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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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 1/31/2006 10:41:00 PM :

      

ACT-I-VATE
In a truly bizarre LJ campaign that comprized of photos w/ these guys shirt's off, I assume they're launching a new webcomics enterprize. One panel images in a field of red sporting 'ACT-I-VATE' in big lettering have been appearing for a while now on livejournal thru their individual journals. An impressive collaborative of indie creators if that's the case. Only tommorow will tell. See all the glory of ACT-I-VATE!!


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  Posted by Tom on 1/31/2006 07:56:00 PM :

      

Stoopid Alito!! Awww hell, time to kick back.
Fun lil' drinking game for tonight's festivities. Or in my case (or Andy's) we'll substitute a vernor's or mountain dew.

(courtesy of commondreams.org)


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  Posted by Tom on 1/31/2006 07:47:00 PM :

      

*Almost makes me wish I lived in Virginia...

Word on the street is that there will be a decent sized book signing up in Richmond, VA. The event will be from 2-5 on February 11th. Creators appearing will be Brian Wood, Becky Cloonan, Ryan Kelly (maaaaybe), Farel Darymple, Jim Rugg, Tom Scioli, and the cats from Teenagers from Mars (Rob G & Rick Spears)

For street direction or info:

Velocity Comics

818 West Grace Street
Richmond, VA 23220
ph. 804.726.6300

*actually after hearing the Virginia governor's rebutal to Bush's Union address, it's warming me to the thought of Virginia. Great speach by him.



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  Posted by Dara on 1/31/2006 04:35:00 PM :

      

Google map of great comic book stores

Dan Shahin of Hijinx comic book shop has started a Google Maps site to pinpoint cool comic book stores. I've submitted The Laughing Ogre info to him. Feel free to contact him with your favorite store, if it's not already on the list.

(via boingboing)


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Monday, January 30, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/30/2006 09:36:00 PM :

      

All-Star Superman review (or: I must be a crank)

Ok, let's just get this out in the open: I'm not a huge Grant Morrison fan. Yes, yes, I know, that clearly puts me in the minority of comic book fans, and especially comic book fans with blogs. And it's not that I haven't enjoyed any of his writing. I absolutely loved his Doom Patrol. But just about everything I've sampled from him since then, from Arkham Asylum to the 7 Soldiers of Victory, has failed to really excite me. They're all well written and a cut above the average comic, but too often come across as pretentious or needlessly hyped.

And so it is with All-Star Superman. I read the first two issues back to back. I enjoyed Frank Quitely's artwork in them, especially the sublime cover on issue #1. I enjoyed Grant's crazy ideas, especially the ones lobbed at us at breakneck speed in issue #2. But overall, I'm still left with a feeling of "yeah, it's interesting and all, but...eh."



Sorry, I know that's not a very deep observation, but that's really how I feel about this book. It captures the "wow, gosh!" factor of Superman on an intellectual level, but completely fizzles out on a...well, superhero level.

I mean, I'm not one for mindless superhero slugfests, but come on. This is friggin' Superman. 2 issues in, 44 pages of story, and he throws a punch in, like, 2 panels? His epic battle is with...degenerative cell tissue? Look, I appreciate that he's an intelligent hero. A hero with heart. Not a musclebound moron. But if you're making the quintessential Superman book (that is the purpose of the All-Star line of books, right?) shouldn't you show this godlike being at least occasionally duking it out with equally godlike beings/monsters/threats/events?

As for the cinematic (or "widescreen," take your pick) approach to storytelling, I'll admit that it's used quite effectively by Morrison and Quitely to portray the grandeur and larger-than-life essence of Superman. But at the end of the day, for $3 a pop and only 22 pages of story, I need a little more. It's not the same excruciatingly painful "decompressed" storytelling plaguing so many other comics these days, but it's not enough to keep me around either.

Or maybe I'm just a square who doesn't "get" Morrison.


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  Posted by T.McClurg on 1/30/2006 06:38:00 PM :

      

Get your summer reading on, bitches...

I'm about as giddy as a school girl. I'm one of the freaks that LOVED summer reading assignments. Christ, was I well-rounded. Check out this link for the comicy goodness of Penguin's 2006 cover redesigns for some much loved/hated classics. I can't wait for summer break!!




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  Posted by Dara on 1/30/2006 07:54:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

You all know the deal: I feature a page of art from the early career of some of today's big name comic book artists, you use the comments section to guess who it is. This week, we're switching gears back to a pin-up page. And I think it may be a hard one again, we'll see.



(click image to galactusize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006)

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Sunday, January 29, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/29/2006 01:36:00 PM :

      

AA Weekend Covers

I think I'll continue with the "themed" Awesome and Ass covers. This weekend: Swamp Thing.

AWESOME

(click to enlarge)
Swamp Thing #157 (August 1995) by John Totleben.

Not a whole lot I can say about Totleben, other than he's one of the most amazing artists out there, period. Not only that, but he produced so many fantastically rendered covers, especially for Swamp Thing, that I could have picked from dozens and dozens of examples. This particular one, however, just stands out in its non-traditional color scheme and composition. I absolutely love Totleben's fusion of the Swamp Thing character with the traditional Green Man imagery.

ASS

(click to enlarge)
Swamp Thing #81 (December 1988) by Rick Veitch.

Rick Veitch had a great run on this title as writer, and even produced some great covers. But this one...um, not so much. Alas, this is what happens when a clearly non-mainstream book is forced into a company-wide superhero crossover event: Invasion. The horrific mood portrayed by the central image of a Abbey suffocating under a plastic cover is instantly negated by the brightly colored and cartoony alien hands. I suppose Veitch did the best he could with a company mandate, but this was an issue that clearly didn't need to exist. And when you have a series like this that boasted a veritable who's who of extraordinary cover artists, even an average cover is going to look lame by comparison.

(previous weeks: 12/3/2005, 12/11/2005, 12/17/2005, 12/25/2005, 1/7/2006, 1/15/2006, 1/22/2006)


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Saturday, January 28, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/28/2006 02:13:00 PM :

      

Gary Reed column at Komikwerks

I just saw this article penned by Gary Reed over at Komikwerks. In it, he describes how he got into comics as publisher of Caliber Comics. It's an interesting story, of which I'm sure Andy has a lot of knowledge. For one thing, I didn't know he had a master's degree in Biology. It's also interesting to hear him talk about the early days of McFarlane Toys, the Detroit convention scene, and other things.
"One of my customers also sold hand painted t-shirts at my store. When he asked me to look at a comic series he had been pushing for years, I was introduced to The Crow. Jim O’Barr was delivering parts at a auto dealership and when he showed the series to me, it was a bit rough in some spots."
Apparently this is a more or less regular column by him at the site. There are 3 more articles by him in the archives.


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Friday, January 27, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 1/27/2006 01:56:00 PM :

      

What Went Wrong: Lost in Space

Hey, I want a recurring blog item, too! So here it is: “What Went Wrong.”

As you may know, I often watch lousy or unknown movies just to see “what went wrong.” I usually rent these out of the library rather than paying green American money. It’s my hope that their failure will allow me to succeed in my own writing. This week: Lost in Space.

Lesson No. 1: Not all ideas are good ones. This movie’s a mess: It tries to cover environmental degradation, terrorism, hyperspace, time travel, cute aliens, evil alien spiders and the true meaning of friendship.

Lesson No. 2: Know your limitations. There’s no reason for this movie to be 130 minutes long. No reason.

Lesson No. 3: Know Matt LeBlanc’s limitations. Seriously, Heather Graham acts circles around him. Heather Graham.

Lesson No. 4: Always check the resume. Scribe Akiva Goldsman is also responsible for Batman: Forever and Batman & Robin. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Lesson No. 5: Step lightly. In the first 10 minutes it sets up Prof. Robinson as an absent father. This theme gets beaten to death all throughout the movie. By the time he finally gets around to showing Will some love, you wish they’d all just get lost.


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Thursday, January 26, 2006
 
  Posted by T.McClurg on 1/26/2006 08:48:00 PM :

      

Making of Copper...

There is a pretty cool "making of" Copper curtesy of Kazu Kibuishi over at Boltcity. This is one of my favorite web ditties...quite the treat for the eyes. Then again, what do I know...I dig Kochalka.

Check out Kazu's process here.



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  Posted by Dara on 1/26/2006 08:16:00 AM :

      

Joe Sacco comic in The Guardian

Comics journalist Joe Sacco has an 8 page comic in the British newspapaer The Guardian about two Iraqis currently suing Donald Rumsfeld relating to charges of torture.

(via boingboing)


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Wednesday, January 25, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 1/25/2006 08:07:00 PM :

      

Coop's Log..

*WARNING! Definetely not work-friendly. I will refrain from adding an image because I can't stress 'non work-friendly' enough. If you're familiar with Coop, you know what I mean.

Completely forgot how I came across this but I found his blog. Not a huge follower of his work but he's posting work-in-progress reports- affectionately called 'Paintblogging'. It's facinating for me to see how artists go about producing their work. You really get a sence of the size he works at and how he goes about crafting these. While I hate most pop-art, Coop seems to have a genuine affection for comics. Still he's come to that annoying Pop-Art phase where one throws their style in a blender.


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  Posted by Dara on 1/25/2006 12:21:00 PM :

      

Odds and Ends

A couple of quick links to throw on the blog on my lunch break...

  • Disaffected! - A free game from Persuasive Games, the description reads: "A videogame parody of the Kinko’s copy store, a source of frustration from its patrons. Disaffected! puts the player in the role of employees forced to service customers under the particular incompetences common to a Kinko’s store. From a new series of persuasive games we call anti- advergames." Tom, I think this is for you!

  • From the "Jargon Watch" section of Wired magazine, December 2005: "Weblogistan - n. The Iranian blogosphere, where activists go to vent anonymously in the face of Iran's oppressive regime. Weblogistan is now so vast that Persian is the fourth most widely used language on blogs."

  • The Flash, from TV to comics - Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, the producers/writers of the 1990 live-action The Flash TV show, will be the new writers on The Flash comic. I have to say, I have fond memories of that show, even though it only lasted a year and had some heavy-handed Howard Chaykin episodes in the mix.


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  Posted by T.McClurg on 1/25/2006 12:00:00 PM :

      

Because he's that good....

This month's Wired has a multi-page feature on Paul Pope's upcoming Batman 100. It's extra pretty in Wired's newish super-glossy format. You can read it online starting the 31st of January. Now, if I can figure out why Wired still sends me their rag every month I'll be all set.




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Tuesday, January 24, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/24/2006 01:54:00 PM :

      

Just for fun

haven't put up one of these cover remixes in a while, so here you go.



(disclaimer: not my work, found at somethingawful.com)


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Monday, January 23, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/23/2006 08:12:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Another Monday, another page of art from the early career of some of today's big name comic book artists. Although this week's page probably doesn't fit the mold exactly. The artist in question is known, but isn't exactly a household name. He has worked with some big name writers, though. It may be a hard one. If nobody comes close in their guess, I'll drop a few hints later on.



(click image for large creepiness)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006)

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Sunday, January 22, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/22/2006 02:19:00 PM :

      

AA Weekend Covers

Another weekend, another themed edition of Awesome and Ass covers. This post is dedicated to my main man, Andy Bennett. That's right, folks, it's a very special Moon Knight episode of AA Weekend Covers!

AWESOME

(click to enlarge)
Moon Knight #6 (vol. 2) (December 1985) by Bill Sienkiewicz.

For me, Moon Knight will always be associated with the fantastic artwork of Bill "The Thrill" Sienkiewicz. It's the title where he refined his style from a Neal Adams clone to the highly distinctive and stylized form we now know and love. Plus, he experimented with fully painted covers. I love the completely subdued color palette of this one. It might as well have been a black and white illustration. It captures the essence of a cold winter night, at once peaceful and ominous.

ASS

(click to enlarge)
Marc Spector: Moon Knight #57 (December 1993) by Stephen Platt.

What happens when you combine the worst exaggerated cartoony features of Todd McFarlane's art with the worst anatomy mistakes of Rob Liefeld? Stephen Platt, my friends. And this guy was hot, hot, hot! The kids back then sure loved them the craptacular rip-off artists. Allow me to point out Spider-man's thigh-tumor, and Moon Knight's...hell, I'm not even sure how to describe his anatomy. Um, marshmallow-like? Lard-filled-balloon? Helium-ragdoll? And if I'm not mistaken, he only has 4 fingers (like those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!) and a belt that looks like a giant metal wok on a ring. Does it come as a surprise to anyone that this gem of a book comes from the 90s, aka the dark ages of modern comics?

(previous weeks: 12/3/2005, 12/11/2005, 12/17/2005, 12/25/2005, 1/7/2006, 1/15/2006)


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  Posted by Dara on 1/22/2006 01:37:00 PM :

      

Tom Judd's "Everyday"

British artist Tom Judd decided to keep a sketch diary for an entire year, drawing a page every day.
""365 PAGES AGO I HAD A VERY SILLY IDEA. Draw a page everyday for one year. Each day I spent around 1 hour on the page, sometimes more, sometimes less. There was never any planning or preparation, I would just go at it whenever I had a spare moment in my day and had something I needed to write or draw. Some of the drawings are observational and some are just plain weird.
You can view the whole thing on his website.



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Saturday, January 21, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 1/21/2006 12:30:00 PM :

      



Here be the final mock up for S.P.B.:Rise! My first Satanic Paperboy comic in quite a while. Expect drunken fights with unicorns, and other balls-out wierdness. This vessel will collect the webcomic that I'll be launching soon. I'll have some copies available by April.


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  Posted by Dara on 1/21/2006 11:00:00 AM :

      

Looking for a creative job?

This is for our readers in Columbus or the Central Ohio area. Columbus Alive, the free alt weekly newspaper, is looking for the following positions:

Reporter
Graphic Designer
Photographer

More info on page 19 of this week's issue, or online here.

In other news, here's the Alive's list of Top 10 selling comics for this week, as reported by The Laughing Ogre:

1. JLA #125
2. Ultimate Extinction #1
3. Ultimate X-Men #66
4. X-Men: The 198 #1
5. Fables #45
6. Desolation Jones #5
7. Son of M
8. Ghost Rider #5
9. DMZ #3
10. Exiles #75


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Friday, January 20, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 1/20/2006 06:50:00 PM :

      


The newly refurbished Art School Confidential Site just went up. A movie Steve, the Tims (Fisher & McClurg), Andy and I can relate to. (maybe too well) No trailer yet but worth it for the opening site animation. Comedy will insue in April which means that it'll hit Cowlumbus in June.

(I blanked there fellas, group hug!?)


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  Posted by Dara on 1/20/2006 03:38:00 PM :

      

Lost theories

You kids like that Golden Globe winner show, Lost? How about that funny show, The Office? Then this is right up your alley:
"Many, many people have written replies to my blogs. Literally TENS of people from all over the country. Some girls have even included their email addresses and expressed an interest in getting to know "Dwight" better in a romantic sense.

[note: I was directed to let all the ladies know that "Dwight" is off the market. L (sad face)]

But no one, NO ONE!, has ever thought to ask "Dwight" what his theories were on the mysteries of the show "Lost."

Watch and learn:"
Funny stuff.



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Thursday, January 19, 2006
 
  Posted by Craig on 1/19/2006 11:33:00 AM :

      

Highlights from my Grandmother's funeral last weekend:

My grandparents lived in Conneaut, OH, located at about the very northeastern tip of the state. Many years ago the place was a booming railroad town, until the railroad disappeared and the town went belly up. The city now looks like one of those places where the factory that employed everybody living there moved its operations to another country, leaving the place to rot. My wife and brother and I were not optimistic about finding a decent place to eat (and avoid much of the rest of the family) until we saw a flyer in the lobby of Conneaut's only hotel advertising an Indian restaurant. An Indian restaurant! We were so very excited-- until I found the address for the place was in New York. The closest good restaurant, only two states away.

"The Guilt Rose": Because of a number of upheavals in our own lives, my wife and I were unable to make it up to Lake Erie to visit after our daughter was born seven months ago. We felt bad enough about this as it was, but my aunt made a point of telling EVERYBODY about it as we were introduced ("and this is the Great-Granddaughter she always asked about but never got to see..."). She wasn't being malicious, just very, very stupid. At the viewing, my aunt pointed out a rose clutched in my dead grandmother's hand, which she told us represented our baby (all together: "the great-grandbaby she never got to see..."). At the conclusion of the funeral service, she approached us and presented us with the flower, plucked from Gran'ma's hands. It even had a ribbon on it saying "Great Grandma." My wife left the room in tears. Thanks, auntie.

My Grandfather (who preceeded his wife away from the mortal coil a few years ago) was a Mason, and my Grandmother was a member of some sort of sister organization called the Order of the Eastern Star or somesuch. At the conclusion of the viewing, some ladies from the cult lined up in front of the casket to address the crowd. "We have come here tonight to honor the memory of our dear friend, er... What was her name?"

We really should do this more often.


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  Posted by Dara on 1/19/2006 09:22:00 AM :

      

New Derek Kirk Kim online comic

The uber-talented Derek Kirk Kim has launched a weekly free webcomic called Healing Hands. You can read it here. I believe the way it works is he adds a new panel each day.

Sweet.


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  Posted by Craig on 1/19/2006 09:14:00 AM :

      

Here's hoping this one hasn't been mentioned here before: an interesting article about Superman's anti-KKK activities in the 1940's:

Some cool history about anti-Klan espionage finding it's way into the Superman radio show, particularly the bit about Superman casing Klan headquarters. The writer goes on to make some comments about modern comics in general which suggest he hasn't read many lately.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/18/2006 08:15:00 PM :

      

Ferret Central Presents: A "WTF?" Comic Cover Moment

So I've featured a lot of Elementals covers and art pages for the various features I do on this blog. In the spirit of keeping the trend alive, and to coincide with the latest drama surrounding Saddam Hussein's trial in Iraq, here's a weird cover from May of 1991:

(clicky click to enlarge)

That's right, superheroes beating up Saddam, as rendered by Adam Hughes! Only in comics, my friends, only in comics.


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  Posted by Tom on 1/18/2006 07:50:00 PM :

      



So I finally finished Roadstrips which was a bit of an ordeal to start out with. I first spied this book on Phoebe Gloeckner's table at SNAP!. Once I drummed up enough con money to go back and buy it all of her books were in the van. This was a good hour before the show ended!? Her and her class were all still there at the table. Puzzled by this behavior, I let it go.

'If you're anything like some people, when you think of NEVADA, you think of
WHORES.'- P. Gloeckner.

A couple months later I saw the book at the library and checked it out. It's passable as far as anthologies go. No suprizes as all of the contributors were well established creators/ cartoonists already. I'd probably wait to buy it till I saw it on one of the contributors tables. Some of my favorites were Abel, Porcellino, Cendreda, Kelso, Knight, Kindt, Tommaso's. Gloeckner scored the most memorable opening line in recent memory (see above) but I miss the charm of her drawing. I was somewhat disappointed to hear that she's abandoned drawing for photo-collage. I can see why she would persue this as her work can be voyeuristic at times. Well, all the time really. These stories work so much better when she reads them in person (as she did at SNAP!). Because when one reads the same strip at home the human element is gone. Photo comics are sort of an oxymoron as they don't really... work. An interesting experiment but I have yet to see someone pull off the same emotion/movement you get from an expressive line rendering or painting. It's like all the air is sucked out of the room and the characters can't breath. To see one strip done like that in a sea of 'traditional' work is too jolting. If it was any longer than two pages, I would of had to of read it last.

I suppose I feel the same way about photography in general. Sometimes when I see a photography exhibit I wanna scream. I get this closterphobic feeling and want to leave the room.



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  Posted by Dara on 1/18/2006 09:46:00 AM :

      

Attention mini-comic creators: Isotope Award

"SAN FRANCISCO (February 9th, 2005) Acclaimed San Francisco comics retailer James Sime, proprietor of Isotope - the comic book lounge, announced today that submissions for the much-celebrated 2005 Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics will be accepted until March 15th at midnight. "Alright mini-comic creators, it's time to fire up your printers and copy machines again," said Sime, "And it's time to score yourself some of the gold and the glory that is the third annual Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics!"
For more details, go here.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 1/17/2006 06:05:00 PM :

      



Great, more internet idling..

I discovered this guy's (Jeremy Forson) work courtesy of Drawn! - a artists group, of which Jay Stephens is a regular contributor, run a blog out of Canada (I think) Which tipped me off on art blogs run by James Jean and Ashley Wood. Also the latest indie publisher to blog- Top Shelf has started one.

Other points of interest- Fanta's FLOG and Oni Press' reformated Buzz section.


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Monday, January 16, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 1/16/2006 11:55:00 AM :

      

Horrors of War

I saw a miracle on Saturday -- a pretty good, locally produced horror movie.

It’s called “Horrors of War” and it was directed by our friend Peter John Ross and John Whitney. Phillip Garrett also produces. And it involves a cast of dozens.

“Horrors of War” is about a group of American soldiers in WWII who run into werewolves and Nazi zombie super-soldiers. The zombies and werewolves seemed to be unrelated.

Several times I forgot I was watching an independent movie. Many of the actors were first-rate, especially lead actor Jon Osbeck. I recognized at least two players from 2Co’s Cabaret. They lined up several WWII reenactors and got some authentic Nazi hardware, including a working armored car.

The special effects were pretty good. They found someone to make CGI bombers and fighter planes -- they weren’t quite photorealistic, but they were good enough that they didn’t take me out of the picture. The makeup effects were competent, although they didn’t always hold up to strong lighting.

It definitely wasn’t perfect. There were some bits of unintentional comedy, the opening sequence confused me, and the werewolf/zombie battle at the end was a little unrealized. The actors seemed a little well-fed for WWI-era troops.

But I didn’t think about those faults until the next day. While I was watching, I was just entertained. They said they were hoping to get it placed on the Sci-Fi channel, and I could totally see it happening.

For more information, check out http://www.horrorsofwarmovie.com/ And maybe you’ll see it on Sci-Fi someday, right before “Mansquito.”

And in other news, the next “Look at my Shorts” film festival is Feb. 26 at the Screens at the Continent.

http://lookatmyshorts.sonnyboo.com/main.html


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  Posted by Dara on 1/16/2006 09:03:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Welcome to another episode of our weekly feature, where we look at a piece of artwork from the early career of some of today's big name comic book artists." As always, use the comments section to share your guess:



(click image for teh romance)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006)

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Sunday, January 15, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/15/2006 09:41:00 AM :

      

AA Weekend Covers

I kinda liked having a theme for this feature last week, so this weekend the theme will be The Elementals. After all, they've made a lot of appearances in our other weekly feature (Monday Morning Guess the Artist,) so why not here? So here we go, two covers: one that's pretty Awesome, and another that's just Ass.

AWESOME

(click to enlarge)
Elementals #6 (August 1989) by Bill Willingham.

Not a masterpiece of draftsmanship or intricate design. True. But for sheer visual impact, this is one heck of a kick-to-the-head cover. This bad boy will definitely catch your eye amidst the other 100 superhero slugfest covers on the racks and make you say "WTF? Why is she..." And that's what a cover is supposed to do, right?

ASS (no pun intended)

(click to enlarge)
Elemental's Sexy Lingerie Special #1 (January 1993) by Tony Akins.

Ah, the 90s. Arguably the lowest point for modern comics. Due to serious creative difference with the shitty management of Comico, Willingham ended up selling the rights to his book to Comico and walking away disgusted. After his departure, this once innovative book became yet another cog in the Image-wannabe, bad girl crap machine that was the 90s. Aside from the grammatically incorrect title, this "special" suffers from the same malady that afflicted so many other "sexy" wank-off books of the time: namely, that they weren't sexy at all. Fathom is inexplicably drawn like an Asian, with Olive Oyl's toothpick legs, J-Lo's ass, and a second-rate porn star's rack. Then there's the combination of a 2 inch waist leading to what looks like a belly pouch on Morningstar...ugh. And what's up with the hideous psychedelic patterns and colors on the background junk? Yeah, that's sexy...in Bizarro world!

(previous weeks: 12/3/2005, 12/11/2005, 12/17/2005, 12/25/2005, 1/7/2006)


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Saturday, January 14, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 1/14/2006 06:50:00 PM :

      



Land of a Thousand Gordons...

I know how the fanboys like their superheroes regurgitated. If you thought the new Spiderman costume would of sent you into a seizure check out these...

<<>


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  Posted by Dara on 1/14/2006 02:24:00 PM :

      

Your song lyric of the day
"Well politicians got lipstick on the colla',
the whole media started to holla',
but I don't give a f*** who they're screwin' in private,
I wanna know who they're screwin' in public"
From the Michael Franti & Spearhead song "Oh My God" on the CD "Stay Human".

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  Posted by Dara on 1/14/2006 02:07:00 PM :

      

Massive blogroll cleanup and update

If you look down the left panel, you'll see that I did a major cleanup of the blogroll list. There's now a separate section for blogs by comic pros, new additions to the comics blog list, and a preliminary list of webcomic links. I also removed a whole bunch of dead and stale links.

So go on, click and explore!


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  Posted by Dara on 1/14/2006 12:13:00 PM :

      

Lifelike script: "Repair" artwork

Shom Bhuiya's artwork for page 2 of my webcomic story, "Repair"



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  Posted by Dara on 1/14/2006 12:12:00 PM :

      

Lifelike script: "Repair" page 5

And here's the final page of the story. Scroll up for a look at Shom's art for page 1 of the story...

---

Suggested Panel layout: 2x2x1

Panel 1: Jim helps Ruby up to her feet.

Jim: Don't mention it. Here, let me give you a hand.

Ruby: Thanks. I'm afraid my knees aren't what they used to be.

Panel 2: Jim is now holding the door open for her.

Jim: Happens to the best of us. Here we go, my car's just out front.

Panel 3: Exterior. Parking lot next to auto repair shop. Shot of Jim and Ruby walking towards us. Jim's head is turned a bit towards Ruby, studying her expression. Ruby is looking straight ahead, a serene smile on her face.

Panel 4: Same shot as previous panel, except now Jim is facing ahead as well, and smiling to himself.

Panel 5: High angle shot of the two walking to Jim's parked car. The panel is dominated by the busy street corner and buildings, etc. as established on the first page.

Jim: So tell me about your grand sons. Twins, right?

Ruby (font size gets smaller and trails off towards end): Oh yes, such adorable little boys. Sam and Jack. They look just like Michael. Have his mannerisms too. Well, at least Sam does. Jack is more of the bookworm type. He called me up the other night to tell me all about this book he got on...

END.


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Friday, January 13, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/13/2006 04:29:00 PM :

      

Threadless

Saw this cool new t-shirt design over at Threadless:



While you're there, browse some of the other funky shirts. And if you're an illustrator (*cough* *cough* Tom and Matt *cogh*) check out their design contest. You could win $1000.


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  Posted by Tony on 1/13/2006 04:21:00 PM :

      

Not your typical pet peeve

One phrase that always irritates me is "not your typical superhero comic."

This phrase is usually deployed by creators who feel their comic book is better than everything else being published. It implies the characters within the book are facing real-life problems, or the book is more "character-driven" than most other books out there. It is usually, but not always, used by first-time creators.

1) There's no such thing as a character-driven story. Characters should drive plots and vice-versa. A story with no plot isn't a story. A story with no characters is porn. There are only good stories and bad stories.

2) It is true that many comics are light on characterization, but it takes a pretty strong ego to declare yours are better than everyone else's.

3) There's nothing innovative about characterization. Stan Lee was giving his characters real-life problems back in the 1960s, true believers. Characterization ought to come standard, and is certainly nothing to brag about.

4) The phrase (to me at least) implies a certain disdain for comics. If you'd be happier doing some other genre, you're certainly free to do so. If you don't care about superhero comics, why should I (as the reader) care about yours?

Please don't read this as an endorsement of all-fight, all-the-time comics. I think we should absolutely strive to create entertaining comics with fully drawn characters -- I'd just like it without the condescension.


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  Posted by Dara on 1/13/2006 08:26:00 AM :

      

Lifelike script: "Repair" page 5

I'll post the artwork from one of the pages tomorrow...

---

Suggested Panel layout: 3x1x2

Panel 1: Medium shot of Ruby sitting in her chair.

Panel 2: Medium shot of Jim looking out through the one-way mirror.

Panel 3: Close up of Jim's hand on the doorknob.

Panel 4: Wide panel. We're in the waiting room with Ruby as Jim walks in through the door in the background. She's a bit startled by his call.

Jim: Hey, Ruby?

Ruby: Oh! Yes, dear?

Jim: Listen, I was thinking...


Panel 5: Focus on Jim, as he smiles warmly. (dialogue-heavy panel)

Jim: ...since the repairs are going to take a long time, and I'd hate for you to have to wait here, why don't I give you a lift back home?


Panel 6: Two-shot, as Jim is standing close to Ruby's chair, making his offer. She's looking up at him, smiling. (dialogue-heavy panel)

Ruby: Are you sure? I don't want to be a bother, dear.

Jim: Oh no, it's no problem at all. And I can come get you when your car's all ready.

Ruby: Well, that's very kind of you.


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Thursday, January 12, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/12/2006 09:28:00 PM :

      

Matt Kish, superfly porn star

Check out the por star mustache on Mr. Kish!



Unfortunately, Matt's lovely wife Ione won't let him keep the sweet 'stache. So I figured I'd memorialize it here on the blog.

By the way, if any of you fine folks out there aren't familiar with Matt's quirky and insanely inventive artwork and comix, you should definitely check out his site: Spudd 64. Good stuff, trust me.


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  Posted by Dara on 1/12/2006 06:13:00 PM :

      

Lifelike script: "Repair" page 4

Suggested Panel layout: 3x1 (silent page)

Panel 1: Medium shot of Jim as he turns back towards the one-way mirror that looks out into the waiting area.

Panel 2: Shot of him walking over to the mirror.

Panel 3: Shot of him looking through. Not sure what the best angle would be here…from behind and to the side of his head?

Panel 4: Large widescreen panel showing the waiting area, with Ruby sitting silently by herself in one corner (same pose as in page 2, panel 6). Again, this panel should evoke a deep sense of isolation and loneliness.

Optional Panel 5: Your choice, perhaps it would help to establish the mood more if we have a small inset panel at this point, depicting a close up of Ruby’s face. Her expression is blank, or a bit melancholy.


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  Posted by Dara on 1/12/2006 02:35:00 PM :

      

Marvel Essentials series

Of all place, The Onion's A.V. Club chimes in with their pick of the 10 Essential Volumes Of The Marvel Essentials Series. Matt will be happy to know that the Essential Silver Surfer Vol. 1 makes the list.
"Where first-wave Marvel heroes like Daredevil, The X-Men, Iron Man, and Hulk (all of whom have their own fine Essentials volumes) were flawed conformists, forced from the mainstream by their respective afflictions, The Silver Surfer was more of a cultural outsider, bound to this world against his will. Stan Lee was at his overwrought worst in a lot of the stories collected in this volume, but John Buscema's art is dynamic and poignant, capturing the dilemma of a peaceful creature forced into action by the petty concerns of thankless humanity. No wonder the hippies dug him so."


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  Posted by Dara on 1/12/2006 10:46:00 AM :

      

Yet another print comic moves to the web

From a press release spotted at The Pulse:
"Scott Christian Sava’s acclaimed The Dreamland Chronicles moves to its very own website this month...Single issues of The Dreamland Chronicles will no longer be published, but as each story arc ends, they will be released in collected volumes."
Another indy comics moves to the "webcomic first, collected print edition later" business model. I like that. I think this will definitely be the trend, as publishing costs and the sad, sad state of the comics market (and the Diamond monopoly) all work against new indy titles. At least this way creators can finish their story, build an audience, and maybe even sell some books, all without going broke.


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  Posted by Dara on 1/12/2006 10:24:00 AM :

      

Yeay Yeah Yeah Wow - Japanese Spider-man show

Check out these sweet clips from the 1978 Japanese live-action Spider-man TV show. Talk about campy! Spidey has a rocket shaped car, a giant robot that he flies in, and allies like a Japanese mariachi player with a machine gun guitar. Trippy!



(via BeaucoupKevin)


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Wednesday, January 11, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/11/2006 08:31:00 AM :

      

Lifelike script: "Repair" page 3

Suggested Panel layout: 2x2x2

Panel 1: We follow Jim back in the garage area. In this panel, he's walking while looking down at his clipboard and almost runs into Dan. (dialogue-heavy panel)

Jim: Jeez, that lady can talk the ear off a --

Jim: Whoa, sorry Dan.

Dan: No worries, boss. So is that the Ruby woman I've heard so much about?


Panel 2: Focus on Jim, looking exhausted from his bout with Ruby.

Jim: Yeah. She's a really nice lady, but man is she a talker.


Panel 3: Focus on Dan, as he starts talking about Ruby's car, a 1964 Buick Wildcat convertible. He's clearly excited to be working on such a cool “classic” car.

Dan: Yeah man, but what a sweet ride she's got. '64 Buick Wildcat, custom hardtop, 401 cid V8, white on white. What I wouldn't give for a car like that.


Panel 4: Another two-shot of Jim and Dan. Jim's looking rather nostalgic as he explains that the car used to belong to Ruby's now-deceased husband. Dan makes a smart-ass comment.

Jim: Yeah, it belonged to her husband, who passed away three years ago. He'd been bringing it here since the early 70s, back when my pop owned the place.

Dan: Too bad it's now a granny mobile. Wonder if she talks to the car as much as she yaks to everyone else. Wouldn't be surprised if she was going senile.


Panel 5: Head shots of the two conversing. Jim looks a bit annoyed at Dan's rude comment about Ruby. Dan doesn't seem to catch on to the fact that even though Jim can get frustrated with Ruby, he still has a soft spot in his heart for the old lady.

Jim: No, she's really a nice lady. It's just hard for her, you know, what with her husband gone and the kids busy with their own lives.

Dan: Uh huh. Well, I'm just psyched about getting my hands on that car. See ya later.


Panel 6: Focus on Jim. He looks melancholy, a distant look in his eyes as he suddenly feels guilty about the way he treated Ruby earlier.

Jim: Yeah, ok.

Jim: Later.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/10/2006 11:59:00 PM :

      

Lifelike script: "Repair" art

As promised, here's a look at artist Shom Bhuiya's character designs for the Lifelike script I'm serializing:





I'll post a first look at the art for page 1 later in the week.


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  Posted by Tom on 1/10/2006 09:57:00 PM :

      

I'm enjoying my new membership at Livejournal. While myspace was an addiction for a while, I was bummed out that blogging wasn't really hoppin' on the site. With LJ people actually write about whatever's on their mind. In some cases (such as artists) you get to see sketchbook pages and works in progress. For the comic's fan it goes more in depth with the creator as the creator is the blogger. I'm planning on integrating it into my website. You get not only the LJ audience but similar formatting offerings to blogger. The lock thread feature works better than myspace. It's been annoying trying to update my site and pasting in the haloscan code in every entry. I'm somewhat web savvy but still have a long way to go. The live-feed scenario I'm still learning about as my webcomic venture hinges on that too.

Here's something that popped up on LJ the other day..

Mini-distro in the UK?

It went up in three communities on Livejournal today. 'I Bent my Wookie' distro is offering to help distro mini-comics in the UK. Read on...


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  Posted by Dara on 1/10/2006 06:33:00 PM :

      

Lifelike script: "Repair" page 2

Continuing with the serialization of one of my upcoming stories in Lifelike...

---
Suggested Panel layout: 2x2x2

Panel 1: Pull in closer for another two-shot of Jim and Ruby. She's still rambling on, smiling and pleasant, but we can tell by Jim's expression that he's starting to get a bit frustrated that he can't get a word in edgewise. (dialogue-heavy panel)

Ruby: And with my Michael gone, I just don't have anyone else to rely on. And to think they had to move to Los Angeles. No place to raise a family, you ask me.

Jim: I'm sure they'll be fine. Now, about the --

Ruby: I mean, I'm happy for him. He works hard and deserves that promotion. Not like my son in law. Poor Linda is supporting both of them while he's out trying to become an artist or something.


Panel 2: Focus on Jim, trying to force a smile. He's trying not to be rude to Ruby, but at the same time he's trying to cut her off and get back to his work.

Jim: I see. Well, maybe I can see if the guys can speed things up a bit on your car.


Panel 3: Medium shot of the two as Jim leads Ruby towards the waiting area.

Ruby: Well, bless your heart, Jim. But no need to rush on my account.

Jim: Don't mention it. Anyway, our waiting area isn't fancy, but we do have coffee and some magazines. And a TV.


Panel 4: Focus on Jim as he's walking away (heading towards the door behind the counter that leads back to the garage area). He's looking back over his shoulder at the camera.

Jim: I have to go and, um, check on the guys. I'll talk to you later, Ruby.


Panel 5: Shot of Ruby standing in the empty waiting room. She's holding her purse in one hand, and kinda staring blankly into space, as if she's lost or unsure what to do. In these last two panels, I'm going for a feeling of loneliness and isolation.


Panel 6: She has now taken a seat. She's sitting with her back straight, her legs together, and her purse (which she is clutching with both hands) sitting in her lap.


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Monday, January 09, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/09/2006 12:21:00 PM :

      

Lifelike script: "Repair" page 1

I haven't serialized one of my scripts in a while, so I figured why not. This is for an upcoming story for my webcomic. The working title is "Repair." I'll post some of the artwork by Shom Bhuiya tomorrow. C&C always welcomed.

---

Characters:

Ruby – sweet little old lady, Caucasian, perhaps in her late 60s or early 70s. She has an old-fashioned hairstyle, and wears conservative, plain clothes. Carrying an old purse, which she clutches with both hands and always keeps close to her.

Jim – average looking, stocky, blue collar looking guy in his early 40s. He is the auto repair shop owner. Jeans, work boots, t-shirt. Maybe a mustache?

Dan – minor character, one of the mechanics in the shop. Late 20s, goatee, earring, average build. Wearing standard mechanics overalls with an embroidered name tag.

Setting:

Exterior: Jim's Auto Shop, a non-descript auto repair shop building on an average street.

Interior: small waiting room of the auto repair shop. There are perhaps 4-5 chairs, a small coffee table with magazines, and a small TV in the corner on a stand. There's a counter along one of the walls, where Jim has his computer and phone and paperwork. On the wall behind the counter is a big window overlooking the garage area in the back, and a door leading there.

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, even adding or combining panels if you think it will help the storytelling.

Suggested Panel layout: 2x2x1

Panel 1: Exterior shot of Jim's auto shop. A sign proclaims its as Jim's Auto Repair and Body Shop.

Jim (OP): Hi Ruby, they told me out back that you were here. It’s good to see you again.

Panel 2: Interior of the shop. Shot of Ruby and Jim talking at the front counter. Jim’s holding a clipboard with the paperwork for the car repair on it. He is smiling as he greets Ruby, and from their conversation it’ll be clear that they’ve known each other for many years.

Ruby: Well, thank you dear. You know you’re the only ones I trust with my Harold’s car, God rest his soul.

Jim: We appreciate it. And how are the kids?

Panel 3: Focus on Ruby as she starts into one of the long, rambling answers. (dialogue-heavy panel)

Ruby: Bless the lord, they’re doing just fine. Michael got a promotion, did you know? Some kind of vice president or something. But they had to move out west, so I don’t get to see the little ones too often. I just don’t think Los Angeles is a proper city to raise kids in. All those gangs and shootings.

Ruby: Linda is still here, but that no good husband of hers won’t let her come visit me. I told her he was nothing but bad news, but she was never one to listen to me. And now she’s got some sort of feud with poor Michael. Not on speaking terms, she tells me. Back when they were kids they got along so well, always playing and --

Panel 4: Focus on Jim, as he cuts her off. He’s still smiling and pleasant, but he’s trying to steer the conversation back towards business and the repair details for Ruby’s car. He explains that the repair will take most day, and is asking if she has someone to give her a ride back home. (dialogue-heavy panel)

Jim: Yeah, family can sure drive you crazy sometimes.

Jim: Anyway, about your car, I’m afraid it’s going to take the better part of the day to do the repairs. Do you have someone that can take you home and drop you back off in the evening?

Panel 5: Pull back for a wide shot of the front counter/waiting area of the auto shop. Jim and Ruby carry on their conversation. (dialogue-heavy panel)

Ruby: No, I’m afraid not. Mrs. Pavlak from across the street was going to, but then she had to stay home to take care of her grand daughter. Poor girl has the flu, and apparently her parents can’t take any time off work. I’m not sure why they both have to work, anyway. You ask me, it’s just plain greed.

Jim: Well, sometimes people just --


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  Posted by Dara on 1/09/2006 08:58:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Welcome to another episode of "Guess the Artist". As always, use the comments section to share your guess:



(click image to Punisherize!)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006)

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Sunday, January 08, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/08/2006 08:32:00 AM :

      

More on digital comics

So remember a few weeks ago when I posted that link to 12 Gauge Comics' "reworking" of Body Bags to make it available as a download on iPod/iTunes? The topic came up for discussion on Digital Webbing as well, with the usual array of naysayers. Despite my better judgment, I tried to have a meaningful discussion about the subject, but message boards being what they are, I'm sure you can guess how successful I was. Still, this comment from one of the posters prompted me one last time to try and clarify my position:
"And comic book fans would rather read their wares in print, defeating the entire possibility of there being a market for this smut."
I should also mention that this person went on to say "this crap has failed miserably," amongst other bold predictions. Anyway, for what it's worth, here's my response:
"'Smut'? Gee, close-minded much?

Look, I'm not arguing that digital comics will replace print comics. I think the print comic will be around for a long time. And I'm glad because I love holding a paper comic in my hands and reading it. But, like it or not, everything is moving towards the digital format. And just because you may hate looking at info on a computer screen, it doesn't carry over to the larger population segment. Especially the much-cherished younger demographic. 10 years ago newspapers scoffed at the idea of people wanting to get their news on the Internet. Now, just look around and see how many hometown newspapers have folded. All the remaining ones have a robust online presence because they have to. Same with music, soon it will be the same with video, movies, etc. Audio books will never replace print books, but audio books have annual sales of close to 2 billion dollars! As a publisher of any form of entertainment, it would be long-term suicide not to look into the best way to profit from the digital medium. Unfortunately, this is a new area and lots of business ventures have failed, as you pointed out. But that's just the way business and entrepreneurship operates. Everyone reaches for the brass ring until someone find the profitable solution and establishes it as the new business model.

Anyway, back to the comics on iPod topic, looks like Clickwheel is open for business again. They have a selection of comics available for download, including the ubiquitous DJ Coffman. From their FAQ: 'Clickwheel will pay a monthly rate for its top 50 most-downloaded features, with bonuses for the top 10, and a few special commissions.'

Only time will tell if they can make it a profitable venture, but I for one am glad to see them trying. Let's not kid ourselves, the print comics industry is hurting, and hurting bad. We're stuck with a virtual distribution monopoly, indy books find it harder and harder to find a niche, and the big two are only interested in grooming and promoting their top tier books, with their profits coming more so from movie and licensing deals. We can limp along like this until we go the way of radio dramas and drive-in movie theaters, or we can innovate and reinvent and offer multiple delivery platforms."
It's not that I'm such a huge fan of this particular implementation of the digital comics idea, or that I think comics in iPods will be the future. I still think print comics offer the most reading/viewing pleasure. But I hate the close-minded attitude of so many people when it comes to this topic. And not just the "I prefer my comics in print form" attitude (that I can understand.) But rather the head-in-the-sand "the comics industry is doing just fine the way it is and we don't need any of this experimental crap, and yes, that's what all digital comics are: pure crap that's destined to fail" attitude. Ugh.


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Saturday, January 07, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/07/2006 11:52:00 AM :

      

AA Weekend Covers

Sorry about a lack of the AA feature last weekend. Too much stuff happening with the new year and all. Anyway, we're back on schedule this week with our Awesome and Ass cover feature. And this time, there's a theme: Aquaman.

AWESOME

(click to enlarge)
Aquaman #8 (September 2003) by Ethan van Sciver.

The reason I love this cover is because it's such a departure from your standard superhero covers. Not only do you not see the title character in costume in some sort of heroic pose, you barely even see him at all. Not being a marine biologist, I couldn't tell you how realistically the fish in this scene are drawn (and colored,) but the whole "camouflaged in his natural environment" concept is brilliantly executed.

ASS

(click to enlarge)
Aquaman #16 (January 1996) by Martin Egeland.

Ok, let's set aside the humdrum, seen-it-a-million-times-before composition of this cover. If it was just that, we'd say it's a boring cover and move on. But look at the anatomy in this illustration! What the heck is going on with Wonder Woman's thighs? And her waist looks like it's about as thick as my index finger. And Aquaman's musculature...eeew. Notice the Popeye/Bluto effect on his right hand.

(previous weeks: 12/3/2005, 12/11/2005, 12/17/2005, 12/25/2005)


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Friday, January 06, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/06/2006 11:19:00 AM :

      

Your political moment of the day

4 Reasons to Be Glad Bush Is Still President.

(via boingboing)


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  Posted by Dara on 1/06/2006 09:44:00 AM :

      

Insert own joke about virgins and comics

Saw this over at Newsarama. Not content with owning everything else in the world, Virgin brand owner and mega billionaire Richard Branson is starting a comics company as well:
"Branson has joined with Gotham Entertainment group, Deepak Chopra, and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur to launch Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation. The comics arm will be headquartered in New York, with the animation division located in Bangalore, India.

The content created by both groups (Virgin Comics and Animation) will, according to Variety, focus on Asia "as an area to inspire and create content and drive revenue, though the operation intends to reach a global audience." Properties developed will also be translated into full media properties across a wide line of products and media outlets."

*Update - more details in this article at The Pulse. Apparently John Woo is developing a comic for them as well.



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Thursday, January 05, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/05/2006 12:40:00 PM :

      

The Onion on superheroes

Always on target, The Onion presents their "The Best of the Worst of Everything" list. After covering the Bee Gees, the Sausage McGriddle, and Con Air, behold their take on one of our favorite topics:
"Superheroes

Joyless curmudgeons might hate them because: These spandex-wearing steroid cases have dominated the comics medium almost since its inception, to the extent that most people can't even hear the words "comic book" without picturing crudely illustrated, emotionally stunted, adolescent power fantasies.

But we love them because: When rendered simply, those power fantasies have real appeal, mostly for the way they hearken back to a kinder pop age. (Spend some time with the Showcase Presents: Superman collection to see how that simplicity can be transformed into near-surrealism.) Superheroes also represent a kind of modern American mythology, illustrating our evolving sense of what it means to be a hero.

At least we could claim: That the genre has spawned some remarkably artful deconstructions, by the likes of Alan Moore, Kurt Busiek, and even Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby way back in the day. Also, we've always thought The Flash was super-cool."
Extra points for using the cover of The Flash comic that proclaims "The Day Flash Weighed a 1000 Pounds!"


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  Posted by Dara on 1/05/2006 12:18:00 PM :

      

Frost Flowers

Comic Book Resources has an interesting 2-part interview with writer Mike Carey. In the second part, he talks a bit about a movie he's written, called Frost Flowers:
"It's in production with Hadaly and BlueStar Pictures. It's an erotic ghost story: it's about a man who has a near death experience. Not only can he see ghosts, which I guess is a cliché now, but he is being drawn more and more into the worlds of the dead, finding that he can interact physically with ghosts. He becomes romantically/sexually infatuated with a dead woman and has a relationship with her, which is consummated and she gets pregnant. That's really the central idea - this incredible breach of nature, with life being brought forth from death."
He also announces that Holly Hunter will be the lead actress. I have to say, it's an interesting premise. Hopefully the complete opposite in tone from Ghost.


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Wednesday, January 04, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 1/04/2006 07:12:00 PM :

      

This is about as close as one will get to some year end analysis on the comics industry. Thanks Beat. Once you get past the blatant self-promotion there's some real nuggets of information. An even mix of bitterness at Diamond, Graphic Novels steady assention, and indie's move to the internet. My fav was the Brian Hibbs bit. Here's some highlights-

From Brian Hibbs-

"You'd think that Diamond would be FUCKING PETRIFIED that 70-80% of their comics sales come from Marvel & DC, but virtually every policy and plan in place
inherently disfavors the growth of anyone other than the brokered publishers. You have to ask yourself why on earth Diamond takes an additional 3% discount on every non-brokered reorder. That's pretty insane, given the realities of the 21st century market!"

From Shane McCarthy-

"...biggest story would have to be the announcement of Jim and Frank working together on Batman followed by the even more important debate as to whether or not witnessing Vicki Vale's panties was entirely necessary. I haven't decided, I may need to look again."

From a tool that works for Diamond, Kuo-Yu Liang-
"At least one ''Big New York'' GN publishing program will fold and others will retreat. Publishers like Random House, Penguin, Houghton Mifflin, Holtzbrinck, Henry Holt and Scholastic will realize they can't make money in comics. They're too bloated and can't justify books selling less than 40,000 copies. Creators will be dissatisified by broken promises & lack of control. They're totally out of touch with what people want."


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  Posted by Tom on 1/04/2006 07:05:00 PM :

      


Paul Hornschemier's band The Arks has a new video up on their myspace page. Yes, Paul's in a band too. Can't vouch for what they sound like, I haven't been able to get my soundcard to work on my stinkin' computer. But their influences are promising. Maybe Bob could cajol them into playing at S.P.A.C.E., heh-heh.

You can check out more on their home page.


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  Posted by Dara on 1/04/2006 03:20:00 PM :

      

Lifelike begins a new storyline

If you'll pardon me a bit of self-promotion, the new year also marks the beginning of a new storyline in my webcomic. "Remembrance" is a 6-page love story brought to you by yours truly and digital artist Jerry Lange. As always, I welcome your comments and critiques here, or in the message board for the comic itself.



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  Posted by Dara on 1/04/2006 10:26:00 AM :

      

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie

There's an official website now for the direct-to-DVD animated movie Ultimate Avengers. You can catch a brief trailer for the movie. Release date is listed as February 21, 2006.

I find it curious that they're using The Ultimates version of the characters, but they're calling it Ultimate Avengers. Whatever.


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Tuesday, January 03, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 1/03/2006 06:08:00 PM :

      

Hit's & Misses 2005

I'd thought I would post some of my favorites from the past year and a couple of the bad. I will state that I'm not much of a reader of mainstream work. Usually I'll double back and pick up a trade at the library. I'm still catching up on alot of stuff as things got really busy this year. Feel free to add to this listing in the comments.


Best:

  • Scott Pilgrim- the liquid crack for the comics lover. I'm among many who just can't get enough of this book. A fun, fun read.
  • The Innocents- My first introduction to Gipi. Exciting and gorgeous. a downside is the cost which I'll get to later.
  • The Push Man & other stories- a fine collection by Tomine.
  • Optic Nerve #10- It's coming along nicely Tomine. Veeeeeerrry slow but nice.
  • Demo / Local / DMZ- It's been a busy year for Brian Wood.
  • Solo- Solid series throughout. My favs were the Pope and Allred issues.
  • Peanuts- Still weeding thru my favorite period of Schultz. I think the man starts to taper off after the seventies.
  • Daredevil- The last remaining superhero book I still read. I hear Brubaker's working wonders on Captain America but I have yet to pick that up.
  • Showcase presents Metamopho- Dude, he's fighting a guy with a hand that's morphed into a chair... a CHAIR!! Full on 60's ridiculousness. Love it!
  • All Star Superman- Morrison made me pick up a Superman comic. Damn you Morrison!
  • Mome- The anthology's shaping up to be Fanta's best since Zero Zero. I wish to God they'd drop Sophie Crumb's offerings. I know she's Robert's daughter guys but c'mon!!
  • The Big Questions no.7- I think I enjoyed this more than Optic Nerve.

* due to money and time here's some of the stuff I'm looking forward to reading- Fables, Black Hole, Wimbledon Green, A Cloud Above, We3, the Kamandi collected. Street Angel was collected, love it, but I had all the issues already. (Plus the mini) I read Night Fisher, while it was decent first effort, it was choppy in areas. Kevin Huizenga's Or Else was alright too.

What's that stink?!

  • All Star Batman- Horrible at it's most unabated. Oh m'god. Proof positive that Lee can't layout a page for crap without a solid script. I though this was supposed to be all ages as well. Miller has been on a downward spiral since Sin City story-wise.
  • SPX 2005 Anthology- Ccccripes it's bad. The ones you'd expect are good. The unknowns (what I buy it for) are bad. Really bad. Clean out your bong before you start editing next time. Geesh.
  • Palookaville #13- I love Seth's art. Which is why I'm hoping Wimbledon Green isn't Clyde's Fans. It's a Good Life this ain't.
  • Crossover/Event plotlines- Want to turn me away from superheroes even more? Do a crossover arc. What I would do to draw the people in which is the whole intent of this nonsence is focus on doing books targeting different ages. ex. instead of having eight X books all directed at a certain age group, have each book target a different age bracket. And stick with it.

* stuff I avoided altogether this year- anything by Kolchalka, Jeffrey Brown, and Mark Bagley. It goes without saying. I did give all these folks an honest go but keep coming away disappointed. While Bendis is writing Avengers, it's still the Avengers. I've always hated the Avengers. While Marvel did produce a gorgeous high end collection of the first 30 FF, I couldn't get into any of new FF releases this year.

Final thought's: While production value is high in alot of indie work, editorial isn't a huge concern. It's been really disappointing to see what could of been great come off half-assed due to editing. Also the cost of comics themselves (serials in particular) are outrageously high. This was my only grip with the Gipi book. By in large, I think the big two are only concerned with nursing their copyrights. DC is less guilty in that they do take some chances with the Vertigo line. I'm bummed that The Three Paradoxes pretty much dropped off of Fanta's schedule this year. Something I thought would of been in the can before they start heavily promoting it.



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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 1/03/2006 03:21:00 PM :

      

Storyville
Storyville is "a new comics strip by Greg Cook that runs every other week in Publishers Weekly, offering a whimsical look at the stories surrounding books and people in a small town." It is also featured in Publisher Weekly's Comics Week (which you can get emailed to you on Tuesdays).

This week's strip (Storyville 1/3) is about Haruki Murakami, one of my favorie authors. His genre-bending novels are great stuff feeling both immediately familiar (due to all the pop-culture and genre referents) and yet strangely alien (being set in Japan with its culture). If you get a chance, seek out Murakami's work.


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  Posted by Craig on 1/03/2006 11:05:00 AM :

      

Time to put my money where my mouth is...

I've whined relentlessly about comics moving away from younger readers, to the extent that oral sex references have turned up in the Superman comics I buy, thus eliminating a potential source of readership growth. I've also suggested that, while I love the Laughing Ogre, specialty shops should deal mainly in Vertigo or mature themed books and merchandise such as tpb's and t-shirts, and leave the bread-and-butter superhero/adventure books for the supermarket checkouts-- y'know, like they used to be when casual readers bought them and were familiar with the characters and they generally sold much better.

The argument against this seems to boil down to the notion that the internet, video games, and cable channels provide too much competition and that kids can't be bothered to read. Too bad for J.K. Rowling.

Lo and behold, last night at the retail pharmacy where I work, I unpacked a display shipper of comic books. This is the first time I've seen individual issues of new comics at the corner drugstore in about ten years. They were all Disney comics; Mickey & Friends, Donald & Friends, etc. Not exactly what I would have hoped to appear on the racks; I would like to have seen a series of reprints (or a new line altogether) with immediately recognizable characters (say, ones that have had hugely successful movies lately) printed on the cheapest paper to allow the lowest cover price possible. Nevertheless, I took it upon myself to prominently display them by the checkout counter where every kid passing by would see them.

A couple caveats: these are obviously aimed at very young readers. When I was ten, I was reading the Claremont/Byrne X-Men and the Frank Miller Daredevil (all-ages Frank Miller, still some of his best work!), and my nineteen-year-old brother was borrowing them. The Disney books will not have the same broad appeal. Also, they have a $2.95 cover price, which might not fly in the 40 0z. malt liquor neighborhood where I work.

In any event, I'll be keeping an eye on the 48 copies we received and making a note of how many sell and to whom. I'll report back here, either to eat crow or ask why more can't follow.


(On an unrelated note, I once again tried to find suitable comics to give as subscription gifts to nieces and nephews this Xmas. I flipped through the latest Batman Cartoon themed book, which looked pretty cool. Batman vs. Dracula! Then I got to the last page; it said "To Be Continued in the Batman Vs. Dracula DVD, now on sale!" F*** you and your all-ages comic, DC!)


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  Posted by Tony on 1/03/2006 10:17:00 AM :

      

Emily Posting

Many people who are attracted to our little hobby are insufficiently socialized, and a couple are total toolboxes. So to remedy this, we’re starting an occasional feature where we answer your questions on etiquette.



Dear Panel,

Lots of times I go to comic book conventions and I see people selling their independent comics. I sympathize with these people because someday I would like to do my own self-published comics. My idea is more than a typical superhero comic, it’s a satire with a fully thought-out universe ... (letter edited for length) ... which I will publish as soon as I find an artist.

Anyway, my comic is better than anything the Big Two put out, and it’s miles away better than any of that indie stuff. So my question is, how do I tell indie comic book creators I don’t want to buy their stuff without hurting their feeling?



Excellent question! Let me give you four scenarios, all taken from personal experience, and hopefully you’ll be able to choose the right answer.

1. You flip through an indie creator’s book. Then, with a condescending tone, you say, “I don’t think so.”

2. With a condescending tone, you say, “Sorry, I’m looking for books with characters.”

3. With a condescending tone, you say, “I’m not into that black-and-white stuff.”

4. Keeping your tone of voice even, you assure the indie creator you’re still checking out the convention and will be back to buy things later.

I’ll tell you the correct answer next week. Does anyone else have any stories on how not to turn down an indie book? Stick ‘em in the comments section if you got ‘em.


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  Posted by Dara on 1/03/2006 09:04:00 AM :

      

Non-comics related link of the day

Mad soccer skillz.


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Monday, January 02, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 1/02/2006 10:09:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Happy New Year, everyone! Wow, hard to believe it's 2006 now. In a few more months, this blog will be celebrating its 3rd birthday! Anyway, it may be 2006, but today I'm taking you back in time to a crazy-ass decade known as the 80s. Bad music, bad fashion, bad hair. Speaking of which:



(click image to 80-size!)

My god, what is she wearing? She looks like an extra from Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo! Anyway, use the comments section to share your guess as to the artist of this piece.

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005)

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  Posted by Dara on 1/02/2006 10:05:00 AM :

      

Apple designer honored by the Queen Mum

I'm not a fan of the british royalty or their archaic traditions, but this headline sent to me by my brother caught my attention: Queen Honors iPod Designer
"Jonathan Ive, the chief designer of the very popular Apple iPod, has been awarded the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by the Queen.

Ive is the man behind the company's popular products, like the iMac and the iPod. The iMac, his first design for Apple, was hugely successful and since its launch in 1998, Ive has driven the design of almost every Apple product, including the original iMac, iBook, Power Mac, PowerBook, Mac Mini and iPod."


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