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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Read Tony Goins' webcomic Downs.
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Friday, December 31, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/31/2004 08:08:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 60

(full disclosure: technically, this entry is three days late as I'm post dating it on Monday. I didn't get a chance to blog last week due to a crazy new year's weekend)

Instead of the usual year-in-review columns and other traditional end of the year events, let me simply wish everyone a happy, safe, and productive 2005. I'm not one for new year's resolutions, at least not in the sense of making a laundry list of items. Instead, I pick a couple of accomplishments that I'm proud of and resolve to keep at them, and try to improve on at least one other aspect of my life. Despite the usual ups and down, overall, 2004 was a good year on my end. So for the new year, the goal is to write and publish more stories, grow Ferret Press, and get back to a semi-regular exercise regimen.

Regardless of how your year was, I hope the new one is better on all counts.

Happy new year, everyone.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/31/2004 10:30:00 AM :


The Beat looks back at 2004

As reported elsewhere, Heidi MacDonald has written a very nice little "year in review" column over at The Beat. The most insightful comment, at least to me, is the following:
"Perhaps the problem with the LCS [Local Comics Shop] is what I call the "10,000 dopes syndrome."

I base the 10,000 dopes figure on the sales for POWERS when it switched from Image to Marvel. Same interior. Same creators. Same regular shipping schedule. But it sells 10,000 more of every issue.

Now you could say that Marvel has more reach in the market place. But in theory, Marvel and Image have exactly equal exposure to the LCS system. Certainly Brian Michael Bendis is a known and loved quantity.

So maybe retailers don't even look outside the little Marvel catalog that ships with Previews? Or they know that 10,000 readers think the name Marvel is so all powerful that it automatically makes a comic good? I don't know what it is, but whatever it is, it's bad news. Very bad news."

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  Posted by Dara on 12/31/2004 10:15:00 AM :


Small press shoutout redux

Friend of the Ferret, Panel member, self-publisher, and all around nice guy Craig Bogart has the entire contents of his The Ineffables 24-hour comic available for your reading pleasure, on his website, for free. How's that for small press goodness, pony boy? That's right, I thought so. No git yer butt over there and show him some love.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/31/2004 10:13:00 AM :


Small press shoutout

Chad Lambert has an interview over at Broken Frontier for his book Point Pleasant. he also managed to plug No Dead Time. Check it out, ya'll.

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Thursday, December 30, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/30/2004 10:36:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 59

I got a big kick out of Andy's childhood drawings posted below. Makes me wish I had some of mine. Unfortunately, all of my early drawings (up to age 12) were lost forever due to the move from Iran to the US. When your family is fleeing an oppressive regime and a war, you only pack the essentials. (Not that I'm whining, mind you. Compared to so many other displaced Iranians, we had it relatively easy. I'm just sad to have lost certain items that would have connected me with my very happy childhood.)

Besides home made comics, the other artifact of my youth lost somewhere back in Iran which I miss the most was my nearly-complete collection of all the Tintin graphic albums. In hardcover. In Persian. Man, I loved those books. I must have read and re-read each at least half a dozen times. It's always struck me as odd how Hergé's work isn't all that known stateside, whereas he's practically a household name in most other countries.

On the other hand, I do have some other geeky comics memorabilia to share with you guys. Back in the day, I used to be quite the letter hack, sending letters to my favorite comics and creators. I think about a dozen or so of them were printed in various comics letter columns. And I even got some letters back from the pros whom I had written. The one that sticks in my mind is a long, hand-written letter from Jim Lee, postmarked from Italy! I've got a few others too. A short missive from Tom DeFalco, during his tenure as Marvel's Editor in Chief. I think one from Fabian Nicieza (?!). Can you tell I was a Marvel Zombie back then? :-)

Anyway, I'll dig these gems up and post small portions of them here. Should be fun.

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  Posted by Andy Bennett on 12/30/2004 08:46:00 PM :


By Popular Demand

In light of the recent posting about Mike Weiringo's childhood drawings, and not to be outdone, I have scanned my latest acquisitions. And I even found a bonus image while I was at it! I have five images in total, but didn't want to kill the bandwidth all at once, so I've only posted two for now. To the best of my knowledge, these were done when I was 7 or 8 years old. So without further ado:

Spider-Man (signed by the artist)

and The Incredible Hulk, in a rare color piece from me:

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/29/2004 10:17:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 58

As predicted, the death toll from the devastating Southeast Asia earthquake and tsunami is climbing higher and higher. As of today, it's estimated that well over 80,000 people have lost their lives. Many millions more are without shelter, food, or medicine.

The news media has recently taken to featuring "miracle" babies who survived the disaster, and other young children who have been reunited with their family. I suppose after hearing the sobering statistics and seeing the heartbreaking pictures for the past few days, we need to see a glimmer of hope in this tragedy. On some level, though, this bothers me. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for any and all survivors, especially children. It's just that when the nightly news only devotes 6 or 7 minutes to the disaster, doing a 2 minute human interest story on a single survivor does a disservice to the life-and-death issues that demand immediate attention.

Or maybe I'm being too harsh on the media. I suppose we're all human, after all, and there's only so much tragedy we can endure before we need to have our faith restored by some means. Any means.

Anyway, here are some more resources for anyone able to help out with the relief effort (many links scoured from the great boingboing site)

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog features "News and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts."

Apple.com is featuring links to many relief organizations on their home page, including the following:
Amazon.com has a donation fund going, and as of this writing it's raised $3.3 million.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/29/2004 03:22:00 PM :


X-Books year in review

Because nobody else wanted to do it, blogger Paul O'Brien reviews all the X-Men books and spin-offs from 2004 in an 18-part tour-de-force. From Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men to Chris Claremont's Wolverine/Witchblade. Yikes.

"Just in case there's any lingering doubt, we're looking here at the new New X-Men, formerly the new New Mutants. The original New X-Men is back to calling itself X-Men, and we'll come to it later. Oh, and just to confuse matters further, the team who star in New X-Men aren't called the New X-Men, but they are called the New Mutants, a name which they didn't actually take on until New Mutants ended and their book was called New X-Men. They also shouldn't be confused with the original New Mutants. These are the new New Mutants. Oh, and before someone e-mails me, yes, I know the logo says New X-Men: Academy X. And that's how they solicited it, for one issue. But it's officially just called New X-Men now. Confused yet?"
(via The Comics Reporter)

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  Posted by Tom on 12/29/2004 11:24:00 AM :


Check out Air America's site full of stories that may or (largely) may not hit corporate media such as...

  • A Pentagon leak that ranks global warming a bigger threat than terrorism!
  • Bush still on vacation as the tsunami crisis goes on??

It's been on for a while I know but with the dominance of Rush it's a welcome balance. Left wing radio that you can listen to online. If you're in Columbus it's broadcast on 1230am radio. I would advocate listening to it in small doses while you're driving. With the f'ed up administration you might ram in to someone.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/28/2004 10:23:00 PM :


Childhood revisited

Drop on by artist Mike Wieringo's blog and check out the cool happenings. For the last few weeks, Mike has been posting scans of comic book characters he drew as a young kid, and then redesigning the characters and costumes with a "modern" look. It's fantastic stuff, and something I'm sure most adults can relate to (whether you're a comic book fan or not). I wish I still had some of the comics I drew as a kid.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/28/2004 10:04:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 57

Following up on my post from yesterday, I'm still having a hard time coming up with a story that I like for the Myth book. I've gotten to the point where I'm playing around with a few different ideas, but I'm not satisfied with any of them yet. At this point, I blame it mostly on stress (which is a topic I've talked about before).

I've actually had the last 6 days off from work. Yet between the hectic holiday stuff, the snow and ice, car troubles, power outages, projects blowing up back at work, and about half a dozen other things, I feel more tired and wound up than I would if I had been at work the whole week. Needless to say, the creativity just isn't there. So I'm thinking it may be time to switch gears and work on something else. Maybe catch up with some administrative tasks that need to get done (update the website with info on the new Panel book, promote the Hybrid book online, send solicitation info to Cold Cut and FM, etc.) The trick is not to wait too long, though. The deadline for the book is very short and I really need to get a story together soon.

Then again, I've always worked best under pressure, so maybe this is a good thing. We'll see.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/28/2004 10:15:00 AM :


Small press shout out

Check out the online comics available at Boltcity.com

This is the site of Kazu Kibuishi, editor of the Flight anthology (published through Image), and writer/artist of Daisy Kutter, from Viper Comics. Gorgeous looking stuff.

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Monday, December 27, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/27/2004 11:07:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 56

So I've been trying to come up with a good story for the "Myth" issue of Panel, to no avail. Writer's block and all that.

That is, until a few hours ago when I read Neil Gaiman's children's book The Wolves in the Walls. And all of a sudden my mind opened up to new possibilities for a story. I started thinking along lines I hadn't considered before. Now, that's not to say that my writer's block has been completely cured. I still don't have a good story idea. But the important thing is that my mind's been kick-started out of its cold rut. Who knows, maybe I'll wake up tomorrow morning with one of those "Eureka!" moments.

So out of curiosity...for all you other writers out there, what where some of the books/movies/songs/events/etc. that got you over a bad case of writer's block? I want specific examples.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/27/2004 07:13:00 PM :


A few DC covers I like

In no particular order, some of DC's upcoming January books with covers I dig:

The Questions #3, cover by Tommy Lee Edwards

The Monolith #12, cover by Phil Winslade

Doom Patrol #8, cover by John Byrne

Fables #33, cover by James Jean

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  Posted by Dara on 12/27/2004 06:31:00 PM :


MSNBC.com supposedly profiles Dark Horse Comics

I say supposedly because, for the most part, the article just talks about the usual "manga sales are huge" and "comics are being mined for movies" topics, instead of anything about Dark Horse. And of course there's the usual errors in reporting:
"Other Dark Horse comics that have been adapted into movies include "Ghost World," "The Mask" and "Road to Perdition."
Really? I think Fantagraphics and DC might have a thing or two to say about that. But I suppose it's only an article about, *pshhh* comic books, so it's not like you need to check your facts.

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  Posted by Tony on 12/27/2004 04:30:00 PM :


As reported on the Pulse ...

Will Eisner recently had heart surgery, confirms longtime friend Denis Kitchen. Kitchen tells the Pulse:

"Will Eisner is in intensive care following open heart surgery on Wednesday afternoon. Quadruple bypass. He didn't want anyone to know until he came through OK, but all signs are that he is recovering terrifically. He's already joking with the nurses and "biting his lip" over delayed deadlines.

He's not supposed to return to work for 6-8 weeks (I'm making side bets), so it'd be nice in the interim if the industry deluged him with warm words while he's recuperating.

Please encourage fans and friends to send Get Well cards to:

Will Eisner Studios, Inc.
8333 West McNab Road,
Suite 131"

Best wishes to one of comics' living legends.
Tamarac FL 33321)."

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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 12/27/2004 01:06:00 PM :


Illustrated Books
I've noticed in more and more books, particularly those by authors who have ties to comics or wear their comic influences on their sleeve, the use of illustrations to add to and complement the text. Here are a few recent examples:

* McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories (2004, McSweeney's, Amazon listing) is another collection of genre stories edited by Michael Chabon similar to last year's McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales (2003, Vintage, Amazon listing). Featuring illustrations by Mike Mignola, the book has stories by Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Lethem, Roddy Doyle, China Mieville, Joyce Carol Oates, and Peter Straub among others.

* Michael Chabon's most recent novella, The Final Solution (2004, Fourth Estate, Amazon listing), has as its protagonist an unnamed Sherlock Holmes. Jay Ryan contributes a number of pencil sketches incorporating text from the story.

* Jonathan Lethem, often discussed on this blog, had Chester Brown contribute the cover illustration to his novella This Shape We're In (2001, McSweeney's, Amazon listing). His most recent collection, Men and Cartoons (2004, Doubleday, Amazon listing), features a number of comic influenced stories.

* The Future Dictionary of America (2004, McSweeney's, Amazon listing) is a left-leaning book with humorous entries written by a whole host of famous authors (King, Paul Auster, T.C. Boyle, Robert Coover, Glen David Gold, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers, Eric Larsen, Rick Moody, Richard Powers, and dozens of others). Throughout are illustrations by Art Spiegelman, Adrian Tomine, R. Sikoryak, Chris Ware and others. Although it is not a sit-down and read cover-to-cover book, it is humorous. All proceeds were going to groups with progressive causes during the 2004 elections and I would imagine continue to do so.

I know that there are probably other books that fit this model. It was once quite common for books to be illustrated. While I'm sure that it never quite went away, it is nice to see that there are currently big name authors who feel strongly enough about it to start it up again. Any other examples anyone?

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Sunday, December 26, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/26/2004 07:32:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 55

A couple years ago on a trip to Oregon, I took this picture on the beach:

At the time, it seemed like a pretty ridiculous sign. "Oh, right. Like you can't see a big wave coming to shore?"

Needless to say, I feel quite differently about it now. Almost a year to the day after the devastating earthquake that hit Bam, Iran (killing over 30,000 people), another earthquake has brought devastation to southeast Asia by creating massive tsumanis. As of this writing, close to 13,000 people are believed dead. And unfortunately, I know that number will only climb in the days ahead.
"The rush of waves brought sudden disaster to people carrying out their daily activities on the ocean's edge: Sunbathers on the beaches of the Thai resort of Phuket were washed away; a group of 32 Indians — including 15 children — were killed while taking a ritual Hindu bath to mark the full moon day; fishing boats, with their owners clinging to their sides, were picked up by the waves and tossed away."
Having grown up on a steady diet of comic books where natural disasters such as tsunamis are a common occurrence, I think I took for granted the real speed of these tidal waves. I mean, I obviously understood the severity of the threat, but I was mostly of the mindset that surely people will have plenty of early warning before the waves hit the shoreline. I certainly would have had a hard time believing that one minute you could be sunbathing on the beach and the next you're swept out to sea.

That's before I learned the waves can travel as fast as 500 miles per hour.

It really is a sobering event. I know it's cliche to talk about how it gives one pause to reflect on the fragile nature of our lives. But it's true. And unless you're a completely self-absorbed jerk, it's impossible not put your own troubles in proper perspective compared to the plight of the people affected by such a large scale disaster.

Some ways you can help:

Relief International
Mercy Corps
International Committee of the red Cross

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Saturday, December 25, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/25/2004 10:01:00 AM :


Daily Musings: Day 53

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

My car has been de-iced, Wendy's neghborhood has electricity once more, they've sanded the roads in my hood, and the sun is shinning on the ice covered trees, giving them a beautiful glow.

So that's gonna' do it for me today. Have a great one.

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Friday, December 24, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/24/2004 10:10:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 52

My bro got the Family Guy season 3 DVD set from the library, so I've been watching a lot of it over these past few days. And I have to say, it's a shame that FOX killed that show. Not that it's anything new to them. They also effectively killed Futurama by scheduling it after Sunday night football only to preempt it each time.

Meanwhile, The Simpsons, though arguably one of the best, funniest, and cleverest shows to ever air on TV, limps along, years past its prime. Which is too bad. I'd rather see my favorite entertainment bow out gracefully while at the top (see Calvin & Hobbes), instead of becoming a sad parody of themselves.

Anyway, back to the Family Guy. The thing I liked about that show, aside from it being actually laugh-out-loud funny, was that the pace was fast. The jokes came at you at a breakneck pace, often times hitting you while you were still trying to process the prior ones. In a landscape filled with crap-ass sitcoms and regurgitated humor, it was refreshing to watch a show that tried to fit so much comedy in the space of its 20 minutes that it exploded with a frenetic energy. And besides, Stewie is one of the all time funniest characters ever created.

(For the comic geeks, one of the episodes featured Peter buying an old fishing boat from a police auction. The name of the boat? "The S.S. More Powerful Than Superman, Batman, Spider-man, and The Incredible Hulk Put Together".)

By the way, happy Christmas eve to all of you out there. And for those of you in Columbus, I hope your power is back on and your streets have been cleared. As for me, I spent the better part of the day chipping off an inch-thick layer of ice from my car, thanks to the idiots at Discount Tires who thought the way to unfreeze my doors was to pour buckets of hot water over them. Yes, you read that right.

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Thursday, December 23, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/23/2004 10:17:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 51

Snowstorms and blizzards can be a pain in the ass. On the other hands, there's nothing like a good snow (or in our case, an ice storm) to bring people together.

After I called in to work and took a "snow day" this morning, I curled up with a hot bowl of oatmeal and watched the local news. They were covering every angle of the crippling snow and ice mess that has brought the city to its knees. And it warmed my heart to see scenes of neighbors helping other neighbors dig their cars out, or total strangers helping to push stuck cars out of snow drifts. After all, that's what it's about, right? It reminded me of the really nasty snowfall we had last winter, and how in my neighborhood alone I was involved in at least four such cases of helping out, or needing help.

On a more personal note, I got to spend the whole day with Wendy and Hanna. Their whole neighborhood is without power, so I invited them over. We played spy games, made lunch, watched movies, made giant robots with Tinker-toys, and took Hanna sledding. I had originally planned on cleaning up around the house and catching up on some reading and writing. Wendy had planned on running some errands. But the snow storm had other plans for us.

And I wouldn't have had it any other way.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/22/2004 10:59:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 50

One for the comic book geeks: I just saw a rerun of Law & Order where the murder victim's name was John Byrne. Insert own joke here.

Speaking of TV shows, I made a point of not watching the new ABC show Lost when it first aired. This is because 1) I don't really care for the work of J.J. Abrams, the show's creator/producer, and 2) I had a feeling that the very "hook" of the show, i.e. the mystery behind the island and what's going on there, would also be its undoing. Let me explain.

In my opinion, Abrams' other show, Alias, suffers from the X-Files syndrome. Mainly, the big mystery/conflict at the heart of the show will be dragged out endlessly as long as the ratings are good and they need to keep the show on the air. They will pad the storyline, they will introduce endless new subplots, just so they won't have to logically end the story. Which makes economic sense, obviously, but it makes for a very unsatisfying and frustrating experience for the viewer. I don't want to read a book that's never going to end as long as people keep buying the next chapter. Even in comics, where serialized stories are the norm, there is usually some sort of closure on the main story arcs. And besides, there's no big mystery at the heart of the iconic characters. Superman hasn't been trying to return to Krypton for the past 65 years. Batman hasn't been trying to solve the mystery of his parents' murder for thousands of issues.

But in TV land, with shows like The X-Files, Alias, Quantum Leap, Star Trek Voyager, and I'm betting Lost, there is one major quest or plot element that defines the show. And we all know it's never going to be resolved because that would mean the end of the show. You know the next episode teaser for Quantum Leap where it looks like Sam is going to find his way back home is just bullshit. You know the "shocking" episode of the X-Files that promises startling revelations is bullshit. In the end, nothing changes and nothing is resolved until it's time for the series to be cancelled. And even then, there's usually a lame open-ended finale to keep the prospects for a spin-off show or movie or whatever open.

So each episode becomes a tired game of "how can we string along the audience this week without really accomplishing anything?" In the case of Alias, they accomplish this by pretending to change the status quo with their "big" revelations that everything you thought you knew about these characters and organizations is wrong. Every other week. Repeated ad infinitum.

Again, I understand the financial necessity of it, but that doesn't take away the fact that it's manipulative storytelling that is insulting to the show's fans. And in the end, it only leads to an overall piss-poor experience. Just look at the bloated, thrice dead corpse of The X-Files by the time they finally pulled the plug on that comatose patient.

On the other hand, I've caught a couple episodes of Lost in reruns and I have to admit that the premise, characters, and locales are all very intriguing. If there was a guarantee that this show was going to tell a finite story (like, say, Babylon 5), I could see myself becoming totally immersed in it. But alas, we all know that's not going to happen. So no thanks, Mr. Abrams. I think I'll just read up on the episode synopsis on the Internet if I ever find myself curious as to what's going on with the show 8 years from now. I have a feeling I'll miss out on some pretty cool stories here and there, but in the end I'm confident I'll be saving myself a whole lot of wasted time and frustration.

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  Posted by Craig on 12/22/2004 11:15:00 AM :


A guy walked into the retail store where I work at about 9 p.m. last night asking if we carried comic books. I told him we didn't have any, then tried to give him directions to the two closest stores where he could find them, all involving drives across town.

Remember way back when comics could be found in just about any corner drugstore or supermarket? Whenever someone lists things that have damaged the comics industry in recent years, I always see one thing missing: comic specialty shops. I love the Laughing Ogre myself, and specialty shops have allowed a much broader range of material to evolve-- and they're essential to self-publishers like myself. But they've also marginalized the audience for the books (which I blame for "growing up" the characters and stories of what were once more accessable books), taken them out of settings where a newcomer might "discover" them, and drastically reduced the number of outlets where they are available. Who thought this was a good idea? The comics industry began taking a beating when the economy was soaring a decade ago; that was about the time this shift occurred, if I'm not mistaken (if you place blame solely on the "speculator bubble", I'd argue that was a product of specialty shops as well, since casual readers had them removed from settings where they could find them). Most people that hear I'm into comics tell me they weren't even aware they were still being made today.

Obviously we need the specialty stores for stuff like mature themed books, independents, and self-published material. Also, they are an ideal outlet for trade paperbacks and comic-related merchandise. I can't help but think that things would improve for comics in general if the biggest publishers made an aggressive push to get their core titles placed primarily in non-specialty retail stores again-- even if they just produce ranges of cheap reprints available only in those settings.

While I was giving the guy directions last night, he seemed to lose interest three intersections into my description. He thanked me, but I didn't get the impression he was going to be hunting down any of the stores I mentioned this afternoon.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/22/2004 09:51:00 AM :


Morrison on Superman

Newsarama has an interview with Grant Morrison about his involvement (with artist Frank Quietly) on the new Superman book for DC's new "All-Star" line of books. And despite the fact that I really haven't enjoyed much of his writing, and that I'm not a Superman fan, I find myself curious about this book. It's DC's pseudo version of Marvel's Ultimate line...basically the focus will be taking their iconic characters and telling iconic stories more-or-less free of continuity. With big name creators. Morrison describes his 12-issue plans:
"The Fortress appears in issue #2, stuffed with a ton of new toys and gets haunted by the bandaged ghost of the Unknown Superman of 4500 AD. The Kandorians finally get out of that bottle. Superman gets a new power. Clark Kent winds up sharing a prison cell with Lex Luthor in issue #5. The Bizarro Cube Earth invades our world in an epic 2-part adventure (no 'decompression' here!) and we're recasting the Bizarros as a frightening, unstoppable zombie-plague style menace. Bizarro Jor-El and the Bizarro JLA turn up in the second part of that story too. What else? We meet Earth's replacement Superman and Clark Kent takes on a new superhero identity...Ten of the 12 issues are complete short stories in 22 pages, so lots of stuff happens. And it all links together as a maxi-arc or whatever they call them these days, entitled 'The 12 Labors of Superman'.

Overall, the series is more about Superman's relationships with his friends and with the world than anything else.

People know my stuff and I'm sure they can guess what to expect. It's going to be big, bold sci-fi Superman for 12 issues."
And for you writers out there, here's a little something to make you alternately jealous and impressed:
"I like to work a lot and try lots of different things. This year I've written a screenplay for a Dreamworks movie, a 300-page novel, a game script for the upcoming Predator: Concrete Jungle release, 40 comic books, several movie pitches and a bunch of other stuff. I've even been asked to script a theme park thrill ride."

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/21/2004 11:12:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 49

What I wish to see in 2005:

A world free of hatred, prejudice, ignorance, and intolerance.

What I'll settle for:

People at least making an effort to be nice to one another.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/21/2004 03:34:00 PM :


Wanna work on a romance comic?

Arrow Publications ("a 20-year-old publishing company based in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area") is looking for both writers and artists:
"In 2003, Arrow Publications embarked on a new venture in Illustrated Romance Fiction that is sure to appeal to a wide audience of romance fiction readers. The launching date is set for early 2005. These will be romantic, passionate character-driven stories filled with adventure and intrigue. Our stories will be beautifully illustrated with images of strong, capable, and desirable women falling in love with equally strong, capable, and virile men."
And this from their Writer's Submission Guidelines:
"Good storytelling, dialogue and pacing are musts. There should be two or three passionate, intimate encounters between the hero and the heroine...There should be sexual tension, as well as believable conflict, between the protagonists. The heroes and heroines must display spirit, yet be vulnerable. Perfect people are boring."
(via DigitalWebbing)

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  Posted by Dara on 12/21/2004 01:03:00 PM :


Hacking into a Coke machine

Oh, those crazy hackers. Apparently breaking into government networks and corporate servers makes one thirsty. And what better way to quench your thirst than to hack into a coke vending machine for free drinks.
"Included in the low-level operating system that these babies run on is an actual debug menu that gives you access to all sorts of machine information and possibly gives you free cokes in older machines."
(via boingboing)

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Monday, December 20, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/20/2004 11:36:00 PM :


Kaluta covers

Just felt like posting a few of the covers from the DC/Vertigo series, Lucifer. Cover art by the legendary Michael William Kaluta. Gorgeous stuff. I wish they'd use more of his work on their books.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/20/2004 10:29:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 48

What is up with people that feel the need to constantly talk? And by constantly, I mean nonstop, and by talk I mean blather-endlessly-about-inane-topics. Is it the whole "I love the sound of my own voice?" deal? Or is it some low self esteem/insecurity thing where forcing people to listen to your constant babbling somehow validates your existence in the world? And before someone points out the irony of me ranting about this topic on a blog, where I myself blather every day about inane topics, let me say this in my defense: blogging is passive. Nobody has to visit this site or read what I have to say. I'm not subjecting anyone to my thoughts. It's that simple. Where as the type of annoying public prattle I'm talking about is very much an active, in-your-face endeavor. Similar to inconsiderate jerks on cellphones, jabbering away loudly as if the rest of the world wants to be subjected to the minutiae of their lives.

Anyway, The reason I mention this is because I was in a store earlier this evening and these two women were looking through some clothes. The nonstop talker (who we shall simply call Motor Mouth, or MM for short) did just that: talked nonstop. And I don't mean "carried on a conversation with her friend". No, I mean she just verbalized any and all thoughts in her head, nonstop, apparently for no other reason than to simply be talking. I really tried to tune her out, but it got to the point where I had to physically leave her vicinity to avoid an unhealthy display of rage. And I felt sorry for her friend, who not only couldn't get a word in edgewise, but clearly wasn't thrilled about her front row seat at MM's Tourette's Syndrome Theater.

MM: What about this shirt? I like it. But I don't like the buttons. They're, I don't know...weird. I used to have a shirt like this one but I never wore it. I wonder where I put it. Probably in the back of the closet. Oh this one's cool too. But it's expensive. Definitely too much for this. I'd buy that if it wasn't for the buttons. What do you think, the buttons are goofy, right? I just don't like them. The color is nice though. I wish I could find a matching skirt. Or shorts. But they don't carry shorts now.

Friend: Mmm hm.

MM: Wow, I haven't seen something like this in a long time. Who even wears these anymore? I suppose the people I work with would wear them, but not me. Did I tell you about this guy at my work? Total creep. He asked me out to the Christmas party. How weird is that? Oh, I like the color on this one. Very spring. Except it's winter now. But I like the color.

Friend: Yeah.

MM: I've got so much more shopping to get done for Christmas. God, I'm getting stressed out just thinking about it. And what should I get for Sherri? I just don't know what she likes. Well, she's into Yoga but I mean clothes. I really like the leather jackets. Too bad they don't have too many in brown. It's always black leather jackets. I like brown, like those bomber jackets. But some of them look stupid. Man, it was freezing out this morning. I almost called in sick to work. I should have. I could have finished my shopping. And ran some errands. I need to pick up stamps, I'm all out. It always happens this time of year.

Friend: Mmm.

I imagine it went on like this for the entire duration of their shopping, but I had to put some distance between us after a few minutes. Unbelievable.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/20/2004 10:12:00 PM :


Dispatch article on bloggers

(updated 12/21 with link to the article; registration required)

The Columbus Dispatch reporter Molly Willow (best. name. ever.) informs me that the article she wrote about Central Ohio bloggers will appear in tomorrow's (12/21) Life section of the paper. Yours truly was interviewed for said article. No idea how many of my comments will make it in (probably only the embarrassing ones), but keep an eye out for it.

And so concludes another thrilling performance on my shameless self-promotion world tour.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/20/2004 02:27:00 PM :


One for Andy and Matt (and all the other Ted McKeever fans)

More rumors, this time courtesy of Lying in the Gutters:
"I understand in April, Atomeka are republishing Ted McKeever and Chris Chuckry's "Eddie Current" as a 120 page TPB with an intro by Dave Gibbons, digest size for $9.99, and will continue through three volumes, each telling four hours of Eddy's most important night of his life.

The book also includes a short collaboration by Dave Gibbons and Ted McKeever called "Libretto."

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  Posted by Dara on 12/20/2004 02:18:00 PM :


Apparently Marvel has some standards...

According to All the Rage, here's Rob Liefeld's cover to X-Force #2, which was rejected by Marvel:

I believe those are what Dirk Deppey used to call "boob socks".

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  Posted by Dara on 12/20/2004 08:53:00 AM :


Your political moment of the day

Via Reuters news:

"President George W. Bush and Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua Bolton (C) talk to conferees, above a misspelled sign, at the White House Conference on the Economy in Washington, December 16, 2004. The White House went all out to showcase the advantages of U.S. President George W. Bush's ambitious financial agenda this week, but in the end the 'challenges' proved too much..."

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Sunday, December 19, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/19/2004 05:08:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 47

Luckily, I don't have a ton of people to do Christmas shopping for. Mostly, I send cards to my friends abroad, and buy gifts for a few close friends and (to an even lesser extent) relatives. I've only got a couple more small gifts to pick up, so I'm feeling pretty good. I hate crowds, and I hate shopping malls. And above all, I hate Christmas music. So the less time I have to spend in stores this time of year, the happier I am.

On the other hand, I have to admit that it's really fun when you find just the right gift for someone. I think a lot of people feel like they need to buy all sorts of crap for others for Christmas. But really, which would you rather have, a bunch of expensive but ultimately useless gifts, or something more personal? It's the difference between "I want to buy this gift for them because I know they'll like it," and "I need to buy them something so I won't look bad".

As for me, I've got some gift wrapping and envelope addressing to do.

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Saturday, December 18, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/18/2004 10:10:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 46

You know, most publishers have editors for a reason. And it's not just to do the administrative work and make sure everyone meets their deadlines. Part of their job is to help the writers tell the best stories they can in the best possible manner. And yes, sometimes that means telling them "no, you can't (or shouldn't) do it that way". Sure, it's not an exact science and there are plenty of bad editors out there (read: frustrated writers with a power complex). And yes, it's expected of writers to always denigrate their bastard editors. But they do serve a real purpose.

And sometimes you run across a comic that could be used as a textbook on teaching why there's a need for good editors. Case in point, the recent Enginehead mini-series from DC, by writer Joe Kelly.

There's a lot of talk these days about making comics "accessible", and not just to non-comics readers, but even to regular comic fans who might not be up on a certain company's decades of continuity. Well, this series was the polar opposite of accessible. In fact, Enginehead is to accessible storytelling as Paris Hilton is to selfless philanthropy. Not only that, it was so jumbled and convoluted, and the narrative style so unstructured and piss-poor, that it even left me cold. And I've been a comic fan for about 20 years. I consider myself a pretty savvy reader. I like weird and experimental books. I like non-traditional storytelling. I like metaphysical stories. And I wanted to like this book, coming back issue after issue.

But man, do I feel cheated. And not just by the writer of the book, but by Assistant Editor Michael Wright and Editor Bob Schreck. (Schreck, by all counts, has a reputation as being one of the best editors in the business.) So I'm left to wonder if they were high on crack, or just out on vacation when Kelly's scripts came in. Was there no one to stand up and say "look, I appreciate what you're trying to do here with your experimental narrative style, but your first responsibility is to tell the reader a good story in a comprehensive manner." Instead, Enginehead was one of those books that seemed to want to fail on both a commercial and a critical level. It's as if Kelly's thought process each time he sat down at his computer was "what's the fastest way to alienate all my readers?"

It's really too bad, to. Because I really liked the high concept of the series, I loved Ted McKeever's art, I enjoyed Chris Chuckry's coloring, and I totally dug the design of the lead character and even the book's logo. I just wish an editor somewhere along the line had reigned in the writer and forced him to actually tell a story. But no, instead we got 6 issues (aborted from an originally planned 8-issue run) of Joe Kelly masturbating to the genius of the metaphysical artiste who is Joe Kelly.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/18/2004 10:06:00 PM :


Mmmmmm, Hostess

This site has some scans of those good ol' 1970's ads for Hostess Twinkies and Fruit Pies, starring your favorite comic book characters. (via boingboing)

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  Posted by Dara on 12/18/2004 11:53:00 AM :


Daily Musings: Day 45

(playing catch-up, as I didn't get a chance to post this last night)

File this one under "this is what's wrong with our society..."

I was over at Wendy's last night and we were watching TV with Hanna. FOX had some weird CGI version of Popeye that was, quite frankly, pretty disturbing. Not the content or anything, just the way the characters looked in 3D. I mean, I loved the old Popeye cartoon back when I was a kid, but somehow it just doesn't work as a computer modeled show. But I digress. What I really wanted to mention is the show that came on after that.

Jingle Ball Rock 2004.

Ok, so it was on at 9 PM, which isn't exactly little kids time. But let's be honest, it wasn't a show meant for grown ups either. With "musical" acts like Ashlee Simpson, Avril Lavigne, and JoJo, it was a show clearly aimed at teens and tweens. And as the shots of the star-struck, screaming teens in the audience showed, that was exactly their target demographic. So setting aside the endless marketing and promotion of crap-ass, pre-packaged "safe" musical acts like Ashlee Simpson (that's a rant for another time,) here's my problem with the show: what the fuck was Paris Hilton doing there? I mean, seriously. Besides being hands down the most worthless human being on the face of the planet, this is a "celebrity" (ugh) whose claim to fame is 1) being filthy rich due to her parents, not any work on her own part, 2) being shallow, superficial, and stupid on a reality show, 3) taping herself having sex, 4) endorsing pot-flavored candy with that other bastion of responsibility, Snoop Dogg, 5) etc., etc. etc.

And she's co-hosting a TV special for teens. Complete with an opening intro that featured an up-skirt shot of her plugging her new night club. Great. Wonderful message to send there, geniuses. If only all teens could aspire to one day be like her. "Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a narcissistic, vapid, worthless, (media) whore of a human being. That's hot."

And the thing is, I'm a big proponent of parents taking responsibility for what their kids watch. And in our case, it was quite easy to switch channels, even though Hanna really wanted to hear the Avril song. But still, the thoughtlessness and crassly materialistic, anything-to-make-a-buck attitude that goes into these types of thing makes me sad. It just seems like it's becoming more and more accepted in our society, as though there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Ultimately, parents shoulder the responsibility of teaching their kids the right morals and values. It's just sad that they have to fight harder and harder at every turn to do so. Sad, and pretty scary.

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Friday, December 17, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/17/2004 01:46:00 PM :


Win a copy of Owly

For all you artists out there, Johanna Draper Carlson of ComicsWorthReading is having a contest to win a copy of Andy Runton's Owly. Deadline is December 24th.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/17/2004 01:37:00 PM :


Opening a new comic book store

Newsarama has an interesting interview with a couple of guys who are about to open a comic book store. It delves into the planning, risks, marketing, and other aspects of opening a brand new retail shop. Even more interesting is a post from a former retailer, detailing his successes and failure with his store, which closed down after a year. Oh, and check out what one of the other readers posted:
"Matt, I suggest a follow up article involving a huge success story of a comic shop. Gib Bickel at The Laughing Ogre in Columbus is the epitamy of a great comic shop owner/manager. The Ogre recently celebrated it's 10th year and Gib was named to this year's Eisner judges panel."

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  Posted by Dara on 12/17/2004 01:17:00 PM :


Your political moment of the day

Brought to you by Chris Britt, The State Journal-Register.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/17/2004 11:41:00 AM :


ComiXtreme reviews Panel

Over at his Patchworks column at ComiXtreme, Jon Hook reviews volumes 2-4 of our Panel anthology. It's done in a simple pros/cons style, and as with any review, your mileage will vary. But overall it's positive and it's always interesting to see which stories out of the mix appeal to which folks. Plus, he's digging on our production and design elements, which is always good to see.
"When you boil it all down, each of these comics by Ferret Press, PANEL: ARCHITECTURE, PANEL: SPACE, and PANEL: HOME are all well worth the cost of admission."

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  Posted by Tom on 12/17/2004 10:36:00 AM :


God bless John Waters...

Mainly this is for Andy but worth sharing- I caught this on NPR the other day: John Waters has wrifled thru his crazy record collection and whipped up this comp. The highlight of the interview was finding out that Waters is sexually aroused by the Chipmunks. Not shocking but what isn't shocking about this dude. A must have for the fan of the obscure and forgotten. I was dying listening to some of the selections.

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Thursday, December 16, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/16/2004 09:27:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 44

Gonna make it a short one tonight. I'm still a little shaken up...you see, my brother and I were in a car accident a short while ago. The good news is that everyone is ok. The bad news is that his car is in pretty bad shape.

We were actually on our way to catch the 7:20 showing of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow at the el cheapo theater. A car in front of us decided at the last minute that he (she?) was going to turn left into a parking lot. Apparently they were also saving wear and tear on their turn signal by only using it at the last possible second. Anyway, my brother stopped short of hitting them, they turned, my brother started up again, and a few seconds later...CH-KLUNK! (sorry, couldn't resist, I've been writing a lot of sound effects in my comic scripts lately)

Yeah, so this guy plowed into the back of our car. With enough force to deploy the airbags in his car. The rear bumper, trunk hood, and back doors of my brother's car are all messed up. The weird thing is, the front of his car showed no visible marks of damage. No dents, no broken lights, nothing (at least, not that I noticed in the dark). But his windshield was pretty much shattered on the passenger side.

I guess it's all in the hands of the insurance companies now. I feel really bad for my bro, but I'm glad that none of us were injured.

All I can say is, when we finally do see it, that Sky Captain movie better be worth all this!

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  Posted by Dara on 12/16/2004 11:01:00 AM :


One for Craig

You're definitely not the only person concerned about the turn comics Marvel and DC have taken towards levels of sex and violence inappropriate for kids. In fact, there's a new blog called Dead Chicks and Mayhem that's about that very topic.
"I've been reading comics most of my life. As I've grown up so have the comics. To the point where the realism (ie violence and sex) is comparable to what you see on television or in the movies. Heroes aren't very pure and villains aren't just criminals, they're monsters. Some would say this is good writing, I call it inappropriate. The heroes being sold in comics are also the heroes being sold as action figures in toy stores and in cartoons on children's television. You can't market a product to children and then sell a similar product meant for only an adult audience. Its wrong...."

"Content should be clearly labeled and a product meant for one audience shouldn't be reworked for another. that's what I'm going to try and do. I don't read all comics but of the ones I do, if I see something that stands out as inappropriate (which is often) I'll post it here."

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  Posted by Dara on 12/16/2004 10:31:00 AM :


The return of Negative Burn

From the ashes of Caliber Comics comes the newly resurrected Negative Burn anthology, from Joe Pruett's Desperado Comics, published by Image. Check out the solicitation info below (shipping in March). Chaz Truog? Wow, I haven't seen any work from him since the old Morrison Animal Man series. Brian Bolland, Darko Macan, Zander Cannon, Richard Case, Scott Morse...this book is gonna rock!

on sale 03.23
one-shot special
black & white
96 pages


cover by ESSAD RIBIC

Perhaps the most eccentric anthology in the history of comics, NEGATIVE BURN is an anomaly, merging together genres, pushing boundaries and allowing the top comic book talent in the world the opportunity to experiment with unique stories. Nominated for numerous industry awards in its previous incarnation, this series promises to exceed expectations not only in the quality of its talent, but in its presentation as well. Never to follow a course, each volume of NEGATIVE BURN will present the biggest stars in the industry today while continuing to showcase the next wave of new talent.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/15/2004 10:19:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 43

So I just saw this ad on TV for Coors Light. Their new tag line? "The world's coldest tasting beer."

That's right. Coldest tasting. That's interesting, I didn't realize "cold" was something you tasted. Idiots. It reminds me of that Simpsons episode where the kids were stranded on an island (a la Lord of the Flies), desperate for food. Finding some berries, they get Ralph to try them to make sure they're not poisonous. When asked how they are, he responds "they taste like burning". Poor Ralphie, should have had a Coors Light. Maybe the "cold" taste would have counteracted the burning taste.

And lest you think only beer advertisers are out there butchering the English language, there's another ad that insults our intelligence just as much. It's for some brand of electric shaver (Norelco, I think) and while talking about the blades, the manly announcer voice points out that they are made from titanium, "the world's sharpest metal". Yep, them other metals like iron and al-you-minium sure are dull. That's why they're so easy to mine. Hell, you can practically tear them out of the soil with your bare hands, without any gloves. They won't cut ya, son, don't you worry. But that there titanium is one sharp sumbitch. Many a miner done lost a finger or hand on them sharp veins of titanium occurring naturally in the wild.


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  Posted by Dara on 12/15/2004 10:19:00 AM :


Your political moment of the day

Courtesy of this week's Steven Grant comic book/movies/TV/politics column, Permanent Damage. His politics are more left-leaning than mine, but I often find myself agreeing with his views, especially on this one:
"But wait. Rumsfeld's comment about going to war with the army you've got suggested the war was so urgent there was no way to sufficiently arm the troops before the invasion started. Except... there was no great urgency to invade Iraq. They weren't a threat. (And, yeah, you can write me all you want about how everyone thought Iraq had a nuclear/chemical/biological weapons program in full swing, but the CIA has made it clear - one of the reasons admin underling Porter Goss is busy purging the Company now - they told the White House over and over there was no viable evidence of it, only to be told - by the vice-president, no less - to cherry pick what information they had until it matched what the administration wanted to hear.) The admin could have taken all the time we wanted to properly arm the troops. They didn't. Which is a funny way to support the troops. And ain't it a coinkydink that shortly after Rumsfeld gets ambushed by his own troops - and his comments repeated on news broadcasts and talk show throughout the world, in all their petulant, short-sighted glory, the Army suddenly discovers that the company producing armored vehicles for them could have been turning them out twice as quickly - but nobody ever asked them to. But now there will be more armored humvees in Iraq, ensuring a very merry Christmas for all our troops that are being shot at and bombed by a hostile population."

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/14/2004 07:43:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 42

"For the essay section of my Yale application I drew a ten-page comic, of the soul-searching, R. Crumb variety. It took me three weeks, and it was by far the most sustained effort I'd made in the four years of high school, or in my life to that point."

From the short story Planet Big Zero, in Jonathan Lethem's book Men and Cartoons.

You guys were right, his writing is fantastic. I'm about half way through the collection and I'm enjoying it immensely. It's impressive how he moves effortlessly between traditional slice of life stories and pseudo-science fiction ones, and even combining the two in some cases. I also find myself examining his writing style and how it changes between the different shorts. In Access Fantasy, for example, he uses no paragraph breaks at all. Even the dialogue between characters is not separated by line breaks. Everything runs together in one long, seemingly unending narrative, mimicking the endless traffic jams at the heart of the story. To be honest, it was a bit unnerving and uncomfortable reading that story, due to the structure. But at the same time, it added a sense of urgency, as if subconsciously I wanted to read faster in hopes of getting to a paragraph break. Which again, paralleled the main characters sense of urgency at accomplishing his "detective work" before his time ran out.

Looking forward to reading the rest of the stories.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/14/2004 09:44:00 AM :


iComics reviews No Dead Time

Shout out to Tom, whose graphic novel No Dead Time gets the iComics review treatment. And it's pretty favorable, too. Even the small stuff that McElhatton complains about as far as Tom's art is concerned are really issues dictated by the script and were out of his control.

Anyway, congrats to Tom for the continued exposure and good reviews on his first breakthrough book.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/14/2004 07:24:00 AM :


Sea of Red

I just saw the preview for the new Image series Sea of Red, and I have to say I'm intrigued. Pirate stories don't do too much for me, and although I loved the infusion of horror elements into the western genre back when Vertigo did the Jonah Hex mini series, I think the whole horror thing is way overplayed these days. But a horror/pirate story with supposed "modern day twists"? Yeah, I'm curious.

The series is written by Rick Remender, layouts provided by Kieron Dwyer, and finished and color washed by Salgood Sam. The duo-tone red and black color scheme looks great. ComicBookResources has a preview, along with an interview with Remender:
"Here's the skinny. The back-story takes place in the year 1533, when a ship is sunk under mysterious circumstances deep in the night," Remender told CBR News on Friday. "Marco Esperanza, a twenty-three year old seaman and the sole survivor of the vessel, is left adrift with only a plank of wood to keep him afloat. His prayers are seemingly answered when he is brought aboard a strange ship, but Marco is quickly horrified when he learns he is on the dreaded pirate ship, The Black Galleon. Marco discovers there is more to these evil men than mere piracy; these men are damned, these men are vampires, and Marco is forced to join them."

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  Posted by Dara on 12/14/2004 05:33:00 AM :


"Celebrity" comics writers

Speaking of celebrities and comics, blogger Dorian makes some very astute observations on this whole trend of comics fans "hating" on comics authors from outside the medium. You know, people like Brad Meltzer, Reginald Hudlin, and others whose "day job" is writing novels or screenplays or such. I couldn't agree more with what he's saying, so check it out.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/14/2004 05:29:00 AM :


Comics cavalcade of stars

On his blog, Mike Sterling has a great collection of comic book characters modeled after famous celebrities. Check out the Progressive Ruin Cavalcade of Stars. Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Amy Grant...they're all there.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/14/2004 05:00:00 AM :


Sin City fan film

Pitch Films has a short black & white movie called Rats, based on one of the short tales from Sin City: Lost, Lonely, and Lethal. As far as I can tell, it's a combination of actual film and some Flash, though I could be wrong about the latter. Overall, quite impressive from a visual standpoint. They did a great job of translating the look and feel of the comic to film. Running time is 3:30.

(via Lying in the Gutters)

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Monday, December 13, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/13/2004 07:49:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 41

Expect a lot of blogging from me tomorrow morning. That's because I'll be at work at 4 AM sharp for our quarterly software release/update. The tasks we need to do are fairly database and web server intensive, which is why we pick a low-traffic time like 4 in the morning. Of course, our customers over in Europe and other continents are a bit out of luck, but hey, you win some you lose some. Anyway, I'll be having some down time between various tasks so I'm sure there will be mucho surfing and blogging going on throughout the day. Mostly to keep me sane, and awake.

Which brings up an interesting dilemma for me. I'm pretty much a night owl. Can't go to bed before midnight, unless I'm really, really tired. So on a night like this, when I know I need to get some sleep before waking up at 3, I'm left with a couple options. Try and fall asleep early, which usually doesn't work and only leads to frustration. Or take sleeping pills or NyQuil or something, which I don't like doing at all. Oh well, maybe I'll try a glass of warm milk like momma always recommended.

If anyone knows of any secret Jedi-mind-trick ways of forcing yourself to fall asleep when you don't want to (without resorting to alcohol or drugs), drop me a line. I'll try it the next time I have to do this project again (March '05)

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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 12/13/2004 03:50:00 PM :


McSweeney's #13 Dust Jacket
Remember the cool Chris Ware dust jacket for the special comix issue of McSweeney's? It is now being offered for sale, unfolded and signed by Mr. Ware on their Web site. At only $20, it seems like quite the deal.

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Sunday, December 12, 2004
  Posted by bigbaldkid on 12/12/2004 10:18:00 PM :


signs of hope in the teenage world.
sat. night i spun records at high school dance, even though i hate school dances, i'm still a whore for a dollar.
much to my surprise it was a super hero themed dance.
characters ranged from a couple batmen (one had his own alfred) ,superwoman in full costume escorted by her jock boyfriend who came as the hulk (of course) ,indiana jones,power puff girls ,charlie's angels(popular girls),30 to 40 kids wearing superman shirts,napoleon dynomite( who won the contest) and the ambigiuosly gay duo (although there were 3 of them).
suprises were plenty.
the head teacher came as elf ( from the movie) and asked me to throw movie quotes out the crowd. i thought this was a super hero theme???
i knew none.
a fat kid dressed as batman sang the theme to spiderman on the mic.
what the hell???
my 17 year old nephew (who never has a girlfriend ) asks a girl to dance an got a number!
i was starting to wonder.
but the biggest an most pleasant surprise was that i found several girls off to the side discussing comics, that they created!
one girl had brought her art to the dance,what a rebel.
i told them i drew comics, and as luck would have it, had some of my books with me.
it felt good to see the excitment in they're eyes as i gave them a copy of BIG CITY BLUES.
they tore through it by the end of the night.
asking me 21 questions about the buisiness ,i gave them several tips an ideas.
hopefully they find satisfaction in doing what they love.
maybe even a dollar or two.

definately a high moment.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/12/2004 09:39:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 40

I normally don't buy movies on VHS or DVD. It's not because I'm cheap (well, ok, I am, but that's not the reason). It's just that I hardly ever watch TV or movies at home, and I'm even less likely to watch something I've already seen before. Even if it's a great movie. Too many new ones I haven't seen yet, you see. I feel like I'm wasting time.

Anyway, that's a long intro to what I really wanted to talk about. A while back, Micro Center had a special sale where for each cartridge of printer ink that you bought, you could get one of a select few DVDs for a mere $10. Now, you may be thinking to yourself that the choices were amongst such B-movie classics as C.H.U.D. or the latest Olsen Twins masterpiece. But no, the selection included some really nice packages like the Pirates of the Caribbean 2-disc set, and the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 4-disc set! So I figured, why not? I already buy ink for my printer anyway, might as well pick up a couple nice DVDs inexpensively while I'm at it.

Anyway, all that was also a long intro to what I really wanted to talk about. Namely, how more actors and extras don't die or get maimed during the filming of action flicks. You see, I was watching the behind-the-scenes extras on the Pirates DVD earlier today, and they have a whole series of vignettes from the set where the director and fight choreographers are setting up the various action scenes. To call the goings on "organized chaos" would be being generous.

It's pretty amazing to see the scale on which some of these big budget movies operate under. Even after the half-dozen partial and full rehearsals, it's still amazing to me that they can pull it all off without someone getting a sword to the head, or tripping over something and landing on a musket. There are flash explosions, smoke bombs, dust machines, and a couple dozen extras running in every direction while scaffoldings fall over and wine barrels roll down a ramp. The sheer difficulty of managing all the various people and equipment needed to film some of those scenes gives me a whole new level of respect for the directors (and their crews) who work on these types of movies.

Don't get me wrong, I still think 90% of the action flicks coming out are pure ass in terms of story and presentation. But hey, respect to the guys who can make those pieces of ass without killing or injuring a bunch of people in the process.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/12/2004 09:33:00 PM :


DC encyclopedia

No, not the $40 hardcover book that just came out. The Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe website is "an internet encyclopedia of the DC Universe, past, present and future. It includes everything from Who's Who profiles on characters, places, organizations, and events in the DC Universe, to issue-by-issue indexes and character chronologies as well as a detailed history of the Universe itself." Enjoy.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/12/2004 09:17:00 PM :


ThisWeek on Max Allan Collins

I didn't see this article in the print version of this week's, er, ThisWeek newspaper. But you can find it online: reporter Craig McDonald writes about crime novelist and sometimes comic book scribe Max Allan Collins. Specifically, about his Road to Perdition graphic novels and Nathan Heller series of "pulp fact-ion" books.
"In addition to his own novels, Collins also writes a number of successful novelizations of film and television projects, including Saving Private Ryan, Maverick and In the Line of Fire. He currently writes a series of novels based on the hit television series CSI.

'I may be a little different from some writers in that I don't hide behind a pseudonym when I do that stuff,' Collins said. 'I was advised that I should, but I said, 'I'm a comic book writer ... you don't get any less respect than that. So why should I hide when I'm going out and doing this work?' And, for example, the CSI books: the last two have made The New York Times bestseller list. So why would I not want my name on it?'"
(link via Thought Balloons)

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Saturday, December 11, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/11/2004 04:33:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 39

What is it with cats and sleeping on top of odd places? My cat hardly ever sleeps on my bed anymore. But if I ever leave an article of clothing on the bed, she'll be curled up on top of it faster than you can blink. Earlier today, Jinx was sleeping in the little cat bed my girlfriend had bought her last year. Nothing too unusual, you think. Except that the bed was turned upside down and she was sleeping on the part that is essentially the underside of it.

Same goes for piles of paperwork, grocery bags, stacks of books, shoes on the floor of my closet, etc. Places that you wouldn't even think are comfortable. But apparently she has a whole different sense of comfort.


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Friday, December 10, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/10/2004 09:18:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 38

I've been thinking a lot over the past year about doing a "silent" comic book project. I think it all stemmed from my contribution to Panel: Space, which Tom Williams illustrated. "Peace" was essentially a story without caption boxes or dialogue, save for one quote that appears in a book the main character was reading.

It was an interesting story to "write", especially for me, a guy who's been teased on more than one occasion for writing too much dialogue ;-) Maybe it's because I feel insecure enough as it is, being the writing half of a collaboration where the artist inevitably gets more exposure and attention. I almost feel as though I need to put lots of words on the page for people to recognize my contribution. To notice me. "Oh, right, some guy had to come up with this story first before the artist drew it." That kind of thing. It's silly, I'll be the first to admit it, but I think subconsciously there's a lot more of that going on than I'd care to admit.

So what better way to kick that particular gremlin in the balls than to take out all text and dialogue? Obviously, the success of such a story would depend largely on the artist' ability to convey not only the main action, but also all the little nuances via his/her artwork. But it will be just as big a challenge for me, as the writer, to craft the story in a way that everything I want to say can come across via the artwork alone.

I've been tossing around in my head an idea I've had for just such a project. It's time I sat down and scripted it out. I think it'll be about 16 pages. Long enough to tell a complete story, short enough to be feasible both financially and in terms of demand on the artist.

In the meantime, if anyone reading this knows of a good artist with a somewhat cartoony/animation-like style, point them in my direction.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/10/2004 02:18:00 PM :


Domain Art

Think of this as a companion piece to the post I made last week about electronic art...

Artist Stephen Rumney has a unique exhibition, titled Domain Art. Basically, it's Internet domain names as art. And here's the twist: when you buy the artwork, you get the domain as well. For example, one of the pieces is called BadHairDecade.com:
The buyer acquires BadHairDecade.com as:
1. A web address.
2. A global installation.
3. A gallery artwork.
These three parts make up the artwork.

The buyer of the artwork becomes the legal owner of BadHairDecade.com

The artwork can be accessed by typing BadHairDecade.com into a web browser window from anywhere in the world.

The artwork is a limited edition of 2. The buyer receives canvas No.1 in the edition. The artist retains canvas No.2 for his own archive and reference."

(via Red Ferret Journal)

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  Posted by Dara on 12/10/2004 08:42:00 AM :


Babylon 5 theatrical movie!

My friend Tony forwarded this piece of news my way: Comingsoon.net is reporting that there is a Babylon 5 big screen movie in the works, to be directed by Steven beck and start filming in the UK in April. The title is The Memory of Shadows.
"In "Shadows," the technology of the ancient and extinct Shadow race is being unleashed upon the galaxy by an unknown force, and Earthforce intelligence officer Diane Baker, whose brother was recently killed in a mysterious explosion, it out to find out who is behind the intergalactic conspiracy."
If this is true, then I'm pretty psyched about the news. I absolutely loved the Bab5 TV series, and thought series creator/writer/producer J. Michael Straczynski did a fantastic job of presenting a very unique, dynamic show. Other than Rising Stars, I haven't read any of JMS's other comic book work, so I can't speak much to that (I hear most people really hate his latest Spider-man arc involving Gwen Stacey's past...er, indiscretions). But his B5 work was fantastic.

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Thursday, December 09, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/09/2004 10:35:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 37


How does it affect your creativity? When you are feeling stressed, does it sap your energy to create art, or does it motivate you to write or draw or compose in order to get over the stress? I'm just curious. With me, it's definitely the former. I'm the least motivated (creatively, at least) during the stressful times in my life. I can't bring myself to focus on a story, nor can I force myself to sit in front of the computer and just type out something I already have in outline form in my notebook.

But I know several artists who thrive on turmoil and stress. It fuels the creative fires. It gets them going and results in manic fits of innovative output.

So where do you fall? Navel-gazing moper, or hopped up artiste?

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  Posted by Dara on 12/09/2004 01:58:00 PM :


Best superhero origin

My coworker pointed out this poll on Slashdot: what's the best superhero origin type?

I'm kind of disappointed that "Born a mutant" is the winner with 20% of the votes. Though as they point out at the bottom of the poll, "This whole thing is wildly inaccurate."

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  Posted by Tom on 12/09/2004 11:52:00 AM :


Hoooo boy! Now people in the sticks can order No Dead Time! My brother told me about this but I didn't believe him. Sure enough there it was. I just got the first few pages of the next project I'll be doin' for Oni- The Satellite Heart. It's so 'emo'. I kid, only because it's penned by the guy that wrote the book on emo.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/08/2004 11:12:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 36

So I was just watching the news and there's a report of a "mass shooting" at the Alrosa Villa, a local live music venue. The reporters didn't have a whole lot to go on, as it seemed like the police still had the whole area locked down and weren't divulging any information. Supposedly, 7 people had been shot, and 3 of them may have died.

I've been to many clubs in Columbus, and was even robbed at gunpoint outside of one, but I never went to the Alrosa. It was mainly a hard rock/heavy metal joint, with a reputation for rough crowds. There had been at least one shooting there in the past that I can recall, though obviously nothing as big as this. It's an odd feeling when you hear about a tragic event like this on the local news. We're so desensitized to this sort of event because we see it day in and day out as plot devices on TV shows and movies, to the point where it becomes just another fictitious Hollywood story. But when it happens for real, in your own back yard, suddenly it becomes real again.

Of course, the sad thing is that the "local media" are going to have a field day with this story for days, and perhaps weeks, to come. By tomorrow morning, each TV station is going to come up with their own catchy name for the event ("Alrosa Attack", "Nightclub Tragedy", etc.,) complete with a graphic of a gun juxtaposed against a martini glass and a guitar (or some shit like that...you've all watched local news in your community, you know what I'm talking about). They will run endless "can this tragedy happen at other Columbus night spots?" promos for the nightly newscast. They'll lead with "is your child in harms way?" stories. They'll interview a whole slew of other nightclub owners, bartenders, patrons, police officers, politicians, and even religious figures opposed to such "dens of inequity" to dissect every angle of the story ad infinitum.

Which ironically, is exactly what we are used to seeing on TV shows and movies that depict these types of events. The lines between reality and fantasy get blurred again.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/08/2004 09:05:00 PM :


Cartoon character skeletons

This site is very cool, if not a bit freaky. Michael Paulus is a Portland, Oregon-based artist and on his website, he has a page of cartoon character skeletal systems. Check them out.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/08/2004 03:18:00 PM :


Elitist posing, or cool comics name dropping?

From an Onion movie review of the Hong Kong cop thriller Internal Affairs:
"As with David Mamet's more populist efforts, the first season of Alias, or Ed Brubaker's great Sleeper comic-book series, the excitement comes less from who's shooting whom than from the knots of deception and play-acting required from undercover work, and the psychic toll they exact on those who undertake them."

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  Posted by Dara on 12/08/2004 03:01:00 PM :


Why has the US dollar dipped to a record low against the Euro?

"Some experts think it may have something to do with the fact that the US has a shitty economy."

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  Posted by Dara on 12/08/2004 11:11:00 AM :


Speaking of anthologies...
Over at their Basement Tapes column, Joe casey and Matt Fraction discuss the fate of anthologies in today's comics market. Is the short story dead? If the big two can't make an anthology work, is there hope for small press anthologies?
"FRACTION: There's something about the short story that's innate to comics' identity and there's much to be said for the short form and what you can do with it: the over-committed can usually find the time to crank something out and the under-exposed get the shot to cut their teeth a little and be buttressed by the presence of other creators; readers can get several stories instead of just one; most of all, as much as the Graphic Novel is its own thing, so's the comic short. From the Golden Age to EC until what can safely be called the modern era, the short story and comics have gone hand-in-hand. Except for, like, right now, when the short is about as successful as a narc at a biker rally.

CASEY: Maybe the reality of ongoing anthologies is that there's not enough creative talent out there to make it a worthwhile, continued purchase for people. You know the score... for every great short in an anthology, there are tons of crappy ones. Keeping the quality level high is a big deal on normal, monthly comics. Keeping it up on an anthology is ten times more difficult. Yeah, I know it's not rocket science... but I suppose I can sympathize with any overworked editor that can barely keep a single creative team on point. The prospect of keeping several creative teams doing great work, month-in, month-out would send some guys out onto the ledge...!"
Oddly enough, they both seem optimistic about the future of anthologies. More so than I do, that's for certain. But I will say this, it looks like the way to go is to do the themed, squarebound books with lots of material, instead of a monthly floppy. The examples of Flight, Rosetta, and Happy Endings that they cited would seem to back up this course of action.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/08/2004 11:07:00 AM :


War anthology

File this under "shout out to other small press publishers". Saddle Tramp Press, the folks who brought you the western comic Holliday, have a war-themed anthology called, well, War. The cover is by one of my favorite artists, Tom Mandrake. Drop by their site and check it out, and show them some love.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/07/2004 11:55:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 35

Am I crazy?

I just saw the same exact Victoria's Secret commercial twice, within a 20 minute time span, on two different stations...and I swear the second time I saw it there was a line cut from it.

Have you seen the ad I'm talking about? It's got that whole gift giving vibe to it with the leggy supermodels saying cutesy/provocative things about what they want this holiday season. Like "Tell me you love me," and "Tell me I'm beautiful," and "Make me feel passionate". Then one of them says, and I swear I heard it the first time I saw the commercial, "bring me to my knees". Yeah, no double entendre there. No Sir.

Except the second time I saw the ad, that particular line was cut. And yes, I was specifically listening for it because part of me was still surprised they put something like that in the ad to begin with. Not that I'm a prude, you understand. It's just that VS tries so hard to cultivate a high brow sexy (as opposed to slutty) brand image that I wouldn't think they'd ever suggest anything so...crude.

All in, though, it's probably the only holiday themed commercial I can stomach. The polar opposite of those fucking obnoxious Old Navy ads with the hideous "caroling" whitebread models. To quote my brother, those people all need to "die a burning, syphilitic death".

(It may sound harsh, but when it comes to dissing Old Navy ads, nothing's too mean spirited.)

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  Posted by Dara on 12/07/2004 02:43:00 PM :


Comics and copyright cases

Coincidentally, I ran across a press release about US customs confiscating some Top Shelf comics due to possible copyright infringement at the same time as my friend Muness sent me an article about the same topic.

You can read the Top Shelf/Comic Book Legal Defense Fund press release here.
"On October 27, U.S. Customs sent a letter to Top Shelf Productions notifying them that copies of the anthology Stripburger had been seized, charging that the stories "Richie Bush" by Peter Kuper and "Moj Stub" (translated, "My Pole") by Bojan Redzic constituted "clearly piratical copies" of registered and recorded copyrights. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has retained counsel to challenge these seizures."
Needless to say, sounds like someone's definition of "piratical copies" isn't taking into account first amendment rights as it pertains to works of parody.

And the libertarian magazine Reason has an article detailing the history of the copyright infringement case of Disney vs. The Air Pirates. My favorite quote from the article:
"Doing something stupid once is just plain stupid," says O’Neill. "Doing something stupid twice is a philosophy."

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Monday, December 06, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/06/2004 09:41:00 PM :


Not like I was holding out hope or anything...

But still. Fuck.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/06/2004 08:48:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 34

(warning: tonight's post is grumpy)

I read about another example of the type of idiotic, stupid, febbleminded, and just plain fucking ignorant people that make my blood boil. You know, if you want to waste $15,000 on an overpriced watch or something equally absurd, I guess it's your prerogative. I mean, you could use that money to do some good in the world, but whatever. You're just being a materialistic, selfish bastard.

But when you live in the 21st century and want to waste $15,000 on something like this, then I'm sorry, you're just a fucking ignorant jackass who deserves the contempt of every homeless person, underprivileged child, and disadvantaged citizen. And that's being insulting to other jackasses.


And speaking of stupid people...for the suburban dwelling, Hummer-driving, low-carb dieting, Gucci wearing, live-beyond-your-means-just-to-impress-the-neighbors idiot comes a new service: pay a company to decorate your house with Christmas lights. "One such company, Texas-based Christmas Decor, has grown from 300 customers to over 32,000 in the past eight years." That's right, don't have the time to put up a millions obnoxious lights? Don't have the simple creativity to decorate your home with your own personal tastes? Need to one-up the neighbors with thousands of dollars worth of gaudy decorations? Hire someone to do it for you. That's the way to celebrate the birth of your lord and savior.

The scary thing these types of people are multiplying rapidly and taking over the world. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/06/2004 03:14:00 PM :


Gerard Jones article in LA Times

Former comics writer Gerard Jones has an article in the Los Angeles Times about the history of "secret identities" for superheroes, and how that particular tradition has been changing. He uses the example of Spider-man's unmasking in the Spiderman 2 movie to relate all these things to our own public and private lives.

You'll need to login to read the article, so use this id and password: dixiedixie/dreampie (courtesy of BugMeNot)

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  Posted by Dara on 12/06/2004 11:20:00 AM :


Batman and Elektra movies

The former I'm pretty jazzed about. The latter...um, yeah. Dollar theater.

Anyway, here's the first look at the Batman Begins movie poster. More pictures and a trailer on the official site.

The trailer for the Elektra movie, in low, medium, or high bandwidth.

(all links via comicbookresources)

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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 12/06/2004 08:37:00 AM :


40 Years of the Amazing Spider-Man
I had heard about this neat project, 11 CD-ROMs containing the first 500 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man (plus Amazing Fantasy #15), but this review by Michael Sangiacomo is the first I've seen on the project. I've seen the set advertised for under $50. It is available on Amazon, but won't come in until after Christmas.

I've often thought that this would be the best way to collect an archive of older comics. This collection includes every page of the comic books (letters page, old Marvel Bullpens, advertisements) and, except for the lack of a search feature, a scholar's dream.

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Sunday, December 05, 2004
  Posted by Andy Bennett on 12/05/2004 08:24:00 PM :


All-ages comics

This subject seems to come up a lot these days, especially around here. Suffice to say, I think we've decided that there are NONE. If you want a comic for a kid, stick to the licensed characters, syndicated cartoon spinoffs, and funny animals. If you want to get a "super-hero" comic for a kid, you'll have to wait until they are 16.

Well, after going through a stack of recent acquisitions, I think Ive found one! I give you: Steve Rude & Gary Martin's The Moth, from Dark Horse Comics.
Borrowing liberally from Jack Kirby's Mister Miracle (sans the cosmic weirdness), The Moth follows the exploits of an orphaned circus escape-artist who moonlights as a self-styled vigilante, complete with a cool flying suit. The characters are vivid, the action exciting, and the suspense is palpable. And best of all, the whole series is suitable to share with your 7-year-old nephew. I can't recommend it highly enough.

More info at Dark Horse's MOTH page.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/05/2004 05:36:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 33

Have you ever looked through the back of the Previews catalog? And I don't mean all the indy books in the section after the "big four". I mean the very back of the catalog, where they have movies and apparel and merchandise.

Man, is there some weird-ass crap back there! For instance...
  • It's a Rap cards - a card set featuring "the hottest players in the rap game". $4.29 a pack.
  • Family Guy: Night Time Peter and Lois Action Figure set - did you ever see that episode of The Family Guy where the parents are discussing the shocking discovery that teenagres are licking toads to get high, while they themselves are getting dressed in hardcore leather bondage outfits? "The safety word is banana," she says. Yeee. Well, now you can buy your favorite cartoon characters in said hardcore leather bondage outfits. $23.25
  • Aliens vs. Predator plush toys - that's right, cutesy plush dolls. Of aliens and predators, including one who's "leaking acid from its head". $15 each.
  • Cinderella Replica Glass Slipper With case - Pretty self-explanatory, right? $299. WTF.

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Saturday, December 04, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/04/2004 11:45:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 32

(technically this is being posted on Sunday, but that's because I didn't have access to the web on Saturday)

I saw The Incredibles and all the positive reviews are dead on. It was absolutely amazing. In fact, I believe I read an online review somewhere where the reviewer said it's "the best Fantastic Four movie you'll ever see," and it's so true. Aside from the usual brilliance of the Pixar animators and character designers, the movie had a ton of heart, intelligence, and substance. And the superhero action sequences were simply breathtaking. At one point during the climactic fight scene with the giant robot at the end of the movie, I heard some guy in the audience gasp "this is wild!"

That's the kind of reaction I want from my comic books as well.

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Friday, December 03, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/03/2004 09:04:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 31

I've been reading a bunch of comics lately, both new and old. And a lot of little things jump out at me.

Tim Truman's Scout, for instance, came out in the late 80s. And it's amazing how its themes of government corruption, environmental disaster, and the subversive use of the media by the powers that be mirror what's going on in the world right now. In the year 2004.

Speaking of comics published by the now defunct Eclipse, I just read the first issue of Prowler. (I picked it up at Mid-Ohio-Con for 10 cents!) It's another Tim Truman book, sort of his take on the Batman and Robin dynamic. Anyway, there's a scene where a gang of punks mugs an old guy. One of the punks is wearing a t-shirt that reads "Bush in '88". I don't know about you, but I find that quite amusing. Of course, it's no secret that Truman is not a fan of the republicans.

And just last week, I started reading the Planetary: Crossing Worlds collection. In the Planetary/Authority story, there's a maniacal bad guy trying to end the world (aren't they all?). The snippet of his dialogue that caught my eye: "Mark Madlin's in nine pieces underneath the floorboards of a rented apartment in Columbus, Ohio." I think The Laughing Ogre sponsored part of the Warren Ellis tour of the US several years ago. In fact, I remember reading an interview with him somewhere in which Ellis gave a very glowing review of our local shop. Wonder if that's how Columbus, Ohio found its way into a story written by an Englishman?

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  Posted by Dara on 12/03/2004 02:07:00 PM :


Digital Art

Following up on Tony's earlier thoughts on the art world, here's an interesting Slate article exploring the new realities of electronic art.
"In fact, a minute's walk away, two galleries—Peres Projects of Los Angeles and John Connelly Presents of New York—were offering to sell the digitally printed wallpaper from the installation for $15,000. And the galleries planned to sell that wallpaper not once but thrice over, using an electronic-edition sales model that has left other art dealers perplexed and envious. In this model, buyers receive only a certificate of authenticity and a CD-ROM holding the giant Adobe Illustrator file used to produce the wallpaper's image. Despite the high price tag, getting the wallpaper physically fabricated remains the collector's problem—and an expensive one at that, easily running into thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars."
The article raises all sorts of issues, inclduing potential problems with unauthorized duplications, authenticity, and the very notion of ownership of something that's just bytes on a disk.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/03/2004 09:40:00 AM :


The ultimate time-waster for comics fans

As if we needed yet another website to spend endless hours exploring...ComicCovers.com offers thousands and thousands of comic book cover scans. They also offer a nifty search feature to find the exact cover you're looking for.

(via boingboing)

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Thursday, December 02, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/02/2004 09:15:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 30

I think I'm getting sick. As in the cold or the flu. Ugh. And I'm pretty sure I know why. Between getting projects ready for the con, the crazy stuff at my day job, the Thanksgiving holiday, and a whole host of other things, I think I just ran myself down. No one to blame but myself.

So I'll make today's post a short one and try and get to bed early. I picked up my comics at the shop today, and noticed a definite shift towards superhero books in my pull list lately. Which is weird, because I like the indy stuff much more. But every once in a while, the pendulum swings the other way and I get a hankerin' for light, popcorn comics. And currently, DC books are feeding that hunger. Bloodhound, Manhunter, Hawkman, The Question, and a few others. Nothing from Marvel really appeals to me, though. In fact, the only book I'll probably try is the new Black Panther monthly written by Reginald Hudlin, with JRJR on art.

Maybe it's because a lot of my favorite indy books are either on hiatus, or done. Stuff like Bone, Grendel, Sin City, Hellboy, The Metabarons, etc. Or maybe it's because I'm getting my indy fix from graphic novels these days, old and new. Persepolis 1 and 2 are sitting on my night stand, waiting to be read. So is the collected edition of From Hell and Strangehaven. In any case, I have a feeling it'll be a short lived dance. The problem with superhero books (at least for an adult) is that no matter how well-written or "mature", it eventually gets kinda silly and boring.

But for now, it's a fun ride.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/02/2004 09:01:00 PM :


Gib is one of the Eisner judges

Did you guys see the press release about the Eisner awards?
"The judges for the 2005 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards have been announced by Awards administrator Jackie Estrada. These five individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds and include a librarian, a well-known comics retailer, a cartoonist, and two writers for mainstream entertainment publications. The judges will be meeting in early April to determine the nominations for what are considered the “Oscars” of the comics industry. Ballots will then go out to the entire comics industry in May, and the recipients will be announced in a gala ceremony at Comic-Con International: San Diego in July.

The judges are:

Gib Bickel, co-owner of the The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio. Gib started reading comics with Amazing Spider-Man #148 and enjoys the comics medium more every year. He's a regular participant in The CBIA (Comic Book Industry Association) website and is on the Free Comic Book Day committee. He and his partners opened The Laughing Ogre in 1994; the store has won Best Comic Store in Columbus more than once in its ten years of operation."
How frickin' cool is that? Our own retailer extraordinaire, Gib!

The other judges are Steve Conley (cartoonist, self-publisher, and online pioneer), Katharine Kan (librarian/consultant), Tom McLean (associate editor in special reports at Variety), and Tom Russo (freelance writer/reviewer). Congrats to all.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/02/2004 06:23:00 PM :


Mid-Ohio-Con pre-party and pictures

You can check out my write up of the Great Ogre Gathering over at The Pulse now. Complete with a few pictures of the event.

For more pictures from the GOG, as well as convention pictures, drop by the Ferret Press home page.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004
  Posted by Dara on 12/01/2004 10:51:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 29

Way back when I pretty much gave up on big budget Hollywood action flicks, I had this idea. Wouldn't it be cool to make a movie within that genre whose whole purpose was to buck all the cliches?
  • No requisite Ah-nuld one liners like "Hasta la vista, baby!" or "I'll be buhk!"
  • If there are two cops in the movie, they're not buddies, not is one the "crazy" one and the other the "square". They're just cops.
  • The police chief isn't a high-strung stress monkey who yells at everyone in between swigs of Pepto Bismol.
  • There's no love interest. Or if there is, the hero doesn't end up with her at the end. Or better yet, the hero is a woman and the love interest is a guy that turns out to be kind of a jerk, so she decides to dump his ass.
  • The hero dies at the end.
  • There's no "wacky sidekick" for comic relief.
  • The bad guy gets away with it.
  • The real world laws of physics apply.
  • The bad guys are just as good a shot as the good guys, i.e. no unrealistic dive-roll, single-handed, pistol-totting hero taking out half a dozen baddies with machine guns who can't hit the broadside of a barn.
You get the idea. Think of all the ubiquitous cliches that are just accepted as the norm in crappy movies, and make a conscious effort to avoid them all. It would be an extremely difficult thing to pull off, but a truly talented writer could do it.

That's a movie I'd gladly pay $8 to see.

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  Posted by Tony on 12/01/2004 03:01:00 PM :


Mix them well in your head

As I write this, I’m sucking on a green hard candy. I don’t know if it’s art, but I know what I like.

I got the candy at the Wexner Center’s new exhibit, “Work Ethic.” One of the pieces is a pile of hard candies, and each viewer is invited to take a piece.

The exhibit plays with the idea of work in artwork. Some pieces are purely work, as in the guy who simply dug a ditch for eight hours a day, or the fellow who punched a time clock every hour, on the hour, for an entire year.

Some involve no work on the artist’s part. One artist created specs for works and contracted them out to other people. Some were merely unrealized ideas on paper.

One 1962 Yoko Ono piece is just a box of slips of paper, each containing instructions for the viewer to create his or her own artwork. Mine reads: “PAINTING TO BE CONSTRUCTED IN YOUR HEAD. Observe three paintings carefully. Mix them well in your head.”

The pieces are a lot different than what we do. In the case of comic books, there’s a very clear work process and a clear goal. But it is nice to sometimes take a break from crafting a story, see a rawer form of creativity, and have a nice hard candy.

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  Posted by Dara on 12/01/2004 02:23:00 PM :


John Byrne's panel at Mid-Ohio-Con

Newsarama has a synopsis (of sorts) of John Byrne's Q & A panel at MOC. Your mileage may vary.

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