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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Monday, January 31, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/31/2005 10:08:00 PM :


Old Computer Museum

Here's one for all you computer geeks out there. Old-Computers.com is a site devoted to all those early personal computers, from the TRS-90 to the Commodore 64 to the Apple IIe. Complete with pictures and tech specifications.
"It had 64 or 128 KB RAM, the 64 upper KB being used as a ram disk. It had one or two 5.25" floppy disk (184 KB each) and ran under TRSDOS 6.0 or 1.3, LDOS or CP/M."

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  Posted by Dara on 1/31/2005 08:32:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 91

I was just flipping through Tom's No Dead Time graphic novel again and it reminded me of something I had meant to post earlier. You never really think much about lettering in a comic book, unless it's really bad. As is the case with Brian's lettering in this book. Granted, I'm a bit biased towards Tom's art, especially after seeing how much blood, sweat, and tears went into it. So yes, the very fact that Brian covers up so much of the art with his hideous word balloons makes me mad.

But it's not just that. It's the poor (one might say haphazard) balloon placement, with no regard for what part of the artwork he's covering up. It's the fact that they overlap panels, extend into the margins, and criss-cross across each other. It's the font size which could have been a half point to a full point smaller, thus saving precious space. And above all, it's the leading (the vertical white space between lines) that's way off. What, did he do the lettering as if he were typing a double-spaced report? Ugh.

The best letterers always say that if you don't notice the lettering, they've done their job well. I certainly can't say that about this book.

And don't even get me started on the typos and grammar errors. Though in fairness, most of that blame rests on the shoulder of the editor.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/31/2005 02:58:00 PM :


Art Trucks

Forget about those puny little art cars. These guys work on a much bigger canvas. Trucks! Check out more pictures on this site.

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Sunday, January 30, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/30/2005 10:53:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 90

Quick thought for the day...it's no surprise that daily newspaper comic strips are on a dying path. More and more, editors seem to dismiss them as pointless and not worth the hassle, not to mention the economic factors playing in to their demise.

But if you think about it, newspaper strips are the most visible way that the "mainstream" audience gets exposed to sequential art. So with comic books virtually all but gone from the general public arena, and newspaper strips on the decline, do you foresee a day when most people will lose the skill (albeit small) necessary to read and understand comics? (I'm talking about the simple stuff we comic fans take for granted, i.e. how do you follow panels on a page, what do certain types of caption boxes or word balloons represent, etc.)

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Saturday, January 29, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/29/2005 11:24:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 89

Question for all you creators out there: ever get the urge to create the type of sugar-coated, eye-candy fluff piece you're usually ranting against? For instance, a good ol' fashioned superhero slugfest. Without the postmodern twist. Without the clever psychological insight. Just bright, over-the-top four color fun.

Or say you're a musician. Ever want to just write a really catchy, pure pop song? No introspective lyrics. No clever musical arrangement. Just bubblegum, through and through.

Sometimes I get that urge. I want to write a gratuitous sex and violence adventure with big boobs, big guns, and bigger explosions. Balls to the wall action, unabashedly low brow and lowest common denominator. But then I feel bad about it, as though it's a sign of weakness. As if I'm betraying my self-imposed "higher standards".

Is it? I mean, yeah, there's a lot of crap out there and I really don't want to contribute to that particular pile. But on the other hand, what's wrong with doing a project just for the sheer fun of it? And just because something is big and loud and meant as nothing more than just simple entertainment, does that make it bad?

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. Meanwhile, I'll be working on my masterpiece, Jungle Commando Babes.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/29/2005 04:25:00 PM :


Appleseed and Kung Fu Hustle

The new Appleseed anime movie was supposed to have hit US theaters on January 14th. Still no sign of it here in Columbus. I'm hoping the Drexel will eventually screen it. Check out the trailer here.

Like your martial arts with a side of jazzy gangster action? Then Kung Fu Hustle is for you.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/29/2005 10:17:00 AM :


Real life superheroes

Ok, so I saw this link on my Yahoo home page with the title "Who's the most powerful superhero?", wherein some dork asks the geekiest of all geek questions. Yeah, that one. "Say there's a brawl with all the superheroes. Who wins?" I guess it was morbid curiosity that had me actually click on the link and read the asinine question and answer.


Embedded in the "article" was this link to a page devoted to real life superheroes. And I don't mean like firemen or police officers or paramedics. No, I mean those crazy people you read about every once in a while on "news of the weird" or "oddly enough". Folks like Angle Grinder Man (who goes around London sawing off wheel clamps from impounded cars,) or Terrifica (who patrols New York's bars, saving drunk women from being taken advantage of by men).

Good thing our hobby doesn't have a poor image, eh?

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Friday, January 28, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/28/2005 11:02:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 88

So I just watched the 2nd episode of the new CBS drama, Numb3rs. (For the uninitiated, that's leet speak for numbers. See, they use the 3 instead of the letter E and...oh, never mind. Just know that it's what the "kids" are into these days.) Anyway, the promos for the show made a lot of fuss about it being created by two big name Hollywood movie directors, the brothers Ridley and Tony Scott. Yes, the guys responsible for Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Top Gun, Crimson Tide, etc., etc., etc.

The verdict? It's an ok show. Actually, I take that back. It's more on the lame side

Think CSI, but the chemistry is replaced with mathematics. Entirely unbelievable mathematics, at that. In other words, Hollywood's take on math. Super math genius Charlie can come up with equations pinpointing where criminals live, or what bank will be hit next. But oh that Charlie, he understands math but not human behavior. Good thing his FBI brother understands the criminal mind. Together, they solve all sorts of crimes.

If this show had come out in the 80s, it would have been a formula show like the The A-Team or Knight Rider. But today's audiences are more sophisticated, hence a more sophisticated formula.

But in the end, it's still a formula and not a particularly good one at that. It's a shame, too, because it has a pretty solid cast.

Oh well, one less show to waste time on.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/28/2005 10:31:00 AM :


The Howard Eugene Day Memorial Prize Short List

Over at the S.P.A.C.E. website, Bob has announced the short list for the 2004 Day Prize, to be picked by Dave Sim. I'm sorry to report that none of the 3 books we submitted (BigCityBlues, Panel: Architecture, Panel: Space) were selected. But the short list looks to contain some really nice entries, so congrats to all the nominees.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/28/2005 10:09:00 AM :


US Submarine runs into undersea mountain

If you've ever wondered what would happen to a submarine if it were to run into an uncharted undersea land mass at nearly full speed, check out these pictures released by the US Navy.

"The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS San Francisco (SSN 711) in dry dock to assess damage sustained after running aground approximately 350 miles south of Guam Jan. 8, 2005."
(via boingboing)

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Thursday, January 27, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/27/2005 10:26:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 87

I have a 19" computer monitor that's about 5 years old. I don't particularly like it, because the brightness/contrast controls don't work too well and sometimes it makes an annoying high-pitched whistling noise. And flat panel LCD monitors keep dropping in price to the point where the 19" ones are now quite affordable.

So by all accounts, I should just break down a buy a nice LCD monitor.

But then, where would Jinx take naps while I work my latest script?

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  Posted by Dara on 1/27/2005 11:47:00 AM :


Preview the new Bizarro World graphic novel

Indie and alt comix goodness abounds. It's a huge PDF file, but if you've got the bandwidth, head on over to DC's website.
"This time the contibutors weaving strange and wonderful tales about the quirky Bizarro include Tony Millionaire, Kyle Baker, Evan Dorkin, Dylan Horrocks, Harvey Pekar, James Kochalka, Peter Bagge, Scott Morse, Ben Dunn and a host of others, along with some double-secret surprise guests! All this, topped off with a cover by Jaime Hernandez! It's big! It's indisputably rectangular! It stays crunchy even after you pour on the milk!"

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  Posted by Dara on 1/27/2005 11:04:00 AM :


So how important is publishing good comics to Marvel?

Not much, really, in the big picture. Publishing is really just an "R&D" function to see what's the best way to make money off their characters via movies and other licensing venues. From a Motley Fool five-part interview with Marvel vice chairman (and former CEO) Peter Cuneo:
"Peter Cuneo: From a profitability point of view, about 20%, 15-20% of our earnings come from the comic book business. The comic book business of course is very important to us. Not only is it highly profitable. We have about a 35% profit margin on our comic book business and growing very nicely if you look at our track record. But also this is our R&D function. This is where we try out new characters, where we ... rework, re-cosmetize, if you will, other older characters, and try to see what kind of story lines work and so on. The nice thing about the comic book business is, and we publish over 60 titles every month, is we can experiment here and really actually lose very little or no money."
(via The Beat)

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  Posted by Dara on 1/27/2005 10:37:00 AM :


Words to live by

"Talent will take you only so far; luck and knowing the right people are a big part of the game." -- comic writer Dan Mishkin, on the difficulty of finding your next gig, even if you have a huge body of work behind you.

"It's this simple: sometimes quality sells, sometimes crap sells. No way to figure it. More often, nothing sells." -- comics writer and columnist Steven Grant, on why it's getting harder to launch successful new comics titles, before going on to detail what the companies can do to lower the risk

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/26/2005 11:40:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 86

Wendy and I watched Sexy Beast last night, featuring an amazing performance by Ben Kingsley as a brutal British gangster. Despite a couple small plot holes, the movie was quite solid and made up in style, cinematography, and performances what it lacked in other places. If you like crime drama and stylish gangster flicks, this one is highly recommended.

However, I'm glad we watched it on DVD instead of catching it at the theater when it was first released. You see, the mostly British cast had such heavy, pronounced accents that we actually had to watch the film with English subtitles on.

Now, I'm quite proud of the fact that I'm good with understanding accents, be they Middle-eastern, deep South, or what have you. But I honestly had a hard time with this movie. It's amazing that a country that prides itself on speaking "proper" English can produce so many people who absolutely butcher the language.

But man, that Ben Kingsley is awesome in this flick! And speaking of accents, he does a spot-on cockney.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/26/2005 11:36:00 AM :



Spamusement is "Poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines!"

Like, oh, 1-4 extra inches makes a massive difference, or making whoppy have never been this staisfying, or even U are Stupid Dumbass If U Pay Retail Price For Softwares mentioned.

I don't know why, but I think most of them are hilarious.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/25/2005 11:55:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 85

Rough day, not much to say tonight. Later.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/25/2005 04:46:00 PM :


Fraction and Casey on blogs

Over in their Basement Tapes column, Matt Fraction and Joe Casey discuss the comics "blogosphere" and its impact on our current culture, both within and outside of the comics community. And Fraction coins my favorite new alternative to the term blogosphere: "Blogachusetts". Sweet.
"FRACTION: There's probably a paradox at work - the less a blogger cares about audience reception, the more audience it deserves. The same foibles and fuckups that turn forum-based communities into trips to the cult of personality Kool Aid bowl can wreck a blog, or blog culture, all the same."

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Monday, January 24, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/24/2005 10:43:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 84

Signs that you're getting old(er):
  • Instead of thrilling you, rollercoaster rides just give you a headache and hurt your spine.
  • While going down an otherwise "sweet" sledding hill, all you can think about is "oh god, I hope I don't wipe out".
  • You find yourself jealous of the 6 year olds on skis who seem to have no fear, while you're contemplating trying a jump vs. what your HMO co-pay is.
Signs that you're still not "old":
  • Despite the bruises, you still hop on another rollercoaster.
  • You go sledding with all your other grown-up friends, and there's no beer involved.
  • You try the ski jump and even though you wipe out, it's all good.

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  Posted by Tom on 1/24/2005 07:44:00 PM :


Surveys on promotion...

Over on the Pulse they have an interesting thread asking fans 'what it takes to try a new comic'. Some good suggestions to be had here (inbetween all the suggestions for the big three) The five page preview is a great promotion. I've thrown them up on my releases page before. Though I haven't tried leaving a downloadable preview for retailers. Oni just redid their previews pages recently that now have a small preview for each novel and series.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/24/2005 02:01:00 PM :


Your political moment of the day, part 2

By Ed Stein, The Rocky Mountain News.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/24/2005 01:59:00 PM :


Your political moment of the day

By R.J. Matson, The New York Observer

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  Posted by Tony on 1/24/2005 11:56:00 AM :


Love & Rockets & Onion

Los Bros. Hernandez profiled on the Onion AV Club:

Right here.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/24/2005 09:46:00 AM :


Dollar bill art

Artist Kamiel Proost draws miniature portraits using dollar bills as the canvas. I'm pretty sure defacing currency over here in the states is illegal, so it's probably a good thing he lives in Amsterdam.

(via boingboing)

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Sunday, January 23, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/23/2005 09:36:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 83

Do you have one of those friends who's so good at sports that it makes you jealous? I went skiing today with a few friends and one of them was trying out the sport for the first time. Now, I remember my first day of skiing. I spent more time face down in the snow than upright, and by the end of the day the entire left side of my body was huge black-and-blue bruise. I don't think I got the hang of the whole thing until my third time out.

Meanwhile, my friend spent an hour on the bunny hill and the next thing I know he's hitting the green runs. Which brings up the other difficult skill to master: the ski lift. I think I fell off the first two or three times I rode it. He had no problems. In fact, after about 4 hours of total skiing time, he only took one spill.

I guess some people just have an aptitude for sports. I know the same can be said about artists. There are some kids that just outshine others when it comes to drawing, even before any formal training. Makes me wonder if the same can be said about writing?

If so, I'm the kind of writer that still takes a nasty spill down a slope every once in a while.

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  Posted by Tom on 1/23/2005 11:13:00 AM :


Check out the new article on Jeff Soto- one of my favorite artists working right now. Matt would definitely get a kick outta this. A few paintings are posted in the article as well. He does some illustration work but primarily is a painter. Jeff mixes graphitti, robotech, and comic book iconography in his work. Some really fun wacky shit.

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Saturday, January 22, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/22/2005 11:57:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 82

(this is being post dated on Sunday)

So the new Blade movie Blade: Trinity is already at the el cheapo dollar theater. My friend Nam was in town this weekend and we were in the mood for a mindless action flick. So guess what we ended up seeing?

Things I learned watching this movie:
  1. Apparently vampires need lanterns and glowsticks to see in the dark.
  2. Making an R-rated movie means you can have one of your characters utter "clever" strings of multiple curse words that no human would ever think of saying.
  3. FBI field agents use Alienware computers. Huh, didn't know they had won some government contracts.
  4. If wrestler Triple H thinks he has a shot at a movie career, he's sadly mistaken. At least The Rock is a good looking guy (he says, completely secure in his sexuality).
  5. When all has been done in vampire movies, invent a new conflict: vampire hunter vs. media PR campaign!
  6. You know you're unabashedly whoring out to product placements when your script has to make it a point to talk about "MP3s" and "playlists" while prominently displaying Apple's iTunes and iPod. (See also: Alienware)
  7. Some movie franchises just don't need to be made into a trilogy. (See also: The Matrix and Highlander...although in both of those cases they should have stopped after the first one)
  8. The fact that this movie was written by David S. Goyer, the same comic book writer and self-professed "fan" who has written the script for the new Batman movie suddenly lowers my expectations about that project.
Oh well, it still wasn't as bad as, oh, say Resident Evil. Heck, it was entertaining and occasionally a nice bit of eye candy. The bit where they show one of the old Tomb of Dracula comics was a cute touch. But really, the only reason Blade II was any good was the amped up fight scenes and the inclusion of Ron Perlman. This one was just an unnecessary movie from start to finish, and no amount of special effects could wash the stench of "servicing the franchise" off of it.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/22/2005 08:05:00 PM :


Day of the Dude

Jeff Parker writes about the day Steve "The Dude" Rude dropped by their Mercury Studios, and the young aspiring artist that happened to be at the right place, at the right time.
"When Rude sees that a new kid is in town to learn, he plops down on the couch to go over his pages the same way he did with me over ten years ago in Pasadena. For the full effect, Matthew Clark donates some of his vellum so Steve can do one of his famous tracing paper critiques. There's nothing like having someone who knows the human form from every possible angle show you how to get ten more miles out of the figure you drew by working over it."

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Friday, January 21, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/21/2005 11:23:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 81

(this is being post dated on Sunday)

So Wendy likes to tease me about my, shall we say "excessive zeal" for recycling. I recycle pretty much anything that can be recycled at home. Which isn't too difficult, when you think about it. There's a pick-up station just down the street from me and you don't need to sort all your recyclables by category. They all end up in the same bin.

But where the teasing comes in is at work. We do minimal recycling there, basically just pop cans and white office paper. So if I ever comes across other items, I'll bring them home with me so they'll end up in my recycle box as opposed to the trash bin at work. Stuff like those big plastic containers from 100-pack CR-ROM spindles, cardboard cereal boxes, plastic pop bottle, etc. And it's not that I go digging through our trash for these things, it's only if I'm the one disposing of them or see them laying around.

So I suppose you could look at that and say I'm a) weird, b) a treehugger, or c) an eco-nazi.

I'd like to think d) responsible.

Although I'll settle for weird too.

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  Posted by Tony on 1/21/2005 03:54:00 PM :


You gotta have friends

Is anyone else set up on friendster.com or myspace.com? If so, come and find me.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/21/2005 11:21:00 AM :


Warren Ellis on covers

Over at The Pulse, Warren continues his thoughts on what makes a good comic book cover, as well as general design esthetics. Good reading. Of course we here at PANEL central know all this stuff. I mean, have you seen the cover designs and unique packaging of each PANEL anthology? And wait till you see what we have in store for PANEL: Myth...
"There's a lot of stuff on the shelves every week. Covers need to jump out at you and demand your attention. Covers can't just be dismissed as the things that go on the front of the book. It's all part of the same job, to me."

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Thursday, January 20, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/20/2005 09:04:00 PM :


Cool things found on the web

Wendy sent me this link. It's quite clever and also very impressive. Check out this animation.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/20/2005 07:46:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 80

So Bushy Bush was sworn in today for a second term. It's a sad day in history. That's about all I can muster to say.

I suppose I'll have to rely on news bits like this to keep me smiling.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/20/2005 10:29:00 AM :


Amazing Screw-on Head cartoon?

Huh. This is one of those WTF stories. According to an interview on SuicideGirls with Dead Like Me creator Bryan Fuller, he's adapting Mike Mignola's bizarre one-shot, The Amazing Screw-on Head, for the Sci-Fi channel. And it will be an animated series.

Well, not exactly "will be," more like "they're still negotiating," so it may never happen. I'm not sure what to think of this. On the one hand, it was a fun comic that I loved and it could really be a quirky animated show. On the other hand, Sci-fi channel doesn't really have a great track record and this piece from the interview gives me some doubts:
"I did an outline, wrote a script and I got notes from Mike Mignola because I very much wanted to make him happy. The initial draft of the outline did all those things the network wanted in terms of relatability because it’s a very weird universe. So I came up with some stuff and Mignola hated it because it wasn’t the comic book. After my Dead Like Me experience I told him I respected that. Mignola is a fantastic artist but he’s not a television writer so he’s got to trust me in that area but I think that trust was very hard to come by with that first draft and outline. I had all this backstory with Lincoln fighting Screw-On Head and Mignola was like, don’t do that. So I scaled that way back. There have to be some changes to make it television friendly because the story style and the structure of the comic book is so absurdist that people would watch and not understand. Now Emperor Zombie used to be Screw-On Head’s manservant so there is this subtext of servitude. I also beefed up the triangle between Emperor Zombie, Screw-On Head and Mr. Groin. Also the vampire chick used to be Screw-On Head’s girlfriend before Emperor Zombie turned her into a vampire and turned her against him. I wanted to show relationships so that when these people are in a room together it’s not just weird people in a room but weird people who have relationships with each other."
It sounds like he has good intentions of remaining faithful to the source material, but I just don't know. Also, I've only seen a couple episodes of Dead Like Me, and although I like the weird premise, the execution left me cold. I don't like any of the characters, so the show is very much "unrelatable" to me.

(via Newsarama)

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  Posted by Tony on 1/20/2005 10:20:00 AM :


One from the notebook

Joan Didion called notebook entries "bits of the mind's string too small to use."

Here's a piece of string out of my notebook: Viatical investments. It's where you buy a terminal patient's life insurance policy for an up-front sum. That way, the terminal patient gets some money before they die. The investor collects on the policy after death. Legal, but a little sketchy.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/19/2005 09:45:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 79

I have this small notebook that I used to jot down story ideas and interesting quotes in. The earliest entry in it is from September of '99. The last entry is from December of '02. Needless to say, I haven't been using it in a few years. But it's about time I brought it out of retirement, especially with my new webcomic project coming up. I'll need lots of story ideas for that, and given how forgetful I am, I really need a place to write them down as they occur to me. Otherwise, they'll be lost in the ether.

Looking back on some of the notes, I can see a definite pattern: PBS. Lots of my springboard ideas for tales were written down after watching a particularly fascinating show on PBS. I have stuff in there about how Niagara falls used to recede at a rate of 2.5 feet per year before they dammed and diverted much of the river's flow. Or how honeypot ants will store nectar in their bloated bodies to feed the colony during droughts. Or about Cubans who are classic American car enthusiasts, and the clever way they maintain their cars given the lack of original parts and equipment in their country (my favorite is how they'll make brake fluid out of a mixture of shampoo, oil, and soap).

Of course, there are notes from other sources as well, most notably the news and various movies I'd seen. Minor characters and inconsequential plot threads from movies and books are fertile ground for new stories or settings.

So how about all you other writers out there? Care to share any of the entries from your notebooks?

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  Posted by Dara on 1/19/2005 01:47:00 PM :


Hidden doors

Here's something all self-respecting superheroes should have in their secret headquarters. Heck, when I build my dream house, all the closet doors are going to be like this.

The Hidden Door Company manufactures swing-style "secret" doors for your house. Their motto is "Let us handle your concealment needs for your home or office today!" Check out the website for all their models.

(via boingboing)

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/18/2005 11:44:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 78

Something occurred to me recently while skimming through various blogs and comics related websites out there. There seem to be an awful lot of "fans" who absolutely hate everything that's going on with their favorite books and/or characters, yet still shell out the money to buy said books. Granted, if you're going to rant about someone's work, you should have at least read a sample of their output to know what you're ranting against. But to buy all 285 X-Men related titles every month just to mention how convoluted, derivative, and crappy they are? Seems like your time and money could be better spent elsewhere.

This sort of thing happens with all the other big "family" line of books too, i.e. the Spider-man books, the Batman titles, the Superman line, etc.

I guess it's human nature to want to complain about the things you dislike. But to do it day in and day out over, let's face it, just a comic book...well, that seems pretty crazy to me.

I say mix it up a little. I'll admit, it's fun to rag on people like Liefeld or some other marginally talented hack. It let's you blow off steam and practice creative writing by using analogies like "his grotesque anatomy is more offensive than a $40 million inauguration ball during wartime". But don't direct all your energy towards cynical and bitter tirades. Instead, devote a good portion of your writing to positive aspects of the medium. Point out clever and underrated books. Review and promote a new indy creator's work.

We all know the X-Men books as a whole suck, we don't need to read about it endlessly.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/18/2005 03:34:00 PM :


Free Comic Book Day 2005

The date is set for May 7, and this years crop of books has been announced on the official site.

Gold level sponsors:

Archie Comics - Betty & Veronica
Beckett - Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai #1
Bongo Comics - Bongo Comics Free Comic Book Day Gimme! Gimme! Giveaway
Dark Horse - Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
DC - The Batman Strikes! #1
Devil's Due - Devil's Due Special Edition
Gemstone - Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge
Image - Flight Primer
Impact Books - Impact University
Marvel - Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four

Silver level sponsors:

AdHouse Books, Alternative Comics, Arcana Studios, Caption Box, Comics Festival (Legion of Evil Press), Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, G.T. Labs, Heroic Publishing, Jetpack Press, Keenspot, Oni Press, Renaissance Press, Serve Man Press, Sky Dog Press, Top Shelf, and Wizard

Bronze level sponsors:

A Fine Line and Tokyopop

This one's my favorite so far:

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  Posted by Dara on 1/18/2005 01:49:00 PM :


Things I didn't know about Cracked magazine

Until I read this article.

Rick Nielsen of the group Cheap Trick is its new publisher.
They print about 100,000 copies and have a sell-through of about 40,000.
At one point, the magazine was owned by the same company that published The Weekly World News.

Anyway, if you're curious, here's their website.

(via the comics reporter)

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  Posted by Dara on 1/18/2005 01:46:00 PM :


Small Press shout outs

Congrats to Chad Lambert and the folks at Ape Entertainment on the news that Point Pleasant has sold out.

Also, here's another good review of No Dead Time, on the blog The Hurting.

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Monday, January 17, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/17/2005 11:32:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 77

So I've been listening to a lot of stand up comedy the past couple of days, courtesy of the comedy stations on iTunes. And I've learned a few things:

1) Good comedy is hard to do
2) There are a lot of bad comedians out there
3) Old Robin Williams standup seemed so hilarious when I was younger, but now I listen to it and just think someone spaz forgot their medication again
4) George Lopez may be on a shitty family sitcom now, but his standup material kicks ass
5) Lewis Black is my new favorite angry cynical comedian
6) I hate most angry cynical comedians

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  Posted by Dara on 1/17/2005 10:25:00 PM :


Bad album covers

Museum of bad album covers: the worst album covers ever! Go on, you know you want to check it out.

(via boingboing)

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Sunday, January 16, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/16/2005 09:05:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 76

Saw Ocean's Twelve last night. It was enjoyable. It was entertaining. It had its fun character interaction moments and witty dialogue. But that's about it.

Whose idea was it to make a movie with a dozen main characters, not to mention half a dozen other supporting characters, and then try to cram a heist story, revenge story, and love story in there as well?

On the other hand, the Julia Roberts bit was kinda clever.

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Saturday, January 15, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/15/2005 05:16:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 75

Continuing with my last musing about my story for the next Panel book...

Both of my ideas for my "myth" story are set in an unidentified/generic culture, thousands of years in the past. Just the kind of environment that was conducive to the creation and dissemination of mythology. My current thought is that the protagonists will be simple people, perhaps farmers or other common laborers. Here are the two ideas I'm trying flesh out some more in order to decide on one:

The first would be making up a myth explaining the creation of rivers and oceans. It would serve as the backdrop for a story involving death and the traditions surrounding it, such as funerals, memorials, and remembrances. All of these would tie in somehow to the river/ocean motif. The protagonists are a father and his young son, mourning the death of the mother.

The second would involve a creation myth to explain the origin of birds and all flying creatures. It would tie in to the exile of a family from their village, due to the young girl having been born with an extra pair of decidedly un-human appendages.

More to come...

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  Posted by Dara on 1/15/2005 03:08:00 PM :


Human Clock

This is another example of the power of the Internet to create a funky, diverse, interactive work of functional art. Human Clock displays the time of day using "creative and unique" photographs submitted by people from all over the globe. I find things like this absolutely fascinating, because it's such a simple idea with far-reaching effects.

(via the ever-resourceful boingboing)

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Friday, January 14, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/14/2005 05:11:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 74

I think I've finally come up with a couple of story ideas for the Myth book. After struggling with what direction to take, I've decided upon creating my own myth. As morbid as it may sound, the idea came to me partially as a result of the latest series of tragic natural disasters. It got me thinking about how ancient cultures from all over the world had their own myths and fables to try and explain why such natural disasters happened. So I'm going to try my hand at it. It won't be as easy to do in the span of a few pages, especially since I want to tie it in with an actual story (as opposed to just narrating the myth,) but the challenge presented is a motivator in and of itself.

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Thursday, January 13, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/13/2005 08:49:00 PM :


Another sign of the apocalypse

Bushy Bush actually regrets (gasp!) one of his 1,872,341 boneheaded decisions, actions, and sayings.

In other news, the world to end soon.

Also from the same article, ladies and gentlemen, the articulate President of the United States of America:
"So I do have to be cautious about, you know, conveying thoughts in a way maybe that doesn't send wrong impressions about our country," he said.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/13/2005 07:02:00 PM :


One for all the writers out there

"Futurismic is a website for people interested in the future and the effects of science and technology on the present."

And they're looking for fiction writers interested in having their work published on the site. Here's a snippet from their submission guidelines:
"Futurismic now seeks contemporary science fiction for publication at the website. We're looking for innovative, exciting new stories that use the tools of speculative fiction to examine contemporary issues and take a look at what's just around the corner. Whether by established professionals or promising newcomers, we would like to see the very best in current SF, with an emphasis on work that truly connects with and illuminates the fast-paced, fascinating time we live in."

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  Posted by Dara on 1/13/2005 06:39:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 73

Crime in Columbus.

Here are a couple of funny items from the "Police Reports" section of the Clintonville ThisWeek community newspaper:
"...a business owner reported someone removed a rear window to enter, disabled the alarm, and stole $14 worth of ibuprofen."

"...a resident reported on January 4 the theft of her city-issued garbage can."
To be fair, there were other more serious crimes reported as well (stolen cars, attempted kidnapping, etc.,) so don't think Columbus is just a sleepy little town. But reports like these always make me laugh and wonder what the hell the criminals were thinking while stealing a package of headache medicine or a garbage can. And was the $14 the cost of the whole bottle, or was it prorated for the amount already used?

It's a strange world we live in.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/13/2005 02:11:00 PM :


Ooooh, pretty

No judgement made as to the "watchability" of these films...just that the trailers look cool:

Batman Begins
Ong Bak
The Chronicles of Narnia
Warriors of Heaven and Earth

And this last one could be a really interesting action movie, or a really, really bad one: Unleashed.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/12/2005 10:12:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 72

An open letter to Rich Johnston:

Dear Rich,

In your rumor column this week, you ran an item about the ever-newsworthy, oft-mocked Rob Liefeld. For those familiar with this paragon of comic book excellence (yes, I too mock), it was nothing new. Yet another story about his unfinished projects and various shenanigans. But at the end of your post, you made the following personal observation:
"While many mock, the industry needs Rob Liefeld. He brings something to the artistic table that no one else can bring. And the right publisher could find, if nothing else, he could draw a very appreciative audience."
I'm afraid I'll have to take you to task on that.

The comics industry most certainly does not need Rob Liefeld. In fact, he is unneeded in that "another hole in the comic industry's head" sort of way. Yes, his work is quite unique, and I'll even go so far as to say "dynamic". And yes, he does seem to have a die-hard core of followers who will guarantee good sales on any project he does.

But his faults, screw ups, unprofessional actions, lies, shortcomings, shady business dealings, vaporcomics, and childish high jinks make him a creator that an ailing industry most certainly can not afford to have around.

Allow me to elaborate.

Despite a self-professed and proven record of broken promises and out-and-out lying about the completed status of his projects, he still manages to promote and launch books that will never, ever be completed. Each dollar that a retailer earmarks for Rob's vaporcomics is a dollar taken away from supporting another creator, be they a reliable veteran or a promising new talent. Each time 40,000 copies of Youngblood: The Next Fucking Pointless Series That Will Never Get Past Issue Number One is ordered, that's 40,000 copies of more deserving books that got shorted in that month's Diamond catalog. By the time retailers are notified that (surprise, surprise) their orders for Liefeld's book are being cancelled, it's probably too late for the books that were passed over months ago.

Each time Liefeld grabs headlines in magazines and online news sites, that's less space devoted to another creator who is actually going to deliver on their promises.

Each time Liefeld draws, creates, or publishes (ha!) one more asinine, saccharine piece of worthless eye candy, that's one less chance another book has in our shrinking, dying market of actually getting on the shelf and showcasing something new and innovative. Even if Liefeld's work can achieve the holy grail of the comics industry, i.e. bringing in new, young readers, his absolute and utter lack of commitment to finishing any project will only guarantee a loss of those same new readers. Yes, Liefeld is a lightning bolt when it comes to a short term sales spike, but he's a creeping cancer for long term nurturing and building of an audience.

We need forward thinking, innovative, revolutionary creators to grow our industry beyond its current slump and over reliance on the superhero genre. We don't need a hack who still lives in 1991 and has no grasp of basic human anatomy, nor of sequential storytelling, nor of good design. We don't need an "artist" who has no qualms swiping from others and recycling his own abandoned projects as new ones. (And please understand that I'm not "anti-superhero". I simply feel that we already have enough of that genre, and need to cultivate other types of comics. More importantly, it's possible to do fun, dynamic, explosive, and intelligent superheroes. A word nobody has ever used in relation to Liefeld's works, to be sure.)

We need dedicated, passionate creators respectful of the medium and their fans. We don't need a flake with the attention span of a monkey suffering from ADD. We don't need a pathological liar who makes grandiose promises in the public press over and over and over again, only to turn around and break them, and then have the gall to deny ever making those same promises.

We need young, hungry visionaries eager to make their mark and set the comics world on fire through hard work and guerilla marketing. Not a tired and hackneyed jerk who, despite having the comics world handed to him on a silver platter, can't even finish a creator owned project with a built-in audience.

The creators of tomorrow need to learn about anatomy, craft, professionalism, and business acumen from someone the polar opposite of Rob Liefeld. He is the very poster child for all the excesses and irresponsible actions that contributed to the crash in our industry.

There are creators out there with much more to offer our medium. Potentials just waiting to be realized. And it burns me up to know that so many are denied even the opportunity to display their skills because a lying, lazy, undependable schmuck like Liefeld can still steal headlines, make deals, and (occasionally) flood the market with more regurgitated pablum.

So, no, I don't think that "the industry needs Rob Liefeld."

The industry needs another Will Eisner. The industry needs more reliable workhorses with the artistic integrity of John Romita Jr. The industry needs more beautiful paintings by the likes of James Jean. The industry needs more mad ideas like the ones of Morrison, Ellis, and Moore to shepherd the superhero genre into new and unexplored pastures. The industry needs more sensitive artistes like Craig Thompson, more motivated self-publishers like Jeff Smith, more young turks like Andy Diggle, more "outsiders" like Marjane Satrapi, more unique illustrators like Tom Williams.

The industry does not need Rob Liefeld and his fucking Youngblood and X-Force rehashes. In fact, it's that very thought process that has gotten the industry to where it is now, and will forever keep it in the same ghetto unless we rid ourselves of unwanted baggage like the Rob Liefelds of the world.

Dara Naraghi
Small time writer and publisher

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  Posted by Dara on 1/12/2005 11:08:00 AM :


Derek Kirk Kim interview on NPR

Tim dropped me a line to let me know that you can catch Jacki Lyden's All Things Considered interview with Derek Kirk Kim online at the NPR website. It's a rather short piece with not much meat to it, concentrating on his self-published Same Difference and Other Stories graphic novel. But the page itself is chock full of links to Derek's online comics, plus other comics-related NPR interviews (Steven Seagle, Art Spiegelman, etc.)
"At the age of 30, Kim has already won the "triple crown" of comic honors: the 2003 Ignatz Award for Promising New Talent, the 2004 Eisner Award for Name Deserving of Wider Recognition, and a 2004 Harvey Award for Best New Talent. Last year, graphic novel publisher Top Shelf re-issued a new edition of Same Difference after the first printing sold out."

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/11/2005 08:51:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 71

Ok, I have a question for the comic book artists out there: why would anyone in their right mind want to be a comic book artist? I mean, it's nearly impossible to break into the field, it's even more difficult to make a living at it, you have to work like a dog, you have to know how to draw everything, and you don't get any respect from the non-comics crowd.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love you guys (and gals). I really do. Especially as a comic book writer who relies on your skills to bring my stories to life. But I gotta' tell ya, it just seems like an insanely tough gig and it strikes me that being a cover artist or book illustrator would be lots easier. Dig?

I'd imagine the desire to be a funny book artist has something to do with your love of the medium, the relatively inexpensive entry point, and the desire to tell stories through your art. But I don't know for sure.

Enlighten me.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/11/2005 08:42:00 PM :


UK mini-comics convention

I was recently contacted by Patrick Findlay, who is the organizer of the UK Web & Mini Comix Thing 2005. What is that, you ask? Well, it's a show for "web & mini comic artists, and a bunch of other sorts like illustrators and publishers".

It takes place on Saturday, March 19, at the Great Hall, Mile End, in London. So if you happen to be in that part of the world, drop on by and show the UK mini-comics crowd some love.

Also, you can check out a directory of UK web comics people on their site.

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  Posted by Tom on 1/11/2005 02:45:00 PM :


No Dead Time beat out by Spaghetti and Two Towers???

Alright I'm pleasantly shocked- No Dead Time was runner up on variety.com's best of 04 (bags and boards). Our book was beat out by Art Spiegelman and Scott Morse (a tie?) Scott was shocked too.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/11/2005 01:48:00 PM :


A little too close to home?

Monty, by Jim Meddick. One of the few syndicated comic strips worth reading.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/11/2005 10:22:00 AM :


Announcing the 2005 Ferret Press/PANEL blog comic giveaway

You'll have noticed a new "red" panel towards the top-left side of this blog. I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and give away free comics via the blog. Why? Well, why not? Everyone loves free stuff. Plus, it helps me trim down my collection a bit and make room for new goodies.

So here's the deal. Each month will have a different theme, and a different prize. That's right, this little experiment will be on-going throughout 2005. All you have to do is send me a short (50 words or less) e-mail answering that month's question in a clever, funny, or insightful way. Spread the word.

January's prize is Strangehaven: Arcadia TPB, by Gary Spencer Millidge. This 176 pages book reprints issues #1-6 of the critically acclaimed series. Good luck.

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Monday, January 10, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/10/2005 09:51:00 PM :


As goes pornography, so goes technology

My friend Tony forwarded this story my way. While all of Hollywood is picking sides on the fight over the future standard of high definition DVDs, the decision could very well be influenced by the porn industry.
"The multibillion-dollar industry releases about 11,000 titles on DVD each year, giving it tremendous power to sway the battle between two groups of studios and technology companies competing to set standards for the next generation."

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  Posted by Tom on 1/10/2005 07:53:00 PM :


Hey all you mini-comic folk!

Up on Tom Spurgeon's site (Minimalism writer for the Journal) I found a couple of features on mini-comics. It boasts some general tips, con list, places for review, and mini friendly shops (like the Ogre).

++ I also ran across an article on getting your comic published.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/10/2005 07:36:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 70

If you'll allow me to indulge in some healthy ranting and venting...

With all the important and historical events going on in the world today, I find it particularly sad that of the 4 news headlines on my Yahoo page, 3 are painfully vapid and inane. What, did we run out ways to worry about that poor Sports Illustrated model who suffered injuries in the recent tsunami disaster? Is this what constitutes "news" now? So without further ado, I present you with the 3 offending headlines, and my clever, astute, and in-depth analysis of each:

Why Did Randy Moss 'Moon' Green Bay Fans? Dara sez: WHO GIVES A FUCK?!?

Brad and Jen: What Went Wrong? Dara sez: WHO GIVES A FUCK?!?

What is Victoria's Secret? Dara sez: WHO GIVES A FUCK?!?

We now return you to your normally scheduled blog.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/10/2005 03:57:00 PM :


Webcomics vs. print comics

This is from a post by Penny Arcade co-creator Gabe about the whole feud between Non Sequitor cartoonist Wiley and PvP creator Scott Kurtz. I'll forego the actual point of the post (you can read it yourself), but instead want to share this little tidbit about the numbers associated with one of the most successful webcomics around:
"Six years ago my friend and I started publishing our comic strips on the internet. Now Penny Arcade is translated into five different languages and read by 3.5 million fans in countries all over the world. When we have a convention to play video games and talk about Penny Arcade, over 3000 people show up. When we ask our fans to donate to charity they give $310,000 to the Children's Hospital. Newspapers like the New York Times write long articles about how fucking awesome we are. Huge companies pay us to create web comics based on popular license like Tom Clancy and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. All of this came from publishing our silly little comics on the internet."
(via boingboing)

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  Posted by Tom on 1/10/2005 02:12:00 PM :


I'll be drawing up a 6 issue color series for Riot Media (thru IDW Publishing). Riot is still ironing out the script but it's to help launch their card game/ cartoon/ magazine. It involves monkeys, a haunted circus, and ATTITUDE. This is all I know so far. My involvement in the character design will be kept to a minimum- (i.e. I'm not owning any of this) I'll know more on it by the end of the month.

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Sunday, January 09, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/09/2005 10:48:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 69

As you can see from my previous post, I find myself a big DC fan these days. I mean, when I was a kid and getting into comics, it was Marvel comics all the way. I loved all their books. Then slowly, I picked up some DC books here and there. I think Green Lantern was my first one. And the shift to DC started there. But soon thereafter I got into indy comics and both Marvel and DC were pushed out of the picture.

But over the last few years, I've noticed that whenever I start jonesing for some superhero supplement to my regular indy diet, I find the nourishment at DC. Which is weird, because comparatively, I think the DCU is filled with much more goofy characters than Marvel. But still, there's just something about their characters that I totally groove on. I think part of the equation is also business practices. Now obviously, neither company can be described as being a creator-friendly or ethical publisher. But Marvel over the last decade or so has just been a mess of shady business practices and obnoxious marketing practices. The PR aspect of it, in particular, has just soured me on all their books.

So out of curiosity, which camp do you fall into? Marvel or DC? And no, saying "I'm an indy guy" isn't a valid answer. You may not read any of the Big Two's books, but if you're a comic book fan then chances are at some point you were big into the superhero field and had a preference for one of the flavors. When you think about the characters that you like (regardless of the fact that you may or may not follow their books anymore), which company comes out on top?

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  Posted by Dara on 1/09/2005 10:43:00 PM :


DC Comics Secret Files and Origins

Huh, I just discovered this section on the DC Comics website where they have general background info on their more popular characters. Including my favorite DC universe villain. Good for your inner geek.

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Saturday, January 08, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/08/2005 09:36:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 68

(this is being post-dated on Sunday)

I find myself becoming more and more interested in webcomics. And not just as a reader, but as a creator. I mean, there's still nothing quite like holding a printed comic book in your hand; the tactile sensation is an integral part of my enjoyment of reading. But still, there is a lot to be said about online comics. Namely, the fact that you have a potential audience numbering in the millions, from all over the world.

Granted, it's still a paradigm shift for those of us who grew up on paper, not digital. But still, it's worth opening your horizons to the possibilities of webcomics. I have. And aside from the slowly-in-development God's Acre, I have another webcomics project that might be reaching fruition soon. More details as the deal becomes more certain...

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Friday, January 07, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/07/2005 09:30:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 67

(this is being post-dated from Sunday)

Comic book message boards: the online equivalent of hitting yourself over the head with a 2x4 while listening to Ashlee Simpson music and watching a Fear Factor marathon. No matter how good your intentions of participating in a civil discussion of an art form you enjoy, you'll end up walking away nauseous, frustrated, and sporting a world-class headache.

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  Posted by Tony on 1/07/2005 02:20:00 PM :


Strictly for my writahs

Here’s one for the writers in the group. All you artists, go doodle something.

One of the National Novel Writing Month participants runs a monthly newsletter with thoughts and tips on writing, as well a comprehensive list of writing events and workshops in the C.O. This month’s edition includes eight writing events (including the Thurber House thing) and 21 separate writing groups.

This month’s thought on writing:

“If New Year's resolutions leave you kicking yourself in the head, tear them up! Look back at 2004, not to chastize yourself for any failures, but to celebrate what you did. Take a moment to appreciate those things. Then ask yourself what worked, what didn't, and what you are willing to do to make 2005 different. Let it come from the inside, from the part of you that knows you want to write, but also knows you have a life. Listen. The muse is waiting.”

To check it out, click here

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  Posted by Dara on 1/07/2005 09:48:00 AM :



This is the site of a bizarre performance artist/new-age tech-artist by the name of Stelarc. He does a lot of work with prosthetic appendages, neural connections, etc. Here's the description from his site:
"STELARC is an Australian-based performance artist whose work explores and extends the concept of the body and its relationship with technology through human-machine interfaces incorporating medical imaging, prosthetics, robotics, VR systems and the Internet."
I saw him live at OSU's Mershon auditorium a few years back. It was part amazing, part disturbing. The "Third Hand" piece, in particular, was quite fascinating. He controlled it through EMG signals from his abdominal and leg muscles. On the other hand, he also showed videos of a lot of his "body" art, such as inserting a "sculpture" into his stomach and video taping it from the inside, or hanging himself over a busy NY city street by hooks in his back, which really did nothing for me other than gross me out. It takes all kinds, I suppose, but I'm not into the whole "self-flagellation as art" thing.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/07/2005 09:43:00 AM :



Amazing card stacking structures created by Bryan Berg.
"Bryan Berg broke the Guinness World Record for card structures in 1992 at the age of seventeen with a tower fourteen feet, six inches tall."

(via boingboing)

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Thursday, January 06, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/06/2005 10:05:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 66

Following the success of the "illegal immigrant" comic book published by Mexico's Foreign Relations Department, the US government has entered the lucrative funny book market with their newest venture. Bushy Bush Comics, in association with Fuck Human Rights publishing company proudly presents Alberto Gonzales' new graphic novel: Guide for the American Military Torturer.

Marvel at the legal advice in the chapter "What Geneva Doesn't Know, Won't Hurt the Bitch"!

Image-ine a world where Amerca can kick ass, take names, and stack naked bodies 5 high like a pretty little skin pyramid of might and justice.

DC for yourself how you can interrogate a terrorist in your own backyard, in the chapter lovingly titled "Backyard, Balls and Barbed Wire"!

Order your copy now. Operators in outsourced call centers are waiting to take your call. Visa, Master Card, and privatized Social Security checks gladly accepted.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/06/2005 03:19:00 PM :


Hulk blog

Hulk's Diary That Is On The Internet. Funny comic book geek stuff. 'Nuff said.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/06/2005 02:53:00 PM :


Franklin on comics publishing

Just came across this on the Franklin's Findings blog. "How to Get Ahead in Comics Publishing." I like it. I don't agree with all the points, but I like it.
"1. Focus on the "new mainstream." This is the label that seems to have stuck to non-superhero genre comics: sci-fi, horror, fantasy, crime, action, etc.

2. Avoid superheroes like the fucking plague. I have nothing against the guys in spandex, but Marvel and DC have that market cornered. There is no point in trying to compete.

9. Never forget the trade, but don't write for the trade. Decompressed storytelling is so 2002. And who says that a trade collection can't be dense with story, anyway? Tell good stories with beginnings, middles and ends, and the trades will take care of themselves."

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 1/05/2005 09:54:00 PM :


Immigrant Comic Book
The Mexican government has produced a comic book about the perils of illegally immigrating to the US. Rather than continue a radio and TV campaign, the government sought a different way to reach adults who consider leaving Mexico for jobs in the States.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/05/2005 09:18:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 65

I just finished packing a box of Ferret Press and Panel comics to send to Mile High Comics. That's right, the country's largest comic book mail-order store will soon be carrying our books. How cool is that?

It's times like this that all the hard work and effort we put into our beloved little medium pays off. Sure, it's a small step. 10 copies of each book. But still, when you look back at where we were just a couple years ago, it's a pretty dramatic difference. Positive reviews all around, newspaper articles, online interviews, distribution through Westfield, Mile High, Cold Cut, and FM, etc. I'm proud of what we've all accomplished.

Looking forward to doing bigger and better things in '05.

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  Posted by Tony on 1/05/2005 04:15:00 PM :


Upcoming events at the Thurber House

The Thurber House will host a visit by author Susan Vreeland Jan. 10 at the Canzani Center of the Columbus College of Art and Design.

Vreeland is the New York Times best-selling author of “The Girl in Hyacinth Blue,” “The Passion of Artemesia” and “Life Studies,” a collection of short stories. She is expected to show a series of slides of paintings that inspired her stories.

The event starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door. To purchase tickets, call Thurber House at 614-464-1032. For more information, click here

There are still openings for volunteers ...

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  Posted by Tony on 1/05/2005 02:56:00 PM :


I need comix

I spent most of 2004 reading Good Books. You know, your Vonneguts, your Franzens, your Palahnuiks, your Easton Ellises, etc. This culminated in National Novel Writing Month, when I attempted to write 50,000 words of a Not-So-Good-Book in 30 days.

Ever since then, I've been completely burned out on literature. I haven't been able to focus on anything meatier than a pulp novel. I'm trying to get into Updike, but it's slow going.

That's where the comix come in. I need to read, and I need a good story -- but I also need some pretty pictures. I just want a quick jolt of culture.

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  Posted by Dara on 1/05/2005 10:17:00 AM :


Your political moment of the day

From Clay Bennett, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston

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  Posted by Dara on 1/05/2005 09:31:00 AM :


Boston Globe on CCS

The Boston Globe has a nice article on the soon-to-be-opened Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont. I posted about the CCS late last year here. Founded by James Sturm, the schools faculty and visiting instructors will include the likes of Diana Schutz, Art Spiegelman, Ed Brubaker, Seth, James Kochalka, Alison Bechdel, and Chris Ware.
"Sturm's school will take its lead from "cartoonists who consider themselves artists rather than just craftsmen," he says. "I see it as an Iowa Writer's Workshop or New York University Film School equivalent to cartooning. We're geared more towards the auteur.

...it's clear that, for all its novelty, part of the appeal of Sturm's school is that it will recreate something that had been lost in recent years: the community of mentors and apprentices that has allowed the cartooning craft to survive from one generation to the next."

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/04/2005 08:19:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 64

You know how you can look at a comic book and have an instant reaction to the artwork? You either love it or hate it. Ok, I suppose you could also be indifferent to it, but still, you make a pretty quick judgment. "Man, this is gorgeous stuff," or "God, what is this garbage?" It could be on a series that you've read for a long time, or a random issue of some comic you just picked up off the rack and started flipping through. Regardless, we usually make a value call pretty quickly when it comes to the art.

So what I'm wondering is, do you ever have the same type of reaction to a writer's work? (And here I'm talking about any writer, not just comic book authors.) Granted, making a snap judgment on a writer's work is not as easy as doing so with an artist's. For one thing, you've got to expend some time and effort to actually read some of the work. But I'm curious if you ever have those strong feelings of love or hate after reading someone's work for a short period of time? Judging by the comments made in many of the online columns and blogs, writers like Chris Claremont and Chuck Austen seem to engender those types of feelings.

So how about you? And more importantly, is there a specific stylistic quality you can pinpoint that makes that writer's work jump out at you as being either pure genius or totally asstacular?

I'll have to think about my own answer a bit, as nobody jumps to mind immediately...

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  Posted by Dara on 1/04/2005 08:06:00 PM :


Tsunami news and and artist

I didn't want to post anything until I knew for certain...

As some of you know, one of the artists I've collaborate with lives in Indonesia. Alfa Robbi drew my story "Valon's Curse", which appeared in Ape Omnibus #1. I finally heard back from him via e-mail and he tells me that he is unharmed. Alfa lives in Java, so he was not in the path of the disaster. And luckily, his friends and family members were also not affected.

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  Posted by Tom on 1/04/2005 02:06:00 PM :



Bob Corby, organizer and founder of S.P.A.C.E. , was in a car accident over the Holiday weekend. Fortunately he and the passenger are alright. The car I'm afraid is not. He walked away with some sprains and bruises.

A side note- Will Eisner, pioneer of the graphic novel and creator of the Spirit, died today at age 87. I guess the bypass surgery was too much for him. I got to meet him at a Motor City Con a few years ago. He had one last graphic novel called the Plot which should see release in May of this year (?).

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Monday, January 03, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/03/2005 10:09:00 PM :


Buckaroo Banzai comic

You kids like that wacky 80s movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension? Sure you do. Now Moonstone is going to bring you a color limited series based on the character, written by the movie's screenwriter, Earl Mac Rauch (with "guidance" by director W.D. Richter). Art by Stephen Thompson.

(updated to fix an error in the credits)

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  Posted by Dara on 1/03/2005 09:50:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 63

One of my all time favorite quotes from Hanna, age 6:

The setting: a super-cold winter day a few weeks ago, upon getting out of the car in my garage, where I happen to be storing an old refrigerator in the corner (unplugged, doors open to prevent formation of mildew and odors).

The quote: "Oh, now I know why your garage is so cold. You left the fridge door open, silly."

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Sunday, January 02, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/02/2005 09:05:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 62

(full disclosure: technically, this entry is a day 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)

I just finished reading what sadly seems to be the last issue of The Red Star. For those of you not familiar with this fantastically original and engrossing comic series, I highly recommend you pick up the trade paperbacks. It's an epic tale of an "alternate history" Russia known as The United Republics of the Red Star (U.R.R.S.) where magic and technology are melded seamlessly into the empire's military machine. The book follows the crew of the skyfurnace R.S.S. Konstantinov as they at first carry out the orders of the state, but ultimately end up betraying their government in an effort to save the soul of their rapidly crumbling country.

The Red Star is created, written and drawn by Christian Gossett (co-written by Bradley Kayl), and features digital painting and 2D/3D computer modeling by "Snakebite". The setting, characters, technology, sorcery, and all other aspects of the universe of the Red Star is immensely imaginative and compelling. And the scope of the story is an ambitious epic that really carries the characters forward and captures your interest. And while thoroughly immersed in the science-fantasy genre, there are enough politics and analogies to the "real world" trials and tribulations of the Soviets to give this series a sense of realism. (The fictional countries of Al'Istan and Nokgorka stand in for Afghanistan and Chechnya.)

The artwork is lively and serves the story well, though I have to admit I'm not a big fan of all the hype "team Red Star" likes to throw around regarding their "new method of creating comics". Frankly, while progressive and technically well executed, the end result to me is still clunky computer models blended in with traditional comic book art. And Snakebite's coloring process really overpowers any details or "personality" the penciled art may have had. Still, this is a solid, imaginative, refreshing series and it's really a shame that we may never see the end of the tale started within its pages.

The book started out at Image comics and ran for 9 issues before the creators jumped ship to CrossGen's newly formed CGE imprint with Vol. 2, issue #1. With the implosion of that company after only 2 issues, they self-published #3-5 under their own Archangel Studios banner. And as of right now, that seems to be the end of the road for the series, though the latest story arc had only just begun. Anyway, all the issues are well worth picking up. You won't be disappointed.

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Saturday, January 01, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 1/01/2005 08:20:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 61

(full disclosure: technically, this entry is two 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)

It's good to know old habits die hard. By habits, I mean "professional wrestling". And by "good to know," I really mean "sad to realize".

I was flipping through the stations tonight, trying to (unsuccessfully) find something good to watch, when I happened to catch something on a WWE wrestling show. A typical bulked-up wrestler...wearing a traditional Arab headdress, the kuffiyeh. Beside him, shouting insults at the audience, was a middle-eastern looking guy dressed in a suit, his "manager", I'm assuming. I just did a quick search on the WWE website and it looks like these bad guys are Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari, two supposedly "Arab-Americans".

I never got into wrestling when I was younger. I know, it's odd for a kid growing up in the 80s, especially one who was a huge comic geek. After all, what's wrestling if not the four-color world of archetypal comic book superheroes and supervillains played out live in front of an audience? I think it was the lame pretense that everything you saw was "real" that turned me off. Or maybe it's because I had no interest in watching muscular dudes beat each other up. Regardless, my familiarity with the "old school" wrestlers is limited to a few of the ubiquitous ones like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

Oh, and The Iron Sheik. Because he was supposedly an Iranian. And, of course, the bad guy. Because, you know, the Iranians were the enemies at the time, so hating one of their representatives was de rigueur.(Though if I recall correctly, many years later when the general population had forgotten about the American embassy hostage taking in Iran and the attention had shifted to the first Gulf War, he suddenly because an Iraqi. I'm sure someone like Tony could correct me if I'm wrong about that.)

So anyway, my point is that despite everything that's been going on in this country since 9/11 in regards to opening a dialogue about global understanding, cultural diversity, bigotry, and intolerance, it's sad that our "entertainment" can still fall back so easily on tried-and-true ethnic stereotypes. And you know what, I get that it's just wrestling. It's supposed to be cheesy and crass and over-the-top. I'm not saying that we should look to the WWE to lead the way in cultural enlightenment. But still, watching a couple of jackass actors portray fanatical middle-eastern "heels" while the camera pans across the Mississippi Coast Coliseum to show tens of thousands of red necks fans chanting "USA. USA. USA." just made me feel sad and ashamed. Because I'm middle eastern, and I'm an American. And that's the kind of shit that neither side needs.

(Not to mention that the supposedly "Arab-American" Khosrow Daivari was actually speaking broken Farsi, not Arabic. Now, Iranians are not Arab, and Arabs don't speak Farsi. So there's a disconnect there somewhere. But I suppose that's a minor detail. After all, those towelheads all sound alike.)

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  Posted by Tom on 1/01/2005 11:33:00 AM :


Happy 2005!!

I realize I'm preaching to the choir here but here it goes... Looking back on 2004 I can only hope in 2005 we can turn things around. There still is quite a bit of disenfranchisement with Americans and their government. Even turning out in droves doesn't stop the lemming like following of the Republicans. I just finished reading an editorial that compared the US to past societies (the Mayans for example) who shut out and ignored what was going on around them. This sounds like a president who holds few press conferences and seems to not read anything but the Bible. Deforestation, global warming, the growing line between the poor and the rich. It came to bite them in the ass- whole civilizations (at their peak) dissappearing. The Bush administration's recent act being a prime example. Being shamed into bumping up their paltry $35 million donation (to tsunami victims) to $350 million. We can't afford to throw a blind eye to the environment or the people around us. If we don't do something now we will begin to see the effects of global warming in our lifetime!! This meaning to lobby hard and vote out any politician who doesn't take this seriously. Grrrrr! Argh! Blech!

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