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

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

Read Tony Goins' webcomic Downs.
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Friday, March 31, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/31/2006 02:42:00 PM :

      

Dayton Daily News on Ferret Press and this weekend's con

Don Thrasher of the Dayton Daily News has written a small write-up of this weekend's Gem City Comic Con (use jimmys@jimmy.com/jimmy to access the article.)
"It's always great to meet people at shows like the Gem City Comic Con, because they have a more relaxed, intimate vibe," said Ferret Press publisher Dara Naraghi, a founding member of the PANEL creator collective. "We can chat with fans and hopefully introduce new readers to our books. For a small publisher like Ferret Press, word of mouth and face-to-face interaction at shows are the best forms of advertising."
Man, that Dara. He's so insightful!


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  Posted by Dara on 3/31/2006 01:53:00 PM :

      

Gocco prints

I think Tom mentioned something about a Gocco machine at the last meeting. Anyway, this caught my eye and I thought I'd share. The Wurst gallery is selling art prints made on the Japanese silk screen printer.


(via boingboing)


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  Posted by Dara on 3/31/2006 01:34:00 PM :

      

Kubert School on CBS Evening news tonight

"CBS Evening News will broadcast a short segment on the world famous Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art, Inc., on Friday, March 31, at 6:30-7:00 PM ET. This will be part of a nation-wide broadcast. This is part of the "Assignment America/Steve Hartman Reports" together with two other story ideas. Viewers will have the chance to vote for one of the three story ideas on www.cbsnews.com. Their decision will then be developed into a full segment for broadcast on Friday, April 7."

More details in the press release.


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  Posted by T.McClurg on 3/31/2006 09:32:00 AM :

      

A little color for Gem City

I recently added a little color for the second printing of Sean McGurr's Jury Rigged minis. These beauties will be available at Gem City this weekend.
Enjoy...

JRC #1
















JRC #2


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Thursday, March 30, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/30/2006 11:25:00 AM :

      

Must read: Matt Kish's website

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of fellow PANEL member and all around cool guy Matt Kish. I love his art. I can never get enough of it. In fact, if he'd let me, I'd publish a "Ferret Press Little Art Book" of his works.

But enough with my gushy love fest. The real reason I'm posting this message is to direct your eyes to Matt's website, specifically the news section. Read his Wednesday, March 29 entry about life changes, endings, and new beginnings. It's heartfelt and bittersweet and joyous. I wish you the best of luck with all your new ventures, Matt.

(And by the way, great use of the killer Walt Simonson image in your essay, man.)



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Wednesday, March 29, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 3/29/2006 04:19:00 PM :

      


Beyond the rim of the starlight ...

There may not be someone for everyone, but there is certainly an online dating site for everyone. Set your phasers on "stunning" and head over to trekpassions.com, a dating site for Trekkies.

Extra geek points to whoever can identify the reference in the headline. Google is cheating.

Animated Kirk is afraid to look.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/29/2006 12:00:00 PM :

      

Ferret Press at Gem City Comic Con this Sunday, April 2

For those of you in and around Ohio, you may want to check out the first annual Gem City Comic Con in Dayton. Show is this Sunday, April 2nd, at the Student Union of Wright State University, from 10-5. Guests include:
  • Paul Gulacy - Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu, Six from Sirius, Batman, Catwoman, and many more.
  • Frank Brunner - Doctor Strange, Man-Thing, Howard the Duck, Conan the Barbarian, The Seven Samuroid, and others.
  • Jerry DeCaire – artist on Werewolf: the Apocalypse, Vampire: the Masquerade, and The Cisco Kid for Moonstone, plus Green Hornet and lots of stuff for Marvel.
  • Dan Davis – inker on Justice League Adventures, BatGirl, Green Arrow, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Green Lantern, Space Ghost, Superman Adventures, etc.
And of course your favorite PANEL and Ferret Press creators:
  • Andy Bennett - Vampire: the Masquerade, Kolchak: The Nightstalker.
  • Tom Williams - No Dead Time, Misa, Crash Comics.
  • Dara Naraghi – BigCityBlues, Lifelike, AKA.
  • Sean McGurr – Jury Rigged Comics.
  • Matt Kish - Spudd 64.
  • Dan Barlow - BigCityBlues.
  • Tony Goins - Guns of the Nightchild.
Admission is only $3. Check out the website for more details.


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Tuesday, March 28, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 3/28/2006 10:24:00 PM :

      


Hard Life

Do you remember Jasmine Gray? The one model who was catty-corner across from Craig and me at Mid-Ohio? The one that heavyset gentleman was trying to push up on?

She died.

It got a brief mention in the latest Goon comic book, and her official Web site has the details. Apparently she died in a car crash Dec. 12, shortly after Mid-Ohio.

A lot of things about this story are sad. The life of a con model's got to be sad anyway. I feel weird about the people who bought her DVD and don't know she's dead. I feel bad for making fun of that one guy.

And on her Web site ... you can buy a naked picture of her to help pay for her headstone.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/28/2006 12:10:00 PM :

      

Broken Frontier reviews Panel: Music

Over at BrokenFrontier.com, Sam Moyerman reviews our latest anthology, Panel: Music.
"The stories range from humorous tales of a Homeland Security agent to a real life report of a music festival, each one to varying levels of effectiveness, but overflowing with honesty and enthusiasm."
Andy, Sean, and Tim made a great impression on him. I didn't fare as well ;-)



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  Posted by Dara on 3/28/2006 11:35:00 AM :

      

Hey kids! Wanna be in comics?

Viper Comics wants to publish your story:
"Viper Comics will be accepting submissions for a 5-page short story in the noir, crime, or horror genre until April 28, 2006. The winning selection will be run as a back up feature in the first issue of A DUMMY'S GUIDE TO DANGER, a four-issue crime noir that is scheduled to hit shelves this July. All entries must be fully written, inked, and colored/shaded for consideration. Submissions received after the April 28th deadline will not be eligible for consideration."
More details in the press release.


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  Posted by Craig on 3/28/2006 09:48:00 AM :

      


Desert Island Comics, part 8

The night after exchanging phone numbers with a woman I ran into at a concert, I had the idea to take her to Stache’s without actually checking any listings to see who might be playing that evening. The club could usually be counted on to have someone of interest booked to entertain the masses on any given night, and walking into the place blind had actually paid off handsomely on a couple of occasions; my brother stumbled onto a very young Robert Cray when he dropped in one evening, and we discovered the Fleshtones in a similar fashion. Even when the band playing wasn’t a revelation, the atmosphere was great and it was usually cool to see anyone onstage there. This time, however, we walked into open stage night. Some guy was banging a single chord on an acoustic guitar, screeching “Goth! Goth! Goth! Goth!” over and over and over. My date sat across from me wondering what kind of serial killer would enjoy going out to see something like this, while I grinned nervously and wondered how the hell I could possibly save the evening.

It’s a wonder that woman married me.

Even back in my days as an art major at OSU, I felt a certain loathing for the artsy pretentious types. I was showing up in my Duke Robillard tour shirt and jeans wanting to draw cartoons, and I found myself surrounded by black-clad, beret wearing fools yearning to pour their inner anguish into a wire sculpture of a crushed aluminum can. When I left school after repeatedly being told cartooning wasn’t art, I told everyone it was because I felt I could learn more about creating comics by actually creating comics, but I think they knew I simply didn’t feel enough pain to create art. And so it’s a very personal connection that places the following issue so high on my countdown of comics I would take with me were I stranded on a desert isle…

#3: Preacher Special: Cassidy: Blood & Whiskey

Let me first make clear: My child is named after the Grateful Dead song, not this character.

My countdown is lacking in newer comics primarily because the made-for-tpb format adopted within the last ten years has made it nearly impossible for single issues to stand out; most read as one sixth of a story, with every sixth issue being a climax which could have been related in a handful of pages. Fortunately my favorite recent series, Preacher, came with a series of one-shot specials focusing on individual characters, the standout of these being the tale of a drunken Irish vampire named Cassidy partying in antediluvian New Orleans.

Given that the roots of vampire myths cast the monsters in the form of aristocracy, I’m of the opinion that a modern translation of the creatures should more resemble Donald Trump or Dick Cheney than the goth wankery of Anne Rice. Writer Garth Ennis seems to find the modern portrayal equally preposterous, as his decidedly blue-collar undead antagonist encounters a less experienced fellow vampire named Eccarius who has embraced the more pretentious pasty-faced, black clad, cape wearing lifestyle.

The result is the funniest comic I’ve ever read; Cassidy alternately heaps scorn and ridicule on his new comrade, and tries to teach him to live unlife to the fullest with his new abilities in hopes of finding a companion for his walk through eternity. The other vampire fights his teacher every step of the way, desperately clinging to the clichés he thinks he must live by in his role. He takes Cassidy to meet a group of hangers-on who worship their vampire leader and praise him with awful poetry; Cassidy gets him drunk and takes him back to moon them later (“Why are we running away?” “Because it’s funny!”). When he is repulsed by his host’s collection of bottled AB negative, Cassidy must instead reacquaint him with beer and teach him about the many uses of Haagen-Dazs. Throughout, Eccarius cannot understand why Cassidy rejects all the conventions of vampirism he has gleaned from watching numerous movies on the subject (“I’m NOT sleeping in a f***in’ COFFIN!”).

Garth Ennis’ wonderful humor is complemented perfectly by the master of deadpan expressions, Steve Dillon. Whenever something horrible happens to someone in any issue of Preacher, the uncomprehending look Dillon puts in the character’s eyes as they begin to assimilate their twisted misfortune always has me falling out of my seat laughing. Often the action in a given scene occurs between panels, and only the artists’ sly portrayal of people’s reactions relates the events which have occurred, which adds to the comic effect. There are a hundred little moments in this book I could relate, but that would simply spoil it for anyone wishing to read or revisit the issue. So I’ll leave with just this one:

As Cassidy is trying to pick up a babe in a bar, Count Poser enters saying something like “the night has come, and it is time for us to find the dark places, and go down, and commit our unspeakable acts." Cassidy can only bury his head in his hands and tell the woman “It’s not what you think…” as she turns away smirking. Goth! Goth! Goth! Goth!


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Monday, March 27, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/27/2006 07:51:00 PM :

      

Kewl

So these guys just linked to the Panel Jam comic we've been doing. Can anyone translate? :-)


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  Posted by Tom on 3/27/2006 05:59:00 PM :

      

GRUBS.

Damn it, I'm a GRUB. (Couldn't they come up with a better nickname) I refuse to torture my child (If I spawn) with Sufjan Stevens. That child's listening to the Sigur-Ro's damn it!!

"In part, because how can their parents hate Interpol when they sound exactly like Joy Division? And in part, because how can their parents hate Bloc Party when their parents just downloaded Bloc Party and think it’s awesome and totally better than the Bravery!"


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  Posted by Tony on 3/27/2006 04:17:00 PM :

      


Subplots

There are many things to like about the original Star Trek, but one of my favorites is the use of subplots.

Subplots on the original Star Trek are a bit different from what you see today. Generally, today’s subplots involve minor characters having a personal problem. The problem usually doesn’t have much bearing on the main story, but rather serves to flesh out the character.

On the original Star Trek, however, the subplots are all about plot. They add a twist to the main plot, heightening the tension and adding to the overall experience. For example:



Not only has the transporter beam split Captain Kirk into good and evil sides, there’s also a contingent of crewmen on the surface of the planet, freezing to death.

Not only is Captain Kirk aging at an accelerated rate, but also the Enterprise is under command of a commodore with no field experience.

Not only does Kirk have to ensure the death of a beautiful woman to save the timeline, but also Dr. McCoy has taken a psychotropic drug that will kill him.



Is it good character development? Maybe not. But the original Star Trek was more about finding insights into our world, rather than insights into specific characters.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/27/2006 02:33:00 PM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Another guest contribution from F!nch. Thanks dude. Guess away.



(click image to magnify)

(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, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006)

Labels:



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Saturday, March 25, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/25/2006 02:03:00 PM :

      

New comics blog shoutout

I just found out my coworker Aaron has a comics-related blog called Underneath the Mask. Check it out.


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  Posted by Tom on 3/25/2006 10:39:00 AM :

      


Panel Assemble! part 9

I tag.. Tony Goins




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Friday, March 24, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/24/2006 09:06:00 AM :

      

Keron Grant on Zoom Suit

Columbus' own Keron Grant will be the regular artist on the Zoom Suit limited series, picking up on issue #2 from the previous artist. Newsarama has the details.



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  Posted by Dara on 3/24/2006 07:54:00 AM :

      

Panel Assemble! - Part 8

I'm posting this on behalf of Dan Barlow:



Dan tags the kid who started it all, "Peeping" Tom Williams.


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Thursday, March 23, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/23/2006 04:08:00 PM :

      

Wiki for a comic book

Warren Ellis' writing is hit or miss for me (which was a topic we discussed here on the blog several weeks ago.) And his "big ideas" and manifestos are the same. Some are truly forward-thinking, others just seem to be regurgitations of the cool new thing the kids on the Internets are talking about.

But here's one that I really dig, from his most recent Ministry column on The Pulse:
"If you generated a wiki -- essentially, a networked, highly-hyperlinked directory of information -- in advance of a comics series' release, and stamped the book with the URL of the wiki... and, conceivably, even somehow marked pages and panels with URLs that take you inside the wiki structure, in any of a variety of ways from subtle to as blatant and clunky as that old editorial-note caption box that littered Marvel comics of old... you invite a peculiarly modern involvement in the work."
Ok, the idea of websites for a comic are nothing new. Even wikis have probably already been done for a few. What intrigues me is the part where he suggests deep-linking from pages and even panels into the wiki. That's a pretty damn cool idea.

Granted, if poorly executed, you just end up with a cluttered, unreadable mess of a comic, where the numerous URLs embedded on each page and panel completely distract from the artwork and the story. But if used sparingly, and incorporated cleverly into the very structure of the story and art, it's a creative new way to provide your readers a "value added" service, as they say in the business world.

Imagine if you will, in your dystopian future comic titled Shadow State, a couple of cops are talking about the new designer drug "Headrush." In the background of one of the panels is a vid screen, showing live coverage of a Headrush lab bust. On the ticker under the image is a URL to your wiki: http://shadowstate.wiki.com/headrush, where your readers can get more information on this fictional element of your story.

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I see the possibilities with this approach. Good on ya, Mr. Ellis.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/23/2006 10:17:00 AM :

      

She's still in there!

Dave's Long Box has a post on a comic that was featured in a recent Guess the Artist feature.

It's definitely a "Oh, F@*% YEAH!!!" moment.


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Wednesday, March 22, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/22/2006 01:10:00 PM :

      

Neil Gaiman tribute album

According to Billboard:
"An album inspired by the work of prolific author Neil Gaiman will be released this summer by Philadelphia-based independent label Dancing Ferret Discs...The most high-profile contributor to the compilation is Tori Amos, a longtime friend of Gaiman's who occasionally name-checks the writer in her lyrics. In fact, the album's working title is a line taken from her song "Space Dog."
Did you catch that? Dancing Ferret Discs. In Philly. Hmmm, could signal either a partnership opportunity, or a long, drawn-out legal battle with Ferret Press :-)

(via The Pulse)


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  Posted by Tony on 3/22/2006 08:40:00 AM :

      

Looking for Ms. Right

Sean Hannity, conservative talk show host on Fox News, has his own online dating site. It’s called Hannidate

I disagree with Hannity’s politics, but I don’t think that’s really why it disturbs me:

1. Who the heck names a dating site after himself? I can understand if you’re a relationship expert, like Dr. Phil or Oprah or something.
2. Why not link up with an existing dating site? There are bunches of political dating sites out there. Does the one with your name on it really bring something new to the table?
3. What kind of partisan whackjobs are on this thing? I hope never to be so partisan that it's my primary selection criteria for a mate.

Actually, question No. 3 is easy to answer. You can search profiles without signing up. But be aware that the people in the ad copy are probably not on the site. And don’t look at more than three profiles; after that it just becomes depressing.


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Tuesday, March 21, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/21/2006 10:23:00 PM :

      

Panel Assemble! - part 7



(disclaimer: I am not an artist, so I apologize for making Captain Shirtcock look like the creepiest peeping Tom you've ever seen. I feel like I need a shower...)

I tag the Big Bald Kid himself, Mr. Dan Barlow.


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  Posted by Tom on 3/21/2006 07:21:00 PM :

      

'I don't see myself as indie because I'm interested in making money [laughing].'- Paul Pope.

Courtesy of Mr. Haspiel: Here's a new interview with Paul Pope from Publisher's Weekly. Probably the only significant thing in the article is Paul briefly discusses future projects. Including a future art collection (Pulphope) from Adhouse. Earliest I heard was in the summer.


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  Posted by Tom on 3/21/2006 06:06:00 PM :

      

Couple of new signing announcements going on at the Comix Revolution in Evanston, IL...

Ivan Brunetti. Saturday, March 25th. 1pm to 3pm
'We're pleased to have the critically acclaimed Ivan Brunetti coming
into our Evanston store to sign his newest edition of Schizo #4. He'll be
signing and chatting comics from 1pm thru 3pm. Copies of Schizo, Haw,
Hee and more will be available for purchase during the signing.'
Jessica Abel. Saturday, April 8th. 1pm-?

'Jessica Abel's newest graphic novel, La Perdida HC recently shipped from Pantheon Press to rave reviews. This former Evanston resident will be coming home to sign copies and greet fans.'


Comix Revolution is located at:

606 Davis Street
Evanston, Illinois 60201
phone: 847-866-8659


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  Posted by Craig on 3/21/2006 03:57:00 PM :

      


Desert Island Comics, pt. 7

This has been the most difficult review thus far; we have run out of Mister Bubble. But I will forge ahead...

While visiting the Ogre a few months ago, I flipped through Infinite Crisis #1 and saw the final couple pages of that comic: the golden age Superman looks out over the last fifteen years’ worth of comic stories and declares that they suck, and he’s coming to bust some heads. I’ve never felt happier upon seeing a cliffhanger, and ran home to devour the issue. At last, whoever decided to apply the Watchmen template to the likes of Superman and Captain America has come to their senses!

A few issues later, however, this venerable character is given his standard-issue feet of clay, wails “Superman always saves Lois Lane!” as Lois dies in his arms, and we’re treated to a panel of Kal-L joining my future online gallery of crying superheroes. And so Infinite Crisis gets filed with the crap in my collection and I am compelled to present for your consideration...

#4: Flash #54

This comic represents, in my view, the last true super-hero story ever published. After this final issue of the age which was kicked off by Siegel & Schuster, it’s all about impenetrably self-referential storylines, made-for-trades writing, horny fanboy-specific target marketing, and heroes who aren’t very heroic in soap opera settings; and while Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns had their considerable merits, the paradigm they embodied has unfortunately spread across an entire genre which has been stripped of a sense of idealism. The dark days truly began after this issue was bagged and boarded.

The synopsis is short but sweet: Wally West is employed by the feds to help escort a terrorist in custody on a commercial airplane flight. After a few panels of flirting with the stewardess, he heads for the restroom only to run into a trio of the prisoner's armed accomplices who seek to hijack the plane and free their comrade. He quickly dispatches the villains, but one of them blows a hole in the ceiling of the plane. The pilot rights the plane and all seems well, but Wally realizes the stewardess is missing; she has been blown out of the plane by the explosive decompression.

He thinks there’s no way he could reach her outside the plane. Even if he could, there’s no way he could save her from a fall from a gazillion feet in the air. His superpower is to run really fast and there’s no ground out there. There’s literally no way he could possibly rescue her, and trying would surely get himself killed. But he knows what the superhero union rules dictate, so he throws himself out of the plane.

Holy s***, that’s more like it! Impossible odds, daring feats, last-minute rescues, this is what these stories are supposed to be about! I defy anyone to show me a cooler moment in a comic than when Wally steps into the void. This is the kind of stuff that keeps the inner child alive and turns adults into idealistic fools. I’ll take my anguish, inner torment, deep dark secrets, or adult material in the pages of any number of other comic books (love those too!), but let’s see super-heroes in super-hero stories.

Showing up at the comic store the week after reading this issue and looking over the newest books was like waiting at the train station for Ilsa Lund, the rain making the ink of the latest comics run down the pages I stared at with a growing sense of betrayal. Ah, but we’ll always have Flash #54…


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  Posted by Dara on 3/21/2006 01:08:00 PM :

      

30-Second Bunnies Theatre Library

Found out about this site from a coworker. "The 30-Second Bunnies Theatre Library... in which a troupe of bunnies parodies a collection of movies by re-enacting them in 30 seconds, more or less."



I liked the Highlander re-enactment.


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Monday, March 20, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/20/2006 08:53:00 PM :

      

Small Press Shoutout: John G's NinePanelGrid

John G - comix maverick, friend of Panel, and Cleveland zine legend - has a blog called NinePanelGrid. Check it out, folks.



If things go well, John and I will be collaborating on a story for my Lifelike webcomic. Stay tuned.


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  Posted by Tom on 3/20/2006 07:43:00 PM :

      

*SPOILER ALERT: I may spoil the movie or book if anyone's ever read or seen V for Vendetta.*

England Prevails


_I went and saw V for Vendetta this weekend and it was great. To contrast it with the GN I read the sucker this weekend. For a Hollywood adaptation, I don't think Moore has a lot to worry over. Doing a straight version of the graphic novel would be unfilmable. I think while they diverged from the original series a bit, but I think it was for the better. To read the book in one sitting like I did, V comes together in a series of Orwellian vignettes. Not one cohesive story, as the movie successfully did. I hesitate to call Vendetta a graphic novel because it lacks any real cohesion. It meanders too much which is why I dug the movie version. I'd even go so far to say that as singles, the books had great concepts but poor execution. Building up the Evey character really helped build a center. Which the series desparately needed. You've got V going around killing everybody and the reader gets tugged around at a confounding pace. At one point in the series there's this confusing bit involving Evey's lover that rightfully gets cut out in the movie and rearranged. Anyway great British ensemble with Portman rounding things out with a great performance. Which makes up for the abismal Star Wars shlock she's been in. If Closer didn't do it, this should wipe that away from anyone's memory.

Have a pleasant evening.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/20/2006 04:59:00 PM :

      

Ehf You, Sci-Fi Channel

So the Sci-Fi Channel is making a reality show, hosted by Stan Lee, called Who Wants To Be A Superhero? Contestants, apparently, will create their own superhero personas and dress as the characters.

Yeah, great. That's all we needed. More fodder for the average joe to think all comic book fans are developmentally retarded adolescents.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/20/2006 08:40:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Easy one for you kids this fine, fine Monday morning. Guess away.



(click image to horrify)

(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, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006)

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Sunday, March 19, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 3/19/2006 09:47:00 PM :

      



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  Posted by Dara on 3/19/2006 11:45:00 AM :

      

AA Weekend Covers

Sorry for the skip week last time. But we're back with another installment of Awesome and Ass covers. And for a theme, we're going all barbarian on your ass, Cimmerian style.

AWESOME

(click to enlarge)
Savage Sword of Conan magazine #192 (December 1991) by Bob Larkin.

This long-lived black & white Conan magazine featured lots of great painted covers. From Joe Jusko to fantasy cover artist legends Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell and everyone in between, it even had the occasional "classy" Kaluta cover. But I picked this one mainly because of the different setting. 99.9% of the other covers were a variation on the theme of a battle-frenzied Conan tearing a bloody swath through an army of heavily armed men or exotic monsters, while balancing a scantily dressed lass (or two, or three) on his arm. This cover, however, manages to takes those familiar elementsputs and put them in a completely foreign environment. Nearly naked, big breasted lass? Check. Nearly naked, roided up Conan? Check. Imminent danger of bloody death from giant monster? Check. But this time, they're all underwater, with only a small dagger with which Conan can defend himself and his comely companion against the biggest-ass shark you've ever seen. This cover just screams "pick me up if you want to know how the hell Conan gets out of this one, fanboy!" Though as was the case with most Savage Sword covers, they usually had nothing to do with the actual stories inside the mag. Still, a great image.

ASS

(click to enlarge)
Conan the barbarian #261 (October 1992) by Mark Pacella.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that this cover is from the early 90s, the dark ages of modern comics. My alternative title for this book would be "What If...we wanted a Rob Liefeld cover for Conan but couldn't afford his page rate?" Enter Mark "hey, I don't draw backgrounds either!" Pacella. Not sure what's going on with Conan's muscles...his six-pack looks more like an inverted three and a half pack. Then there's the awkward foreshortening on his right arm, and the black hole singularity where his armpit should be. But the pièce de résistance has got to be Conan's fabulously coiffed mane, teased with just the right amount of Aqua Velva. Somewhere out there, these guys are green with envy.

(previous weeks: 12/3/2005, 12/11/2005, 12/17/2005, 12/25/2005, 1/7/2006, 1/15/2006, 1/22/2006, 1/29/2006, 2/5/2006, 2/12/2006, 2/19/2006, 2/26/2006, 3/5/2006)


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Friday, March 17, 2006
 
  Posted by Craig on 3/17/2006 12:46:00 PM :

      



Desert Island Comics, pt.6

A word about my obvious Marvel bias: I've noticed the six comics featured thus far have a Marvel/DC ratio of 5 to 1. Any comic reader growing up in the '70s and early '80s is aware that Marvel Comics clobbered DC on a regular basis; besides having generally better artists and writers (and characters), they gave us a long list of memorable single issues, storylines and creative teams on various titles (Thomas/Buscema Avengers, Miller Daredevil, death of Gwen Stacy, Kree/Skrull War... how much time do you have?). Besides Kirby's Fourth World and a few brief appearances by Neal Adams, Does DC have anything memorable to offer from those 2 and 1/2 decades? Well, yeah, eight issues of Detective Comics by Englehart. Is there any DC comic from that span of time anyone remembers fondly, besides the brief runs already mentioned? Anyone? Even in the '90s when I was buying much more DC than Marvel, it wasn't because DC got so much better, but because Marvel became so much worse.

That said, I'll mention that the last four comics on the countdown include two DC's and only one Marvel. But first, let's discuss...

#5: Godzilla #24

At some point in the mid-70s, someone in Marvel's editorial offices got the notion that licensed character properties were the wave of the future in new titles. This lucky then-eight year old was treated to the beginning of a wave of comics drawn from the toy shelves and movie screens; Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Rom, Shogun Warriors, Team America (er... a different Team America than that one), G.I. Joe, Micronauts, and lord knows what else I might be forgetting. But by far the coolest of all these was a series devoted to a giant fire-breathing lizard whose tragic character flaw was that he destroyed everything in his path. For twenty-four glorious issues, Godzilla marched eastward across the North American continent, battling superheroes and cattle rustlers and an angry rat along the way, shadowed all the while by a floating battleship manned by impotent S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.

The creative team tapped to guide the monster on his trek through the Marvel universe was surprisingly accomplished: Doug Moench, creator of one of Marvel's most beloved and enduring characters, was paired with definitive Hulk artist Herb Trimpe (Jack's got enough accolades he can spare this one); I would have picked up a AAA tour guide produced by these two... and I guess I did, one featuring a giant monster seeing the sights of America.

Issue 24, however, was the final issue of the series. What should be done for the closing chapter of a series such as this? Why, BATTLE ROYAL, of course. Who would win a fight between the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and Godzilla as the monster tears New York down? That ages-old argument is finally settled, and if you're smart you won't bet heavily on Earth's mightiest heroes. Even Thor can't handle a "reverse game of tug-of-war" against Gojira with the Empire Stae Building being used as the rope. A double page spread of the superheroes' futile all-out assault against the monster is suitable for framing.

Of course, it's Godzilla, so a little kid has to come out and tearfully beg Godzilla to stop the destruction. The Marvel characters hang their heads in shame to see a plea for understanding succeed where there physical violence failed. Over the course of two pages, Godzilla makes a solemn march out of the city into the river, leaving New York City and the Marvel universe behind him forever. I'm still waiting for this issue to be referenced in a modern Marvel comic, as the lame New Avengers fight a monster and one says "This isn't as bad as the time we fought Godzilla!*"

*Godzilla #24-editor.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/17/2006 08:27:00 AM :

      

Panel Assemble! - part 6



Dara Naraghi -- I choose you!

(Sorry about the delay. Thanks for the scanning.)


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Thursday, March 16, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 3/16/2006 10:25:00 PM :

      

Meanwhile in an unassuming seniors home in Maryland..

Here's a funny transcript courtesy of the White House
. I heard about this in the car this morning. What was to be an innocent softball pitch for the lame drug plan turns into something that's a perfect example of Bush off script. Seniors ask about Greenhouse gases and the Indian Nuclear deal. Here comes the train.






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  Posted by Andy Bennett on 3/16/2006 12:26:00 PM :

       Geek Check-

GEEK CHECK!!

Based on a conversation Tony and I were having last night, the geek in me thought I'd start a discussion about what you've named your computer.

My old reliable G3 at home is called "Artoo".

My iBook is called "Chiclet" for obvious reasons.

My Dual G5 work system is called "Super-Adaptoid" (it was originally called "ULTRON", but the name got changed with the system).

So how about it, geeks? What's YOUR computer's name?


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  Posted by Tony on 3/16/2006 10:19:00 AM :

      

Go Fug Your Superheroes

Have a look at Project Rooftop, a site where people take a crack at redesigning superheroes.

Isn't aligned with any particular company, so I don't think there's much chance of these seeing print. But if you had an idea for a character makeover (maybe even an EXTREME one), it's worth a look. I'm kind of digging on the Black Widow redesign.

And one more time, here's the Batgirl thing.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/16/2006 08:45:00 AM :

      

Why The Onion rules

Because half the editors working there are comic book fans...

We Must Expand Our Nuclear Power Program If We're To Realize Our Dream Of Superhero Mutants.
"To abandon nuclear energy is to risk something far greater than another Chernobyl. It is to risk the loss of future superpowered, costumed heroes."
and:
"We say we are committed to providing our youth with the best in education, but where are the schools for gifted youngsters, children of the next wave of evolution, training new Homo superior mutants to protect humanity? Where is the holographic-room technology needed to sharpen their battle skills?"
Where indeed, my friend. Where indeed.


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Wednesday, March 15, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/15/2006 01:11:00 PM :

      

Your WTF? moment of the day

And you thought novelizations of crappy TV shows were bad...

Big Apple Takedown.



"A WWE novel."

WTF?

(via Kung Fu Rodeo)


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  Posted by Dara on 3/15/2006 11:46:00 AM :

      

Fun with referrer logs

Just a few of the search terms over the last few days that have led people to our blog:

  • eric shanower poor sales age of bronze
  • spider-man porn
  • is my ferret pregnant
  • paperbacks, sleaze

Good times, good times.


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Tuesday, March 14, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 3/14/2006 11:01:00 AM :

      

Wife Swap

The girlfriend alerted me last night to the show “Wife Swap,” which is where two families trade mommies for a few weeks. Here's ABC's recap of this episode.

The mommy of the one family was fairly normal, but a bit of a workaholic and never saw her family. The other family … whoa. They were huge into Renaissance Faire and role playing, they never left the house, and they were big on home-schooling. Gym class at their home school consisted of doing some kind of Scottish sword dance. In a fit of anger, the Ren Faire mommy made her surrogate family go out to dinner in full costume.

The kicker is the Ren Faire family was in Ohio somewhere. They definitely went to a Graeter’s, and I think it was the one in Bexley. Does anyone know anything about this family?

I have no idea why someone would go on that show. There are no prizes, no glory, no chance for a modeling contract, no chance to lose lots of weight, nothin’. I can only imagine women go on the show to prove they’re better mommies than someone else.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/14/2006 09:33:00 AM :

      

The first of the fallout from the Ogre sale?

Saw this is Bob Corby's latest e-mail update regarding S.P.A.C.E.:
"A little bad news to start off. The Laughing Ogre who has been with us from the beginning and has been an incredible help with this show has merged with Phoenix Comics and Toys in Virginia. Due to their reorganization the Ogre and Phoenix have decided not to participate in any conventions for the foreseeable future. The biggest effect this has on us is that the annual SPACE Blast held at the Ogre the night before the show will not be held this year. I would really like to thank them for all the help they have provided over the last 6 years and wish them good luck in the future."
Talk about a bummer. The Great Ogre Gatherings were one of the best pre-con parties around, legendary even in comics circles well outside of Ohio. I mean, where else could you hang out with fellow fans and professionals, eat free food, drink free high-end booze, and talk comics to your heart's content? I can't help but feel saddened at the loss of this truly unique and free event. It seems like the end of an era.

I hope there won't be any more nasty surprises coming out of this whole "Phoenix buys The Ogre" deal, but I fear this is just the beginning...


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  Posted by Dara on 3/14/2006 09:22:00 AM :

      

Book about public domain and fair use issues

Bound By Law? (Tales from the Public Domain) is a soon-to-be published graphic novel that tackles the topic of intellectual property laws as they pertain to documentary filmmakers. From the book's description:
"Why do we have copyrights? What's "fair use"? Bound By Law reaches beyond documentary film to provide a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture."
The book is a non-profit venture of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at the Duke Law School. The art leaves a lot to be desired, but it seems to be an easily understood quick reference book on the topic.



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  Posted by Dara on 3/14/2006 05:58:00 AM :

      

Solo #11: Sergio Aragones

Oh.

Hell.

Yes.



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  Posted by Dara on 3/14/2006 05:09:00 AM :

      

Creepy

File under "creepy-ass nature facts that sound like science fiction": a species of wasps that turn roaches into slaves via brain surgery.
"The wasp slips her stinger through the roach's exoskeleton and directly into its brain. She apparently use sensors along the sides of the stinger to guide it through the brain, a bit like a surgeon snaking his way to an appendix with a laparoscope. She continues to probe the roach's brain until she reaches one particular spot that appears to control the escape reflex. She injects a second venom that influences these neurons in such a way that the escape reflex disappears."
The wasp then guides the roach to it's burrow via the roache's own antennae. What happens next is pretty gross...

(via boingboing)


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  Posted by Dara on 3/14/2006 05:05:00 AM :

      

Random song lyrics

"Straight from 12th grade into junior college
Buddy, buddy, buddy I passed my exam
They’re making me a law enforcement person
Got me a gun and a badge, I’m a man"

-- The Bottle Rockets, Radar Gun


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Monday, March 13, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/13/2006 12:47:00 PM :

      

No more bad Bone jokes

Silver Bullet Comics has a short interview with Bone creator Jeff Smith. It doesn't cover any new ground, but I figured it's worth a plug. Always good to see C-bus creators making the news.
"The BONE: One Volume Edition was everything I hoped it would be. I wanted to present the completed BONE comic as a single story, because I believed that it would read better that way. I believe that comics as an art form can hold up to a long form story. And in 1300 pages, you can cover a lot of territory. I was able to touch on love, fear, companionship, loyalty - - anything I could think of really. And the reaction was quite overwhelming as well. Just recently, Time Magazine, citing the One Volume Edition, named BONE one of the 10 greatest graphic novels of all time."


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  Posted by Dara on 3/13/2006 10:03:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Hey, it's another special guest edition of Guess the Artist for you this week. The page below was submitted by longtime MMGtA guesser and Penciljack forum member, F!NCH. Thanks man.



(click image to make teen-tastic)

(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, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006)

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  Posted by Dara on 3/13/2006 10:01:00 AM :

      

AA Weekend Covers, MIA

Sorry, it was a busy weekend and I didn't get to post the regular feature. AA Weekend covers will return next weekend.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/13/2006 09:48:00 AM :

      

Renew! Renew!

Business Week reported last week there's a push to develop tidal power plants. The idea is the tides are more predictable than wind and solar. Business Week even calls it "lunar power," because the tides are controlled by the moon.

Yep, power from the sea -- just another instance of life imitating "Logan's Run."


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Saturday, March 11, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 3/11/2006 09:39:00 AM :

      

Super? Yah, supadumb.

Smallville is one of my guilty pleasures. Unfortunately for me the past two seasons it's been getting bad. Maybe because they've been dancing around the Superman mythos all this time but now he's graduated high school. Normally if a guy like this has been thru all this crap he's got to of developed a thick skin. Thicker than steel if you will. So why the hell did he fall for Milton Fine's (a.k.a. Brainiac) ploy so easily. Kent should be a seasoned hero by now after fighting off half the town.
The whole Jor-El subplot is being ploted so poorly. The 'Jor-El is evil' plot should of been wrapped up by last season. Jor-El's warnings could be cryptic, leading into the episode. But at some point Clark should get the info dump from the El (as seen in the first movie) I suppose I see more wasted potential in Superman's story than what DC and the tv/movie are willing to put out. It could be good sci-fi but instead I get a watered down X-Files.


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Friday, March 10, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 3/10/2006 06:57:00 PM :

      


Drunken anatomy

Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School happens the second Saturday of every month at The Lucky Cat Lounge in Brooklyn. They're credo is simple- they find 'the most beautiful burlesque dancers, the most bizarre circus freaks, and the most rippling hunks of man' and pose them in a cafe. A swirl of booze, graphite, strong coffee and scantily clad unusuals: buddy that's a good time. There are prizes.

*definitely not 'work-safe'.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/10/2006 09:04:00 AM :

      

Hey, Academy!

Hey, Academy of Motion Picture Arts! Pam Grier played a man dressed as a woman in “Escape from LA.” How come Felicity Huffman got an Oscar nomination and not her?


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  Posted by Tony on 3/10/2006 08:59:00 AM :

      

WWW: The Adventures of Pluto Nash

How does a movie with Pam Grier, Randy Quaid, John Cleese, Joe Pantoliano, Peter Boyle, Rosario Dawson, Jay Mohr, Luis Guzman and Illeana Douglas turn out bad? Simple – put Eddie Murphy at the top of the cast and call it “The Adventures of Pluto Nash.”

In fairness, the movie’s not quite as bad as I was expecting. The plot’s not too bad and there are some funny bits. The special effects aren’t going to make you forget “Blade Runner,” but they’re not bad. They gave a little thought to what it would actually be like to live on the moon – my favorite bit what when Eddie Murphy complains about how he hates going to Earth because it smells funny.

Lesson One: Start strong. The opening sequence shows how Eddie Murphy got possession of his nightclub. He convinces the previous owner, Jay Mohr, to become an Italian crooner rather than a Scottish crooner. He also stops gangsters from pouring acid down Mohr’s gullet. Even a two-sentence description of this is boring.

Lesson Two: If you’ve got Pam Grier, use her. If we could connect the awesomeness of Pam Grier to some kind of turbine, we could cure America’s addiction to foreign oil. But “Pluto Nash” gives her a half-dozen lines as Eddie’s mom.

Lesson Three: A big movie needs a big plot – or at least a coherent one. OK, I kind of forget the particulars of this plot. I think the gangsters were trying to get Eddie’s club to put up a casino, but there was also some deal where the gangsters needed to change a law to allow casinos. The whole movie may be about a zoning dispute.

Lesson Four: Know your audience. I’m not sure the world was ready for Eddie Murphy in space. Also, the movie seemed unsure if it wanted to be a kid’s movie or not. Mostly it was, but sometimes Eddie drops a four-letter word.

Also, I’m not sure that any movie with Rosario Dawson is suitable for children.

From the Running Gags With No Legs Department: Randy Quaid plays a bodyguard android who’s kind of past his prime. He overheats, he makes funny robot noises, lusts after lady robots, etc. He falls somewhere between C-3P0 and Jar Jar Binks in terms of annoyingness.


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Thursday, March 09, 2006
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 3/09/2006 08:42:00 AM :

      

Panel: Home Review
Optical Sloth reviews Panel: Home on our own Panel page within the site. A very positive review and Tim will be happy to know that he gets mention in both this review and the review of Panel: Space.
One of my favorite types of comic is the anthology, the problem being that's it's sp rarely done well. The average anthology has a few stories that you like (if you're lucky), a few you don't and a bunch somewhere in the middle. Panel, from what I've seen so far, is all about the stuff that you like...Great stuff again, and I have two more issues of this to come to test my theory that these people really have their act together with the concept of the anthology.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/09/2006 08:31:00 AM :

      

Borders flogs comic-ish novel

My weekly e-mail from Borders includes a large section on "The Tenth Circle" by Jodi Picoult, a novel about a comic book artist. According to the review, the book includes pages from the graphic novel the guy is working on.

"And I was intrigued by the thought of a main character who wasn't good with words—an enigma you'd have to learn about through some other means."

Read the review and excerpt


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Tuesday, March 07, 2006
 
  Posted by Craig on 3/07/2006 11:00:00 AM :

      

Desert Island Comics, pt. 5

Continuing my countdown of the ten single issues I want with me if I’m stranded on a desert isle:

There are two series’ I set out to evoke when I began self-publishing The Ineffables. The first was Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck, published by Marvel Comics in the mid-to-late 70’s.

DC Comics made a big splash in the late 1980’s when it rolled out its Vertigo line of comics aimed at a specifically adult audience, grown out of Alan Moore’s revision of Swamp Thing and creation of the character of John Constantine, with Neil Gaiman’s Sandman thrown in to cement their reputation for reinventing the genre for a more sophisticated audience. Sadly, lost in the hoopla surrounding this watershed event was the fact that Marvel had done the very same thing about fifteen years previously. An entire line of mature (meaning older and more intelligent, not porn-obsessed) reader comics flourished for several years before fading away, perhaps because the readership wasn’t yet ready for such a step to be taken, perhaps because Marvel didn’t do anything like establishing a separate imprint to differentiate these books from their lighter fare.

A range of supernatural and horror titles was led by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan’s Tomb of Dracula, but the biggest impression was made on me (a decade later, when I was old enough to get it) by the social and political satire, and outright weirdness, of Man-Thing and Howard the Duck, both written by the precursor to Grant Morrison named Steve Gerber. Which leads me to…

#6: Howard the Duck #14

Howard the Duck
was Gerber’s vehicle for commentary on our culture, from violence as entertainment to politics to religion to consumerism and numerous other topics. The series drew in older readers who had given up reading comics when they left childhood, and its first issue became one of the first ever “hot” collectible comics. Gerber’s aim was to capture the potential of underground comics for a mainstream audience, and he did so for about thirty issues before a falling out with Marvel’s editors led to his departure, followed by the quick and painful demise of the title.

Howard’s popularity reached the point that it attracted the attention of mighty Disney, who sued on the grounds that the character was too similar to Donald Duck (presumably they only meant visually). As a result, Marvel was required to… make Howard wear pants to differentiate him from Walt’s character. Strangely enough, when Gerber recently returned to Howard for a six-issue miniseries, the title character was transformed into a big mouse for several issues.

Did I mention that most of the series was drawn by Gene Colan? His distinctive composition and shading heightened the pensive mood and pervasive strangeness surrounding the talking duck. I envy those who, not having the entire run of the original series, discovered it through the Essentials reprint volume and saw his work in glorious black & white.

Issue 14 of the series is the concluding chapter of a four-issue arc that had Howard assaulted on a bus to Cleveland by a host of messiahs seeking to impose their meaning on a meaningless universe; a nervous breakdown and incarceration in that microcosm of society, the mental institution; a struggle to discover his own identity among the din of voices arguing in his head… y’know, kid’s stuff that Vertigo would one day elevate the medium above. The penultimate chapter brought in Daimon Hellstrom to examine Howard’s traveling companion, believed to be possessed; it ends on a cliffhanger as a religious fanatic/mystic strips the Son of Satan of his demonic side, which quite by accident lands in the drug-addled waterfowl.

This final chapter sees Hellstrom racing to reclaim his other self from the duck, the climax of which causes Howard’s own soul to be scattered across the entire city. His oneness with Cleveland provides the insight needed to resolve the issues which have been damaging his psyche before he is restored by the book’s guest star. A brief moment of sentimentality creeps in, but we are assured Howard’s healthy cynicism will return next issue.

As an added bonus, this final chapter of the storyline features Colan’s pencils inked by none other than Klaus Janson. It’s one of the most visually arresting comics I own.

Let me add: no matter how let down anyone has EVER felt by a movie adaptation of their favorite comic… I’ve got you beat by a mile.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/07/2006 09:18:00 AM :

      

Live-action Simpsons opening montage

You've heard about it on the Internets, now watch it via Google video.

Live action Simpsons intro.



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  Posted by Craig on 3/07/2006 09:11:00 AM :

      

Panel Assemble! Episode V: Return to the Isle of Misfit Toys



Submitted for your approval in glorious comic sans!

I tag... "D. Tony" Tony Goins, aka The Prince of Lies!


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Monday, March 06, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/06/2006 09:09:00 PM :

      

Sex and religion

What are two things we don't see enough of on the Ferret Press blog, Alex?

To remedy that situation, I give you:

Blasphemy, lol. A weird computer game/religion mash-up.

S&M/Fetish themed official Canadian website for the Mini Cooper. Wow. I don't think any US based ad agencies would have the balls (pardon the pun) to try something like this.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 3/06/2006 07:19:00 PM :

      

Again, "Hype," but now with free MP3s

I really enjoy music and probably spend too much time and money on it. In order to share the wealth, I've started posting MP3s on my web site that you can download and listen to for free. Guaranteed completely virus and spyware safe, I swear. Basically, I see this as a way I can share the tunes I like with more people, and hopefully get some feedback from visitors and new tunes I might dig but aren't aware of.

Anyway, click on over to Spudd 64, enter the "news" section, and enjoy the music. I've researched other MP3 blogs and am following their unofficial rules, like leaving MP3s active for only 7 days and only posting MP3s of music I have legally paid for, so hopefully that will keep me out of trouble. So have fun, and share the music.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/06/2006 12:51:00 PM :

      

Happy B-Day, Komikwerks!

Komikwerks, the webcomics site that runs my Lifelike comic, turned 5 years old over the weekend. Their big new push for this year will be a series of illustrated young adult novels under the banner of Actionopolis.

Congrats to the guys running the site, and here's hoping for many more successful years.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/06/2006 12:31:00 PM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Ok, we have a special guest edition of Guess the Artist for you this week. The page below was submitted by Panel member Craig Bogart. This is truly from the early, early, early career of one of the biggest names in comics art. Depending on you age, I'd say this is either a well known page, or a complete baffle. I'm betting on the former.



(click image to pop a Wheelie)

(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, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006)

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  Posted by Tony on 3/06/2006 08:20:00 AM :

      

The Oscars ... I need to see more movies

OK, so I only saw two of the movies nominated for Oscars last night -- and one of them was of course "Batman Begins." I picked 9 of 26 winners, putting me in a two-way tie for second at the Oscar party I attended.

Jon Stewart didn't blow my skirt up. I hate to say this, but sometimes the sarcasm was a bit too much. You're presenting the Oscars. After a point, you gotta just own it.

36 Mafia ... "Oscar-winner 36 Mafia" ... it's going to take some getting used to.

It's good to see the graphic novels getting love from the mainstream. Comics are just movies on paper, with an unlimited budget and fewer creative constraints, as Tim McClurg would say.

I can't say whether "Brokeback Mountain" or "Capote" got robbed. But I can say this: It's a good day for America when the movie about *race relations* is considered the "safe" choice. That's progress.


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Sunday, March 05, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 3/05/2006 06:49:00 PM :

      

Top 10 reasons to create webcomics

Scott Story, who does the superhero webcomic Johnny Saturn at Komikwerks has posted a great article on his message board titled Top Ten Reasons Why I Create Webcomics. He makes some great points on the subject, and it's something worth reading if you're a creator who has never considered doing a webcomic.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/05/2006 06:26:00 PM :

      

AA Weekend Covers

Another installment of Awesome and Ass covers. Another pseudo-theme this week: ghosts and spectral entities.

AWESOME

(click to enlarge)
The Spectre #20 (October 2002) by P. Craig Russell.

The Spectre is one of those characters I've never followed, but the various incarnations (no pun intended) of the series have always boasted great cover art. I really like this particular one because of its great use of white space. Not enough comics make use of this design element, which is why the ones that do will always pop out amongst the sea of other four-color chaotic covers. I also love how Russell eschews the traditional Spectre title logo for his own design, which he incorporates into the illustration. In fact, if you look up the series of covers he did for this series, you'll see that he designed a different logo for each to fit the mood and design of the piece. Great stuff.

ASS

(click to enlarge)
Ghost Rider / Blaze: Spirits Of Vengeance #15 (1993) by Andy Kubert (I think).

Because aside from the walrus tusk design of the character, nothing screams "Vengeance" like hot pink chains.

(previous weeks: 12/3/2005, 12/11/2005, 12/17/2005, 12/25/2005, 1/7/2006, 1/15/2006, 1/22/2006, 1/29/2006, 2/5/2006, 2/12/2006, 2/19/2006, 2/26/2006)


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Saturday, March 04, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 3/04/2006 03:04:00 PM :

      


How can I make it more fun?

After getting tons of emails, Brian K. Vaughn has spilled his thoughts on 'breaking in' and writing on his myspace blog. Reminds me of a scary comment made from an editor that they get more pitches from people (either off the cuff or serious) than actual comics fans. The ones who enjoy comics and are not there for potential freelance. As Andy put it on Thursday, comics are a harsh mistress.

As an aside, I dunno if this is the same artist but these covers Vaughn's posted are gorgeous. Nice saturated color. Pops off my screen.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/04/2006 10:09:00 AM :

      

Blogging from the Fortress of Solitude

My furnace gave out last night. So it's a nice 46 degrees in the house today. Well, nice if you're a penguin. And so begins the wait on the repairman to show up and tell me how much I need to take out of Hanna's college fund to pay for heat. Which won't be for another 5 hours.

Good times.


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Friday, March 03, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 3/03/2006 10:52:00 PM :

      

My Nextwave of decom-depression..

Previous posts and reading Nextwave no. 2 today got me thinking about Ellis. I firmly believe that Ellis is writing Nextwave as a drinking game. I genuinely enjoyed the first issue but the second issue continues on into a weak pastiche parody of the modern era Marvel comic. I was sold on the pitch: there are alot of wack characters in the Marvel Universe ripe for parody. Play some of them straight and you'll get a chuckle from this reader. But the jokes are a bit labored and episodic. Dorkin would of had this wrapped up in ten pages or less. Pacing it out like all the other failed tv pilot wait-for-the-trade crap is a huge mistep. There's a collection of little wacky moments but nothing to glue it together. A overarching build-up to a punchline (ala Seinfeld) would of been nice. It's not gonna happen. What I should be doing is waiting for the Venture Brothers dvd to come out. That is comic parody genius packed into twenty minutes. About the same timespan it took me to read this and more satisfying.
The weakness is augmented by the ehhh work of Immonen (a poor man's Tony Harris/ Kevin McGuire hybrid) What would make the book really sing is a Kyle Baker type cartoonist. Hell, if Marvel's game for hiring Farel for a project then why not a Jim Rugg, Eric Powell, or O'Malley.

On the flipside I do enjoy Ellis' Engine board. He is a huge cheerleader for work outside the mainstream. He did love Salamander Dream after all. His Pulse articles have always been a riot.


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  Posted by Dara on 3/03/2006 04:41:00 PM :

      

Chuck Taylor All Star Batman shoe




Via Newsarama comes this snippet about the Jim Lee-designed limited edition Chuck Taylor All Star Batman shoe from Converse. Geek out.

(in typical Newsarama style, lots of snarky comments follow, such as "make sure to wear your mylar bags over the shoes," etc.)


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  Posted by Tony on 3/03/2006 04:21:00 PM :

      

You ... shall not ... pass!

I gotta stop looking at Craigslist.org. Here's an ad for an "adult video" shoot with a wizard/fantasy theme. After that, they're planning to do erotic scenes based on the Bible.

I really, really, really want to believe this is a hoax.

http://columbus.craigslist.org/adg/134490272.html


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  Posted by Tony on 3/03/2006 01:07:00 PM :

      

WWW – LXG (the movie)

OK, a lot went wrong with LXG, but before we get to that, let’s set some parameters.

First, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the book) is something that Alan Moore does on his days off from being brilliant. It’s an in-joke wrapped in the oldest espionage plot there is – “heroes are recruited then betrayed by their government.” It is saved by A) the quality of the in-joke and B) Moore’s craftsmanship – each character has individual motivations and an individual voice.

Second, LXG (the movie) ought to be better than it is. In the movie, the villain attempts to bring about WWI 15 years early. That allows the movie to achieve a real sense of crisis, and to play with themes of modernity. God, I love modernity. The inclusion of Tom Sawyer ought to contrast nicely with the old British adventurer Allan Quatermain, pushing the modernity theme a bit farther.

With all of those good intentions, James Robinson’s script doesn’t quite deliver. There are three lessons to be learned here.

Lesson 1: Many things that are acceptable in comics don’t work in real life. Take the scene in Dorian Gray’s library. The villain comes in and gives a speech. Then our heroes, with only three pistols and a sword cane between them, defeat a dozen henchmen with automatic rifles. Of course, our heroes are cracking jokes and making significant character development statements during the whole battle.

Lesson 2: If you have to stop the movie for more than 10 minutes for character development, just skip it. Character development ought to be woven through the whole movie. If you can’t do that, just let the characters be archetypes. At least the movie will be shorter.

Lesson 3: Mr. Hyde does not have a heart of gold. He just doesn’t. The general badness of some of the heroes is what makes League (the book) so darned enjoyable.


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  Posted by Tony on 3/03/2006 12:37:00 PM :

      

Ellis – a partial defense

OK, I started to respond to Matt’s Warren Ellis post in the comments, but it got too long. I’m also not trying to start a flame war. Matt is someone whose opinions I respect, even when I disagree.

So let me say that I respectfully disagree in some areas, but not in others. I tend to think there's good Ellis and bad Ellis. On the bad Ellis, everything the writer of the review says are true. Ellis may have peaked with Spider Jerusalem and Transmetropolitan, and a lot of the things he’s done since are variations on a theme. Planetary has been treading water all year. And yes, too many Ellis heroes are badasses with an attitude and a drinking problem.

Ellis can still do good work when he breaks out of that “badass with a drinking problem” mode, though. His recent JLA Classified run showed a good understanding of each character. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a writer capture Superman as a journalist, and it’s rare to see his relationship with Lois handled quite that well.

I can’t agree at all with the writer’s characterization of Transmetropolitan, though. Spider wasn’t at all ubercompetent. He made mistakes. He hurt people. His motives were a bit more complex than the writer acknowledges. More importantly, the stories were about more than just him. Spider was a very flexible vehicle with which to tell a variety of interesting stories. Transmetropolitan is still my favorite series that I’ve ever read.

It doesn't bother me that someone would change their mind about working with superheroes. I agree with Steve that Ellis has a lot of affection for the characters. I've personally changed my mind on several superheroes (Shadow Hawk comes to mind), and I think many of us have a love/hate relationship with superheroes.

It does not bother me that Ellis brings in ideas he read on metafilter the other day. I think of him more as a populizer rather than an originator, and I'm OK with that. Comix need someone bringing in ideas from outside the ghetto.

Finally, Ellis writes an entertaining story more often than not. No matter where the ideas come from or how many times I've seen the character, that forgives a lot of sins in my book.


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Wednesday, March 01, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 3/01/2006 09:48:00 PM :

      

Your political rant of the evening...

Will somebody pleeeeeease impeach this idiot already! It's like that clip where Bush is reading to the kids on 9-11. Damn!! Cheney too.

Really good article by Bill Moyer on 'Saving Democracy'.
Like Cronkite: If Keilor is the heartland, then there's hope.


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  Posted by Tom on 3/01/2006 07:55:00 PM :

      

Jessica Abel has a new site (but her old site is still up?) to help promote the pending collection of La Perdida. Of which after finishing it I have mixed feelings. I think her strengths lie in her writing. Her comics border on illustrated text sometimes. I miss her old style before she adopted a brushier look. The site's quite dense but unfinished.


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  Posted by Tom on 3/01/2006 06:45:00 PM :

      

Ogre 2.0

Along with my weekly purchase from the Ogre, I received a form letter stating that the Laughing Ogre has now become a part of the Phoenix Comics & Toys. Getting letters like this unnerves me a little, okay a lot. I've now been thru two different companies that have either been bought out or 'tweaked' by a new CEO. And while it always starts out reassuring, drastic changes do happen. Granted chain comic shops are rare and not on the level of say a major retail chain. Nothing may change at all. Maybe I'm panicing. This is my favorite shop in town so it's akin to someone peeing in my backyard. I've befriended quite a few of the staff which is rare. I actually go out of my way to become anonymous with retail/ restaurants. In the letter it states that Gib and the staff will still stay on. I did some online research, they are mentioned on the 'Indy friendly stores' list on the SPX site. Which was a bit of relief. Keeping the mainstream books was a given so this was pretty big. I can only hope that the new change is for the better.

*anyone care to share more of this news please chime in.


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  Posted by Craig on 3/01/2006 11:16:00 AM :

      

Brooding

I heard a little about this over the weekend, but didn't get all the details until Monday afternoon.
I've just transferred from the pharmacy I worked at, which was in a reeeeaaally bad part of town, to one in the surrounding 'burbs. After a couple years of wondering which night I was going to be held up, I felt a bit relieved even though this new store is a 24-hour establishment and I might be required to be there until 11 p.m. some nights instead of 10 at the other place. However, during my first week there...

Sunday at 3 a.m., the only people in the store were the pharmacist and the assistant manager, a lady in her 50's, who usually works the third shift. Upon hearing the door chime, this lady came to the front end, but didn't see anyone. Cruising down the row of aisles, she spotted a guy in an oversized jacket and mask crouching behind a display, scoping out the pharmacy (where, besides Viagra, we keep a bunch of narcotics locked up). The would-be-thief spotted her, and came charging down the aisle in her direction. She charged up another aisle, shouting for the pharmacist to call 911. The pharmacist came out from behind the counter, cell phone in hand.

I saw the security video of the next part: upon reaching the front end, the guy could turn left and be out the door, making a clean getaway; given his preparation and the ambition of his goal, I assume he had an exit planned. Instead, he turns right and chases this fifty-year old lady up the next aisle, and stabs her in the chest. Then he runs out the door empty-handed.

Luckily, the lady spent just a couple days in the hospital (recovering from a collapsed lung) and has been released. The police speculated that this was done so that the pharmacist would have to stop to help her, rather than follow the guy outside. So it was a carefully considered, purposeful attempt to murder somebody. It also suggests that he had planned to knife the guy behind the pharmacy counter before he even walked in the door.

I'm as much a bleeding heart liberal as the next guy, but seeing this sort of thing close up (as close as I did, anyway) makes me reconsider my thoughts on lowering the bar for the death penalty. Maybe people that act like animals ought to be treated like animals.

I shouldn't say that. I like animals.

Sorry to be a downer-- I'll return to my usual jocularity next time.


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