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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Saturday, April 30, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/30/2005 10:49:00 AM :


They Fight Crime!

Funny random plot generator for buddy action movies (or comic books.) Perfect for Hollywood and lame-o indie comics.

"He's an ungodly pirate househusband with a robot buddy named Sparky. She's a plucky antique-collecting hooker with someone else's memories. They fight crime!"

"He's a witless pirate cat burglar fleeing from a secret government programme. She's an orphaned insomniac single mother with an incredible destiny. They fight crime!"

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Friday, April 29, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/29/2005 11:17:00 PM :


News roundup

One's real, one's fake. U decide!

Guess What - It's Tom DeLay's Frisbee Now!

School Mistakes Huge Burrito for a Weapon

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  Posted by Dara on 4/29/2005 11:26:00 AM :


Dear Diary: I just saw Rummy with a couple guys in tights...

File under "pictures I never thought I'd see". Full story here.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/29/2005 09:39:00 AM :


Why, dear god, why ?!?

Rob Liefeld is doing a 2-issue stint on Teen Titans. For the love of god, why is this talentless hack slacker plagiarist guy still offered work?

Ok, ok, I know why. It's because the controversy surrounding his name will, in and of itself, guarantee tons of free press and massive sales. And yes, I realize the irony of this post vis a vis that statement. But it just burns me up every time I see this so-called "creator," who - setting aside his deficiency in the anatomy and art departments - has proven time and time again that he's unable to finish projects or even keep to a schedule, get paying work. Especially when there are tons of talented, energetic, hungry young artists just waiting for an opportunity to prove themselves.

From the man himself:
"I drew Cyborg too small then I drew him too big, now I think I have a feel for him. Ditto for Robin. I'm still finding my way with Wonder Girl and the others. I've already heard from fans I need to tone down her chest and I will, no problem. I'll probably just get used to them when the arc is over."
Gee, you think? Friggin' asshat.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/29/2005 09:34:00 AM :


Here's something fun to ponder...

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Such a cdonition is arppoiately cllaed Typoglycemia :)-

Amzanig huh? Yaeh and yuo awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt

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Thursday, April 28, 2005
  Posted by Tony on 4/28/2005 04:54:00 PM :


Coming soon ...

Our friend Peter John Ross, organizer of the “Look At My Shorts” indie film festivals, may be coming soon to a theater near you.

Screenvision, a New York-based cinema advertising company, plans to air some of Ross’ short films as part of the pre-show entertainment for major Hollywood movies in around 5,000 theaters around the country. Screenvision partners with chains such as Loews Cineplex and Cinemark.

The first short film, “License Exam,” shows some surreal moments at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It stars George Caleodis, weekend disc jockey at CD101, and local actors Harley Kaplan, Holly Magnani and Jon Osbeck.

Screenvision found Ross’ films through Undergroundfilm.com, according to a press release from Ross.

“This is the real reason you make movies,” Ross said in a press release. “I’m a big fan of the Internet, but nothing compares to sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers and watch a story unfold in flickering images.”

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  Posted by Dara on 4/28/2005 01:09:00 PM :


Serenity movie trailer

Joss Whedon's short-lived Firefly TV show is now a movie, called Serenity. You can catch the trailer for it here.

I watched a couple episodes when the show first started, but it didn't do much for me. Then after it was cancelled, I saw a few more episodes on the DVD release, in the original order that Whedon intended them to be aired, and I was impressed. The movie looks pretty cool, and it seems to have kept the entire cast of the original TV show.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/28/2005 11:38:00 AM :


Superman dissed

So today is "Bring your son or daughter to work day," and one of my coworkers brought her 11 year old son to visit. I found out that he enjoys drawing, and likes comic books. Well, I always keep a stack of "mainstream" and kid-friendly comics at my desk, for just such an occasion. So I gave him a copy of a Superman comic (the "10 cent adventure" book from last year) to read if he got bored.

He flipped through a couple pages, and then handed it back to me. "I don't like Superman," he said.


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Wednesday, April 27, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/27/2005 01:20:00 PM :


Attention zine creators!

Tokion magazine is sponsoring a contest called King of Zines. All zines must be produced using a standard photocopy machine, deadline is July 1, 2005. Prizes:

1st place: 1 year of health insurance, plus your zine published through Tokion.
2nd place: $500

(via boingboing)

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  Posted by Tony on 4/27/2005 12:21:00 PM :


A match made in Heaven

Click here to see it. (work safe)

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/26/2005 04:20:00 PM :


Comics Code Authority...wow!

You know, I had heard some general information regarding the rules of the Comics Code Authority, but I had never actually read the full text of it. Until now. And all I can say is...wow. I can't believe that for decades, Marvel and DC actually published comics under these strict rules. For that matter, I'm willing to bet if you went back and read some of the supposedly CCA "approved" books, they really wouldn't stand up to a strict application of said rules. Some choice ones:
"General Standards Part A:

6) In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
8) No unique or unusual methods of concealing weapons shall be shown.
11) The letters of the word "crime" on a comics magazine shall never be appreciably greater than the other words contained in the title. The word "crime" shall never appear alone on a cover.

General Standards Part B:

5) Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.

General Standards Part C:

Ridicule or attack on any religious or racial group is never permissible.

4) Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.

Marriage and Sex:
2) Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at nor portrayed. Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.
4) The treatment of love-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage."
So, in other words, the Bush/Chaney/Rove doctrine of how America should be.

You can read the full text of the Comics Code here.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/26/2005 10:44:00 AM :


Hollywood, you magnificent bastard!

Fascinating article on Slate about how major Hollywood studios use tax loopholes in Germany and the UK to finance their big-budget movies.
"As paradoxical and absurd as it sounds, it's cheaper for a Hollywood studio to make a big-budget action movie than to make a shoestring art film like Sideways."
So how does it work?
"Germany allows investors in German-owned film ventures to take an immediate tax deduction on their film investments, even if the film they're investing in has not yet gone into production...The Hollywood studio starts by arranging on paper to sell the film's copyright to a German company. Then, they immediately lease the movie back—with an option to repurchase it later. At this point, a German company appears to own the movie. The Germans then sign a "production service agreement" and a "distribution service agreement" with the studio that limits their responsibility to token—and temporary—ownership.

For the privilege of fake ownership, the Germans pay the studio about 10 percent more than they'll eventually get back in lease and option payments. For the studio, that extra 10 percent is instant profit.
And then there's the whole "Section 48 tax relief in Britain" that comes into play. The article uses the example of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider to illustrate this scheme.
"On paper, Tomb Raider's budget was $94 million. In fact, the entire movie cost Paramount less than $7 million."
Yep, the other $87 million came from the German and UK tax loopholes and schemes.

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Monday, April 25, 2005
  Posted by Tom on 4/25/2005 07:29:00 PM :


S.P.A.C.E. Transmission}
Per Tony's request here's a reprint of my s.p.a.c.e. report from a week ago...

Good times at the show yesterday. It's been a real whirlwind these past two weeks putting the Panel book together. My girlfriend's patience tested. We all escaped unharmed and full of Olive Garden. I didn't get alot this year from last. I'd say I picked up maybe 8 books and a handfull of trades. I was really impressed by Jim Rugg's con sketchbook. Crazy, I skimmed it and wow! Sketches by Spiegelman, Hernandez, Crane, and many others. Unfortunately Jeff Mason from Alternative couldn't make it. Chris Staros was at a book fair or something (Andy Runton was at the booth) Runton won the Day Prize this year which I think was a given. There's just not enough comics for kids to go around these days and that's really sad. Horrible for an industry that seriously needs to not just produce books for college kids and adults. It's detrimental to growth and self-destructive. Kid's love comics. Love them and yet the big guys keep churning out the Ultimates and so on. If Owly were to get wider distribution in drug stores, Wallmarts and such- it'd go thru the roof. I really believe that.

The haul} The latest installment of Owly (from Top Shelf), Happy Town (1-3 collected) and Sorrel by Justin Madson, Hideous by Pat Lewis, Icecreamlandia and a few trades n' handouts I have yet to go thru.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/25/2005 03:14:00 PM :


Pizza cutters as art

Check out these cool pizza cutters created by artist Frankie Flood. There are a few more at the link. I love the designs! From the artist's statement:
"My work investigates one of a kind objects and their role in a world based on mechanical reproduction. Industry has removed the aura from objects and stripped them of their individuality. My pizza cutters seek to demolish the sterile conformity of mass produced objects and represent the stylistic and flamboyant embellishment of groups who live on the fringe of popular culture."

(via boingboing)

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  Posted by Dara on 4/25/2005 03:08:00 PM :


Sin City movie-to-comic comparison

Finally saw the flick this past weekend. Not much to add to what's already been said. I liked it a lot. The dialogue, especially the voice overs, sounded stilted and cheesy, but in the context of the film, it worked. Some of the CGI I didn't care for (mostly the car sequences,) but overall, I loved the look of the film.

Anyway, for those of you interested in this sort of stuff, FilmRot has a detailed comparison of some of the movie shots to their corresponding graphic novel panels. Talk about remaining faithful to the source material.

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Sunday, April 24, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/24/2005 03:19:00 PM :


Cheap Marvel 64-page digests

Think of this as a companion piece to Matt's "Marvel Essentials" post below. Via Newsarama, details on a new venture from marvel:
"In July Marvel is offering six new dollar digests to the direct market with a suggesting retail price of $1.00. These b&w, newsprint 4-7/8 x 6-9/16 are not Marvel’s standard digest format. Each volume is 64 pages and according to the publisher contains approximately three classic Marvel Comics stories, some perhaps abridged to fit the format.


Collects FANTASTIC FOUR #1-#3

Collects AVENGERS #1-#3

Collects AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3,#4,#5

Collects HULK #1-#3

Collects X-MEN #1-#3"
Not sure what the "perhaps abridged to fit the format" comment means...

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Friday, April 22, 2005
  Posted by Matt Kish on 4/22/2005 06:59:00 PM :


Geekery, #1

My friend Andy Bennett got me thinking about this with his mercilessly stinging comments about Moon Knight a few days ago. I may not be able to interest anyone in this with the possible exception of Mr. Craig Bogart, but hopefully a few of you will chime in.

Since the appearance of Ultimate Moon Knight in Marvel's July solicitations got me hankering for an "Essential Moon Knight" collection, I thought I would post my list of top 5 most wanted Essentials. I've read a lot of mixed opinions about the Essential line--people don't like the black and white repro, people can't read the black and white repro, the newsprint sucks, and so on. But I love them for several reasons. The first is that for around $15.00 you get 400-500 plus pages of fantastic silver age comics in a nice phonebook sized block. The second is that the black and white ain't always great, but it does the job and frankly I think some of that old Kirby, Ditko, and Romita stuff looks GREAT even with no color. And third, these Essentials often reprint some really fun comics that might never have made it into a Marvel Masterwork or a trade paperback, like Ant-Man, Monster of Frankenstein, Tomb of Dracula, Human Torch, Supervillain Team-Up, and the upcoming Essential Defenders.

So, without further ado, here is my top 5 list of Essentials I'd love to see Marvel put out, in order.

Yes, I wrote "put out." Heh heh.

#1-Essential Deathlok the Demolisher
#2-Essential Adam Warlock
#3-Essential Ghost Rider (although with the Nic Cage movie I think there must be something in the works for this character)
#4-Essential Moon Knight
#5-Essential Champions (could be done in one!)

So what are your dreams, if you like the Essentials?

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  Posted by Tony on 4/22/2005 04:23:00 PM :


There's a surprise at the end of every bag!

Kroger Co. sent out a press release this week advertising "Disney's Old Yeller" chunk-style dog food.

This has been another public service message from Way Out.

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  Posted by Tony on 4/22/2005 04:19:00 PM :


Through the looking glass

A couple of apologies and one non-apology:

1. I deeply, deeply regret criticizing the art and story of the “Oz/Wonderland Chronicles” preview. I haven’t seen the whole thing, and I was in a bad mood when I saw the preview. It was definitely a more professional package than most of the other stuff I bought last week.

2. I kind of wish I’d used a little less heat in my comments, or done it in a slightly less public way. I sometimes forget just how public this forum is.

3. I apologize that I missed the “preview” badge. I’m not trying to insinuate I was somehow tricked into buying this. I just didn’t look that closely at it.

The truth is, I didn’t look too closely at most of the things I bought at SPACE. I spent upwards of $60 on indie comics last weekend and came home with a shopping bag full of them. I support the small press as much as I can, in terms of green American money.

At least half of my haul was stuff I’d never heard of. I bought a number of books that I frankly didn't think I was going to enjoy. That’s how much I love this medium. I want to see as much of it as possible, and I want to see as many people do it as possible. I have nothing but respect for anyone who does something creative and puts it out there -- regardless of what some guy on an Internet message board might think. That’s why I’m a little embarrassed that I publicly called out another creator.

The non-apology is this: I continue to believe $2.99 is way too much to ask for a preview. But while I appreciate Heying’s offer to refund my money, it’s not necessary. Just put out a completed project at next year’s SPACE.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/22/2005 02:45:00 PM :


The business of Marvel

From a news blurb over at ICv2:
"Marvel Enterprises was the most dramatic gainer in the annual License Magazine list of the Leading Licensors in 2004, moving from #69 in 2003 to #4 last year. The worldwide retail sales of its licensed products rose from $189 million to $4 billion. In addition to building licensing streams around its movies, Marvel plans to develop sub-brands, including Spider-Man and Friends for pre-schoolers, and Marvel Babies for infants."
To recap:

4 billion dollars.

Marvel Babies.

The top 3 licensors, by the way, were Disney, Warner Brothers, and Nickelodeon, in that order.

(via Fanboy Rampage)

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  Posted by Dara on 4/22/2005 10:54:00 AM :


Archive of classic comic book ads

Check out this cool site. It's a repository of tons of classic ads from the pages of comic books. Hostess ads, old Atari 2600 game ads, toy ads (sea monkeys, Evel Knievel, etc.) and other goodies.

There's even a section featuring subscription ads for Marvel and DC comics. Cool stuff all around.

Here's one for Mr. Kish. "To me, my board!"

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Thursday, April 21, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/21/2005 12:46:00 PM :


Jeff Smith's cocktail party

The Beat writes about the swanky party Scholastic threw for the launch of the color Bone graphic novels.
"BONE auteur Jeff Smith got his moment in the sunny room last night, when Scholastic, publisher of the color Bone, threw a cocktail party for Smith in their dining room, known as the Greenhouse. The place was all dolled up with Bone blow-ups and books, and after a wonderful unseasonably warm New York Spring day, it was the perfect place to unwind with a glass of chardonnay and a crab cake. In attendance, journos, booksellers, library types, and some cartoonists, including Paul Pope, Frank Miller (weathering all the hoohah, and gearing up for a trip to Cannes in a few weeks, where SIN CITY will be screening in competition), Mike Mignola, Kyle Baker and wife Liz, Dean Haspiel, Josh Neufeld, Alex Robinson and Kristin Siebecker, Mike Dawson, Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier, whose Babysitter’s Club graphic novel revamp will be out next spring. Cartoon Books Vijaya Iyer and Steve Hamacher were also on the scene."
They also post the remaining dates from Smith's signing tour, which solicits this classy comment from a reader:
"I think it is pretty shitty that he is signing at Midtown Comics, undercutting by one day Jim Hanley's Universe, who has been promoting Smith's New York appearance for months."
Comic fans. Gotta' love 'em.

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  Posted by Tony on 4/21/2005 12:29:00 PM :


SPACE 2005: Still crazy after all these years

The main thing that struck me at this year’s SPACE was how familiar it all seemed. I felt like I had to hunt harder for things I hadn’t seen before. I was unable to buy two comics, “Whisp” and “Arsenic Lullaby,” because I already have all their stuff.

That makes me feel good.

The best way to describe SPACE is “uneven” -- the quality varies widely from table to table, even from page to page. You see good page design paired with poor rendering skill. Crackling dialogue with no pacing. Faces with no bone structure underneath, arms that don’t fit quite right into their shoulder sockets, and so on. Self-referential gags that refer to a self no one’s ever heard of.

It’s hard to find a common thread through such a diverse show, but the theme that cropped up most often was insanity. “Plastic Farm” depicts a man’s slow descent into madness, as does “An Open Place.” “Whisp” shows the nightmare world of a group of people locked in an insane asylum, addicted to a drug that lets them see the future. “Blow” was a tone poem about a baddd-ass blaxploitation hero/jazz trumpet player.

If I were to pick a second thread, it would be Jesus. In addition to his star turn in Bogart’s “Divinity Crisis” piece, the Wonderful Counselor got cloned into five G Force-style heroes in “Jesus 5,” and His cross is auctioned off on Antiques Roadshow in the new “Jape.”

The two books that sum up SPACE for me are “Happy Town” and “Dead End.” “Happy Town” depicts -- well, I’m not so sure what’s going on there. “Happy Town” creates its own world and thrives in it, as do the best of the indies.

“Dead End” is about a fellow named David Stonebridge, who for some reason has a long nose and is colored blue. That’s the first problem, as the blue coloring doesn’t come off well in a black-and-white book. David has adventures with a group of offbeat superheroes called the Suicide Club, in addition to dealing with life as an Azure-American.

Each issue is 8 pages. Individually they’re not enough to grab me, but four or five at a sitting is always an enjoyable reading experience. “Dead End” just published a 25th issue, a stunning accomplishment for a small press book.

That’s the thing about SPACE. The books are short, amateurish and uneven, but patience pays off.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/21/2005 10:13:00 AM :


Blue Beetle weekly comic?

I found this link via a post on Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin (which has a ton of other Blue beetle links as well).

Anyway, check out this page on Steve Englehart's website, where he briefly talks about a weekly comic that DC was planning a while back, with Blue Beetle as the feature story. The book never came to be, but Steve has artwork from one of the 4-page chapters that he wrote. And what makes it interesting is that several artists were "trying out" for the job, and so he has art for the same exact story from both Deryl Skelton and Chas Truog, side by side.

I've always loved seeing how different artists interpret the same exact script, and this is a good example. I just wish Steve had also included his script, so we could compare the final renderings to the original story. Still, worth checking out.

And I'd love to hear from you guys which set you liked more...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/20/2005 10:02:00 AM :


Tom Peyer's blog

Tom is a funny, funny man. Check out this post titled "The news, explained with comic book covers," wherein he uses old DC comic covers to make commentary on recent news events. My favorite is the Swamp Thing cover for the Britney Spears pregnancy!

Update: another post on the same topic, this one being the Justice League edition.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/19/2005 10:54:00 AM :


Random thoughts on Marvel Comics shipping in July

(note: for the full solicitations, go here.)

Ultimate Spider-man #79 and 80 debuts the ultimate universe version of Moon Knight. Based on this cover, all I can muster is "meh."

Daredevil vs. Punisher 6-issue limited series, written and drawn by David Lapham! May be the only Marvel series I'll be picking up this year.

The Mighty Marvel Hype Machine (TM) solicitation for G.L.A. #4 (that's the Great Lakes Avengers, bud):
"See? We weren't kidding. Someone DID die in GLA#1. So maybe now you'll believe us when we tell you that this issue doesn't just signal THE END for the GLA… but for the ENTIRE Marvel Universe as well! Hmm… Okay, maybe not the ENTIRE Marvel U…. But everybody who doesn't have a monthly book or plans for an upcoming mini-series-- all of THOSE guys could go! We mean it!
Hey, if Wolverine can kill off the Hornet and Northstar as afterthoughts, don't think we won't take out everybody else! Grrr!"
I usually like Kaare Andrews' work, but his cover for Amazing Spider-man #522 is kinda...ugly. What's up with that mask, and the sterile looking architecture? You'll have to go look at the larger size image to see what I mean.

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  Posted by Tony on 4/19/2005 09:51:00 AM :


Buzz Dixon sighting!

Our friend Buzz Dixon appears in "Stormwatch: Team Achilles" No. 5 as a metahuman spy/informant. If the drawing is accurate (and I have no reason to believe it isn't), Buzz can walk on walls, turn invisible and looks something like Stitch from "Lilo and Stitch." And he's beige.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/19/2005 09:47:00 AM :


Daily Musings: The End

For those of you who cared about my daily musings, I'm sure you've noticed by now that there haven't been any for about a week now. And this post is to make it official. I'm ending my attempt at daily musings.

I started this little self-challenge on my birthday last year, November 3rd. My goal was to "write original content every day, including weekends and holidays, for a full year. Not links to funny websites or Newsarama articles, but actual essays, personal thoughts, or simple musings. At least one every day." And I did, with varying levels of success, for 162 consecutive days.

Yes, there were times when I missed the daily deadline and had to catch up with double posts the next day. But still, all things considered, I think I did pretty well in keeping with the spirit of the challenge.

But sometimes, life throws a lot of unexpected things at you and you find yourself in a position where you have to make some calls. I did have fun with the musings, and it was also a good learning experience in short-form writing, quick thinking, and general awareness of my daily activities. But it was also time-consuming, and at times drained away my energy from writing comics, hanging out with friends, or spending quality time with Wendy.

The last time I posted a daily musing was a week ago, about the death of the father of one of my best friends. And it made me realize that in the big picture, there were many more important things in my life than worrying about a self-challenge. So for now, it's the end of the daily posts.

Thanks to all of you who encouraged me in this particular endeavor. And thanks to everyone who participated in fun, spirited discussions in the comments section of some of my musings. Keep on checking out the blog. We're not going anywhere.

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Monday, April 18, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/18/2005 03:25:00 PM :


unrealized Moscow

"The Architecture of Moscow from the 1930s to the early 1950s. Unrealized projects." A great collection of Soviet-era architectural plans that never came to be.

Below, the The Aeroflot Building. D.Chechulin. 1934

(via boingboing)

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  Posted by Tony on 4/18/2005 03:01:00 PM :


The Connies: SPACE 2005 edition

Early on Saturday a young woman picked up “I Love You More Than Anybody,” possibly drawn by the black heart on the cover. I saw her face fall as she read through it, dismay mounting as the pages turned. Finally she put it down with disgust and walked away. That’s why the first Connie goes to me:

* Dale Carnegie Award for achievement in winning friends and influencing people: This is a rare two-time award in this category.

* “Beds are Burning” Award for burning the Midnight Oil: Tom “Late Night” Williams, up until 2:30 a.m. putting together “Panel:Myth.”

* Captain Planet Award: Steve Black, who made sure his table was recycled by passing it along to Craig Bogart and Chad Lambert after he left.

* Amber Frey Award for best witness: Tie between Dara Naraghi, who caught the show on film, and Geoff Tolle, who’s compiling a small press archive.

* Led Zeppelin Award: Andy Bennett, who cranked it to 11 for his free-as-a-bird “Myth” cover.

* Crazy Jerry Award: Craig Bogart, who offered “Ineffables” 1-3 for the low, low price of only $1.

* Whoomp! There It Is Award for best tag-team: Matt and Ione, small press partners and excellent hosts.

* Dolemite Award: Chad Lambert, who pimped “Point Pleasant” into a sold-out run.

* Obi-Wan Kenobi Award: Dan Barlow. Although the Big Bald Kid could not be with us, he was there in spirit with Midgard Comics. Honorable Mentions: Dennis Murphy and Tim McClurg.

* Tammy Wynette Award for standing by your man: Tie between Elizabeth and Dreama. I think Elizabeth was there longer, but Dreama was carrying Lil’ Dreama.

* Heather Locklear Award for best guest appearance: Tie between Sean McGurr and Tim Fischer. The Founder swung by to see his old crew Saturday afternoon, and McGurr came down from Urbana.

* P. Diddy award for best media empire: Ray Scott. Last year he came to SPACE with nothing. This year he had four books, most of a movie, some board games and the Ghetto Coloring Book.

* Howard Dean Award: That guy who got on his table to announce the results of his raffle.

* Tenacity of the Cockroach Award: Matt Feazell, who’s apparently been doing “Cynicalman” since 1980. Twenty-five years of cynicalness? Somebody give this guy a hug. Honorable mentions: Pam Bliss, Suzanne Baumann, J. Kevin Carrier.

* Madonna Award for best transformation: Jeff Manley. His previous work dealt with a floating kiwi, zombie George Clooney and other madness. His current series, “Manley Days,” is a daily webcomic journal of married life.

* Kermit the Frog Award: Christina Wald, whose cover for the new SlamBang anthology came out an uneasy green.

* REM Award: Donovan Cater, with another fine episode of “Null & Void, Cater was once again Automatic for the People. Which is kind of ironic, if you read his comic “Why I Hate People.”

* Keep on Truckin’ Award: Jim Coon, who brought out issue No. 25 of his “Dead End” series.

* FedEx Award: “Big-Breasted Vampire Death.” Boy, did this one ever deliver. Honorable mention: “Americanjism.”

* Spoonful of Sugar Award: Mike Indovina, whose “Satyr” book brought Greek mythology to the next generation.

* Friend of Dorothy Award: “Fatal/Romantic” a collection of stories that mix manga, fantasy and androgeny. Honorable mention: “The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles.”

* George W. Bush Award: “The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles.” With its glossy exterior but empty interior, this was basically a big rip-off.

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Sunday, April 17, 2005
  Posted by Tony on 4/17/2005 09:09:00 PM :



Anybody see the The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles book over by the door at SPACE? Just to the right of the Laughing Ogre table? The one with the fetching Greg Horn cover of Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz) and Alice (from Wonderland)? Anyone else pay $2.99 for this?

I got it home and realized -- it's just a preview. There are two or three inked pages, opposite some script pages. A few more pages of script. Some thumbnails, a few sketches, and we're out.

For this I paid $2.99! Who in the hell prints up a glossy preview? I'm sorry, but if I plunk down three dollars in green American money, I demand an actual product.

It's rare that I'll call someone out in public like this, but this was just ... outrageous!

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  Posted by Dara on 4/17/2005 07:56:00 PM :


"Unfit" comic strip by Mike Belkin

Does anyone recognize the cartoonist from this new syndicated comic strip Unfit? His name is Mike Belkin, and I could swear that he used to do a strip in OSU's newspaper The Lanter, circa 1989 or so. His style seems so familiar...

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Friday, April 15, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/15/2005 10:17:00 AM :


Countdown to "Panel: Myth", T-minus 1 day

Today's preview is a page from Matt Kish's contribution to Panel: Myth.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/14/2005 09:38:00 PM :


Caleb and the ALIVE name drop Panel

Columbus' more arts-leaning weekly alt newspaper, the Alive, devoted a half page article to this weekend's SPACE convention. From J. Caleb Mozzocco's write-up:
"Panel: The local guys who comprise comics collective Panel have a contagious enthusiasm about their medium, and are always trying something new to bring attention to comics—a cooperative blog, gallery shows, a booth at Comfest, a CD soundtrack to a comic book. While they each have their own projects, they usually collaborate twice a year on an anthology. Look for their Panel: Myth, containing a half dozen stories exploring that theme from different angles, wrapped in a cover by Andy Bennett, with a “variant” element by different Panel-ists."
In addition to us, Caleb spotlights Mike Indovina's book Satyr, Robert Ullman's Lunch Hour Comix, Derf's The City newspaper strip, and James V. West's Pan-Gea.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/14/2005 09:32:00 PM :


Countdown to "Panel: Myth", T-minus 2 days

2004 Day Prize winner Glenn Brewer contributed a gorgeous 8-page silent story titled "Seahorse". Here's a page from his story:

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  Posted by Dara on 4/14/2005 12:18:00 PM :


Dispatch covers SPACE

The Columbus Dispatch "Weekender" section has named S.P.A.C.E. as a "best bet" for the weekend.
"Convention to feature independent publications

The sixth annual Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo, or SPACE, will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Holiday Inn Columbus East, I-70 and S. Hamilton Road. More than 140 artists, writers and publishers will show and sell their independent comic books, graphic novels and sequential literary art. Prices range from 25 cents for a mini-comic to $20 for a graphic novel, with the average comic book selling for about $3. In addition, panels, lectures and open forums will be presented throughout the day — and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. SPACE is among the largest events of its type in the Midwest. Admission is $5. For more information, call event coordinator Bob Corby at 614-889-7582 or visit www.backporchcomics.com/space.htm"

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/13/2005 09:25:00 PM :


Countdown to "Panel: Myth", T-minus 3 days

Panel member and writer/artist of The Ineffables, Craig Bogart, contributed an incredibly funny story to Panel: Myth. Titled "Divinity Crisis," this story is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. Here's a page from it (sorry for the bad scan)

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  Posted by Dara on 4/13/2005 04:30:00 PM :


Your (Ohio) tax dollars at work

I don't know how I missed this story in The Columbus Dispatch:
"Haley Dawson has never been a stripper.

But Ohio liquor-control agents took her identity and gave it to a
22-year-old college student who they had recruited to work undercover as
a nude dancer.

As part of an investigation that resulted in nothing more than
misdemeanor charges, police paid University of Dayton criminal-justice
student Michelle Szuhay $100 a night to take it all off in early 2003 —
as liquor-control officers drank beer and watched in the audience for
three months, court papers show."
Ah yes, "legal" identity theft, tax dollars spent on strippers and beer, and other good ol' boy fun. Good thing there's no serious crimes to occupy the police's time with...

(via boingboing)

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  Posted by Dara on 4/13/2005 03:57:00 PM :


Shannon Wheeler's Journal

From Shannon "Too Much Coffee Man" Wheeler's LiveJournal, a list of famous people he's met. Utterly trivial, but kinda interesting. A few from the list:
"Jim Jones (cult leader - went to two of his revivals circa 1970)
Jello Biafra (drove him around, New Year's Eve 2004)
Henry Rollins (I illustrated one of his books, he wrote the intro to one of mine)
Robert Crumb (took him to a mexican restaurant that shares a bathroom with a strip club)"

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  Posted by Dara on 4/13/2005 03:50:00 PM :


Catwoman and Vampire Pirates

No, it's not a crossover event. Two separate news items from this week's All the Rage gossip column:

There's a new comic book fan film currently in production, called Catwoman: Copycat. You can see a teaser trailer for it here. Complete with fetish latex costume and an actress that can...um, stretch quite nimbly.

And some pretty, pretty pages from the second issue of Sea of Red, with layouts by Kieron Dwyer and pencils, inks and colors by Salgood Sam.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/12/2005 07:12:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 162

The father of one of my best friends passed away over the weekend. I just got back from a memorial service for him.

I know it's a cliche, but it's true that major events such as a death have a tendency to make you stop and think about the important things in your life. Lately, I've been caught up in a whole series of stressful events. The kitchen remodeling fiasco. The late Panel book. The webcomic project. Craziness at work. But in the big picture, none of them are exactly critical occasions.

In the process, I lost sight of some important issues. The one that I regret the most is not spending enough quality time with my girlfriend. What's more, I let her down by not handling a situation the right way.

It sucks that things had to get bad before I realized my mistakes. But try as we may, it's usually hard to get past basic human nature. You know, that thing that compels you to focus on the trivial issues in your life, blowing them up to be more critical than they really are, while consciously (or subconsciously) avoiding the real issues that you know need to be addressed. After all, it's easier to live in denial than actually confronting problems head on.

So I'm taking a step back and trying to focus on what really matters in my life. And as much as I love comics, and creating them, there are definitely more important things to expend my energy on.

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  Posted by Tony on 4/12/2005 03:01:00 PM :


TPB sale at Waldenbooks!

The Waldenbooks in the City Center is offering trade paperbacks and graphic novels at buy two/get one free. I don't know if the sale extends to other stores or how long it's going on -- the clerk said he thought it would last at least until the end of the week.

I picked up the next JSA trade and a pair of Hellblazers. Always good stuff.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/12/2005 12:50:00 AM :


Countdown to "Panel: Myth", T-minus 4 days

A page from Tom Williams' story, featuring his character Guston Phillips, Cyclops Cowboy.

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Monday, April 11, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/11/2005 11:08:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 161

Well, it doesn't look like I'll be able to finish my photography book in time for SPACE. Obviously, I'm disappointed. But sometimes life throws a lot at you to juggle, and you have to pick your battles. So the book will have to wait till some other date in the future.

Not much else to say. It sucks, but them's the breaks sometimes.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/11/2005 11:07:00 AM :


Wait, he legally changed his name to Warrior?

Funny little story via The Beat: apparently former wrestler The Ultimate Warrior (who has since changed his legal name to Warrior and refers to himself in the third person) was invited by the College Republicans at the University of Connecticut to give a speech. Reports vary, but the phrase "homophobic, racist tirade" has been bandied about. So much so that the UCONN College Republicans issued an apology for his booking and appearance. The beat says:
"Statements that really got the crowd upset were when Warrior said 'queering don't make the world work' and told an Iranian girl to 'get a towel.'"
Of course, where's the fun in that if there isn't the requisite press release from Warrior explaining his side of the story and call out the College Republicans for being weak.
"And Emily Salisbury. Why the feigned innocence and proper and demure demeanor as if you hold so high and reverently true femininity and traditional Conservative principles? Why, when you so easily bed yourself with those who would savagely, in Genghis Khan fashion, laugh while “lying upon your lily white belly” raping you and the quality of your future family’s life? What is it about history you don’t quite understand Ms. Young College Republican?"
You know, I never got into wrestling, but this is actually entertaining, in a train wreck sort of way. Plus, I love crazy "celebrities" who refer to themselves in the third person. That's comedy gold.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/11/2005 10:21:00 AM :


Countdown to "Panel: Myth", T-minus 5 days

S.P.A.C.E. is this Saturday, April 16th. The Panel collective will be debuting the 5th volume of our anthology at the show. The theme of this book is "myth" and here's a first look at the cover (well, one of them, anyway...)

Art and cover design by Panel member Andy Bennett.

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Sunday, April 10, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/10/2005 11:47:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 160

The show at the Supraphonic last night was way cool. Thanks to Tony for organizing it.

I have to ask, though. What the hell was up with that "band" (ok, basically just one dude with a recorder) Electric Grandmother? Did anyone else find that stuff...wow, I don't even know what adjective to use. Um, amusing? Interesting? Funny?

It certainly wasn't music. One guy half talking, half singing stream of consciousness lyrics about TV sitcoms is not music. Nor is it very clever, or meaningful, or for that matter, artistic.

Or maybe I'm just an old, grumpy guy. I don't know. I suppose high school kids would find it funny.

If you were at the show and know who I'm talking about, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

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Saturday, April 09, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/09/2005 03:41:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 159

The afterword for the new Panel: Myth book...

There are numerous myths about self-published comics:

Anybody can self-publish a story. It's quite easy (or, depending on your source, extremely difficult) to self-publish. Small press and self-published comics are "amateur hour". Etc.

The truth, as with most myths, lies somewhere in between.

Yes, anybody can self-publish a comic book. But not everybody can do it well. And when it comes down to the mechanics of putting a book together, it's both easy and demanding. Easy because you don't need a lot of money or fancy equipment to create a comic. At a minimum, you can get by with a pen, pad of paper, access to a copy machine, and a stapler. Throw in a computer with Photoshop, and you're rolling with the big boys. But if merely possessing the tools of a trade made one a craftsman, then every schmuck with a socket wrench would be a mechanic. No, the difficulty in creating a comic book comes down to the necessary talent, time, energy, motivation, and dedication. Skills which are often in short supply, in comics or any other creative field.

As for the quality of small press comics...well, the truth is that many of them could be labeled as "amateur". But that very quality is what's endearing about them. These are not overproduced, extravagant spectacles, or disingenuous "rent money" hacks. They are works of love, born of a passion for sequential arts and the need to create for the sake of creativity, not money. And then there are the books self published in small batches by seasoned professionals, who are drawn to the freedom afforded them by being the sole creative director of their vision.

With this, our fifth volume of the Panel anthology, I hope we've managed to dispel some of the myths about self-published comics. To say nothing of changing the reader's perception of what a small press comic is supposed to look like. The mix of creators in this book include two Day Prize winners, two artists with graphic novels on Amazon.com and the shelves of Barnes & Noble, and a writer who earns his living through writing. Some of us in the Panel collective are striving towards a career in the comics field, while others are simply enjoying the creative outlet. But no matter where we come from, or where we're dreaming of going, we all share a love of the comics medium, and a passion for creating unique, entertaining, and thoughtful books.

So to our readers: thanks for dreaming along with us. And to our fellow creators: we hope we've inspired you to craft your own dream projects.

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Friday, April 08, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/08/2005 08:30:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 158

Quick thought tonight: I really, really wish they'd stop making "marriage" sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond and According to Jim and the couple dozen other ones of the same ilk.

You know what? We get it. Married men are lazy, insensitive pricks who just want to watch sports on TV, have sex all the time, not do any housework, and fart in front of the in-laws. And married women are nagging, moody, insecure bitches who want to constantly discuss their feelings, not have sex, and organize fancy dinner parties for their friends.

Enough already. That's not funny. It's the TV equivalent of lame-ass comedians who do material on how L.A. and New York are really different cities.

Enough with the stereotypes. Try coming up with a worthwhile setting for your shows. And make it funny, not insulting.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/08/2005 04:56:00 PM :


Gee, thanks Blogger

I see Blogger now has a "Recover Post" function. I wonder how many thousands of angry users had to bombard them with their tales of posts vanishing into thin air for these guys to finally come up with a pseudo-solution to the problem. From their marketing bullshit hype: [bracketed comments are mine]
"Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond your control [read: the suck factor of Blogger], your post may seem to vanish into thin air. The Internet is a dangerous place: browsers can crash, [read: Blogger can suck], network connections can go down just when you click "Publish," [read: Blogger can suck balls] or you may just accidentally move on to a new page without realizing you had an unfinished post left behind you." [read: Blogger can just suck huge donkey balls]

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  Posted by Dara on 4/08/2005 04:54:00 PM :


Review of Panel: Home

And the reviews keep pouring in. WEE from Almost Normal Comics reviews Panel: Home here.
"Panel is an anthology of sequential storytelling that comes from a Columbus, Ohio based group of artists. In this issue seven creators tell six stories loosely centered around the subject of home. All of the stories are skillfully illustrated and well told. This is the fourth installment of Panel and each one I have had the pleasure to read has demonstrated a uniquely artistic layout that most comics fail to even approach. The aesthetic appeal alone of this comic reaches far beyond its interior pages making it much more than just another small press comic!"

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  Posted by Dara on 4/08/2005 04:39:00 PM :


Review of Panel

Which one, you ask? Why, Panel vol. 1, of course. About 2 years after its publication! Oh well, such is life in the trenches of the indie comix field. This review is from the print publication Zine World #22, "A Reader's Guide to the Underground Press".
"A worthy project that anthologizes comic artists and adds their bios, but I wish I liked most of the work better. 'Comeback' by Dara Naraghi and Tim McClurg is an evocative tale of a washed-up actor with a pleasingly bitter punchline, and Andy Bennett’s 'Change' creates a compelling mood with beautiful drawings and a simple narrative. But too much of the stuff here, like too many indie comics I read, comes up short in the story department." – Steve Omlid, Zine World #22

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Thursday, April 07, 2005
  Posted by bigbaldkid on 4/07/2005 10:04:00 PM :


i saw the band BETTER THAN EZRA last night. afterwards i caught up with them an gave them a copy of BIG CITY BLUES an POINT PLEASANT.
KEVIN the lead singer started telling me about how he reads comics an The league of extrordinary gentlemen was his favorite book.
digging the books, they ask me to do some artwork for them an wanted my email address.
so hopefully it would be a cool project in the future, who knows.

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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 4/07/2005 09:43:00 PM :


Panel: Home Review
Just prior to the release of the latest anthology from Panel, Panel: Myth, Poopsheet reviewer Mike Hunter takes a look at our last offering Panel: Home.
This "Home"-themed anthology - varied graphics within echo this concept - is loaded with consistently strong, stylistically varied work...This lively, enjoyable anthology gives exceptional value for your money. Other Panel offerings seem equally promising.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/07/2005 09:11:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 157

T-minus 2 days and counting to the Supraphonic show.
T-minus 9 days and counting till S.P.A.C.E.

Stuff to do tonight:
  • Remind the Panel creators to send in their bios for the book.
  • Proof/copy edit two stories.
  • Write up an Afterword for the book.
  • Finish lettering my story.
  • Send notice about the show to Ferret Press newsletter subscribers.
  • Work on my own art book for SPACE.
  • Follow up on e-mails regarding SPX Anthology submission, secret webcomic project, etc.
  • Vacuum house to get rid of dust from kitchen remodeling.
  • Try to catch up on sleep.
So, yeah, it's not glamorous. It's not easy. And it's not stress-free.

But damn, when it all comes together, it's a joy to behold.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/07/2005 11:17:00 AM :


Chuck Salvo

Drop on by ChaosMonkey's Abysmal Pit and read about CHUCK SALVO. Funny stuff.

Even funnier, from the comments section: "I remember going up a nameless hill outside of Da Nang when we were hit with a harsh Chuck Salvo. We lost Smitty, Brooklyn, and Little Tony that day."

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  Posted by Dara on 4/07/2005 10:58:00 AM :


Super Pope?

Wow, talk about timing. According to a Reuters article, "Pope John Paul II is being reborn in a Colombian comic book as a superhero battling evil with an anti-Devil cape and special chastity pants." The book has supposedly been in the works for about a year now, according to its creator, artist Rodolfo Leon, a "non-practicing Catholic".
"Apart from predominantly Catholic Colombia, the book will be sold in Poland and publishers in Mexico, Canada and the United States have expressed interest, Leon said."
Yeah, given the appearance of a very thinly disguised Superman, I kinda doubt any US publisher could get away with printing this book after the legal threats by DC. Despite Fair Use and parody protections, the big two don't take too kindly on anyone infringing on their bread-and-butter trademarks.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/06/2005 11:33:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 156

Ok, I know my posts have been rather brief as of late, but preparing for the SPACE show, finishing up production on the Panel book, and the crazy kitchen remodeling has me completely exhausted.

Anyway, I wanted to mention an interesting site I saw today. And by "interesting", I mean "marginally relevant or amusing to comic book fans and/or artists". On the drive in to work, I saw a bright yellow Jeep Wrangler, the kind with the spare tire mounted on the back. The wheel cover had a giant picture of Garfield on it. And I thought to myself "Man, that's dorky. Who the hell cares so much about Garfield anymore?" And then I noticed the personalized license plate.


Yes, as in Paws, Inc., the juggernaut production/licensing/merchandising company that churns out the Garfield comic strip and all the ancillary products. So I'm assuming the woman driving the car works for them in some capacity. Not sure what she's doing in Columbus, though. I suppose she could be a freelancer.

Which reminds me of another obscure comic book/Garfield incident in my past. There was a penciler in the early 90s by the name of Gary Barker who did a bit of work here and there for Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. He wasn't very distinctive or flashy or anything, but he did pretty solid superhero stuff and I liked his work. I got to meet him at a con around that time, and went up to have some comics signed and get a sketch from him. In the process of talking about his work, I asked why he hadn't done more work in the comics field. He told me it's because comics were his passion and his hobby, but his full time gig that paid the bills was ghosting the Garfield strip. That's the first time I heard about Paws Inc. and the assembly line method by which the Garfield newspaper strip is created, the original creator Jim Davis having nothing to do with the creative aspect of it any more.

Anyway, when I asked him for a sketch, he inquired if I wanted any character in particular and I said no, I'd like him to draw his favorite character. So I ended up with a cool pencil sketch of Deathstroke the Terminator, who also happens to be one of my favorite DC villains. I also have a quickie Garfield sketch from him somewhere in my sketchbook, I think from a subsequent convention.

And that pretty much concludes my non-sequitur rambling for today :-)

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  Posted by Dara on 4/06/2005 11:36:00 AM :


A silly new Internet meme: food ingredients

I'm sitting here, enjoying a bottle of Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness juice (yes, I know it's a weird hippy drink, but I like the taste) and noticed the extensive list of ingredients. Which inspired this whole post. So let's see if we can't get some folks to participate in this little time waster. Add yours to the comments section below, send this off to friends. Harness the power of the Internets!

Here's the deal: grab the closest package of food/drink around you, and list your top 3-5 favorite ingredients from it. These could be unusual, funny sounding, or just plain bizarre ingredients.


Blue Green Algae
Lemon Bioflavonoids
Jerusalem Artichoke
Dragon Fruit Juice

Heh heh, Bioflavonoids. Sounds like some cool army of organic robots.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/05/2005 11:58:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 155

There was a documentary on PBS a couple of weeks ago about the life and times of artist Frida Kahlo. And as fascinating as it was, it was also somewhat frustrating to watch. Not because of any problems with the program itself, but because of the messed up lives of the people portrayed in it. I mean, that woman's relationship with her husband, Diego Rivera, was absolutely a trainwreck. It became almost emotionally exhausting to simply watch the story of her life.

We tend to romanticize creative types. Being eccentric, non-conformist, or "tortured" is supposed to be a natural part of an artist's life. But when you're observing the various infidelities, betrayals, and political extremes from the point of view of an outsider, you can't help but think that these were real people with real lives, not just some fictional character made up for our entertainment. I'd catch myself wondering what if these people were my best friends, or close family members? How would I feel about them then?

And the truth is, despite their amazing talents and creativity, I don't know if I could stand by and watch them do all the self-destructive acts. I would have either tried to knock some sense into them, or just walked away from the whole mess.

Are there any famous artists who are also known for leading a very plain, uneventful life? If so, I'd like to find out more about them. As strange as it may sound, I think that would be quite refreshing.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/05/2005 05:15:00 PM :


Bob Schreck interview(s)

Ninth Art has a two part interview with long-time comic book editor, Bob Schreck. Starting at Comico, then on to Dark Horse, Oni, and his current gig as the group editor for all the Batman titles at DC, he's got a lot of experience in the field and has worked with all the top names. A short and sweet interview, check it out.

Part 1.

Part 2.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/05/2005 05:06:00 PM :


Psst! Wanna be in a movie?

If you live in Columbus and want to be in a short horror movie, here's your chance. From Craigslist:
"Male 16-26
Female 18-25

Needed for one evening shoot April 13 5pm-late in Columbus area. In shape , good looks comfortable with improvization. SK Productions http://www.screamkings.com need two actors for a short horror story. Email us a picture and a way to contact you as soon as possible"

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  Posted by Tony on 4/05/2005 04:32:00 PM :


Psst! Wanna buy a mannequin?

There's a shop in the Short North selling store fixtures, such as mannequins, shelves and "round plexi containers." It's at 641 N. high St., and the flier says they're open until April 10.

"But, Tony," you ask, "What would I want with a mannequin?"

Well, maybe you could use it in some kind of art project or something. I don't know. I'm just passing it along.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/05/2005 03:11:00 PM :


Win a copy of Bluesman

Over on the Johnny Bacardi Show blog, there's a contest to win a copy of Bluesman, by Rob Vollmar and Pablo G. Gallejo. And all you have to do is e-mail your name and addressby April 30th to dedpool1979@aol.com. How easy is that?
"Lem Taylor and Ironwood Malcott are a pair of travelling blues musicians who come to the town of Hope looking for food, rest, and a place that will let them preach their own brand of gospel. Set in 1930s America, Bluesman promises to be another fantastic story from the Eisner-nominated creative team behind The Castaways."
I loves me the free giveaways. The Internets rules!

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Monday, April 04, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/04/2005 10:31:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 154

Happy 2 Year Anniversary to us!

this is an audio post - click to play

Two years ago, on 4/4/2003 at 12:08:39 AM, Tony Goins posted the first official message on this blog. It was a little something that came to be known as the Panelfesto, and in honor of our second anniversary, I'm reposting it below:
"What is Panel?

Panel is about realizing it doesn't matter if you have a fully realized universe all plotted out in your head. Nothing matters until you put ink to paper.

Panel rolls into the show 12 deep, knocks over other creators' tables, and lights its cigar off old copies of Youngblood #0 it picked up in the 10-cent bin.

Panel is a self-governing collective of aspiring comix creators in Central Ohio. Panel has no bylaws and no dues. It meets every second Tuesday.

Panel is about sucking it up when your fellow members say your shiny new script reads like the lost episode of the A-Team. Panel knows pain makes you better.

Panel began as a flier at the Laughing Ogre comic shop, and now has about a dozen members. Some members are professional creators, some aren't. That's OK.

Panel loves you and wants what's best for you. Join Panel."
Thanks for making it a fun 2 years. Here's looking forward to many more fun, unusual, interesting, intriguing, and just plain weird posts on this blog.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/04/2005 09:57:00 PM :


New contest for April

The Ferret Press/PANEL blog is 2 years old this month (this very day, as a matter of fact!) Plus, the SPACE convention is right around the corner. So to honor both events, we're giving away signed Ferret Press comics and a ton of mini-comics! Check out the details by clicking the link in the top left red box above.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/04/2005 09:51:00 PM :


March contest winner: Dale Walker

We have a winner for our March free comics giveaway. The theme was "comics that were good, but not good enough for you to keep picking up the subsequent issues". The prizes were Kinetic #1-3, The Question #1, Arrowsmith #1. Dale's winning entry:
"Not gonna pick on Legion of Super-Heroes, but I'll just say every single time they relaunch I purchase one and immediately become frustrated by everybody's codename:

Sunboy, Stargirl, Dreamgirl, Cosmic Boy, Ultra Boy.....

The action is terrific. I dig the campiness. But why does everyone's name sound like a flashy magazine? -- Dale Walker"
I couldn't agree more about the names, I could never understand that aspect of the book.

And our runner up entries, who, as usual, get nothing other than their name in print. Yes, we're the no-frills blog.
"I picked up Flaming Carrot#1 recently. I remembered it from my collecting days back in the ‘80’s. Good fun, clean lines but it’s not going to be a regular for me. I guess I’m just old and cranky - buying black & whites for the same price as a full color comic seems wrong somehow. --Mike Thompson"

"One series that I really thought I would enjoy was the new Venom comic.
It seemed as though they were trying to take tips from the Spawn comics.
They made Venom more of a demon, able to slip under doors and through cracks, than a man with a symbiote. --Robert Townsend"
Check out the new contest for April!

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  Posted by Dara on 4/04/2005 02:36:00 PM :


Own part of The World

Got about 7 million dollars on you? Want a private island? Then check this out: Al Nakheel Properties, a real estate development group in Dubai, is developing a cluster of man-made islands, shaped like a map of the world. Called The World, it's estimated to cost about 2 billion dollars to build.
"The World will consist of between 250 to 300 smaller private artifical islands divided into four categories - private homes, estate homes, dream resorts, and community islands. Each island will range from 250,000 to 900,000 square feet in size, with 50 to 100 metres of water between each island. The development is to cover an area of 9 kilometers in length and 6 kilometers in width, surrounded by an oval shaped breakwater."

Tell me that's not something straight out of a comic book supervillain lair story?

(via boingboing)

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  Posted by Dara on 4/04/2005 10:23:00 AM :


Awesome Plastic Man homemade costume

Wendy found this on the best of Craigslist. The description is funny, go check it out.
"Eye-batting seductress: "I don't know what's better, plastic man's long arms or the fact that he is wearing hot pants."

Plastic Man: Pause..."Uh, I sewed them myself."

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Sunday, April 03, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/03/2005 10:22:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 153

I was flipping through one of Hanna's Disney Adventures digests, and it was quite refreshing to see such a large and varied selection of comics. Sure, they're mostly Disney properties being serviced for trademark and merchandising purposes, but still. Here's a magazine aimed squarely at kids, and it's full of comics. And even though Hanna can't read yet, you should see how excited she gets when flipping through this thing, asking me to read the different stories to her.

Not only that, but they have small press folks like Art Baltazar and the great Matt Feazell doing strips for them. In addition, it was kinda cool to check out the creator names and recognize a few of the names from years past. Artists who seem to be missing from the "mainstream" comic book field, whether it be by choice, or due to the fickle nature of our hobby. For example, there was a Haunted Mansion story drawn by Steven Butler, who did work on Mike Baron's Badger, as well as Spider-man and that godawful Silver Sable series during the boom of the 90s. And a Pirates of the Caribbean story, drawn by Bret Blevins! There's a name I haven't seen since the latter days of the original New Mutants series.

The sad thing is, even though these are 2-6 page stories, the creators involved are probably making more money than they would if they were freelancing for Marvel of DC these days.

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Saturday, April 02, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/02/2005 09:40:00 AM :


Daily Musings: Day 152

You gotta' love central Ohio weather. Earlier this week, on Wednesday, we hit a high of 75 degrees. It was sunny and breezy, almost too hot to call it a spring day.

This morning I wake up to snow.

Trying to predict this crazy weather must be tough on businesses who are directly affected by its fluctuations. Plant nurseries, for example. Or construction companies. Or the cops, who undoubtedly will have to deal with a whole slew of traffic accidents because overnight people forgot how to drive in the snow.

As for me, it's time to grab some breakfast and get back to work on my book.

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Friday, April 01, 2005
  Posted by Dara on 4/01/2005 11:46:00 PM :


Daily Musings: Day 151

I used to love the letter pages in the back of comics. Reading various people's opinions of the current storylines, and trying to glean little bits of news about upcoming events from the editor's responses. Plus, for a while back there, I was quite the letterhack myself. I think I have somewhere around a dozen or more letters published in various comics, from Marvel to DC to indy titles.

But a few years back, the letters page as we knew them ceased to exist in most mainstream books. DC did away with them entirely across their whole line of books, much to the chagrin of longtime fans. Marvel still seems to have a letters page, although if the recent one that I looked at is any indication of their content across the various books, they might as well kill it too.

See, what I liked about the letters pages (at least, the good ones) was the balanced approach in presenting positive and negative missives. Now obviously the editors would skew towards positive letters, which is their prerogative. But I remember that they would also present dissenting opinions from their readers as well, usually followed by an attempt to explain away the issue. Though other times they were content to just say "we're sorry you didn't like that particular issue, hopefully you're enjoying the current storyline."

But man, I was just scanning the letters page of Black Panther #2, and I don't think they could have gotten a bigger bunch of kiss-ass letters if they'd paid someone to write them fake positive reviews (Jeff Gannon style). Three letters, three gushing fountains of praise, with nary a negative comment. A sampling:
"...I wasn't expecting to be absolutely blown away, cover to cover."

"I am eagerly looking forward to the next issue."

"Another brilliant stroke in the series is..."
And my personal favorite:
"You guys are off to a great start! The setup is beautiful! I bought three copies!"
Yay, little fanboy, verily thou arst Marvel's wet dream and targeted demographic! And thine astounding use of the exclamation point! By Odin's beard, a magnificent show!

Cause, you know, there wasn't a single thing wrong with the first issue (or as we like to say in the corporate world, "areas for improvement"). Like the 21st century slang utilized in a 5th century African nation. Or the extremely decompressed story that went absolutely nowhere, especially for a first issue.

It's kind of like the Bush administration. They don't even try to hide the fact that they're out-and-out pandering to the lowest common denominator and manipulating the message.

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  Posted by Dara on 4/01/2005 04:33:00 PM :


Your political moment of the day

Actually, from a few days ago, but I just read about it today. "List of Schiavo Donors Will Be Sold by Direct-Marketing Firm."
"Privacy experts said the sale of the list was legal and even predictable, if ghoulish.

"I think it's amusing," said Robert Gellman, a privacy and information policy consultant. "I think it's absolutely classic America. Everything is for sale in America, every type of personal information."

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  Posted by Dara on 4/01/2005 01:56:00 PM :


More comics reviews in the Alive

Props to J. Caleb Mozzocco for continuing to bring comics news and reviews to the Columbus masses through his regular Comics column in the Alive. In this week's issue, he covers the James Jean art book Process Recess: The Art of James Jean (AdHouse), Phil Jimenez's mini-series Otherworld (DC/Vertigo), and Lullaby (Image). From the James Jean review:
"The finished pieces are the creepy, evocative, beautiful mixture of monsters, tentacles and children you’ve seen elsewhere in his work, minus the superhero or fairytale icons. There’s even a spread on the materials he uses, further evidence that the audience that will appreciate the book most are other artists, among whom Jean has no shortage of fans."

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  Posted by Dara on 4/01/2005 01:51:00 PM :


More Sin City stuff

For those of you not already sick to death of hearing about this flick. Anyway, here's Slate's movie critic, David Edelstein, raving about it:
"Sin City is just distanced enough to be an art object. One car-ride sequence, directed by Rodriguez's pal Quentin Tarantino, is a little jewel of camera movement, lighting, and design. The raindrops are white—it's a painterly deluge. Sin City isn't quite as fascinating to look at as last year's Deco museum Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, but it's so much more kinetic and pulse-quickening. Rodriguez doesn't just transplant Miller's frames. He celebrates, even fetishizes them. The images seem dredged up from the collective unconscious of graphic-novel freaks. It seems pointless to tut-tut over the depravity. Sin City is like a must-have coffee-table book for your interior torture chamber."

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  Posted by Tony on 4/01/2005 09:58:00 AM :


Sin City

Caught a sneak preview of this last night and I’m still reeling. The human brain isn’t designed to handle that much kick-ass-ness in one sitting.

Sin City is ridiculously faithful to the comics, down to the point where I could sing along with the dialogue. That’s really its only drawback.

There are some actions that work well on a comic page but look silly when done in real life. Other lines of dialogue, in the mouths of real actors, turn into unintentional comedy. Mashing up "Sin City," "The Big Fat Kill" and "That Yellow Bastard" makes it too obvious they're basically variations on the same story. And the science of prosthetic makeup hasn’t advanced far enough to bring us an animatronic Mickey Rourke.

None of that matters, though. Sometimes you gotta do it quick and quiet, and sometimes you gotta do it loud and messy. And sometimes the only way to stand up for your friends is by killing a whole lot of people.

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