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 Dara's free webcomic @ Komikwerks.com

LIFELIKE Graphic Novel Order the full-color, hardcover graphic novel from Amazon.com!

Read Dara and Tom's comic @ Brainbotjr.com and in Melt magazine.

Read Tony Goins' webcomic Downs.
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Thursday, March 31, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/31/2005 11:58:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 150

(sorry about the late posting)

It's been a late night. I was going to just call it a day and go to bed early, catching up on some much-needed sleep. But then I caught myself getting a bit depressed over the though of not having my own book finished for SPACE (which is two weeks away). You see, I had this grandiose plan to put together another small press art book, this time of my photographs, and print a limited run for the show. But between my kitchen remodeling shenanigans, Wendy's move, the Panel book, the webcomic projects, and other things, I found my free time and energy virtually disappear.

To make matters worse, I realized that I'll be missing Comfest this year as well. Those two events are the most indy/alt friendly local events all year, and I was going to miss having a new creative product done for them.

So I decided screw it, I may or may not be able to pull it off in time for SPACE, but I'm sure as hell going to try and get the photo book done. And that's what I've been doing for the past 4 hours. Digging through my photos, selecting, resizing, cropping, scanning, etc. With a little bit of luck, I just may be able to hit the deadline. We'll see.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/31/2005 09:23:00 AM :

      

Robert Rodriguez article about Sin City

Wired magazine has a nice little article about digital filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and the Sin City flick. It's nothing you haven't read before if you've been following the story behind the movie, but it's cool to see more and more mainstream attention paid to this movie. I know a lot of comic fans think it'll look silly and the look will turn off the mainstream viewers, but I think with all the hype around the technology and "rebel" filmmaking techniques involved in the production of this film, it'll garner a huge audience. The A-list ensemble cast doesn't hurt either.
"As Rodriguez refines the tools of digital filmmaking - and the liberty that comes with them - others are slow to follow. Hollywood purists tend to dismiss the geeks in the business as more interested in technology than storytelling. To dispel that notion, Rodriguez persuaded his pal Quentin Tarantino to direct a scene in the movie. Tarantino is the poster boy for analog: He collects rare 35-mm prints and doesn't even use monitors on set while directing. He had just come off shooting Kill Bill, where he did take after take, perfecting each scene, but ballooning the movie's budget and production schedule in the process. For Sin City, Tarantino filmed a self-contained segment at Troublemaker and learned that high tech means low stress. Rodriguez explains: "Quentin did a scene where the actors are in a car and it's raining. Instead of worrying about all that stuff, the car and the rain were added later, and he could just get the performance." Tarantino conceded, telling Rodriguez, "Mission accomplished. I'm glad you brought me down here." Tarantino now says he'll shoot his own digital feature."
For my money, it's the one comic book movie I've been the most excited about seeing. And this coming from a guy who hates big budget, over-hyped flicks.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/31/2005 08:31:00 AM :

      

An open letter to blogger

(I was trying to post this note a couple of days ago, but ironically the very same Blogger problems that precipitated this rant were also keeping it from being posted. But hey, I'm not one to let a good rant go to waste, so here it is, for what it's worth.)

Dear Blogger,

In the interest of fairness, I must admit up front that your software has all sorts of nice features. And the fact that your service is absolutely free is very appealing to me. So yes, I'll probably sound like an ungrateful hypocrite for ranting about you, but so be it.

Blogger, I have come to the conclusion that your system is a piece of s***.

Your software may have all sorts of spiffy features, but that doesn't mean jack s*** if it doesn't work properly. I've lost count of the number of days where I can't post anything to my blog due to mysterious errors on your system. Or the number of times I've spent a considerable amount of time and energy typing up a post, only to see it vanish unceremoniously into the ether after clicking the "Publish" button. Or how my browser just clocks when I click the "Edit Posts" button. Or the "internal server errors" and 404s I get every other time I try to update my blog. And god help anyone trying to use a Mac or the Safari browser to access your interface.

I'm pissed off.

I'm pissed off at your unreliable piece of s*** software. But more importantly, I'm pissed off at myself for investing so much time and energy into this blog, customizing it to use your proprietary tags and features, to the point that I can't easily tell you to go f*** yourselves and simply port my blog to another service provider.

I can't believe that you are owned by Google, one of the most technologically advanced and innovative companies ever. They can index 8 billion web pages and search them in under a second for weird-ass phrases like "Bolivian existential goat porn", but you can't f***ing post a simple text block to an HTML page? Man, you guys must be like the retarded criminal stepchild in the Google family, begrudgingly fed and occasionally bathed, but never acknowledged, supported, or nurtured.

You suck, blogger. I hate you.

Sincerely,
Dara

PS. Thanks for listening, I feel much better now. Though you still suck.


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Wednesday, March 30, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/30/2005 08:29:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 149

The fantasy of putting together a small press comix anthology:
  • Make a few phone calls, line up the talent.
  • Sit back and sip margaritas while they produce the stories.
  • Collect the final pages in electronic form, dump into Adobe Acrobat.
  • Send to printer.
  • Sit back and count the money.
The reality of putting together a small press comix anthology:
  • Get together with your buddies and try to pick a theme for the book.
  • Get together with your buddies to come up with a size, format, and design for the book.
  • Try to come up with a story idea good enough to sit side by side with everyone else's work.
  • Try to find an artist in the group who will want to collaborate with you.
  • Finish your script.
  • Agonize over why you can't seem to finish the script.
  • Feel like a jerk for holding up your artist because you haven't finished the script yet.
  • Finally, finish the script.
  • Get together with your buddies to finalize the size, format, and design for the book.
  • Get together with your buddies to finalize the cover design, bio pages, afterword, back cover design, etc.
  • Agonize over the impending deadline.
  • Review artwork as it trickles in, discuss with group and offer constructive criticism.
  • Get together with your buddies to finalize selection of paper stock, printer, etc.
  • Agonize over the impending deadline.
  • Follow up with artists as to the status of their pages.
  • Accept hardcopy of some finished pages, erase pencil lines, scan, clean up in Photoshop.
  • Agonize over the impending deadline.
  • Follow up with artists as to the status of their pages.
  • Figure out who needs pages scanned, who is going to be mailing in pages, who will be e-mailing 5MB pages, etc.
  • Get together with your buddies and figure out what to do in the case of late artwork.
  • Finalize other details, like who is lettering each story, who is writing the press release, etc.
  • Put together the final package in Adobe Acrobat.
  • Get it to the Kinko's.
  • Pick up finished job from Kinko's.
  • Schedule a fold-and-staple night to assemble the printed pages.
  • Send out press releases.
  • Prepare for the convention.
...and finally, and best of all:

Proudly display your one-of-a-kind, kick-ass small press comix anthology.

And possibly even sell a couple dozen issues.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/29/2005 09:01:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 148

F*** you, Blogger, you piece of s***

You f***ing ate three of my posts today. Worthless piece of s*** good for nothing service.

Yes, I realize you're a free service. I guess you get what you pay for, eh?

F***ing asshat.

(Needless to say, no musings tonight other than what you just read. I don't feel like spending my time typing up an essay, only to have it be lost in electronland on the whim of this pile of excrement so-called software)


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  Posted by Tony on 3/29/2005 08:37:00 PM :

      

I'm not often offended, but ...

... but damn. Here's an item from the Film Threat newsletter about a new indie flick:

BEASTER
by Eric Campos
* * * *
Goddamnit, I love blasphemy and you can’t get much more blasphemous than Vin Morrone’s “Beaster”. This horror short depicts the Resurrection of Christ as how I would like to imagine it – a bloody zombie nightmare. Watch Jesus rise from the grave and chow down on everyone in his path. Watch Pontius Pilate make a bold attempt to put Big J down for good. Watch your ass if you have your Bible on you while watching this film as it’s most likely to burst into flame.

Of course, there’s a good helping of humor found in this short – how could there not be? The well-timed jokes mixed with the absurdity of the piece will keep viewers laughing even though they’ll be gagging at the same time due to all of the graphic violence and gore.

It's also fun for the kids.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/29/2005 10:57:00 AM :

      

Kyle Baker interview

PopImage has a short interview with cartoonist Kyle Baker. It's mostly focused on his new self-published, historical epics Nat Turner and King David. However, at the end of the interview, Kyle makes some funny comments regarding the state of superhero books today.
"My 6-year-old daughter and I like to flip through the current comics and laugh at how there's no fight. We just saw a JLA comic that was literally 21 pages of Superheroes talking! Nobody used their super powers once! Martian Manhunter finally loses his temper on one page, and grabs a guy's neck, but then he decides not to strangle him, and then the JLA decide to talk some more. News Flash: Kids Can't Read Yet. They need visuals. Wonder Woman flying in her glass plane and stopping bullets with her wrists. That's the stuff they like.

Maybe I'm too demanding, but when I see a comic book about a guy named Green Arrow dressed like Robin Hood, I expect to see him SHOOT SOME ARROWS! If the book is called Superman, I want to see him do something super! How come superheroes are always crying?"


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Monday, March 28, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/28/2005 10:23:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 147

Final page of this story. I'm tentatively calling this one "Life as an Artist", though I'm open to a better title.

===

PAGE 5

Suggested Panel layout: 2x3x2

Panel 1: Medium shot of Jeff at his drafting table. His head is turned to the side, reacting to the voice of his son coming from the doorway (off panel).

Caleb (OP): Hey dad, is it done yet? Can I see?

Panel 2: Pull back to show Caleb standing in the doorway, clutching his favorite “Generic Superhero” giant action figure. The sight of his son has snapped Jeff out of his melancholy mood.

Jeff: Hey Caleb. I thought you were watching your cartoons.

Caleb: I was, but I got bored. I wanted to see if you finished the page with the giant robot.

Jeff: As a matter of fact, I was just putting the finishing touches on it. Here.

Panel 3: Caleb jumps up in his dad’s lap and looks over the page excitedly.

Caleb: Oh, sweet! He’s totally gonna’ smash that robot, isn’t he?

Jeff: You betcha’.

Caleb: Man, I wish I could draw as good as you, dad.

Panel 4: Caleb looking up at his father, even more excited.

Jeff: You can, buddy. It just takes some practice.

Jeff: In fact, how would you like to help me finish this page?

Caleb: For real?

Jeff: Of course.

Panel 5: Small panel, perhaps even an inset into panel 4. Close up on Jeff’s hand, as he offers a pen to his son.

Jeff (OP): Here, take this pen. See that block in the background that has all the Xs in it?

Caleb (OP): You mean this one?

Panel 6: Caleb hunched over the drafting table, inking the art with a great deal of concentration as Jeff looks over his shoulder.

Jeff: Yeah. Now, go ahead and fill it in, make it all black

Caleb: Ok. Like this?

Jeff: Yes, very good! See? You’re a natural.

Panel 7: Caleb is inking away, a big smile on his face. Jeff has his arms around him, looking over like a proud papa. He’s got a serene smile on his face, completely happy at this moment with his choices in life.

Caleb: Oh man, I can’t wait to tell my friends I helped you draw an issue! This is so cool!

Jeff: You said it, buddy. It’s the coolest.

END.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/28/2005 05:42:00 PM :

      

Lockjaw?

If you buy this for $60, you are without a doubt the world's biggest dork. Ever.

I mean, seriously. WTF?

(via Progressive Ruin)


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  Posted by Dara on 3/28/2005 02:57:00 PM :

      

Your moment of webcomic zen

Hunter and Painter, by Tom Gauld. A prehistoric adventure in 15 chapters.


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Sunday, March 27, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/27/2005 09:44:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 146

The penultimate page...

PAGE 4

Suggested Panel layout: 3x3x3 (silent page)

Panel 1: Shot of Jeff at his table, looking in the direction of the empty doorway now that Kano has left. The mood I’m going for is one of emptiness.

Panel 2: Medium close up on Jeff, he looks lost in thought, and somewhat sad.

Panel 3: Now we see him turn towards the bookshelf by his table. The shelves are stacked with books, and what appears to be dozens upon dozens of sketchbooks.

Panel 4: Pull in on his hand as he pulls one of the sketchbooks off the shelf.

Panel 5: Pull back to show him at his table, flipping through his sketchbook.

Panel 6: Focus on the pages of the sketchbook, showing nice figure drawings done in charcoal. One idea I had was to leave the actual “sketches” un-inked in this panel and see if we can capture the look when we scan the page.

Panel 7: Close up on Jeff, looking down at his sketchbook (off panel), studying his old work with a detached look.

Panel 8: Another shot of the pages in his sketchbook, with more beautiful figure drawings.

Panel 9: Close up on Jeff, having raised his head and kinda’ staring off into space, lost in his thoughts. The atmosphere is one of melancholy.


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Saturday, March 26, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/26/2005 05:02:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 145

Here's page 3 of 5 of my latest script...

PAGE 3

Suggested Panel layout: 2x2x2 (another dialogue heavy page, plus the challenge of keeping the panels from becoming repetitive…feel free to mix it up as you see fit)

Panel 1: Two shot. Kano and Jeff start arguing. At this point, Jeff is still smiling, but Kano is getting more animated, and one might even say annoyed.

Kano: Right, but that’s nothing more than being a big fish in a small pond. I mean, don’t you want to expand your artwork? To reach an audience who don’t still live in their parents’ basement?

Jeff: Ha ha. Cynicism aside, that’s spoken like a man who doesn’t have a mortgage to pay.

Kano: Oh, the old money excuse. That’s just a crutch, man. A way to avoid taking risks with your art.

Panel 2: Focus on Jeff, as he’s starting to lose his cool.

Jeff: Hey now, that’s not fair.

Jeff: I have a wife and son whom I love very much. And I’ll be damned if I can’t provide for them because I’m playing the starving artist role, or too busy trying to please the art establishment.

Jeff: Screw that.

Panel 3: Focus on Kano, he’s backing off a bit (figuratively and literally). He’s realized he’s touched a nerve, and is trying to patch things up by explaining himself better.

Kano: Ok, ok, my bad. I didn’t mean to start any static. It’s just that...

Kano: Look, you remember that one semester when you taught the figure drawing class at school? Man, I remember looking at your charcoal work and just being blown away. I was so jealous.

Panel 4: Two shot. Both guys have calmed down again. Kano seems genuine in his description of Jeff’s artistic skills, while Jeff is feeling a bit self-conscious about his earlier outburst.

Kano: All I’m saying is, you have mad talent, bro. I just don’t want you to forget about it, you know?

Jeff: Yeah, I…I know what you’re saying. I’ll admit, sometimes I really do miss it.

Jeff: But hey, deadlines are deadlines, right? Can’t always be doing what we want to be doing.

Panel 5: Two shot. Kano’s getting ready to leave, while Jeff is back to his old cheerful state.

Kano: I suppose you’re right.

Kano: Speaking of which, I should let you get back to yours. Didn’t mean to derail your work. I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d drop in and say hi.

Jeff: No, no, it’s cool. I’m glad you did, and congratulations again on the show. You definitely deserve it.

Panel 6: Kano in the doorway, about to leave, Jeff at his drafting table. Both smiling, everything’s cool again.

Kano: Thanks. I’ll catch ya later, man.

Jeff: Ok. Stay outta’ trouble.


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Friday, March 25, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/25/2005 08:51:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 144

Aaaaaaand here's page 2 (of 5)

---

PAGE 2

Suggested Panel layout: 2x3x2 (this page is dialogue heavy, so please account for it in the artwork)

Panel 1: Small panel. Same image as the last panel of page 1, except pull back a bit to show Jeff’s hand holding a brush (or pen,) inking the panel. If it’s not obvious yet, the first page was actually a page of comic book art he’s been working on.

Kano (OP): When are you gonna’ stop with the silly comic books?

Panel 2: Pull back for a two-shot of Jeff and Kano. Jeff’s sitting at his drafting table, but has turned around to see his friend who has just entered the room. Kano is dressed quite sharply, as if he’s about to go out clubbing. He’s holding a ubiquitous cup of coffee from Starbuck or similar take-out place.

Jeff: Kano! Well, well, look what the cat dragged in on this fine Sunday morning.

Kano: Yeah, Sandy let me in. She said you were hard at work up here.

Jeff: Well, you know how it is. You have your paintings, I have my page deadlines.

Panel 3: Focus on Jeff, engaged in casual conversation.

Jeff: Which reminds me, how did your gallery show go last night?

Panel 4: Focus on Kano, answering in an animated manner.

Kano: Oh man, Jeff, it was off the hook! I had a dozen pieces hanging.

Kano: They had a DJ spinning wax, both papers are doing a write up on the show, and the place was packed with all sorts of lovely art chicks.

Panel 5: Two-shot. Jeff leaning back, Kano with a sly smile.

Jeff: Ah yes, to live the life of a superstar artiste. Except you’re up way early.

Kano: Let’s just say the boyfriend of one of the aforementioned lovely art chicks came home unexpectedly this morning.

Panel 6: Another shot of the two palling around. Feel free to mix it up when it comes to the angle and/or distance of the shots, we want to keep the talking heads bit from becoming visually monotonous.

Jeff: I should’ve know. Any exciting fisticuffs?

Kano: Nah, opted for a discreet exit via the fire escape. God bless this city’s fire codes.

Panel 7: Kano is over by the drafting table now, examining the art that Jeff was working on. Jeff is a little bit annoyed by his comment.

Kano: Not to change the subject, man, but seriously. When are you gonna’ ditch the comics ghetto and get back into real art?

Jeff: Hey now, don’t knock it. First of all, comics are real art.

Jeff: Besides, I’m doing pretty well with it. I’ve got an exclusive deal for the next two years.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/25/2005 04:58:00 PM :

      

Dara Naraghi: Rock God!

Ok, ok, not even close. But my coworker just informed me CD101 is playing my "select-a-set". For those of you outside of Columbus, CD101 (101.1 FM) is our locally owned and operated alternative rock station and every once in a while they let their listeners suggest "select-a-sets", three songs by the same artist, or bound by a common theme. My set had a theme of bullets:

"Bullet with Butterfly Wings" - Smashing Pumpkins
"God is a Bullet" - Concrete Blonde
"Bullet" - Frank Black and the Catholics

By the way, for you curious out of towners, you can listen to the 32kpbs live stream here.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/25/2005 04:53:00 PM :

      

A cry for help!

Well, it's not all that bad really. Okay, I am having a devil of a time finding 11x17 cardstock in a color other than white and in a package of less than 500. I will be printing 50 copies each of three different comics, so I only need 150 sheets. I can handle paying for 250 and hanging onto the extra hundred, but I don't really have the finances or the resources to sit on 350 extra pieces of cardstock. Also, since this will be the cover for 3 separate comics, it would be even greater if I could find smaller packs and use 2 or 3 different colors, but I know that might not be feasible.

To date I have searched Fed Ex Kinko's, JoAnne's, Michael's Crafts, and Papers Plus (I could not find a damn thing in there). Can anyone out there help me or point me in a better direction at all? I'm sorry to use the blog for something like this but I'm approaching the end of my sanity.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/25/2005 02:28:00 PM :

      

Marvel Comics in 7-11 stores: a misstep?

Following up on the earlier announcement that Marvel comics was moving back into several thousand 7-11 stores, Newsarama is reporting some more details. In addition to the "Marvel Adventures" all-ages line of comics, the June-solicited flip books will also be in the stores. According to a story in the Fort Wayne, Indiana News Sentinel:
"Marvel's return to 7-Eleven will begin with titles from its all-ages Marvel Adventures line and expand to include some of its more popular books, such as "Astonishing X-Men" and "Amazing Spider-Man." They'll be in a "flipbook" format - 64-page comics with two stories in each, selling for $3.99 - and will remain only a small portion of the titles published by Marvel."
A few of the flip books are:

ULTIMATE MARVEL #1
ULTIMATE X-MEN #1
Written by MARK MILLAR
Pencils by ADAM KUBERT
Cover by JOE QUESADA
ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #1
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS & MARK MILLAR
Pencils by ADAM KUBERT
Cover by BRYAN HITCH
64 pgs / 3.99

MARVEL HEROES #1
NEW AVENGERS #1
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Pencils & Cover by DAVID FINCH
CAPTAIN AMERICA #1
Written by ED BRUBAKER
Art & Cover by STEVE EPTING
64 pgs / 3.99

MARVEL SELECT #1
ASTONISHING X-MEN#1
Written by JOSS WHEDON
Pencils & Cover by JOHN CASSADAY
NEW X-MEN: ACADEMY X #1
Written by NUNZIO DEFILIPPIS & CHRISTINA WEIR
Pencils & Cover by RANDY GREEN
64 pgs / 3.99

Ok, I'm of two minds about this. When I first heard the story and the speculation that the all-ages Marvel books would be part of the deal, I thought it was a fantastic move by Marvel to get more mainstream exposure for comic books in general, as well as recapture the younger readers that the market is sorely lacking.

However, I'm not quite sure some of the more adult books, such as J. Michael Straczynski's Spider-Man and Mark Millar's Ultimate books are a wise decision. I mean, the former features a storyline about Gwen Stacey's sexual romp with the Green Goblin, with her artificially aged daughter trying to seduce Peter Parker (or some such nonsense, I don't read the book). And Mark Millar is known more for his rape obsession and "edgy" stories, not kid-friendly material. So all it will take is for a few fundamentalist (heck, even "normal") parents to discover the "filth" their kids are buying at 7-11 and you can kiss this whole distribution avenue goodbye.

Unless, of course, Marvel is counting on the controversy as exposure/free advertisement. I guess we'll find out soon enough.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/25/2005 10:38:00 AM :

      

Neil Gaiman interview

Locus magazine recently did an interview with Neil Gaiman.
"I still love the book-ness of books, the smell of books; I am a book fetishist -- books to me are the coolest and sexiest and most wonderful things there are. For an author, they're your headstone and your living monument: mine will allow me to lecture and entertain people long after I'm gone. Isaac Asimov put it best when he pointed out that the book, especially the paperback book, is a perfectly designed thing. It does not need an on-and-off switch; it doesn't need power; it's comfortable to read -- black print on white paper, driven by sunlight, is terrifically efficient; it's a good size for putting down, and when you drop it you can find your place almost immediately. But I get deeply and genuinely pissed off that books weigh anything, and if I want to take them with me I have to load up a suitcase or the trunk of the car with them. Information weighs nothing!"
You can read excerpts from it on their website.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/25/2005 10:32:00 AM :

      

Unbelievable

Here's a link to a 6-minute clip from The Daily Show where they examine the absurdities surrounding the Schiavo case. It's incredibly funny and sad at the same time. Especially the segment where he shows how FOX News actually had psychic medium John Edward on as an expert!!! You know, the guy who claims to talk to dead people on his show Crossing Over. Words alone are not enough to describe how incredibly wrong that is.

This, my friends, is another reason why the rest of the world hates us.


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Thursday, March 24, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/24/2005 11:27:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 143

Ok, I'm back on schedule with the next script I wanted to serialize here. I'm reposting the character descriptions, followed by the first page of the (as yet untitled) story...

CHARACTERS:

Jeff – white, average looking comic book artist in his late 30s. He’s a bit portly, balding, and wears glasses. Jeff’s a family man, dressed casually (jeans, t-shirt), working at his home studio. A reliable, solid artist without the “rock star” attitude..

Kano – late 20s, attractive, hipster artist of Japanese decent. He’s the exact opposite of Jeff in looks and attitude. Fashionable, trendy clothes, spiked hairdo, pierced ears, cool shades, etc. He’s currently enjoying a thriving fine arts career, and the fame has gone to his head.

Caleb – Jeff’s 7 year old son. An energetic, smiling, excited young boy. He carries his favorite Generic Superhero (see below) large action figure with him everywhere.

“Generic Superhero” – the unnamed main character from the comic book series that Jeff draws. We’ll only see him on the first page of the story, so no need for an extensive design. Give him a look and simple costume that evokes the Superman archetype: square-jawed, muscular, heroic. Cape, maybe a mask.

“Generic Robot” – the unnamed villain that we see the superhero fighting. I’ll leave the design up to you, draw something you’ll have fun with. It could be a giant robot, or a radioactive monster, whatever.

SETTING:

Jeff’s “studio”, which is just an extra room in his modest house that he has converted into his art studio. The main features are a drafting table with all his pens, pencils, inks, etc. and a bookshelf of old sketchbooks and reference books. Other than that, feel free to add whatever you think makes sense and have room for in the panels. Maybe a radio.


PAGE 1

The “Suggested Panel Layout” for each page is just a suggestion; how I see them in my head. Feel free to do the layouts as you see fit for better storytelling, I’m flexible.

Suggested Panel layout: 1x3x2

Panel 1: Widescreen panel depicting the massive Generic Robot rampaging through the downtown area of a modern big city, leveling buildings and basically creating mayhem.

Caption: Metro City 6. August 8th. 2:31 PM.

SFX: K-THOOOM

Panel 2: Tight shot of Generic Superhero flying through the skyscrapers of the city to respond to the threat.

Generic Superhero (thought): There he is.

Panel 3: Pull in close on the massive Robot’s body, with the small image of the Superhero flying in to the panel.

Panel 4: A dramatic shot of the Superhero flying towards us (a la Superman), a look of determination on his face.

Generic Superhero: Hey, you overgrown pile of scrap metal…

Panel 5: Pull back a bit for a medium shot of the Superhero lifting the Robot up and flying off with him.

Generic Superhero: …time to take you back to the junk yard!

Panel 6: Close up on the Superhero, straining under the weight of his nemesis, but still resolute.

Generic Superhero (thought): Ungh. This thing’s a lot heavier than I thought.

Kano (OP): Man, what is this crap?


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  Posted by Tom on 3/24/2005 08:07:00 PM :

      

Tween girl- 'Awww that's cute. What is it?'

Annie- 'Satanic Paper Boy.'

Tween girl- (puzzled and slightly horrified)

_This exchange happened with my friend's daughter (Annie) in school the other day. She gave the button to Annie who put it on her backpack. This didn't really help her misfit status at school. Poor Anne.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/24/2005 05:59:00 PM :

      

My boy Banksy strikes again!

Take a look at this absolutely luscious dig at the hidebound conservatism of the fine arts establishment. Priceless! This is one of the greatest things I have ever seen in my life. If I could kiss Bansky I would. Fuck the art establishment!


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  Posted by Dara on 3/24/2005 03:49:00 PM :

      

Basic plots

From the Internet Public Library, a list of Basic Plots in Literature.

Write on.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/23/2005 10:43:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 142

You know, I was going to keep my mouth shut and not talk about the Terri Schiavo story. Because really, it's a very personal matter for the family, and although I have strong opinions on which side of the argument I fall under, it's none of my business to say so.

However, the thing that I can't keep quiet about any longer is (and pardon my language here) how every fucking asshat politician is jockeying for position on this issue, abusing it as a photo-op for their own fucking purposes. And Tom DeLay is spearheading this mission of mercy, for christ's sake? Tom Fucking DeLay? Tom "Ethics Violations" DeLay? Our soldiers are dying every single day in Iraq, no big deal, but for one person in Florida Congress pulls out an unprecedented emergency session? For this Bushy Bush is willing to cut his vacation short and rush to sign the bill, where as before he couldn't fucking be bothered to do some "presidenting" while there was an active war going on?

And now I see that Bushy Bush's bro, good ol' Florida governor Jeb Bush, is seeking "court permission to take custody" of Terri Schiavo. All this time he's been governor, he hasn't felt the need to intervene on behalf of a wrongfully accused death row inmate, poverty stricken AIDS patient, corporate fraud victim, or any other private citizen in need of desperate assistance. But now, all of a sudden, he's personally interested in helping save a woman who has been in a persistent vegetative state for the past 15 years.

It's too bad I don't believe in hell, because if I did, I could sleep better tonight knowing there's a very special level reserved just for these hypocritical, opportunistic, shameless sons of bitches.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/23/2005 01:57:00 PM :

      

Thought balloons

“The first well-written, well-drawn comicbook to bring back thought balloons in a major way will be a hit,” Sean McKeever opined on his Web site recently. “I would equally love to have that splashy, retro feel, added character insight and fun exposition that thought balloons can bring to a story.”

I responded:

“Thought balloons can be kind of a crutch, IMHO. It can be somewhat easy to just have the character tell the reader what he's thinking or feeling.”

Numerous people disagreed.

“Thought ballons, thought captions, or whatever is one of the things that allow comics to be a merge between a visual and a written medium.”

“Funny, though, how when a novelist takes us inside a character's head, few complain about the additional insight. Yet, when it's done in a comic, the reaction is often that there has been some sort of shortcut taken.”

“Thought balloons in comics vs. voice-overs in movies is like comparing apples and something not really very much like apples at all.”

What do you think?


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  Posted by Tony on 3/23/2005 01:55:00 PM :

      

This could be the end, true believers!

Sam Raimi and Marvel said Tuesday that Thomas Haden Church will be the villain for Spider-Man III. Yes, friends, it’s Spider-Man vs. Lowell!

And in Spider-Man IV our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler will face off against the triple threat of Larry, his brother Darryl, and his other brother Darryl!!!!!


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Tuesday, March 22, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/22/2005 10:18:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 141

Do crazy people get lonely?

We were having a later "dinner" at Wendy's (the fast food joint, not Wendy's apartment) when an older gentleman came in by himself and ordered some food. He was seated at the table next to us, even though the entire place was empty. Anyway, when we were done, Wendy got up to throw our trash away and Jeff (as he came to introduce himself) intercepted her and offered to dump out the trays for her. "I got it. Y'all are family. You finish up, and I'll dump this out for you."

We thanked him, and as we were getting Hanna ready to go, he started into a story about how he's a retired police officer, and such. Anyway, we thanked him again and said goodbye, and left. Later, in the car, Wendy told me that she had known of him for quite a while. Apparently, he was in a mental institution many years ago (the father of one of her friends was in the same institution). And subsequently, he was a fixture on campus for a while, starting conversations with anybody and everybody who passed by. She said he was a really nice guy, and never panhandled or bothered anyone, but if you were ever sucked into a conversation with him it was really hard to extract yourself from it.

And then, after a pause, she said "It must get pretty lonely if you're a little bit crazy." To which I replied "I don't know, maybe crazy people are too far into their own world to realize they get lonely."

And yes, I know calling the poor soul "crazy" isn't politically correct, but you know what I mean. As we rush about our hectic lives, we see people like Jeff everywhere. Some are a bit odd, other we may call eccentric, and a few are certifiably loony. But it makes me wonder how they feel about themselves during the quiet moments. Do they feel disconnected, out of place, lonely? I'd imagine they would, after all, loneliness is a very common and powerful human condition. But then again, as we were leaving Wendy's and I looked back in through the window, I saw Jeff back at his table, enjoying his burger, and he really didn't seem to be down.

I mean, from my perspective, yeah, it was a sad sight to see this man eating all by himself in an empty fast food restaurant. But is that how he saw himself?


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  Posted by Dara on 3/22/2005 11:26:00 AM :

      

PANEL gallery show at Supraphonic Studio, April 9th

Listen up, C-bus residents. Columbus' own PANEL writer/artist collective will have a showing of original comic book art by its members on Saturday, April 9, at Supraphonic recording studio. In addition, there will be 3 bands providing groovy music into the wee hours of the morning. And check out the swank flyer, designed by our very own Tom Williams:



By the way, this place is nearly impossible to find, so I highly recommend taking a look at this map. Apparently, it's located down a ramp, below ground level.


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Monday, March 21, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/21/2005 09:39:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 140

Remember the musing from a few days ago where I talked about the Ohio Lottery sponsoring national Gambling Awareness Week? Well, this is along the same vein of absurdity...

I heard a radio ad for Aspen Edge, the low carb beer from Coors, where they position themselves as some sort of lifestyle choice. That's right, you can send off for a packet of information that will give you career advice, health & exercise options, and lifestyle tips. In fact, on their website, they open with this ridiculous marketing BS: "Can you really do it all? Yes. You balance family, work and play. So, take pride in your responsibilities and celebrate with Aspen Edge."

Career advice! From an f-ing beer company!

What a sad, sad world we live in.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/21/2005 01:47:00 PM :

      

The return of Jonah Hex!

DC will be publishing a new, monthly Jonah Hex series sometime this fall. The writer team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray will be involved, though no word on who the artist(s) may be. Supposedly, these will all be self-contained, one-issue stories. First issue cover is by Frank Quietly, dig it:



I absolutely loved the Joe R. Landsdale/Tim Truman revival of Hex under the Vertigo imprint. Palmiotti and Gray are not what I'd consider marquee writers, but they are usually pretty solid, so hopefully this will be a fun read. I'm looking forward to it.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/21/2005 10:45:00 AM :

      

It's like The Onion, but for comics

SHAFT NewsWire. Funny fake newspaper articles.

"Contestants on Fear Factor burn at the touch of the man-Thing"

"Eye on Wakanda"

And other comic book geek humor.

The SHAFT site itself has some other funny features.

"In response to the global threat posed by George W. Bush (better known as the supervillain President Evil 2) and the Legion of Terror, Ultimate Nick Fury founded the SHAFT Agency in the summer of 2002.

Rallying the earth's mightiest heroes into a worldwide resistance movement and recruiting the best secret agents into his new intelligence network, Fury began to turn the tables on Bush's criminal empire."


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Sunday, March 20, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/20/2005 09:14:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 139

Today is the Vernal Equinox, aka the first day of spring where night and day are nearly the same length.

It's also "Nowruz", the Persian New Year. The year 1384, if you follow the traditional (i.e. pre-Islamic revolution) Iranian calendar.

Iran's (or Persia's) ancient religion, now more or less defunct, is called Zoroastrianism. It's estimated to be between 3000-3500 years old. It's also believed to be the first monotheistic religion in the world. Despite my general dislike for any sort of organized religion, the reason I'm mentioning Zoroastrianism is because I happen to like its basic tenant, as summarized in its motto:

"Good thoughts, good words, good deeds."

If you think about it, religion or no religion, that's all we really need to strive for to make this a far better world.

Happy new year.


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Saturday, March 19, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/19/2005 07:54:00 PM :

      

Iraq

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 70% of Americans believe the level of US casualties in Iraq is unacceptable.
"President Bush's wartime job approval rating reached 77 percent; it's 50 percent now. His approval specifically on Iraq was 75 percent as the main fighting ended; it's 39 percent now, a career low.

The number of people who say the war was worth fighting has fallen from 70 percent during the war to 45 percent now. And the number who say it has put the United States in a stronger position in the world has fallen from 52 percent to 28 percent. (It was a vastly higher 84 percent after the 1991 Gulf War.) Indeed more now say the war left the United States weaker (41 percent) than stronger."
Today is the two year anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/19/2005 06:26:00 PM :

      

There they go again...

I know I'm old-fashioned, but I try really really hard not to say, or type, or post anything negative. I figure if I don't have anything nice to say on the internet, best to avoid the trolls and flamers and keep it to myself. I slip up every now and then (like the profanity laced "Kasabian" rant, and that whole tirade about baseball making me feel like my mom's a hooker) but I really do my best.

The lovely magazine "The Comics Journal" has no such qualms. They'll write whatever they want, and if you disagree apparently you're a moron.

Take a look here and see what the managing editor Dirk Deppey had to say about what he called the "worst comic of 2004." Honestly, this comic really doesn't look all that good, and Deppey makes a few valid points. We should all do our best to hone our craft, be startlingly original, and accept valid criticism. I was along for the ride almost all the way through the review until the last line-"What a shitty, shitty comic book."

Wow.

A magazine that prides itself on being a bastion of serious and legitimate journalism, critique, and intelligent discourse on the graphic arts of the comic medium, and the best that they can do is to find some poor schmuck who's done sub-par work and tell him it's "shitty" twice?

"The Comics Journal." What a shitty, shitty magazine.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/19/2005 05:29:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 138

I was running some errands this morning and saw a grown man wearing a bunny suit, on the corner of Olentangy and Henderson roads. No, it wasn't’t some crazy homeless guy. He was holding up a sign touting some sort of K-Mart’ 50% off sale. ’I've also seen other roadside costumed adults over the past month advertising local tax preparation places, and going-out-of-business furniture stores.

What the hell is wrong with people?

I don’t mean the guys wearing the costumes. I assume they need money for whatever, and they figure this is a quick way to make a buck. Whether or not they think dressing up like the statue of liberty or the Easter bunny is undignified is their business, not mine.

No, the people I don’t understand are the ones paying them to do so.

I mean, come on. Have a little respect for your fellow man. You're telling me there's no other advertising venue available to you than to humiliate a grown man like that? WTF? Sure, it's not illegal. But neither is paying someone to carry you around on their back while you slap their ass and call them your monkey-boy. Doesn't mean you should do it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Sometimes, I just don't understand people.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/19/2005 05:18:00 PM :

      

Ohio-based comic book publishers

Seems our fair state has its share of comic book companies. Dayton-based publisher Checker Book Publishing Group started out reprinting old series such as Alien Legion and Clive Barker's Hellraiser in TPB format, and now they've announced that they'll be printing French comic book artist Emmanuel Civiello's A Bit of Madness.

And just recently, I came across an announcement by Akron-based publisher Dreams Illustrated. Seems they're ready to get serious about not only publishing new works by undiscovered talents, but they're also offering some sort of distribution deal for other publishers. Check out their website for more details.

Wow, it's true what the our license plates said: Ohio, the Heart of it All!


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Friday, March 18, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/18/2005 11:12:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 137

I caught a short piece (ahem) on 20/20 tonight about the swinger lifestyle. Supposedly, about 4 million adults in the US identify themselves as swingers. Who knew.

Anyway, there's a couple of things that I wanted to talk about. First of all, I'm still amazed that whenever they do a story on a titillating (some may say taboo) subject like this, they can easily find a half dozen couples willing to sit for an interview and talk all about their swinging adventures. I mean, I don’t have anything against it. I'm a firm believer that as long as an activity involves consenting adults who aren't hurting anyone, then more power to them. But at the same time, this isn't like going to TV and admitting to the entire world that you, I don't know, pick your nose in your car or like Vanilla Ice. This is saying "yep, I likes to watch while some other dude f***s my wife, and then have a go at his missus." And some of these couples had kids who don't know about their parent's lifestyle. Geez, don't you think it might be best to sit little Jimmy and Sally down and explain what mommy and daddy like to do, instead of having them find out on national TV?!?

I just don't understand people sometimes.

Of course, given the shoddy state of television journalism (there's an oxymoron if I ever heard one,) there wasn't much of an attempt made to really explore the topic. No, they showed the requisite "naughty" scenes of semi-naked people playing grab ass, as much as the TV censors would let them. Cause how else are you going to get ratings? And they had a couple moments designed to make middle America gasp in horror at the moral decay and filth that this country is degenerating into. And then they paid lip service to "most marriage counselors aren't against it, but they think it could also potentially be harmful to a marriage".

Me, I'd like to hear more facts and figures. For instance, what's the divorce rate amongst swinger couples versus non-swinger couples? How does their lifestyle affect their kids? Does it at all? And let's interview some people whose relationships were destroyed as a result of their activities, as opposed to only showing couples who insist it's made them stronger together. You know, actually explore all angles of the subject.

But I suppose that's too much to ask when it comes to an 8 minute spot on a crappy-ass TV "news journal".

By the way, here's my feelings on the whole subject: consenting adults, not harming anyone, none of my business. However, I'm a huge believer in the power of base human nature, especially the darker side. Our pettiness, insecurities, jealousies, etc. You know, the stuff that's contributed to our vast and colorful history of pain, suffering, persecution, and oppression. The stuff that keeps us from achieving the utopia of the Star Trek world. So I think most people engaged in these types of "non-standard" relationships are, for the most part, kidding themselves that they're ok with it. Because it's all fun and games and sounds great on paper, but eventually jealousy and distrust rear their ugly heads. And then things can get very ugly, very fast.

I'd like to think I'm a pretty enlightened, open-minded kind of guy. But if I've learned anything in life so far, it's that human nature is a powerful, and quite often unreasonable, force to contend with. And we're pretty good at lying to ourselves for the sake of immediate gratification, but sooner or later we have to face those feelings we've tried to suppress for so long.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/18/2005 04:56:00 PM :

      

Your political cultural moment of the day

Courtesy of our own Columbus Dispatch cartoonist, Jeff Stahler.



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  Posted by Dara on 3/18/2005 04:21:00 PM :

      

Your political moment of the day

Courtesy of a letter writer from Florida, as printed in Steven Grant's column:
"Recently a company called Ignite Software received permission to provide free copies of their FCAT teaching software to schools in the Orlando area, as part of a pilot program to test the effectiveness of the programs. Ignite hopes to secure a contract with the state of Florida that could ultimately net them $30 per student per year here (we have about 1.5 million public school students here in Florida, a number that keeps increasing year by year).

Take a wild guess what the CEO of Ignite's last name is. Go ahead, you'll never guess... yeah that's right, it's Bush, as in Neil Bush, brother to Florida Governor Jeb and US President George. As you may be aware, one of Neil's previous forays into business was Silverado S&L, a company's who's collapse cost Colorado taxpayers $1.3 billion.

You know, I almost miss the days when corrupt politicians worked tirelessly to hide their evil schemes."


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  Posted by Dara on 3/18/2005 03:32:00 PM :

      

VW with a Mac Mini

So this dude decided to install a Mac Mini in his Volkswagen GTi. Not exactly sure what he does with it, but it's got a 7” touchscreen monitor, a trackpad, an FM/AM tuner, and an installed iPod dock. Funky.



(via Gizmodo)


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  Posted by Dara on 3/18/2005 01:26:00 PM :

      

SPX 2005 Anthology

Details are posted on the SPX site. Deadline is June 30th, and there's no theme this year. And the guest editor is Brian Ralph.
The Details:

Length: As long as it takes for great comics. Please do not include title pages, fake covers, or any other sort of lead-in. Dive right into that comic.

Deadline: Submissions must be received no later than June 30, 2005.

Please plan accordingly as overnight delivery can be very expensive.

Format: Please send your submissions, if at all possible, in an electronic format. Art should be scanned in at 800dpi bitmap tiffs (unless your art has tones, then grayscale). If you do not personally own a scanner, many copy centers such as Kinko's now have scanning facilities. The dimensions of your artwork should be as follows:

Page (trim) size: 6.625" x 9"
Live image area: 5.375" x 8"
Bleed image area: 7.125" x 9.5"
What are you waiting for? Get to work, suckas.


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Thursday, March 17, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/17/2005 09:37:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 136

The big order of Top Shelf books came in yesterday, and I wanted to share with you one of the great surprise reads from the bunch. I ordered Beach Safari on a whim, based solely on the cover image and the short synopsis on Top Shelf's website. And I have to say, it was a fantastic read.



It's written and illustrated by German creator Mawil Witzel, and follows the adventures of a bunny who washes up on the shores of an unknown beach. He thinks he's stranded on an island by himself, and the first quarter of the book depicts his efforts to find food and shelter, often with humorous results. But then he discovers three spirited young women who use the same stretch of beach for surfing and nude sunbathing. A friendship develops between them, and this is where the book really shines. The themes of loneliness, friendship, and parting are explored subtly amidst the action of surfing, fighting seagulls, and cooking by campfire.

There's a little bit of the Goodbye, Chunky Rice vibe to this book, and I mention that as a compliment. The artwork is both simplistic and expressionistic, portraying the cartoony bunny and the more realistic women with the same deft touch. And the story navigates quite smoothly between heartwarming and bittersweet. I highly recommend this book.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/17/2005 09:54:00 AM :

      

Panel: Home reviewed

Couple of reasons to check out Steven Grant's column this week: he continues his multi-part discussion of creating comics step-by-step, and he reviews our Panel: Home anthology.
"I'll say one thing for publisher Dara Naraghi's comics: he views them as physical artifacts as well. This one comes in a tasteful "folder," surrounding a half-dozen stories by divers hands (very) loosely involving the "home" theme, from space fantasy with religious overtones to slice of life to humor. Overall, much better than the first volume, with esp. good work from Andy Bennett, who provides a lovely character study of a cat, and Tom Williams."
Of course, in all fairness, I should set the record straight by saying that the credit for creating a "physical artifact" should go to the whole Panel group, not just me. However, given the number of books he is sent, and all the ones he reviews, it's a testament to our collective efforts that he remembers the design esthetics of the previous Panel books.

Wait till he sees "Panel: Myth".


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  Posted by Dara on 3/17/2005 09:38:00 AM :

      

Chris Allen's blog

Chris has been writing about comics for 6 years, including columns in The Comics Journal, NinthArt, and Comic Book Galaxy. He also wrote a positive review of my own BigCityBlues comic here.

He's currently writing a comic for Speakeasy publishing, called Irregular Joe, and blogging about his experiences. Check it out.


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Wednesday, March 16, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/16/2005 11:15:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 135

Did you know that last week was National Problem Gambling Awareness Week? I did. Do you know how I knew?

Because the radio ads for the Ohio Lottery said so. That's right, the awareness campaign for the problem is brought to you by one of the causes of the problem itself.

Then again, a bunch of those "Quit Smoking" PSAs are brought to you by the big tobacco companies (after a lot of arm twisting by the government). So it's not like it's a shocking precedent or anything.

I just find it incredibly humorous, in a sad sort of way.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/16/2005 02:41:00 PM :

      

Small press love

David Hedgecock of Ape Entertainment shows us some love in his latest column over at Broken Frontier:
"Ferretpress.com - Dara Naraghi (probably one of the most talented, 'up-and-coming' writers in the industry) and his crew of Ohio Art Hooligans serve up one of the best blogs on comics, politics, and life that you’re going to find."
Thanks Dave! In the same spirit of small press support, I'd like to direct you over to Ape's website to check out Dave's new graphic novel, A Different Pace.



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  Posted by Tony on 3/16/2005 01:58:00 PM :

      

Sci-Fi pitfalls to avoid

From the NaNoWriMo listserv, here’s a list of sci-fi pitfalls to avoid. Equally useful for comic books, if not more so:

* Bathos
A sudden, alarming change in the level of diction. "There will be bloody riots and savage insurrections leading to a violent popular uprising unless the regime starts being lots nicer about stuff."

* Squid in the Mouth

The failure of an author to realize that his/her own weird assumptions and personal in-jokes are simply not shared by the world-at-large. Instead of applauding the wit or insight of the author's remarks, the world-at-large will stare in vague shock and alarm at such a writer, as if he or she had a live squid in the mouth.

Since SF writers as a breed are generally quite loony, and in fact make this a stock in trade, "squid in the mouth" doubles as a term of grudging praise, describing the essential, irreducible, divinely unpredictable lunacy of the true SF writer. (Attr. James P Blaylock)

http://www.sfwa.org/writing/turkeycity.html


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  Posted by Dara on 3/16/2005 10:31:00 AM :

      

Keron Grant update

Wondering what local boy Keron has been up to? Well, The Pulse has a 4 page preview of his newest limited series set to debut in June from DC Comics. Son of Vulcan is written by Scott Beatty, with art by Keron and colorist Danimation.

"When the series starts, Mikey Devante - our focus - doesn't have any powers at all," continued Beatty. "Conversely, Vulcan's powers involve fire and heat. Plus he's got a BIG indestructible sword. [Son of Vulcan is] about the problems a boy 'inherits' when he becomes the partner to one of the world's greatest heroes."



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  Posted by Dara on 3/16/2005 10:23:00 AM :

      

Lots o' ideas

Over on his blog, Ed Cunard has written a fantastic essay on story ideas, their inherent value (or lack thereof), and the notion of "ideaspace". He then takes the next step and lists 50 different story ideas as a brainstorming exercise, with some quality gems in there. Well worth checking out.
"1. High school kid who works at a resort has to come to terms with getting a guest pregnant after a one week stand.
8. Two rival teams battle in a poetry slam, while two members of one team are going through a divorce.
43. A small group of people take to breaking and entering to fund their non-profit group under the rationalization that the ends justify the means, but most become enamored with life as criminals.
46. Guy develops superpowers, but refuses to use them because he thinks they're a sign of the devil."


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Tuesday, March 15, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/15/2005 06:38:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 134

This isn't meant as a rant, just a minor point of annoyance. It's no big revelation that more and more broadcast news services are shifting towards the entertainment model. But I've noticed lately that part of this annoying trend is the desire to be "clever" with the segment headlines. I suppose in some bizarre way they're trying to mimic clever newspaper headlines, while merging it with Entertainment Tonight sensibilities.

I wish they'd stop.

Seriously, if you're doing a news story on U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay's troubles with the ethics committee, don't call that particular segment "Delay Tactics". That's not clever, it's lame. If you're covering the Michael Jackson trial (a newsworthy event if there ever was one), don't call it "Child's Play". Again, not clever. Lame (and more than a bit creepy).

We don't want puns, double-entendres, word play, or friggin' onomatopoeia. We just want the news. That's all.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/15/2005 08:25:00 AM :

      

James Sturm diary

Over on Slate, they have a James Sturm diary in which the writer/artist talks about his work, wanderlust, and why he moved to White River Junction in vermont.



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  Posted by Dara on 3/15/2005 06:23:00 AM :

      

One of the funniest observations I've heard in quite a while

Commenting on the new Defenders mini-series from Marvel, Mark sez: "I read the hilarious and informative interview with JM DeMatteis and Kieth Giffen, two of my favorite writer guys, at All the Rage, and something occured to me: The Defenders is pretty much Dr. Strange hangin' out with naked dudes."



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  Posted by Dara on 3/15/2005 05:51:00 AM :

      

Flashier than LXG, deeper than From Hell

The next two Alan Moore classics to be ruined by the Hollywood crap machine? U Decide!

Watchmen and V for Vendetta.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/15/2005 05:23:00 AM :

      

Paul Pope contest

Holy crap, check out the Paul Poe contest over at Trade Whore! It puts our little contest to shame. Anyway, here's what you can win:

  • 100% TP
  • GIANT THB 1.v.2
  • THE BALLAD OF DR. RICHARDSON: FIFTH YEAR ANNIVERSARY EDITION OGN
  • SOLO #3
  • ONI DOUBLE FEATURE #2 & 3 (feat. Pope's "Car Crash")
  • Limited edition "Car Crash" print
  • $15 Gift Card to iTunes

All you have to do is create a mix tape with the theme of "relationships". Deadline is end of March. Check out the link above for more details.

(via postmodernbarney)



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  Posted by Tom on 3/15/2005 12:52:00 AM :

      

A work in progress...

I got my DSN issues resolved and my site's back up with a temp page. I accidentally grabbed the wrong disc and uploaded a back-up from 2003. So if you happen to enter opencrashcomics.com I appologize for it not being current.


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Monday, March 14, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/14/2005 07:34:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 133

File under "feast or famine"...

Following up on yesterday's post about my new webcomic project, I find myself in a bit of a bind currently. See, when I was gearing up for the project, I posted a couple "artist wanted" ads on the web. After all, my plan is to do each short story with a different artist. Well, my first attempt at finding a wide range of artists netted me exactly one response. And it was from a...well, let's just say very young artist with not quite enough experience in his craft.

So I waited a couple weeks, and re-posted my ad. In the meantime, I had started writing a script for Tom, and one for Glenn. Not to mention getting back to the God's Acre project which had fallen behind. And wouldn't you know it, right in the middle of all this work, I ended up getting a flood of responses to my second artist search. And out of the flurry of e-mails, online portfolios, e-mailed samples, and correspondences, I ended up finding three artists eager to work with me on the webcomic.

Only problem being I didn't have scripts for any of them.

So now I'm trying to finish three different scripts, help out where I can with the next Panel book, and do my own little book for SPACE.

Feast or famine, man.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/14/2005 09:40:00 AM :

      

Um, yeah

I know I'm several days behind on the Daily Musings. Hopefully I'll have a chance to get caught up tonight...


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Sunday, March 13, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/13/2005 11:19:00 AM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 132

Anatomy of a story idea: when I decided to do my slice-of-life webcomic project, I started by jotting down any and all ideas I had for short stories. A lot of them were based upon, or inspired by, my own experiences. So, for instance, it was fairly easy to write the "Skin Deep" story that Tom is providing the art for. But many more were just vague outlines, scenes I thought could be developed into interesting conversations or stories.

Half of them are easily crap.

But hey, you gotta' start somewhere. And brainstorming isn't meant to generate finished end products, but rather a pool of potential candidates.

The next step I took was asking my artist friends, with whom I wanted to collaborate, what they would like to draw. A particular type of person? A specific setting? A general mood. Their answers, combined with what I know of their unique art style, suggested further story ideas. Again, some came much easier than others. Andy, for example, is still waiting on me to write a good, interesting story about a goth girl.

But the point I'm trying to make is every little bit helps. Whether it's brainstorming a long list of half-assed ideas, asking for suggestions, keeping a notebook handy while watching the news, or e-mailing yourself a link to an article you were reading at work that contained the germ of a story idea, every little bit helps. I used to agonize over coming up with just the right idea and developing it into a story before I did anything else. So I'd go long stretches of time without producing any work, because that one perfect idea hadn't come to me yet. But I see now that it's better to play the numbers game. You know, kinda like Marvel comics philosophy of "throw shit at the wall and see what sticks".

Except in my case, I'm not throwing all my half-baked ideas out into the public space. I'm jotting them all down in my notebooks, and then combing through them later to discover the one or two good ones that bear developing. I find that this system keeps me in the writing groove more so than the old method of writing in short, concentrated bursts.


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Saturday, March 12, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/12/2005 08:02:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 131

File this under "stupidest gimmicks ever":

One of our local hard rock radio stations, 99.7 The Blitz, offers a service via their website called E-Quest Alert. Basically, they'll notify you via e-mail or text message when your request is being played. You know, just in case you missed your favorite Slipknot song the first 20 times they played it. And besides, if you're so tech savvy that you have around-the-clock access to e-mail and text messages, shouldn't you just have all your favorite songs at your fingertips on your MP3 player anyway?

Then again, what do you expect from a station that caters to the drunk frat boy in all of us with their hummergirls.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/12/2005 09:09:00 AM :

      

Five questions with James Kochalka

Alan David Doane sits down with James Kochalka for Five Questions. It's over on Newsarama, and they mostly talk about James' new book, Super-F*ckers.



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  Posted by Dara on 3/12/2005 09:01:00 AM :

      

The hypocrisy of Hollywood

Not that it's anything new, of course. But I found this amusing/relevant. Chuck Lorre is the creator of Dharma & Greg and co-creator of Two and a Half Men (the latter being possibly one of the all-time worst pieces of crap to ever grace television, but we won't go there). Anyway, he puts "vanity cards" with personal messages on them at the tail end of the episodes, but they're only on for a second or so. Here's a recent one, wherein he slams the network censors over a scene of partial nudity. As you're reading this, keep in mind that Two and a Half Men runs on CBS, the same network that has 3 different CSI shows.
"There was a scene in this episode which was drastically cut down in order to appease the censors. Their problem with it was the length of time we spent on the nude back of an attractive young woman. My problem is knowing that I work in an industry, or perhaps I should say a culture, that is more comfortable showing a dead naked body than a live one. A glimpse at any of the prime-time police procedural shows reveals that the powers that be, both in Hollywood and Washington, are perfectly at ease with graphically detailed autopsy scenes that show female corpses being carved up in order to reveal the titillating (pun intended) cause of death, or, if it's during sweeps, examined for traces of semen. Now I don't for one second believe that this little vanity card vent of mine will accomplish anything. I even strongly doubt that, despite living in a country that espouses "free speech", it will even be broadcast. I just needed to get it off my very alive, and very sexual chest. (p.s. If I get away with this card, I'll write one about how television networks love erection-producing drugs and yet fear erections.)"
(via boingboing)


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Friday, March 11, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/11/2005 10:42:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 130

"Don't be a Christian pirate."

No, it's not some anti-religious issue of Street Angel. It's the title of Pam Stone's latest column over at my new favorite TV evangelist's site, PerryStone.org. You know, the guy I talked about here. Basically, she's saying don't copy their CDs and DVDs and give them to your friends for free, because that's like stealing from church.

Anywho, the reason I dropped by the site is because as I was channel surfing, Perry's Mana-Fest TV show caught my eye with a book offer that seemed too good to pass up. Amongst other things, "Unusual Prophecies Being Fulfilled" tells you how our weather is affected by heavenly battles! I kid you not. Unfortunately, there's not much info on the book itself on his site, so I'm a bit disappointed.

You know, if you're caught reading a comic book where Dr. Strange battle Dormamu on the astral plane and the resultant psychic energy causes storms in Manhattan, people will laugh at you. But apparently in the real world, angels of god battling satan's demons cause tsunamis and hurricanes.

Another argument for separating spirituality from religion/evangelism.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/11/2005 02:15:00 PM :

      

MetalDude: Recycled Metal Sculptures

Cool metal sculptures made from material found at junkyards. He does an extensive set of sci-fi characters, from the Terminator to Aliens. I bought a funky surfer guy for Wendy, and she loves it. Check out the stuff at MetalDude.

Also, items on ebay here.



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  Posted by Dara on 3/11/2005 11:45:00 AM :

      

I'm really, really sorry for posting this

I truly am. But if I had to inadvertantly suffer through it, so do you. You've been warned.

BumperNuts.

It's all the rage, kids. And as they so proudly proclaim, they're made in the good ol' U.S. of A.

(just as you'd expect)


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  Posted by Dara on 3/11/2005 11:36:00 AM :

      

Actual (bad) movie pitches

My coworker turned me on to this site: Query Letters I Love. It's a blog run by (supposedly) two Hollywood script reviewers. From the site: "Actual, honest to god query letters I've received in Hollywood." One of my favorites:
"Logline: The Real Spring Break meets Ghost

Genre: Supernatural/Thriller

Synopsis: Tells the tale of a group of college students who travel to Daytona Beach for Spring Break vacation. While in Florida they have the time of their lives, until the day arrives when they decide to visit the very real nearby town of spiritualists. Soon after having their futures ominously foretold to them, an annual rite of spring turns into a dangerous rite of passage. A moment of moral clarity then leads the students to a consciousness-raising conclusion that will leave you spellbound..."
And let's not forget about the "heartwarming, family-comedy about breaking free of socially-imposed barriers" that features a cast of characters such as "a girl who is wheelchair-bound from a traffic accident, a boy with Down's Syndrome, an autistic boy who wears a helmet he won't let anyone take off..." Yeesh.


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Thursday, March 10, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/10/2005 10:47:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 129

Wendy and I saw Sideways at the Drexel last night. We both liked it very much, and being more of a wine connoisseur than I am, she got additional enjoyment out that that aspect of it.

But what I wanted to write about is the weird moment of juxtaposition I experienced watching the trailers before the movie. There were previews for two India-related movies, and they couldn't have been more polar opposites. One was for the for the Bollywood-flavored romantic comedy Bride and Prejudice (from the director of Bend it Like Beckham), while the other was for the Oscar winning documentary Born Into Brothels. The former was replete with all the bright color, cheesy music, and asinine cliches of every "American/British falls in love with a foreigner and wacky family hijinks ensue" romantic comedy pablum you've ever seen (and let's face it, there's been a ton of 'em,) while the latter is a heartbreaking, bittersweet true story of the kids of prostitutes growing up in the poorest brothels of Calcutta.

Wow. Talk about night and day. It just goes to show the amazing range of subjects that can be explored in film. Not to mention the relative budgets of the two films, and what that says about our thirst for entertainment versus our desire for knowledge. But aside from all that, I couldn't help but think about the comic book medium and how it's capable of presenting the same broad range of subjects. The biggest advantage that we have, though, is that in comics, you can make both types of product for about the same amount of money.

The way I see it, that's one of the greatest advantages of comics over film.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/10/2005 10:09:00 PM :

      

BMG = BULLSH*T

So tonight I went to Borders after work and picked up the new "Kasabian" CD because I've been digging that single. After I unwrap the CD, I discover that buried beneath the ubiquitous sales and promo stickers there is a tiny label pasted onto the jewel case that says "This CD is protected against unauthorized duplication. It is designed to play on standard playback devices and an appropriately configured computer (see system requirements on back). If you have questions or concerns visit www.sunncomm.com/support/bmg." On the back it says "This CD is enhanced with MediaMax software...insert disc into CD ROM drive, software will automatically install. Usage of the CD on your compute requires your acceptance of the end-user license agreement and installation of specific software contained on this CD."

Like I said, total and utter bullsh*t.

Now I am not in any way condoning or supporting music piracy. Argue all you want, but it hurts the artists and musicians who create the music. It is stealing.

BUT...if I purchase a CD, I should be able to convert the songs on that CD to MP3 files on my own computer, download those MP3 files to a portable player such as my iPod (which, coincidentally, is NOT compatible with this software, but I am assured that BMG and MediaMax are working VERY HARD with Apple to make this a blessed reality as soon as possible), and finally play these MP3 files on my home PC while I am working. And I should be able to do this all WITHOUT downloading some company's software and opening my playlist up to God knows what kind of surveillance. Because the software that the user must download in order to play this "Kasabian" CD in anything other than a CD player requires acceptance of a licensing agreement, which I am certain must be submitted via the internet to some company who will then record my ISP.

So now I have a CD I can play. I can never put any of the songs on a mix CD of my own making. I can never listen to it on my computer with any kind of privacy. I can never play it on my iPod EVER. And even though copyright law allows legal owners to make one copy of something for private use, I can never do that either unless I let BMG and MediaMax know I am doing it.

I poked around on the internet and apparently BMG has been doing this for awhile now, since the same kind of "protection" is on Velvet Revolver's "Contraband" album, and probably more as well. I'll be watching very closely for any CDs with this kind of garbage on them, and I sure as hell won't be buying any of them.

Like I said, total and utter bullsh*t. The RIAA can kiss my tip.


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  Posted by bigbaldkid on 3/10/2005 09:56:00 PM :

      

i got the smackdown.....
for some reason, the censors at work have blocked my request to come to the blog.
what's up with that!
i dont surf much, an i need my fix.
what is a 10 min. break with a blog update?
grrrr...

well ,i finally finished yup the pen an inks on the second part of my western. 12 pages in 3 months. i should be ashamed.
now i'm halfway done with a 3 pager for western tales of terror, then a 6 page cupid story for the next panel book.
in collaboration with our man tony goins.
hey, anyon seen any pics of the dayton indy show yet?
i havent seen or heard nothing yet.


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Wednesday, March 09, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/09/2005 10:12:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 128

(Sometimes, there are more important things to talk about than comics. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but it's true. So no rambling musings tonight.)

Happy anniversary, Wendy. I love you.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/09/2005 04:43:00 PM :

      

Spamusement

I posted a link to this site a short while back. "Spamusement: Poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines!" Here's a recent entry I found particularly amusing:

"We called you 7 times"


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  Posted by Dara on 3/09/2005 01:17:00 PM :

      

If Sin City doesn't suck...

Also from this week's Onion:
"Bar Bet Becomes Increasingly Complex

DETROIT, MI—Onlookers at Schutt's Tavern report that a bet between two customers grew to almost unworkable complexity Monday. "Okay, let's get clear on this," said bartender Tim Alighire, officiating the wager. "If Sin City doesn't suck, Roger has to join Gary's pool team instead of Keith's, but only if Gary gets Troy to join too, in which case Gary has to pay Roger's dues and Roger has to chip in for half of Troy's dues? And Troy... no, Gary gets to decide if the movie is good?" Watching his two customers shake hands, Alighire said he wished that hockey season hadn't been canceled."


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  Posted by Dara on 3/09/2005 01:02:00 PM :

      

Your political moment of the day

Bush Announces Iraq Exit Strategy: "We'll Go Through Iran"


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/09/2005 11:39:00 AM :

      

Where's the debris?
My wife forwarded this link to a strange little Flash presentation concerning the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11th. Now I'm not in any way vouching for the accuracy of any of this information, nor am I personally about to launch some sort of conspiracy crusade. Mostly I'm just curious as to whether or not any of this is true or if this is just your typical daily internet misinformation. Anyway, an interesting few minutes of my day.


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Tuesday, March 08, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/08/2005 09:29:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 127

The Top Shelf sale (mentioned below) made me think of something...I wish more publishers would do stuff like this. You know, clear out their back stock at really affordable prices. Humanoids did a similar deal a while back, though now that they're in bed with DC Comics I doubt we'll see anything like that again.

And yes, I realize that financially not every company can afford to sell their $25 graphic novels for a mere $3. And that some see these types of sales as "devaluing" their product. But think about it: what good is your product going to do just warming the shelves of your warehouse? Besides, I think the loss in capital from such low sale prices will probably be made up for down the line by some of those bargain shoppers coming back for more of something they discovered during your sale. It's a great way to get your books out there, get your name out there, and hook a whole bunch of new customers.

Well, if your books are any good, that is. So yeah, maybe that's why most other publishers don't have great sales like this.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/08/2005 07:58:00 PM :

      

Project: Awesome
I am a happy man. My lovely wife just stopped by the lab and brought me a copy of AdHouse Books new anthology "Project: Superior," hitting the stands tomorrow. You can learn more about it here and I heartily recommend picking it up. Printed in two-color and full color, chock full of great indy comics goodness and artwork all wrapped up in a sweet Paul Hornschemeier cover. It has exceeded my already high expectations and I've only been flipping through it for 30 minutes.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/08/2005 11:45:00 AM :

      

Massive Top Shelf sale!

Courtesy of The Johnny Bacardi Show, I found out that Top Shelf is having a big sale on a bunch of their comics and graphic novels. We're talking $1 and $3 deals. Minimum order is $30, and supposedly the sale ends March 16th.

Here's the sale list.

Anybody want to go in on some books with me? Also, any recommendations for books I should try out? (Matt, I'm looking at you...)


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  Posted by Dara on 3/08/2005 10:14:00 AM :

      

Funky Winkerbean and adult comics

Not one of the newspaper strips that I read regularly, but this past Sunday's strip caught my eye. Looks like Tom Batiuk is doing a comic-book-store-owner-arrested-for-selling-adult-comics storyline, reflecting the current headlines. Interesting to see where it goes. The first episode is here.




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  Posted by Dara on 3/08/2005 09:42:00 AM :

      

Travis Charest

Notes on the creative process, from his MSN groups page:
"Reference: By all means, if you need it, use it. I'm currently working on a science fiction project where reference is not available except for planets, people and animals. But if I were doing a noirish story based in New York, I would get as much reference as I could. Don't use it as a crutch, but don't discount it's ability to give your drawing an impact and realism that's very difficult to achieve without reference.

Sketching and practice: I've found that unless I draw almost every day I get very rusty and it takes a long time to limber up again. Even if it is just meaningless scratching on a page, you can discover new techniques and effects from just moving the pencil around."
This site also contains convention sketches, the weekly Spacegirl one-panel comic, and other goodies. Travis is one of those guys who started out as a really bad Jim Lee clone, and then blossomed into an amazing artist. Too bad he works at a glacial pace, though. Weren't we supposed to see his Metabarons graphic novel, like, three years ago?


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  Posted by Tony on 3/08/2005 09:32:00 AM :

      

The smartest thing I've ever read about politics

It's "52 True Things About The Future of American Culture." It appears in the February issue of Esquire, the one with Scarlett Johannson on the cover. I don't have time to type in the whole thing, but here are a few key bullet points:

22. America is being divided by its extremes. Conservatives are moving toward religious nationalism. The culture is moving toward a kind of pornography. Liberals have been kidding themselves, thinking the culture is on their side. The truth is, they don't have a side.

23. The kind of pornography that the culture is moving toward is not necessary sexual. It's omnivorous. It's a culture in which human beings are defined by their sheer utilty -- sexual, economic or otherwise.

24. The humanism that is the beating heart of liberalism -- the humanism that exalts the power of the individual human conscience - is threatened not just by the rise of religious nationalism. It is equally threatened by the pornographication of the culture.

29. The liberal position: We might not like pornography, but ...

30. a) We defend with our lives the pornographer's right to make it; b) if you don't like it, don't watch it; c) the solution to the problem is far more dangerous than the problem itself.

31. The conservative position: All liberals are pornographers.


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Monday, March 07, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/07/2005 11:21:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 126

Wow, yesterday's musing led to the most active comments thread we've ever had on this blog! Which is awesome, I love reading the discussions. However, I think I'm going to take a U-turn and jump back to the silly topic of comic books. Sometime soon I'll serialize my script for another "chapter" of the webcomic I'm working on, similar to how I did with Tom's script. For now, here are the character descriptions.

(oh, and no working title for this story yet...)

CHARACTERS:

Jeff - white, average looking comic book artist in his late 30s. He's a bit portly, balding, and wears glasses. Jeff's a family man, dressed casually (jeans, t-shirt), working at his home studio. A reliable, solid artist without the "rock star" attitude..

Kano - late 20s, attractive, hipster artist of Japanese decent. He's the exact opposite of Jeff in looks and attitude. Fashionable, trendy clothes, spiked hairdo, pierced ears, cool shades, etc. He's currently enjoying a thriving fine arts career, and the fame has gone to his head.

Caleb - Jeff''s 7 year old son. An energetic, smiling, excited young boy. He carries his favorite Generic Superhero (see below) large action figure with him everywhere.

"Generic Superhero" - the unnamed main character from the comic book series that Jeff draws. We'll only see him on the first page of the story, so no need for an extensive design. Give him a look and simple costume that evokes the Superman archetype: square-jawed, muscular, heroic. Cape, maybe a mask.

"Generic Monster/Robot" - the unnamed villain that we see the superhero fighting. I''ll leave the design up to you, draw something you'll have fun with. It could be a giant robot, or a radioactive monster, whatever.

SETTING:

Jeff's "studio", which is just an extra room in his modest house that he has converted into his art studio. The main features are a drafting table with all his pens, pencils, inks, etc. and a bookshelf of old sketchbooks and reference books. Other than that, feel free to add whatever you think makes sense and have room for in the panels. Maybe a radio.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/07/2005 03:30:00 PM :

      

Power to the people

What do you get when you cross Spider-Man, children's bedding and Communism?

Click here to find out.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/07/2005 03:12:00 PM :

      

If it's late, will it still get your bucks?
This is something which has been on my mind for quite some time. Comics are periodicals. They are timely. Comic buyers generally expect their books to come out regularly, whether that schedule is monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly. Nowadays, that's more the exception than the rule though. I have two heavily hyped examples from Marvel.

ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE
Issue #1 shipped 08/04/04
Issue #2 shipped 09/15/04
Issue #3 shipped 10/13/04
Issue #4 shipped 12/29/04
Issue #5 shipped 02/23/05

IRON MAN by WARREN ELLIS and ADI GRANOV
Issue #1 shipped 11/10/04
Issue #2 shipped 12/29/05
...as of 03/07/05, issue #3 has yet to ship. "Lying in the Gutters" has reported that issue #3 will ship 03/30/05 and issue #4 will ship at THE END OF JULY.

Keep in mind that both of these books are promoted as monthly comics in all their ad copy. Now, ignoring the fact that Warren Ellis is associated with both of these books and is also the writer of a fine comic called "Planetary" that took a 2 1/2 year break between issues with no explanation from its publisher, it seems that there is a real issue in publishing these MONTHLY books on a MONTHLY basis. My question to you all is this--If a book is late what do you do about it? Buy it anyway regardless of the delay, whenever it hits the stand? Lose interest and stop picking it up? Refuse to buy it to send a message to the publisher? At what point does a delay in publication become something that irks you or factors into you dropping a book? Is the excuse of "Well, it's a good story so I would rather have it be late than be rushed and be crappy" something you find yourself saying often? Or how about the alternate, "Well, it's a good story so even if it's late it will still be the same good story and I want to read it." So, what do you think?


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Sunday, March 06, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/06/2005 08:02:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 125

My busy weekend cavalcade of fun continued today with helping my brother move from Columbus down to Batavia (East of Cincinnati). Not a bad drive, only about and hour and forty five minutes, straight highway. And luckily, the boring Ohio highway drive was broken up by a bit of roadside religious zealotry that made me wonder how screwed up some people's priorities are.

As you're driving down interstate 71 South, you'll notice a couple of huge roadside billboards, back to back, with gigantic white on black font (with a red letter thrown in for emphasis). The first one reads:
"IF YOU DIED TODAY, DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU'D SPEND ETERNITY?"
At this point, you're probably a bit confused. Is this some kind of stealth advertising scheme for some eclectic product line? Or is it some sort of religious message? Well, to dispel any doubts that the latter is the correct answer to your query, the second billboard loudly proclaims:
"HELL IS REAL."
Oh, and just to be sure, when you're driving back up 71 North, the backs of these very same billboards carry the text of the ten commandments.

Now, my general dislike of organized religion aside, I have to ask: what the hell? (pardon the pun) I mean, seriously. What's the point of this fire-and-brimstone approach to religion? Burning in hell. "Thou shall not...", "Thou shall not...", "Thou shall not...". You know, I'd be ok if these things actually had some sort of positive message to impart. Like, oh I don't know, "Love thy neighbor". Or maybe "Open your heart to the needy". But no. Instead, somebody (or a whole group of somebodys) spent a lot of time, energy, and money to put up signs that warn people they are going to hell if they don't change their evil ways. HELL, I say. Not to mention all the stuff they shouldn't do.

Maybe I'm just being biased, or cynical, but I can't help but think that if the same money that was spent on these billboards was instead spent on social services or welfare types of programs, a whole lot more people would actually benefit from it. Instead, this stuff is wasted on non-believers such as myself, and dismissed by enlightened religious folk who probably see it as just misguided. The only people driving down 71 South who would see those billboards and say "hallelujah" are overzealous fanatics of the same ilk as those who put up the billboards in the first place. And pardon the whole religious analogy, but at that point, brother, you're just preaching to the choir.

What a waste.


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Saturday, March 05, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/05/2005 07:50:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 124

(had a busy weekend, so this is being post-dated on Sunday)

Ok, I'd like to know who's the sadist who invented wallpaper. Not only is the very concept of it a bad decorative idea (in my humble opinion, of course) but I have yet to see any color or pattern of wallpaper that actually looks good. And removing it...what a pain.

I spent part of Saturday helping Wendy remove the wallpaper in the new place she's moving in to. No matter how you approach it, it's a long, arduous, messy process. And this particular wallpaper...oh man. First of all, it's white. Second, it's got a fabric texture to it. Third, the patterns are raised. So not only does it get dirty easily (it's white), but it also retains cigarette smoke (fabric, previous tenants were big smokers), and it looks hideous (some sort of weird grandma paisly artichoke thingamajig pattern).

And removing it involved a two step process, which we discovered after hours of trial-and-error. First, you have to rip off the "fabric" top layer. And do this while dry (i.e. do not spray the wallpaper stripper solvent on it). Of course, due to the raised pattern, it never rips off cleanly. Then after that layer is off, you have to spray the actual paper portion that's glued to the wall, wait for it to soak, and then peal that off.

Yeah, I'd really like to have a word with the bastard who invented wallpaper.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/05/2005 09:58:00 AM :

      

Even Marvel concedes the Elektra movie sucked, comics a side business

From the same post over at The Beat where they broke the news of Marvel comics going into 7-11 stores, Marvel's Avi Arad had this to say about the Elektra movie:
"We had a faux pas with Elektra. We had a short window -- we had an actress who had 2 1/2 month window, and the movie didn't work, and it was a shame. We learned from one mistake. We will never do it again. We will never serve a wine before it's ready." He said he was wearing a bracelet to remind of never to make another Elektra. " I'm not going to rest until you all forget Elektra.""
Also of great amusement to me was this quote from Marvel's Peter Cuneo, referencing the 7-11 deal:
"'More and more the heart of Marvel is comic books,' said Cuneo."
More and more. Cause, you know, pretty much for the last few years the heart of Marvel has been licensing characters out to movies, sleeping bags, bowling balls, hair trimmers, and underoos. Ha!


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Friday, March 04, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/04/2005 10:05:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 123

One of the monthly superhero books that I'm reading these days is the new Manhunter series from DC. In this incarnation of the character, the lead is Kate Spencer, a District Attorney in Los Angeles who masquerades as a "superhero" off hours. It's actually been a fun read so far, with some nice bits showing a "rookie" hero getting the hang of the biz. And the fact that she's not entirely a likeable character adds an edge to the book that keeps me interested.

Except for the latest storyline, the trial of the Shadow Thief. Basically, a supervillain is on trial for the murder of Firestorm. And as much as the idea of seeing how the "real world" legal system deals with superhumans may sound interesting on paper, it's really not in execution.

Obviously, if you're reading superhero comics, suspension of disbelief is a prerequisite to your enjoyment of the genre. But as much as it may be easy to accept a person can fly or breathe under water, it's quite another matter to accept the fact that the American justice system works the same way in a universe where every other person can shoot laser beams out his ass (or whatever). For instance, issue #7 is almost entirely set in a courtroom, where Hawkman testifies for the prosecution, and Superman is cross-examined by the public defender.

And it just doesn't work.

At least not for me. It's comes off as incredibly unrealistic and implausible. Yeah, yeah, I do realize how ridiculous that sounds, given that I'm talking about a comic book. But as a reader, I'm willing to believe someone will put on a silly costume and run around a city, protecting the innocent. But I'm not able to believe that after the bad guy is defeated, he gets his day in court where due process is served. Complete with all the archaic idiosyncrasies of our legal system.

That's just ludicrous.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/04/2005 02:26:00 PM :

      

Beaucoupkevin with the goods, yo

Word to your mother.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/04/2005 11:52:00 AM :

      

Word of mouth better than advertising

Short BBC article that talks about a World Book Day survey that indicates good word of mouth is more influential in helping increase book sales than advertising. Well, duh.
"Other factors which are said to influence readers' book choices are the synopsis on the back cover, the jacket design - but much fewer people are swayed by advertising campaigns.

Other novels since 1997 which have become best-sellers on the strength of personal recommendations are Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Memoirs Of A Geisha and Mark Haddon's award-winning The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time."


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  Posted by Dara on 3/04/2005 11:49:00 AM :

      

Bone computer game

I meant to post this a while back, but forgot. Looks like computer game developer Telltale Games is developing a game based on Jeff Smith's comic.
"Telltale Games brings you all the humor, charm and mystery of Jeff Smith's acclaimed comic book series Bone. Fans of the comic and adventure gamers alike will find a new home in the valley, as they explore familiar locations and interact with its residents in this character driven adventure."


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Thursday, March 03, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/03/2005 10:38:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 122

Sorry, it's going to have to be another short one today. My only thought for tonight is this: if you're considering remodeling your kitchen...don't. Seriously. Especially if it involves getting new countertops. I swear, there's got to be an easier way to do this whole process. I mean, shit, we can send a man to walk on the moon, and doctors can do surgery via remote control robots, but we can't come up with a painless process to replace some boards? Without having to spend all your life's savings, that is.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/03/2005 08:06:00 PM :

      

March contest

It's a new month, which means a new giveaway comic contest. As always, you can check out the rules by clicking on the link in the red box towards the top left of this page. This month, we're giving away 5 single issues: Kinetic #1-3, The Question #1, and Arrowsmith #1. The deadline for entry is March 31st. Good luck!



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  Posted by Dara on 3/03/2005 07:58:00 PM :

      

February winner

The winner for the February Ferret Press Blog Free Comics Giveaway is Kyle Wallace! He gets the copy of Viva La Monkeysuit anthology. To win, entrants had to write in 50 words or less about their first experience with anthology comics, and damn if Kyle didn't play the flattery card! See for yourself:
"My first experience was yesterday at Bookery Fantasy (when the Indy Comic Show was going on) and I picked up one of the 'Panel' anthologys. I absolutely loved it. I'm tired of the same ol' comic formula. This is a new breath of fresh air and I enjoyed it."
I know, it was a cheap ploy, but it worked. (Actually, I hope Kyle did enjoy our Panel anthologies. Thanks for the purchase, man.)

Below are the two runners-up. They came >this< close to winning, but alas, as the rules clearly state, "Our decisions are occasionally arbitrary, sometimes illogical, but most importantly, final."
"My first real experience with an anthology comic would be the Mystery Men Anthology, and I think it was released in '99. That anthology drove me to try and find Bob Burden, (which I failed to do) and write comics with his particular grasp of the absurd and surreal. --Chris Brown"

"I bought an Elvira's House of Mystery anthology when I was all of ten. A kid drank beer after water skiing, dehydrated (naturally) and exacted revenge on his peers, who had of course pressured him to imbibe the barley pop poison. I don't remember the OK stories, only the bad one. --Nathan Atkinson"
The runners-ups don't win anything, but they get to see their name in print in the finest electrons on this here blog. Whoop dee do.

Thanks for everyone who entered, be sure to check out this month's contest.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/03/2005 05:50:00 PM :

      

BonGout!
So check this out. Lately I've been getting really excited about the possibilities of silkscreening my books. With comics I've always been more excited about the visual aspect than the narrative, story driven aspect. I guess that's kind of obvious for those who know me or have seen my stuff . Anyway, this joint based in Germany and called BonGout (French for "good taste") produces some of the most phenomenal little silkscreened art books I've ever seen. Hand made, done in small limited print runs, and surprisingly affordable for the quality they really must be seen. Check the site out and you'll be able to see loads of pages from most of their projects. I've picked up quite a few of their publications in just the last 2 months and marvel every time I look at one. Good stuff Maynard.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/03/2005 02:03:00 PM :

      

A whole new world

Fictional stories don’t have to reflect reality -- that would be boring. But if you’re stepping out of reality, it’s important to be consistent.

Case in point: “Another Part of the House,” a play I saw last week. It’s about an upper-class Cuban family in 1895. After the patriarch dies, the matriarch locks herself, their slave and the crazy grandmother in the house for eight years of mourning.

The play compresses and distills the action -- two sisters carry on a love affair, a third is in love with the world, a fourth slowly becomes their mother, and the fifth deludes herself into thinking marriage is the solution to all their problems. The grandmother has relations with a stuffed toy sheep.

All of these events build on each other until, at the end, it seems perfectly logical that (SPOILER ALERT) one of the daughters and the grandmother both hang themselves with long pieces of lace. It’s outlandish, but it’s so singular that it works.

And here’s a counter-example: The “Punisher” movie from last year. The first half of the movie sets up a guy with a revenge issue, gunning for a fairly real-world crook played by John Travolta. It’s outlandish, but not too far into comic book territory.

Midway through, however, the villains turn cartoonish. There’s a giant Russian in a red-and-white striped shirt, and a troubadour assassin who plays the Punisher a tune before pulling a gun. It’s like they wandered in from a different movie, and the whole flick grinds to a halt.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/03/2005 09:30:00 AM :

      

Funny stuff

Spider-man's Greatest Bible Stories. Funny, clever, blaspemous!

'Nuff said.


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Wednesday, March 02, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/02/2005 11:17:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 121

So the big news on the web is the announcement by Marvel that they will have their comics in close to 6000 7-11 stores. According to Avi Arad, "We wanted to go back to the times when kids could ride a bike or walk to a 7-11 and get a comic. We've developed a product for this market." I think this is fantastic news. Provided that they actually have developed a separate line of books for those outlet.

Because, let's face it, if they put the regular Marvel books, with Gwen Stacey doing it with the Green Goblin over in Spider-man, or Wolverine going on his killing frenzy, or any number of other books that really aren't suitable for "kids", it'll be all of a month before religious organization boycotts, lawsuits by parents, and tabloid journalism run them clear out of those same 7-11s. And that's something that neither Marvel nor the comics industry can afford.

But from the sounds of it, they have a plan. I'm assuming it'll probably involve their all-ages friendly line of "Marvel Adventures" books, which is cool. I'm sure they're looking at the 7-11 deal as the free bit of crack to get the kids hooked on, so they'll seek out comic book stores for more. Could very well work, provided the quality of the books is high. Only time will tell.

Now if only DC would do a similar initiative with their line of kid-friendly Johnny DC and Cartoon Network comics.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/02/2005 03:02:00 PM :

      

Thurber House presents Jennifer Haigh

The Thurber House will host an evening with Jennifer Haigh, the Pen/Hemingway Award-winning author of “Mrs. Kimble” and “Baker Towers,” on March 15.

Mrs. Kimble, her celebrated debut novel, tells the story of three women who marry the same man. Haigh's second novel, Baker Towers, is the emotional story of one family's triumphs and challenges in a western Pennsylvania coal town in the 1940s. Haigh, who grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, lives in Boston.

The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Columbus School for Girls, 56 S. Columbia Ave. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door (although it’s free for volunteers).

To order tickets online, click http://www.thurberhouse.org/events/tickets.html


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  Posted by Dara on 3/02/2005 11:25:00 AM :

      

RIP Jef Raskin

"Pacifica, CA February 27, 2005--Jef Raskin, a mathematician, orchestral soloist and composer, professor, bicycle racer, model airplane designer, and pioneer in the field of human-computer interactions, died peacefully at home in California on February 26th, 2005 surrounded by his family and loved ones. He had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Jef created the Macintosh computer as employee number 31 at Apple in the early 1980s, revolutionizing computer interface design. Jef invented "click and drag" and many other methods now taken for granted by computer users. He named the Macintosh project after his favorite variety of apple, the McIntosh, modifying the spelling for copyright purposes."
I'm not a Machead, but I must admit that it was (and is) a fantastic personal computer that really revolutionized the human/machine interface. Too bad its legacy has been marginalized by the dominance of the PC platform.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/02/2005 11:13:00 AM :

      

Your political moment of the day

Courtesy of my favorite columnist, Steven Grant:
"Is Iran trying to develop nuclear weapons? Was Syria behind Hariri's death and the Tel Aviv bombing, and is the country trying to develop nuclear weapons? Damned if I know. What I do know is this guilt-by-insinuation stuff is no way to conduct international relations. It's an excuse for anything. Evidence has got to be the minimum standard if we're talking about sending Americans into foreign nations to possibly die. We're already seeping on two fronts - Iraq, where our ultimate legacy remains to be determined, and Afghanistan, the war we still haven't won but never talk about, where our legacy is mainly resurrected tribal warfare and the renewed prosperity of the heroin trade - and stretched thin as it is. We can't afford many more fronts, particularly among populations likely to be hostile after "liberation." And when Condi announces that Syria is "out of step with where the region is going," when increasingly it looks like the administration is trying to fulfill the scheme developed by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al in 1998 to depose Saddam Hussein and use Iraq as a military staging ground to effect regime change throughout the Middle East, despite their insistence to the contrary when the accusations came up as the sabers rattled over Iraq."


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Tuesday, March 01, 2005
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/01/2005 09:57:00 PM :

      

Daily Musings: Day 120

(post dated on Wednesday because I was too tired and grumpy to type it up on Tuesday)

The drive home tonight was a pain in the ass, because somehow the city of Columbus (and even the rich suburbs like Upper Arlington) were caught with their pants down in regards to the ice storm we had during the day. Now, I realize that weather forecasting is not an exact science, and I'm not one of those guys who bitches all the time if the salt trucks aren't out by the first snowflake. I realize it's a tough job. No, I only mention this so you'd get the idea that the roads were a bit icy.

And by "a bit icy" I mean "sheet of glass so smooth it almost made the NHL reverse it's hockey lockout, just so they could play exhibition games on the streets of Columbus."

And here's the thrust of my rant (you knew it was coming, right?): when the roads have more ice on them than a lake in Manitoba in February, put your f***ing cellphone away while driving! I mean, seriously, is that such a sacrifice to make? Unless you're a hostage negotiator trying to talk a madman out of killing innocent women and children, or the plant manager at the nuclear power plant giving the engineers on duty the safety shutoff codes, there is no f***ing reason you should be on your cellphone while cars are sliding into ditches and crashing into other cars all around you.

And that goes doubly for your SUV drivers. Because your four wheel drive isn't going to keep you from sliding on the ice and knocking the poor schmuck in the Honda off the road like some giant metal curling stone.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/01/2005 04:08:00 PM :

      

Remember Mark "Doc" Bright?

The comic book artist? Lengthy runs on such titles as Green Lantern and Iron Man? Well, looks like he's doing a syndicated comic strip these days called ...Level Path. Here's the description:
"...level path" follows the lives of five friends who each have varying degrees of a 'need to serve a cause' - some via their careers, some by what they do with their free time.

At the center of the group is Matt Johnston, a young man recently out on his own who finds over time that growing up is more than just a matter of aging. Matt's discovery of religion is the source of his personal growth, and unlike so many of us, Matt sees beyond immediate personal gain and is concerned with the long-term consequences of his actions."
The art is pretty solid, though I'm not sure I like the way he's doing the "dots for eyes" thing with his characters. The writing, on the other hand, is...well, pretty standard slice of life stuff. But not enough to get me hooked. And that lettering is really ugly.

But hey, I'm glad for the guy. After the market crash, guys like him with decades of experience in the field suddenly found themselves out in the cold, unable to land any new gigs. I hope the strip works out for him.

(via Howling Curmudgeons)


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  Posted by Tony on 3/01/2005 04:08:00 PM :

      

More fun with editors

In my job I have to deal with a variety of different editors. It’s a pain in the ass.

I have one editor who prefers “Defense Department,” and another who switches it back to “Department of Defense.” A third editor likes to put the company’s location in the lead, although the folks at the corporate office hate that. And then there’s the date thing.

About a year ago, the editor-in-chief called me on the intercom.

“You got a pen?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

“Got a piece of paper?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said, my voice quivering.

“Write this down,” He said.

I repeated each phrase after him, feeling more and more sheepish as it went on. “I will not ... start a sentence ... with a date ... ever again.”

All I could do was groan when I turned in (to a sixth editor) “ The Lazarus brand will end its 153-year run in Columbus on March 6” and got it back “On March 6, the Lazarus brand will end its 153-year run in Columbus.”


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  Posted by Dara on 3/01/2005 09:20:00 AM :

      

Darwyn Cooke interview

There's a great Darwyn Cooke interview at Silver Bullet Comics. He discusses his animation background, dislike of "deconstructing" superheroes, and upcoming projects. Oh, and of course DC: The New Frontier.
"The comic book industry in America is a cottage industry aimed at a very exclusive audience. That's why they don't sell. For 20 years, Hollywood has been making millions off comic properties and the zombies chant about how it will translate in sales... and it never does. Because the comics are cryptic, inaccessible, overpriced and aimed at anything other than a mass market.

Listen to any athlete today crying about his sore arm or the way the press treats him and then listen to the radio tapes from the Apollo 13 Astronauts as they try to find a way home before they run out of air or freeze to death. So Hal and the whole space program became a symbol of something that has vanished from our society. The man with the daring and the balls to put it on the line for the sake of it. For the thrill of it. Risk your life to feel an extra 100 mph of speed. Gamble everything to fly that much faster or go that much further. And these men... Jesus, they were like ice."
(via beaucoupkevin)


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