trailer

The (first of I'm sure many) Batman Begins teaser trailers is now online.

  


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  Posted by Dara on 7/29/2004 05:29:00 PM :

      

Vertigo and Wildstorm for kids?

So if you go to the Kids WB home page, you'll see an ad in the lower right hand corner. Amongst the rotating ads that are displayed there: link to Vertigo website and the Wildstorm website.

Somebody screwed up huh?


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  Posted by Dara on 7/29/2004 05:19:00 PM :

      

Listing of (mostly) indy comics publishers

Check out this British site for a listing of many US independent publishers and their characters and/or universes. Includes many, many now-defunct companies that used to publish great books, such as First and Eclipse.

     




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  Posted by Tony on 7/29/2004 11:06:00 AM :

      

I find it difficult to write a story in which no one dies.

With a murder, the story has a built in structure: It starts with death, then moves toward revelation and/or punishment. With slices of life, the possible endings are infinite. Also, the cliches -- the sitcom ending, the Lifetime Movie ending, etc. -- are very tempting.

Incidentally,
Tony.


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  Posted by Tony on 7/29/2004 11:01:00 AM :

      

I miss Gillian Anderson, too ...

... but I feel better now that I've found her blog.

http://www.gilliananderson.ws/messages/index.shtml

For more celebrity blogs, including Asia Carrera and Fred Durst, click here:

http://www.ratatak.com/cblogs/modules/news/


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  Posted by Dara on 7/29/2004 10:11:00 AM :

      

Bone collection already sold out of initial print run! 

Newsarama reports that many retailers will be shorted copies of the Bone collection due to the 400 copies that Jeff Smith sold out of at Sand Diego Con. They'll have to wait on part of their order until Jeff goes back to press with another huge printing.
"Problem was, Smith's estimate of how many books needed to be printed was low. About 50% low. "We figured out how many copies we wanted for San Diego, and then guessed at how many the rest of the market would handle. Even considering that this was a $40 book, we thought we ordered really generously, and figured we'd be able to cover all orders. We ordered right around 5,000 copies, and everything started processing. A short time later, the numbers came in for orders - it was 10,000. That just blew us away. When the orders came in, we were caught completely flat footed, and then, demand at the show was completely unexpected."
First of all, congrats to Jeff for this incredible success. Self-publishing is a tough, tough business and Jeff deserves every single bit of recognition (both critical and financial) that he gets because he's poured everything into this book.

Secondly, for those few retailers that moaned and bitched about "we got shafted" and "he shouldn't have debuted the book at San Diego", etc. etc. etc. I'd like to say a great big FUCK YOU! It's not like he intentionally tried to screw anyone over. He took a big gamble overprinting based on his estimates. It was a $40 book, not to mention the whole series was already published in single issues AND trades. How much demand could there have been for it given those facts? As fate would have it, a lot, but the point is he had no way of knowing that. And besides, you'll still get your books, albeit a bit late. The Bone fans who pre-ordered those books will wait for them, trust me. They obviously really want it. So seriously:





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  Posted by Tony on 7/29/2004 10:01:00 AM :

      

America: Earth’s 21st Century Country

Here’s the first and last grafs of Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman’s speech to the Democratic National Convention last night. It has nothing to do with comix, but it’s what’s on my mind this morning.

I'm Mike Coleman, mayor of America's 21st Century City, Columbus, Ohio. From the shores of Lake Erie to the banks of the Ohio River, the great state of Ohio stands squarely in the Heartland of America. And in the middle of Ohio is the great City of Columbus, the largest city in the state. I call Columbus "America's 21st Century City" because our best days are still ahead. Columbus remains strong in the face of Ohio's loss of over 200,000 jobs. Columbus remains strong because we bring people together to get things done -- no matter where you grew up, where you go to church, where you work, how you vote, or how much money you make.

...

I proudly second the nomination of Senator John Kerry as the next President of the United States of America. I am also proud to know Senator John Edwards. These are two men who I have welcomed to my city, worshipped with in Columbus churches, walked through our neighborhoods so that they could see the spirit of Columbus. I do not take this responsibility lightly because tonight I dedicate this nomination to the many sons and daughters serving in the United States Armed Forces, whether serving here at home, overseas in Iraq or in Afghanistan ... I dedicate this nomination to my son, Lance Corporal John David Coleman, a United States Marine training in Israel today. John Kerry, I trust you to lead him as he performs his duty, and I pray that one day we can bring all of America's daughters and sons home safe and sound to a better America, a United America. God Bless you and God Bless America.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/29/2004 09:43:00 AM :

      

Hollywood and Comic Book Properties

So despite the hard time I gave those "secret Spider-man movie" guys below, I do agree that the majority of the time Hollywood screws up any sort of adaptation by dumbing down the material and making arbitrary changes. From Rich Johnston's column, a quote overheard at San Diego Comic Con:
"Our job is to try to get them not to screw things up. We fail, most of the time." - Greg Noveck on representing DC properties to TV and film.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/28/2004 04:43:00 PM :

      

Columbus Underground

Columbus Underground has started a moblog (short for mobile blog). If you've got a cell phone with a built in camera, just snap a picture around town and upload it to the Columbus Underground moblog. "Visitors can leave comments on individual pictures and also rank them accordingly."

   

(link courtesy of DavesBeer)




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  Posted by Dara on 7/28/2004 01:48:00 PM :

      

"Secret Spider-man Movie" and delusional fans

Ok, I really don't want to come off like an elitist comic fan, but man, sometimes you just want to shake your fellow fans and yell "get a life!" So these two guys are all upset at how the "StudiHo's" are ruining comic book characters by making horrible, horrible movies. You know, like that horrible Spider-man 2. So they're asking for donations in order to make their own Spider-man 3 movie and stay true to the character. Delusional statement from their website (red highlight is theirs, not mine):
"We are going pick up where Spider-Man 2 leaves off and make a short version of Spider-Man 3 that is completely loyal to the original Spider-Man series before Columbia Pictures goes into production next summer. We are then going to take our film to Marvel and show them how compelling even a limited budget film can be when that film stays true to the original story. Once they see that they can fulfill their duty to protect the sanctity of comics and make money at the same time, they will force Columbia to also stay true to the comic and save the franchise before its too late."
Oooookay, because that's going to happen.

If you dig through the site a bit, you'll see a "trailer" showing other (stereotypically geeky) comic fans supporting them by ranting against the Hollywood crap machine. Which, hey, I agree with for the most part, but making your own low-budget Spidey movie ain't gonna' do jack to change things. Plus, people just aren't going to take you seriously when you start ranting about inconsequential stuff like this:
"They altered the history Spider-Man the comic, and in doing so they have created an entirely new and misinformed legion of comic fans who now believe Spidey shoots webs organically."
The message board is an interesting little train wreck of a show, too. Divided down the middle between "you guys rock!" and "you dorks are retarded" discourse. My favorite:
"So you want to make a Spiderman movie that's completely true to the comic? Does that mean you're going to turn Mary Jane into a drug addict? How about having J. Jonah Jameson piloting that stupid robot Spider hunter thing? Ooh, I know! Peter could grow six arms with the help of Dr. Connors to cure this illness he had in movie #2. OH WAIT! "Stop the Press!" to quote Jack. I know exactly what should be the plot for the threequel. THE CLONE SAGA!!! The ultimate Spiderman story EVER!"
(link to this goofy story courtesy of BoingBoing)


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 7/28/2004 01:39:00 PM :

      

In Response to Dara's Plea
Check out this story in Wired about bloggers who get tired of blogging: Wired News: Bloggers Suffer Burnout. I don't think we are burned out yet, but the rest of us need to lend Dara a hand with the posts so he doesn't flame out.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/28/2004 12:10:00 PM :

      

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Hey, am I the only one posting lately? What's up guys? C'mon, I know you have stuff to say and share.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/28/2004 09:14:00 AM :

      

Yeah, yeah, God blah blah blah...but is it Low Carb?

 
"Meet the Bible Bar - one of the greatest new products ever introduced to the Christian market. This fantastic-tasting, all natural whole food bar contains the seven foods which the Lord calls good in Deuteronomy 8:8 - Wheat, Barley, Honey, Figs, Olive Oil, Grapes, and Pomegranates."
If you're interested in learning more about the wondrous and fascinating world of "biblical nutrition", go here.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/28/2004 09:04:00 AM :

      

McSweeny's on Catwoman

From the Lists section of the McSweeny's website, Things I'd Rather Do Than Go See Catwoman:
  • Build a sandcastle for the sole purpose of having it kicked in my face.
  • Fall from a reasonably high ledge.
  • Swallow several Legos.
  • Rip a dollar into three unequal pieces.
  • Buy an expensive pair of pants and then spill grape juice all over the crotch.
  • Fill out a Mad Libs and then eat it.
  • Have a colonoscopy.
  • Wake up very early and go running


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Tuesday, July 27, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/27/2004 05:16:00 PM :

      

Geoff Darrow is Insane!

Art from his upcoming Burlyman Entertainment book, Shaolin Cowboy:



(click thumbnail above to see a larger sized version)


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  Posted by Dara on 7/27/2004 10:33:00 AM :

      

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere adapted by Vertigo

From a Newsarama article:

"Vertigo will publish a nine issue adaptation of his novel Neverwhere, scripted by Mike Carey, with art by Glenn Fabry. The miniseries is slated to begin in November."

"In terms of the working process, while Gaiman is responsible for the source material, his interaction with Carey is quite limited. “They send me Mike's scripts as a courtesy, and I read them,” Gaiman said. “Not sure that I've had anything at all sensible to say so far. Mike's an excellent writer and I feel like my baby is in safe hands."



This should be a fun read. I read the US edition of the novel first, then watched the BBC TV series that came before it (you can read my review of it here). Can't wait to see Glenn Fabry's visualization of all the characters, though I'll probably wait and pick it up in the trade format.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/27/2004 10:28:00 AM :

      

San Diego Comic Con odds and ends

From the Newsarama roundup:

"Spotted at the NBM booth, and coming next year, graphic novel series based on The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew adolescent novel series. The first Hardy Boys GN, Hardy Boys: The Ocean of Osyria is written by former X-writer Scott Lobdell, and illustrated by Lea Hernandez; while Nancy Drew: The River Heights Demon is written by Stefan Petrucha and illustrated by Sho Murase."

"As of mid-afternoon Saturday, Cartoon Books had completely sold out of The Complete Bone copies they had brought with them, both the softcover and the hardcover. Exact numbers will come later, but by all estimates, it was a hell of a lot of copies at $40 and $125 for the softcover and hardcover, respectively."


Apparently it was a total of 400 books.


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Monday, July 26, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/26/2004 02:37:00 PM :

      

In the Bleachers

Daily comic by Steve Moore.




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  Posted by Dara on 7/26/2004 01:30:00 PM :

      

Batman/Superman Movie trailer

Remember Hollywood insider and special effects man Sandy Collora and the Batman Vs. Aliens vs. Predator fan film he made to basically get his name out there and try to snag a real Hollywood deal? Well, he's back with a Batman/Superman short film. Except this time it's presented as a faux trailer for said movie. Much like his previous film, it's fun and quite impressive in the context of "this guy made the whole thing on his own dime". But it's no masterpiece. Anyway, click here and watch it for yourself.





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Friday, July 23, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/23/2004 01:01:00 PM :

      

"Be All You Can Be" also applies to soldiers' boobies

That's right, kiddies, your tax dollars are helping some soldiers get bigger jubblies. Ain't the USA grand?
"The New Yorker magazine reports in its July 26th edition that members of all four branches of the U.S. military can get face-lifts, breast enlargements, liposuction and nose jobs for free -- something the military says helps surgeons practice their skills."



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  Posted by Dara on 7/23/2004 10:43:00 AM :

      

Wanna buy KITT?

Got at least $40,000? Then you could purchase the 437. K.I.T.T. (Knight Industry Two Thousand) car from the Knight Rider TV show.

"This highly-modified 1983 Pontiac Trans Am is an original screen-used hero car used during the second season of the hit TV series. Among the studio modifications done to this car by the Special Effects and Stunt Coordinator:

  • A brake differential lock was used and tied into the master cylinder and actuated by a foot switch on the floor. By hitting the switch, stunt drivers such as Jack Gill could disable the front brakes, leaving only the rear brakes operational making those famous "bootleg turns" possible.
  • The original 305 c.i. Crossfire V-8 engine was removed (along with emission control equipment) and replaced with a high power Chevy 350 c.i. plant. Major fabrication is evident in the engine bay to make room for extra batteries, special effects items and accessories.
  • The factory gas tank was replaced by a two-gallon racing fuel cell in order to minimize the amount of fuel on-board during stunt driving, jumps and high speed passes.
  • A heavy-gauge steel skid plate was welded onto the lower frame to the protect the undercarriage, transmission and lower engine from road impact during jumps.
  • A special cable with "T" handle was installed in the panel beside the rear passenger seat; when pulled, KITT's trunk would seemingly open by itself."


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  Posted by Dara on 7/23/2004 10:13:00 AM :

      

San Diego Comic Con pics

Ah yes, the pictures are starting to flood the Internet comics sites. ComicBookResources has a bunch here.

 
 




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  Posted by Dara on 7/23/2004 07:45:00 AM :

      

What's your ideal job?

Don't know? Just ask the Job Predictor.

"Dara Naraghi, Your ideal job is a Topless Model."

Ha! I knew it! In your face, you doubters, in your face. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get jiggy wid my topless self.

(link courtesy of Gus, whose ideal job apparently is Dietician)




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Thursday, July 22, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/22/2004 06:31:00 PM :

      

FARK the San Diego Con

From a FARK photoshop contest with the theme of "Unlikely conventions"





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  Posted by Dara on 7/22/2004 03:51:00 PM :

      

A Softer World

In the tradition of Get Your War On and other avant garde weekly comic strips comes A Softer World. 3 pictures, weird text, eclectic goodness.

(link courtesy of BoingBoing)


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  Posted by Dara on 7/22/2004 12:11:00 PM :

      

Alan Moore on politics at Salon

Salon.com has an extensive interview with Alan Moore titled "The man who invented the future", not about comics, but rather about politics and social issues. You'll have to sit through an ad before getting to the article, but it's well worth it. Here are some great snippets:

"One of the reasons we singled out media in "V for Vendetta" was because it is one of the most useful tools of tyranny."

"I suppose it's too early to go into my rant on Ronald Reagan? That would be tasteless. [Laughs.] Well then, OK. You've got Ronald Reagan -- the much eulogized, recently deceased former president -- who everyone seems to have forgotten was regarded as one of the most low and treacherous individuals by those in Hollywood that he sold out to the McCarthy hearings. This is someone whose response to the AIDS epidemic was probably responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide. This is someone who created Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, or at least set in motion the policies that would create these creatures. This was the architect of much of the world's present misery. Why did we elect him? Because he had been in a lot of films that some quite liked."

"I was reading this excellent book called "American Dynasty," that gives the whole lineage of the rotten bastards all the way back to Prescott Bush, who was dealing with the Third Reich up until 1942. I mean, it's not that long ago!"

"We don't have this terrible problem with the religious right that you have over there, and I truly have every sympathy for you. If there's anything that makes America a laughingstock, it's those people. America is a huge, surging, relentlessly modern country that will nevertheless send Oral Roberts millions when he tells them that if they don't, the Lord will send him home. They'll actually give credence to people who -- in any other country of the world except perhaps some of the equally addled fundamentalist Muslim countries -- would be laughed at."





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  Posted by Dara on 7/22/2004 11:47:00 AM :

      

Warren Ellis sez:

"The Direct Market right now really seems to me to have split into two sub-markets -- one part supporting the major superhero comics lines and media properties, and one part supporting everything else -- and I imagine that's going to hold true for some time to come.

I kinda wonder how those people are dealing with the comfortable old Elongated Man's wife being raped and wasted in Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales' IDENTITY CRISIS right now. But one presumes they're still masturbating with rolled-up copies of GREEN LANTERN from 1976, so what the hell."



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  Posted by Dara on 7/22/2004 10:21:00 AM :

      

From an humorous e-mail I got...

BENTONVILLE, ARK (AP) -- Some Wal-mart customers soon will be able to sample a new discount item: Wal-Mart's own brand of wine. The world's largest retail chain is teaming up with E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto,California, to produce the spirits at an affordable price, in the $2-5 range. While wine connoisseurs may not be inclined to throw a bottle of Wal-Mart brand wine into their shopping carts, there is a market for cheap wine, said Kathy Micken, professor of marketing at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. She said: "The right name is important." With that in mind...

The top 12 suggested names for Wal-mart Wine:

12. Chateau Traileur Parc
11. White Trashfindel
10. Big Red Gulp
9. Grape Expectations
8. Domaine Wal-Mart "Merde du Pays"
7. NASCARbernet
6. Chef Boyardeaux
5. Peanut Noir
4. Chateau des Moines
3. I Can't Believe It's Not Vinegar!
2. World Championship Riesling

And the number 1 name for Wal-Mart Wine...

1. Nasti Spumante




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  Posted by Dara on 7/22/2004 09:35:00 AM :

      

Man In Superman Costume Attacks Motorists

File under "Only in Michigan..."

"I guess this young man jumped in the back seat of the victim's vehicle and just started hitting him and when the victim attempted to call using his cell phone, (Superman) grabbed the cell phone and he stomped on it," said Sgt. Angella Abrams, of the Ann Arbor Police Department."

"Officers spotted the man in the crowd -- wearing a red spandex Superman costume -- and arrested him, the paper reported."

Which once again goes to prove my point: the Superman costume is not good camouflage. Now Batman, he could have blended into the night!

(link courtesy of artbomb)


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  Posted by Dara on 7/22/2004 09:16:00 AM :

      

TV Theme Songs for comic book related shows

Have a hankerin' to hear that classic Spider-man TV theme? How about the Iron Man theme from the 1966 animated show? Or maybe some jingles from new(er) shows like Cadillacs & Dinosaurs or the Savage Dragon cartoons?

Television Themes at ComicBookResources.com (mp3, RA, and RM)

My favorite cheesy rap lyrics from the 1996 WildC.A.T.S. animated show based on Jim Lee's Image comic:

"We're heroes,
not zeroes,
we gots what,
they fear so...here's the facts,
we got power to the max,
you know we're tough as nails,
when all else fails,
call WiiiiiiiiiiiiiildCATS,
nerves of steel,
WiiiiiiiiiiiiiildCATS (etc. etc. etc.)"




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  Posted by Dara on 7/22/2004 09:06:00 AM :

      

Possible Sin City movie poster?



(from the ComicArt-L website, via ComicBookResources)


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Wednesday, July 21, 2004
 
  Posted by Tom on 7/21/2004 05:39:00 PM :

      

Now you can become one of the lucky twenty students of the Center for Cartoon Studies. A natural outgrowth of the NACEA I suppose-> James Sturm and a few others have founded a school dedicated to serious 2 year study of the craft of comics creating. Enrollment is open for this fall. Faculty (both visiting and staff) include Sturm, Steve Bissette, Craig Thompson, and Art Spiegelman.


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  Posted by Tom on 7/21/2004 04:43:00 PM :

      

New article up @ cbr. An interview with Chris Staros. The piece boasts previews to some of the stuff he'll be debuting at San Diego. Included are pages to the next thing on my shelf from Craig Thompson- Carnet De Voyage. Beautiful. (side note: Dammit, when am I going to go to Moracco??) $200,ooo in printing costs? Ouch!


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  Posted by Dara on 7/21/2004 01:51:00 PM :

      

Tom the Dancing Bug and the dancing monkey-man




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  Posted by Dara on 7/21/2004 11:40:00 AM :

      

Superhero Supply Company and...Tutoring?

Dave Eggers, founder of the McSweeney's literary journal, has a very cool venture opening up in Brooklyn: the Superhero Supply Company, which opens Friday at 372 Fifth Avenue. Although it will sell items like leotards, boots, tights, magnets, chain ladders, and nets, it's really just a front for the nonprofit drop-in tutoring center called 826NYC.

"In the rear, past floor-to-ceiling shelves bearing grappling hooks and utility belts, a secret door masked by a steel bookshelf swings open to reveal - shazam - a tutoring center"

"Many ideas for the store came courtesy of prominent literary figures like Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem, although it was Mr. Eggers who insisted on adding the functioning secret door to the tutoring area. He is hoping that the unusual storefront will entice students in need of academic help, just as they have been lured in San Francisco."

(link courtesy of Muness)




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Tuesday, July 20, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/20/2004 01:11:00 PM :

      

14 year old finishes 281-page graphic novel
 
Mitchell Murdock of Portland, Maine has written and drawn a graphic novel called Heroguy, which clocks in at 281 pages. The Press Herald article describes the book as "a superhero love story parody with lots of pop culture references". Of course, as a creator I'm quite jealous of such a young kid totally kicking my ass when it comes to producing a volume of work.
 
The article is funny in that it really goes overboard explaining what a graphic novel is, making sure nobody mistakes the word "graphic" to mean something dirty:
"But what Mitchell created is known as a graphic novel - a novel with panels of illustration and dialogue on every page. They have exploded into mainstream popularity among young readers in the last decade or so and now constitute their own genre. The term "graphic novel" does not refer to explicit content but to the illustrations or graphics that accompany the dialogue."



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  Posted by Dara on 7/20/2004 01:00:00 PM :

      

Upcoming project: God's Acre
 
Wanted to give to a sneak peek at an upcoming "webcomic" project I'm doing with Scott Lambridis and Angie Needels. The art will be a mix of 3D maquettes, paintings, pen-and-ink, and photoshop techniques. Here's a look at the gate to God's Acre cemetery:



Stay tuned for more teasers...


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Monday, July 19, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/19/2004 03:15:00 PM :

      

Scholastic's new graphic novel imprint: Graphix
 
Scholastic Creative Director David Saylor on the color version of Bone:
"We're just putting-to-bed book one, Out From Boneville, before beginning work on book two, The Great Cow Race. Steve Hamaker is doing the color and it looks amazing. I was in Columbus at their studio a few weeks ago when Jeff and Steve were putting finishing touches on some of the final pieces, and it's stunningly beautiful. Color will add a whole new dimension for fans of the books, and hopefully bring many, many new readers."



As to the other graphic novels in the wings at Scholastic?

"Queen Bee: A funny, but stinging look at the social hive of middle-school girls, at the center of which are rival sisters with super powers. By Chynna Clugston-Major, creator of Blue Monday and Scooter Girl.

The Babysitters Club: Adapted from Ann M. Martin's fabulous bestselling series, America's favorite babysitters are back! Adapted by Raina Telgemeier, a fresh, young talent, who is also creating the warm and sparky illustrations.

High Schoool Confidential (Working title only): A first person account of tumultuous high school friendships - and hip, downtown fashion - by first-time author Aimee Friedman with stylish illustrations by Christine Norrie of Action Girl and Hopeless Savages.

Goosebumps: This bestselling series is a natural for the graphic-novel form. The fear, the fright, and the fun are taken to a scary new level - this time with spine-tingling illustrations by various artists.

“and a science fiction graphic novel adaptation by Jon J Muth... which I'll leave a mystery until we're further along.”"





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  Posted by Tom on 7/19/2004 02:37:00 PM :

      

Meanwhile over in the comics journal forum... Joey Manley from modern tales has put out a call to market out of print mini-comics. Problematic as most of the mini's that I've seen don't last past issue 3. Sounds like he's testing the waters for now. Here's a snippet from his post.
 
TokyoPop, Viz, etc., have been making money reprinting Japanese comics in digest form for bookstore sales.
One of the keys to this business, it seems to me (in addition to the existence of customer demand), is the ready availability of lots of existing material -- they're not having to fund the creation of the work itself, just licensing from the copyright owners the right to republish for a market that the creators weren't really expecting to reach anyway.
I'm thinking that the same thing could be done for the cream of the mini-comics and self-published comics crowd: bring back some material that has fallen out of print, earn some incremental income both for the creator and for Modern Tales, and expand the audience for alternative/artcomics.
In fact, I'm very much moving in that direction, with the launch of MT's print line in a few months. We'll be reprinting several longstanding webcomics series in cheap digests, for sale to our large online audience (around 4000 paying readers, around 100,000 non-paying readers, currently), and hopefully pick up a distributor for our books in the Direct Market and bookstores, too, someday -- but this step is not necessary for our business to be profitable, and may only occur after we've put out three or four successful titles...


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  Posted by Dara on 7/19/2004 01:30:00 PM :

      

Forget Hal Jordan, the new Green Lantern is...Jack Black
 
From Ain't it Cool News: "DC Comics has done their very best to cockblock the decision, and we didn't want to start writing about it until it was a done deal..." Well, apparently the deal is done. "Jack Black has closed his deal. He will be playing Green Lantern in a film that has been described as a “zany comedy version a la THE MASK.” All rights to the DC comic have been worked out as well, so you can expect to start hearing more about this project in the months ahead."


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  Posted by Dara on 7/19/2004 09:07:00 AM :

      

Story Idea for Writers...Cool Crytography
 
David Naccache, a specialist in data coding for the French company Gemplus, and a colleague have used a computer-assisted method to decrypt "censored" documents (you know, the ones where certain words are just blacked out). The process was used to decode a partially-redacted CIA memo to George Bush.



Here's the basics of how it was done:
"The two researchers measured the inclination of the text, deformed at the time of its digital reproduction - the inclination was an angle of 0.52°. They then used a character recognition software to determine the width of the Arial-font text which provides the number of letters per unit of length. Simple recourse to an English dictionary then helped establish a list of possible words. "1,530 words corresponded," David Naccache said. But the article "an" preceding the mystery word implied that it necessarily started with a vowel, which made it possible to reduce the list to 346 words."
They then used other clues, such as spacing of letters, proportional size, and context to narrow the word list down to 5 or 6, of which only "Egyptian" made sense in the context.





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Friday, July 16, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/16/2004 04:45:00 PM :

      

Maybe one day Iraq will experience a democracy like ours...
 




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  Posted by Tony on 7/16/2004 02:16:00 PM :

      

So True.

“The problem with learning to collaborate is most of the people you’re trying to collaborate with don’t know how to collaborate either.”

- Mike Askew, aspiring filmmaker, quoted at B.D.’s Mongolian Barbecue, July 15, 2004.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/16/2004 10:05:00 AM :

      

The Death of Superheroes?
 
A French anti-AIDS agency has created public service messages to fight AIDS, using two icons of American comics: Superman and Wonder Woman. Click the small images to view a high-resolution PDF of them:
 
 

I used Babelfish to translate some of the French text:

"Posters Superman and Wonderwoman to recall that "One all is concerned with the AIDS". If these posters relate to all the public ones, they target in priority the teenagers and young adult who would tend to test a feeling of invulnerability (Superman is the symbol of the any power and invulnerability) increasing propensity to run risks."

(link courtesy of BoingBoing)





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  Posted by Dara on 7/16/2004 09:44:00 AM :

      

The Real Cobra Island?
 
Remember Cobra Island from the old G.I. Joe cartoons? Where they somehow floated some huge chunk of rock in the middle of the ocean and called it their own, independent and sovereign nation? Well, apparently there's a group intent on doing exactly that in the real world.
 
Behold Seastead.

"This is the home of the Seasteading Project, which aims to build sovereign, self-sufficient floating platforms, thus creating new territory on the oceans."

And in a funny turn of events, a white paper on the subject is written by one of their advisors, who happens to be named Jim lee! Yep, you can check out "Castles In The Sea: A Survey of Artificial Islands and Floating Utopias" here.


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Thursday, July 15, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/15/2004 04:29:00 PM :

      

This Month's DC Comic Covers: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Maybe this will turn into a regular feature on the blog, who knows. Just a quick look at comic covers from a particular company for a certain month, with my take on what works and what doesn't. We'll do DC for our inaugural venture...for a look at the larger sized images of these covers, go here.

:::::::::: The Good ::::::::::

CATWOMAN: WHEN IN ROME #2 by Tim Sale (simple, elegant)


DETECTIVE COMICS #799 by Jock (sharp, angular, great sense of design and use of white space)


BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #58 by Jae lee (master of the mood, perfect gothic look for Batman)


SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE VOL. 2: THE FACE AND THE BRUTE TP by Gavin Wilson & Richard Bruning (stark, eerie, eye-catching)


100 BULLETS #54 by Dave Johnson (classic Johnson, simple yet effective, fantastic use of negative space)


ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #633 by Gene Ha (powerful image, creepy, great draftsmanship)


MANHUNTER #3 by Jae Lee (can you tell I like his art? This is a great depiction of the Shadow Thief villain)


:::::::::: The Bad ::::::::::

BATMAN #633 by Matt Wagner (great writer, great artist, but his painted covers for DC are just so...uninspired and generic)


JLA #107 by Ron Garney (boring, boring, boring, and just ugly anatomy...what's up with the manish Wonder Woman?)


BLOODHOUND #4 by Dave Johnson (love his earlier 100 Bullets covers, but this one just seems rushed, without his usual graphic design sensibilities)


H-E-R-O #21 by Kelsey Shannon (interesting concept but poor execution, the main image is too small, and washed out by the hideous colors)


JSA #66 by J.H. Williams III (not bad per se, just too busy without a cohesive design, I expect better from J.H.)


BIRDS OF PREY #75 by Jason Pearson (boring, uninspired, and the dark colors wash out any details)


:::::::::: The Ugly ::::::::::

BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #184 by Brian Haberlin (haven't liked any of his work, ugly colors, crappy computer effects)...


Overall, there were many more covers that I liked than disliked. Space and time considerations keep me from showing all of them (Wonder Woman, Monolith, and Fallen Angel get kudos). And the bad one's weren't all that bad, just mostly uninspired or weaker works from artists I know are capable of stronger material.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/15/2004 03:47:00 PM :

      

Just What we Needed

From their press release about San Diego Comic Con:
"Don’t miss the Devil’s Due Panel (12:30 to 1:30 Saturday, July 24th in Room 1A) for a major announcement, and the first glimpse of artwork, from the new Devil’s Due Imprint: AFTERMATH – an all new universe of super powered heroes launching this fall."
That's right. Yet another superhero universe. Yay.


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  Posted by Tony on 7/15/2004 10:40:00 AM :

      

Red or Blue?

Slate.com has a quiz today to determine whether you’re “red” or “blue.” It measures cultural things like “have you ever fired a gun” or “do you eat dinner or supper,” rather than testing your actual political leanings.

I scored about 75 percent red. I’m from Zanesville, Ohio, which I’m coming to understand is in the South.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2103764/


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  Posted by Dara on 7/15/2004 10:17:00 AM :

      

Another Printer Choice for Small Publishers

Just found out about another service that offers small-batch printing of comics (color and B&W), convention sketchbooks, and posters (full-color 11x17 for $1 each). It's called Blue Line Pro Graphix (yeah, the same outfit that makes the Blue Line Pro art boards).



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Wednesday, July 14, 2004
 
  Posted by Tom on 7/14/2004 05:49:00 PM :

      

While there was that cool cover article in the Times.. it's been a bummer for comicdom this week...

Hopefully the last publisher to feel the fallout of LPC- Alternative Comics is pleading for people to please buy books. It's a fire sale. I've only enjoyed a fraction of Alternative Comics output. As a whole I've found their output lackluster (most of it being overpriced trades that I can read in 5 minutes). They're no Top Shelf or Drawn and Quarterly. I'm not going to pinpoint which people's books have bombed on my opinion. But the publisher doesn't seem to have it together his posts. For starters he's the only guy handling orders for his company. Waiting for money to come from an outfit that's declared bankrupcy isn't clear thinkin' either. It's meant to protect that outfit from creditors (i.e. Alternative Comics) Hopefully Jeff can pull it together and save his company. I'm more worried for AC's creators who are the ones who really get shortchanged.

_Bad news for syndicated cartoonists as well... Knight-Ridder has decided to drop their comics sections from all their newspaper affiliates. A serious dent in an already diminishing art and last outlet for the illustrator- the comic strip. They consider it a cost cutter move. I'm not so sure. We all still need some levity given these times. They're probably more concerned with freeing up some more ad space. Most of the daily strips I read aren't even in the local paper (poo on the Dispatch) or the alt-weeklie's.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/14/2004 02:30:00 PM :

      

Hulk on Hulk 2

What would a blog entry be withoit a new Onion link? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Why No One Want Make Hulk 2?

In which the misunderstood emerald behemoth wonders:
"Why no one appreciate daring vision of Ang Lee? Aaargh! Ang Lee genius! Maybe panels on screen gimmicky, but him try something new. When last time you try something new?! Ang Lee willing to work in unfamiliar genres. Him brave like Hulk. Hulk wish for him to work on Hulk 2, if he willing, but Hulk understand if he not want to. Ang Lee like Hulk: He not stay in one place for too long. Him working on gay western right now. That prove Hulk's point. If him not do it, maybe Darren Aronofsky or David Gordon Green. Someone with unique vision that not so stuck on action clichés. First studio exec to suggest Joel Schumacher get smashed!"


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  Posted by Dara on 7/14/2004 10:01:00 AM :

      

Finally!

I've been looking forward to this book for about a year, as it's been that long since it was first announced by DC. Solo, a bi-monthly, out-of-continuity series that lets big name creators take on various DC characters. People like Richard Corben and Paul Pope! They even have Dark Horse Comics editor Diana Schutz writing a story for the first issue. Check out the official solicitation:
"SOLO #1
Written by Tim Sale, Brian Azzarello, Jeph Loeb, Darwyn Cooke, and Diana Schutz
Art and cover by Sale
What happens when some of the most talented artists in comics are free to unleash their creative vision across 48 pages? The answer is SOLO, a unique new bimonthly series that showcases the best of the best of the biz!
Unfettered by the constraints of a regular monthly series, SOLO's artists work in a variety of genres - using whichever characters - they wish! SOLO debuts in style with fan-favorite artist Tim Sale (CATWOMAN: WHEN IN ROME, BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN) in an issue that features a must-read follow-up story to SUPERMAN FOR ALL SEASONS (written by Jeph Loeb), a Catwoman/Batman tale (written by Brian Azzarello), a Supergirl adventure (written by Dark Horse Comics editor Diana Schutz), and more!
Future SOLO issues will feature such A-list talent as Richard Corben, Paul Pope, Howard Chaykin, Jordi Bernet, Mike Allred and Darwyn Cooke.
On sale Oct 27 o Bimonthly o No interior ads o 48 pg, FC, $3.95 US Edited by Mark Chiarello."


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  Posted by Dara on 7/14/2004 09:56:00 AM :

      

Fahrenheit 9/11

Seattle Weekly columnist Knute Berger is definitely liberal, but not a fan of Michael Moore. As in "I find him a blowhard who has become a walking brand, the Michelin Man in tramp clothes. Like most people in film and television, he seems to be an arrogant jackass..."

But Knute (what a name!) does like Moore's movie. And starts a column about it with a fantastic opening salvo:
"For all those nitpickers and whiners who complain that Michael Moore is liberalism’s Leni Riefenstahl and that his new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, isn’t a tidy documentary, and for all those witless wonders in the media who continue to hound Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky questions, even after the shame of their collaboration in over-blowing a blow job into an impeachment, I would just like to say, in the words of Vice President Dick Cheney: Go 'fuck yourself.'"


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 7/14/2004 09:04:00 AM :

      

What??? Daniel Clowes "Trashy"
I'm not sure if this is good or bad. In a Time.com article titled If You Read Only 10 Trashy Novels This Summer, Daniel Clowes new Eightball #23 is listed along with Sue Grafton (the alphabet mystery series), Carl Hiaasen (who I like for a quirky, quick read), Janet Evanovich (the numbers mystery series) and a number of other authors I don't know. I'm impressed that a comic is listed with novels and mainstream books; but "trashy", I don't think so. The quick description: "IT'S LIKE Holden Caulfield with his phaser set on kill. Phonies beware."


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Tuesday, July 13, 2004
 
  Posted by Tony on 7/13/2004 04:32:00 PM :

      

So the knock against gay marriage is it's the first step down a slippery slope to man-on-dog marriage, right? A columnist in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently suggested we short-circuit the whole discussion by passing a constitutional amendment to ban bestiality.

Where do I sign this petition? We can take care of the problem before it starts.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/13/2004 02:20:00 PM :

      

Rumors to make you laugh...or cry

From ComicBookResources:
"According to Dark Horizons, a Spokane, WA newspaper, while discussing starlet Jessica Simpson, "goes on to say how Jessica is possibly auditioning for a role as a superhero called Dazzler. The article goes on to say that producers where impressed with a small audition tape that the singer-actress sent them upon request, and will possibly give her a small role in the 3rd 'X-Men' movie as a lounge-singer, to introduce the character of Dazzler, in hopes to extend the character's role in future films."
Shoot me now.


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  Posted by Tony on 7/13/2004 10:12:00 AM :

      

Don't Do It!

My friend Ellen is reading "Watchmen" right now, even though I warned her not to. I'm afraid that, once she's done, she'll pretty much have to shoot herself because it's all downhill from there.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/13/2004 09:09:00 AM :

      

Another Local Boy

Columbus' own Chris Sprouse will be on the shelves again this October when he teams up with Warren Ellis for the 6-issue sci-fi miniseries Ocean. Here's a look at the Michael Golden cover:

"Beyond the inner planets lie the gaseous giants, Jupiter being the largest of all. Orbiting Jupiter is the moon Europa, a hard orb floating in frigid space. Lying beneath Europa's half-mile-thick mantle of shear ice is an ocean, the only one in the solar system that’s not on Earth. And within those cold waters could rest the key to life on Earth — and quite possibly its extinction!"


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Monday, July 12, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/12/2004 06:43:00 PM :

      

Tutorial for Writers

From a press release:"John McLean-Foreman, writer of the Image Comics series PATIENT ZERO, is offering free online tutorials to aspiring writers, at his website: www.patientzerothecomic.com/forum. The tutorials are held every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST."

Seems like a great gesture and all, but upon further digging it looks to be about movie writing, not comics writing. So not sure why the press releases emphasises the "Image comics" part. Anywho, if ya got time in the middle of the afternoon, give it a try.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/12/2004 05:13:00 PM :

      

From The Onion



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  Posted by Dara on 7/12/2004 02:36:00 PM :

      

Igor Kordey, master artist

Have you checked out outspoken Croatian artist Igor Kordey's website recently? If not, you owe it to yourself to do so. Born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1957, Kordey has lived in France, Denmark, and Canada and has done comics illustration for Les Humanoides Associes, Dargaud, Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. His stint on X-treme X-Men polarized fan opinion, mostly due to deadline pressures that saw a decline in his otherwise detailed and polished art. When all of the other big name X-Men artist were flaking out and blowing their deadlines, Kordey was the go-to guy, sometime filling in on 2-3 issues a month. After getting fired from the new Excalibur comic, he was quite vocal about his feelings towards Marvel, amongst a whole host of other topics.

But his art simply kicks ass. His upcoming projects are the graphic novels Blacktop and Storm Arena. His website features his illustrations for comics, magazines, book covers, album covers, postcards, and more.

  

  

  




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  Posted by Dara on 7/12/2004 02:24:00 PM :

      

Spiderman in Legoland, the movie

Spider-man and Doc Ock in awesome stop-motion animation, using Legos. Will require high bandwidth Internet connection.

(link courtesy of Muness)


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  Posted by Dara on 7/12/2004 01:59:00 PM :

      

Just Plain Wrong. Seriously Wrong

I mean it. This is just wrong. But funny. Funny in a "way wrong" sort of way.

Johnny Ryan's webcomic on Dr. Strange.

(link courtesy of neilalien)


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Sunday, July 11, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/11/2004 04:40:00 PM :

      

Of DK2, and life imitating art...
"Former porn star Hot Gates, now calling herself "Big Barda," today declared herself dictator of Columbus, Ohio!" -- The Dark Knight Strikes Again, issue #3, page 47.
A little something for my homies in C-bus. Just finished reading it. Bought the issues cheap off ebay. More has been said about this series than almost any other comic in the past few years, so I won't bore you with an in-depth analysis. Instead, you get some random thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed it, as I found it to be an entertaining read. The subplots with Dick Grayson/Joker and the Thanagrians were superfluous; it seemed like just an excuse to feature a few more DC characters. I much prefer Miller's black and white art, and barring that, his slightly more detailed style in the first DK series. And I have to agree with the consesus that the garish Lynn Varley computer colors wre, well, garish. It only worked in a few places, like scenes of an ash-covered, destroyed Metropolis. So while not worth $8 and issue, and not as poignant as the first series, it was still a fun read.

And in keeping with Miller's theme of those in power constantly changing the rules to suit their needs (especially the over-the-top political caricatures in the book), here's a little news headline from today:
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior House Democratic lawmaker was skeptical on Sunday of a Bush administration idea to obtain the authority to delay the November presidential election in case of an attack by al Qaeda. U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an emergency proposal on the legal steps needed to postpone the presidential election in case of such an attack, Newsweek reported on Sunday."
But not to worry. California Republican Rep. Christopher Cox, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, reassures us that "These are doomsday scenarios. Nobody expects that they're going to happen."


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 7/11/2004 01:46:00 PM :

      

New York Times Magazine Article
Today's NY Times Magazine has a ten-page article on graphic novels and a cover by Chester Brown. The writer, Charles McGrath, does a good job of going beyond the typical "Zap! Boom! Pow! Comics aren't just for kids anymore" lazy journalism (and even makes fun of it in the article). Interviewed are art spiegelman, Brown, Seth, Joe Sacco, Marjane Satrapi, and others.

It is a bit of a downer article as many of the artist's seem unhappy (and McGrath uses this as a way to generalize about those drawn to the medium). Take this quote from Chris Ware:

''This is just an incredibly inefficient way to tell a story,'' he said, and he explained that earlier in the week he had been working on a strip in which he had decided there could be no narration. ''It involved maybe 8 to 10 seconds of actual narrative time,'' he said. ''But it took me three days to do it, of 12 hours a day. And I'm thinking any writer would go through this passage in eight minutes of work. And I think: Why am I doing this? Is the payoff to have the illusion of something actually happening before your eyes really worth it? I find it's a constant struggle and a source of great pain for me, especially the last day when I'm inking the strip. I think, Why, why am I doing this? Whole years go by now that I can barely account for. I'm not even being facetious.''


Spiegelman has a new book coming out in September that sounds great: In the Shadow of No Towers which includes broadsides against the Bush administration. Seth's Clyde Fans Part 1 (just out this week) also looks impressive.

Be sure to check out the online interactive piece where spiegelman, Seth, Brown, Sacco, and Chris Ware discuss their work. And wouldn't you have loved to have hung out at spiegelman's loft with Adrian Tomine, Brown, Seth, and Sacco.


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Saturday, July 10, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/10/2004 10:43:00 AM :

      

New Printer in Town

Ok, so for months I kept hearing rumors of a new comic book printer that would offer better prices than Brenner or Morgan, and let you print as few as just a single copy. No more minimum print runs of 1000, no more high prices for small press publishers, etc.

Supposedly, this is it:
ComiXpress: printer, distributor, online store, fulfillment house and virtual warehouse for your entire back catalog.



From what I can tell, their prices are only lower than Brenner's if you agree to feature one of their full page ads in your book. Full color ad on your back cover drops the total price on a 40-page, 1000 print run book by $700. A b&W ad on the inside front or back cover drops the price by a little over $300.

Don't know...sound like an excellent idea. The no minimum print run feature is awesome. And the prices seem reasonable. But I'm always leery of new ventures that sound too good to be true. I guess now it's just a matter of seeing if they stack up in quality, service, and timely delivery.


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Friday, July 09, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/09/2004 07:10:00 PM :

      

Shout Out to my Bro

You know him as the editor of several Ferret Press books, but my brother is really a world leader in training. His law school thesis paper, Does the ICC Need the USA? Taking Over What the USA Started, was recently published online as the June 2004 Paper of the Month by Civitatis International, "an independent transnational humanitarian research project of academics and professionals dedicated to improving the human condition through research, advocacy and consultancy. The organization and its members promote the universal right to political freedoms, the universal right to democracy and the universality of fundamental human rights."
"BAHMAN NARAGHI received his JD with a focus on international law from the Case Western Reserve University. He obtained an LLM in International and Comparative Law (Cum laude, with honours) from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. He has also studied law in Rome and travelled extensively in Europe. Currently, he works as an adjunct at Franklin University, is a member of the American Society of International Law and the United Nations Association, in addition to volunteering for several other international affairs organizations. He speaks fluent French and Farsi. Dr Naraghi is coordinator of the International Law Programme at Civitatis International."
If you're interested in reading the 26 page paper (!), you can do so here.

Way to go, bro, I'm proud of you.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/09/2004 02:09:00 PM :

      

Warren Ellis on Thor

Ok, that's kinda misleading. More like Warren Ellis talking about what he'd do if he were the Editor in Chief at Marvel (with the gist basically being I'd publish tons of books that tie in with movie deals so the company can make money, and I wouldn't publish critically-acclaimed but low-selling books like Runaways).

Anyway...

Here's what he says about Thor in the above context:
"THOR. No-one cares about THOR. No-one's ever cared about THOR. I wrote THOR. I wrote Thor in bed with a blonde woman wearing nothing but thighboots and opera gloves drawn by Mike Deodato. And still no-one cared about THOR. No-one's cared about THOR since Walt Simonson did the book. And what was the first thing Walt did? Got rid of Thor and replaced him with a horse from space. And the sales quadrupled.

A horse from space."


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  Posted by Dara on 7/09/2004 01:44:00 PM :

      

I Bow to the Master

Ladies and gentlemen, a god amongst artists, the unparalleled Mr. Bill Sienkiewicz:



You can view a 10 page preview here. This will be a new ongoing Black Widow series, written by Richard K. Morgan, with Greg Land on covers (which I don't quite understand, why not have Bill do the covers as well? His paintings make me cry tears of pure joy!)


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 7/09/2004 01:36:00 PM :

      

Batman Begins
Warner Brothers has a live site for the new Batman movie. Some exploring finds these pictures of the Batmobile. I don't remember this in Batman: Year One. And what is Jedi Master Qui Gonn doing in the movie?


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Thursday, July 08, 2004
 
  Posted by Craig on 7/08/2004 07:49:00 PM :

      

We saw Jet at the Newport last night, and found ourselves in the middle of one of the stranger concert crowds I've ever experienced. Ages of audience members ranged from about 8 (TONS of kids present) to mid-50's. On our right was a guy obviously nearing fifty who was losing the battle with his mid-life crisis, having dressed his wife/girlfriend/escort like a tart while they engaged in some amazing exhibitionism. On our left was a trio of girls around 10-13 years old (accompanied by the coolest mom in the world), dancing and singing along to "Cold Hard Bitch."

I also noted that the pendulum has swung away from grunge, and people were dressing like they were in '80's hair metal videos again.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/08/2004 04:39:00 PM :

      

Dave McKean

Cory Doctorow is one of the contributors to BoingBoing, one of my favorite daily sites to visit. Cory's got a new novel coming out called Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town ("A miraculous novel of secrets, lies, magic -- and Internet connectivity"), with a cover by Dave mcKean. Just thought I'd share it:



Go here for a larger size image.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/08/2004 02:20:00 PM :

      

Another Local Boy Does Good

OPi8.com was on hiatus for over a year. Well, they're back and look who their first featured artist is: Columbus (and MindLeaders') own, Dave Senecal. Check out his H.P. Lovecraft inspired paintings in their Visions section.
"Senecal is an accomplished digital artist and illustrator. You will see his work appearing among the comings and goings of Elder Sign Press, Chaosium, Pandora Magazine, Epilogue.net, The National Association of Photoshop Professionals, and within a myriad of international & independent art scenes, both physical and digital...His fine art is represented by Agora Gallery, SoHo, New York and is found in private collections in Spain, Denmark, and throughout the United States."




(link courtesy of artbomb)


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  Posted by Dara on 7/08/2004 10:15:00 AM :

      

Completely Worthless Websites

The history of the Interrobang, "A twentieth century punctuation mark." So that's what was missing from my writer's toolkit! Next stop, Neil Gaiman status.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/08/2004 09:58:00 AM :

      

Suckin' on a hot, plump hot dog...

So I'm assuming you guys have seen those Ball Park hot dog commercials where the fat guy keeps referring to how "girthy" the hot dogs are, often in guttural, breathy tones? Salon has a hilarious review of the ad, running with the whole hot dog/penis theme suggested by the ad itself. Snippets:
"I've no doubt that many hot dog consumers also perform fellatio. And more power to them. But do they really wish to contemplate this act while noshing on a frank at a barbecue? Also, are they Ball Park's target demographic? In a corporate press release, spokesman "Frank" is described as a "straight-talking, All-American" guy who "believes in red meat, cold beer, [and] spectator sports …" I hate labels, but this sounds like your classic straight dude. Not so much a fellatiator."
"Grade: F. I think many people, upon seeing this ad, will avoid buying Ball Park Franks. That's pretty much the acme of terrible marketing. Alternative: I am wrong, and Ball Park has happened on a brilliant—and profitable—means of letting straight men express their sublimated homoerotic fantasies."


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 7/08/2004 08:30:00 AM :

      

New Web Comics Tool
Scott McCloud's idea of using the Internet as a large canvas to create Web comics that can be read in multiple directions has become a reality with the development of Markus Muller's Infinite Canvas. This application is designed to allow you to create Web comics similar to McCloud's Mimi's Last Coffee. Note: You need to be running Mac OS 10.2 to use the Infinite Canvas.


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Wednesday, July 07, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/07/2004 01:33:00 PM :

      

(trying to avoid the expected "bone" jokes)

From a press release:
"In January 2005 Scholastic will launch its new graphic novel imprint, Graphix, with the publication of Jeff Smith’s award-winning series Bone, it was announced today. The first Bone comic book was released by independent publisher Cartoon Books in 1991. Now a nine-volume book series, it has been met with international acclaim. Originally published in black & white, Scholastic’s new Graphix edition of Bone will be in color with a 6x9 inch trim size."


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  Posted by Dara on 7/07/2004 01:08:00 PM :

      

Bootleg Superhero Movies

Over at The Pulse, Troy Brownfield looks at 3 of his favorite bootleg superhero movies: Roger Corman's Fantastic Four, CBS's unaired pilot for JLA, and Legends of the Superheroes.

Which reminds me, I have both the FF and the JLA movies. We should watch them sometime for a good laugh...


"JLA: This shockingly bad unaired CBS pilot is a hapless mishmash. By blending elements of the Giffen/DeMatties JLI run with other JLA runs, the team is confusing to begin with. The line-up is Martian Manhunter (who actually benefits from good facial make-up and the voice of David Ogden Stiers, but suffers from having the body of David Ogden Stiers), Ice (hottie actress Kim Oja, who went on to Son of the Beach and The O.C. ), Fire (admirably cast as an ethnic Brazilian by way of Michelle Hurd, best known for being the cop who is fired after a one-nighter with a suspect on L&O:SVU), The Atom (interestingly cast as nerdish professor type, but saddle with the worst costume ever), The Flash (Barry Allen, but with Wally West's personality) and Green Lantern (supposedly Guy Gardner, but with Kyle's mask and Hal's reliance on big props). Written more like a cross between Friends and X-Men with CBS's always shitty production values in place, it just looks bad. I mean seriously; the JLA share a house and whine about being different? The costumes absolutely suck. Strictly for the brave, the curious, and the drunk."


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  Posted by Dara on 7/07/2004 10:07:00 AM :

      

Race and the Superhero World

ABCnews.com article on blacks and other minorities as portrayed in the comics world.
"I think it's worth noting that Black Panther was African as opposed to African-American," said Marvel Comics editor Axel Alonso. "One must wonder if it was easier to deal with that character in that context, given the times."


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Tuesday, July 06, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/06/2004 05:19:00 PM :

      

Review of The Escapist

CityPages.com reviews the first 2 issues of The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist.
"...it's high-concept pomo gamesmanship whose rewards are still unclear. After the first two issues, the safest conclusion is that the execution hasn't equaled the concept."


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  Posted by T.McClurg on 7/06/2004 11:28:00 AM :

      

To Shizzle or not to Shizzle...

Since we all need to waste more time, let Snoop Dog shizzlate all your pages...it makes world news so much more fun, bitch.

www.asksnoop.com



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  Posted by Dara on 7/06/2004 10:33:00 AM :

      

A Comic Defence Policy

From my friend Muness comes this link to a story on how "Japan's government plans to issue a version of its annual defence white paper as a manga comic book in a bid to make politics more popular."


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 7/06/2004 08:41:00 AM :

      

Do You Like Radiohead?
You may not after listening to a hillbilly medley of their songs by Rodeohead.


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Monday, July 05, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/05/2004 12:24:00 PM :

      

Western Tales of Terror

A New Horror Comic Anthology Coming Fall 2004. And they're accepting submissions from writers and artists. 3-5 page stories for now. Stop by and check out their site.



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Saturday, July 03, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/03/2004 04:09:00 PM :

      

FCBD a bust this year?

Well, today was the 3rd annual Free Comic Book Day.

Man, Marvel really screwed everyone this year by campaigning so hard to have FCBD on the 4th of July weekend (i.e. the weekend of the Spider-man 2 opening). The Laughing Ogre, which was packed last year, was pretty much deserted today. And gee, guess why? Because it's a huge holiday weekend! People are travelling. People are having cookouts with friends and family. People are drinking and partying in parks and backyards.

Nobody is out shopping.

Ask any retailer, not just comics, and they'll tell you the July 4th weekend is one of the slowest retail days of the year.

The other date that was voted on was at the opening of Hellboy. But I guess Marvel got its way, even if it's to the detriment of comics retailers and the whole FCBD.

Sad.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/03/2004 11:13:00 AM :

      

Power to the Bat

From a Yahoo! News story, Bat Season Delays Ga. Bridge Demolition: "OMAHA, Ga. - The baby bats clinging to their mothers under the Talipahoga Creek bridge look like space aliens, with their gray, scrawny bodies and pointed ears. But the way Georgia highway officials see it, they are still babies. And until they are big enough to fly away on their own, a project to demolish the bridge will just have to wait."



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Friday, July 02, 2004
 
  Posted by Dara on 7/02/2004 04:25:00 PM :

      

How to Read Your Car's VIN

From a Detroit News article on how we're running out of VINs for new cars, and the possible solution of "reclaiming" codes from other countries that don't produce as many vehicles as we do (Zimbabwe, for instance).



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  Posted by Dara on 7/02/2004 02:28:00 PM :

      

Panel in the paper

From this week's Alive, page 37, the 'alist' section: "...in addition to unloading freebies on Saturday, the Laughing Ogre in Clintonville will be hosting Marvel-ous scribe Sean McKeever and members of Columbus' indie collective Panel."

Rock on, Panel.

And speaking of Sean, the boy is everywhere. This week's The Other Paper has a feature on him and his new Mary Jane book on page 14.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/02/2004 01:44:00 PM :

      

Bluesman

Here's one that would be of interest to Craig, and of course others. Newsarama fetures an interview with Rob Vollmar, whose new comic Bluesman is about, what else, the blues.
'It was very important to me from the outset that BLUESMAN be something that felt very real to the reader and yet, delivered something that challenged expectations. The romantic image of the blues musician as a womanizing, unintelligible scoundrel sanctioned by Ol’ Scratch himself persists today because it was a carefully constructed marketing campaign designed to sell lots of records without upsetting notions of white superiority."
"The form of the series is also derived from the form of the blues itself in a number of meaningful ways. It is twelve chapters long mirroring the now-omnipresent 12 bar (or measure) form. Blues purists out there will take some solace in knowing that I originally plotted it as an 8-bar just to be archaically obtuse but the pacing started making other demands and so I caved."
   


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  Posted by Dara on 7/02/2004 01:27:00 PM :

      

Sign of the Times

Heard this on NPR this morning: Coke is currently running a sweepstakes where some cans will house a GPS chip and a cellular phone, instead of the usual sugary cola. If you find one of these ultra rare cans, you're supposed to call Coke and they'll track you down via the GPS chip and deliver your awesome prize.

Well, this is seen as a security problem by the folks at Rickenbacker Air Force base, who will not only scan all cola cans entering the facilities to make sure they don't contain a GPS system, but have also issued a memo asking that all coke cans be inspected before entering meetings in secure areas of the base.


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  Posted by Dara on 7/02/2004 10:36:00 AM :

      

That's Just Wrong...

Chris Claremont, the BDSM scene, and more...

Who knows if it's true or not. Heck, even if it is, who cares? But fanboys will be fanboys...


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  Posted by Dara on 7/02/2004 10:15:00 AM :

      

Steve Englehart and Suicide Bombers

The American Spectator has an article written by comics retailer Jim Henley that examines the origins of suicide bombers, at least as it ties in to comics. It's very well written, by the way.



The main gist of it is that comics writer Steve Englehart's creation of the "Living Bomb" characters in The Avengers #113 (July 1973) was one of the earliest fictional representations of an act that is now, unfortunately, and every day occurance. Jim goes on to put this in historical perspective, including mentions of Japan's kamikaze program, Tamil Tigers, Hamas, and others.
"Suicide-murder will present itself as the logical solution to anyone who values the destruction of something else more than his own life. That it provides the perpetrator with momentary "superhero-level power," in Englehart's words, terrifies us."
(link courtesy of my friend Muness)


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  Posted by Dara on 7/02/2004 10:12:00 AM :

      

Funny Wonkette

I'm not much of a political junkie, so I don't often check out Wonkette, but I just read this one and it's too funny not to post:
"If nothing else, this should put to rest the rumor that we cooked up the Washingtonienne thing ourselves: The NYT reports that D.C.'s own semi-pro harlot of the Hill has sold a book based on her experiences to HyperionDisney. In case you were wondering, that means to the Disney corporate mind, cornholing is awesome, but Bush-Saudi conspiracy theories? Won't touch them through ten latex condoms."


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