Welcome to the weblog of the writers and artists of Ferret Press (a publisher of fine comix) and PANEL (a Columbus, Ohio comic creators collaborative.) Here you will find our musings on comics, art, the creative process, politics, the web, and life.

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Read Tony Goins' webcomic Downs.
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Friday, June 30, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/30/2006 07:17:00 PM :

      

This will make you cry..

Dan Nadel got his whole line of books rejected by Diamond for distribution. I'd really like to know exactly what Diamond's standards are? Why wouldn't they want to offer a more diverse line of books? And why they say 'Oh we love small press' then reject something cool like Paper Rad, Incanto, Me a Mound, and BJ and the Dogs. Granted this would only fall in the few comic shops that order indie. But that hasn't stopped Diamond from carrying anything else. They didn't even give it a shot.


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  Posted by Tom on 6/30/2006 06:40:00 PM :

      



Well I tried the Blade contest as a last ditch effort to go to San Diego. I didn't make the cut. What makes it worse is I saw some of the finalists. Here are the pages from my entry. Didn't matter that it was colored but I thought it would help during the online voting. It wouldn't of flowed for me but I could of cut more. The pacing really needed five pages. Which would of ran over the limit. And also why I never saved the scan of the last page. I redrew that page twice and I still wasn't happy with it.



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  Posted by Dara on 6/30/2006 03:12:00 PM :

      

Your political moment of the day

So the newly revamped Alive is carrying Jon Stewart's syndicated column. From this week's rant about the Senate voting not to raise the minimum wage:
"I just want to say, Good. I'm glad they didn't do it, because the lower strata of American society have had a free ride for too long.

If you were to give them $7.25 an hour, you know it would just go up their nose and out their hose. You know what I'm talking about. You don't want to give them walking around money.

So kudos to Congress for taking a giant dump on the poorest people in the country, because they deserve it. Good job."
Up their nose and out their hose is now my favorite new phrase. I shall henceforth endeavor to work it into my conversation during meetings at work at least once a week.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/30/2006 03:01:00 PM :

      

More Comfest photos

Courtesy of the folks at CD101:

Part the A
Part the B
Part the C

And here's the Pride Parade.


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Thursday, June 29, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/29/2006 09:12:00 PM :

      

Forbidden Planet's got a fever for small press


Caught another bit off the Engine. Sounds like the Brits are taking a note from Mile High Comics...


I run the Forbidden Planet International website - www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk and our daily blog - http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/ and we were wondering if you can help us to start a meaningful relationship with small press and self publishers.

FPI sells a lot of comics but mostly this is superheores and to a lesser extent product from the bigger alt comics houses like Fantagraphics and D&Q. I know some of our stores run locally produced comics on a one to one basis between managers and producers tho' I couldn't tell you which ones and what they carry. It occured to us that we can however carry everything online, and should, as we try to expand the range of comics product we carry.

In July we are going to have a British comics month and feature some story about British comics every day on our Blog - we would like this to range from a feature on 2000AD or Beano thru to interviews/features on smaller UK producers like Typocrat and the small press community.

To go along with this we would also like to offer to list any and all comics being produced in the UK on our site. We would run a picture of the cover and a synopsis of the story and make them available to buy. In truth we aren't looking to make a lot of money out of this - we see it as a way of just making us truly live up to the tag of UK's largest comics seller by expanding the range to feature all comics.

We can of course search through sites and find the producers and mail them directly, and we will possibly do this, but it occurred to us that if you were to list it as a bulletin point it might reach the small press community easier that way. I know you are interested in mentioning things that might help the small press get wider recognition and I think this could fit the bill.

Would it be possible for you just to tell the community we are now looking to take and carry all self published and small press - we'd have to negotiate what margin we would need - but I am probably willing to work on something that merely covers our costs - listing, packing etc so we aren't neccesarily looking for 50%+ discounts here.

Of course it isn't entirely philanthropic. We expect that down the line some of these producers will become bigger names, new customers will be attracted who buy other items also but in truth it is more a currying favour excercise and an attempt to make us a more prominent player in the 'whole' comics scene rather than our own little mostly superheroic backwater. Josh and Gosh have done a fine job of carrying the material and I feel we at FPI should be also.

If anyone is interested in getting their products listed they should contact me and we can talk it through.

I can be reached on this e-mail - MANPEN(at)aol.com- or by phone on 01708 346305.

If you have any questions or need to talk it through a bit more give me a call.

Do you think it can work? We have over 100,000 visitors to the site monthly (not all for comics of course) and it could be a place where people's work would get seen by a greater number. We also would be happy to blog any upcoming small press events if people just let us know what they have coming up.

all the best
Kenny Penman
Director Internet Services
Forbidden Planet International



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  Posted by Dara on 6/29/2006 12:52:00 PM :

      

Luck and the Lost Girls (plus Robots!)

A trio of reviews for ya:

First, former Alive contributor and Columbus mainstay J. Caleb Mozzocco reviews Panel: Luck over at Newsarama.
"...Panel's number seven anthology is pretty lucky, because it’s pretty strong from start to finish—certainly this team’s strongest to date."

Next, Neil Gaiman reviews Alan Moore's much-controversial Lost Girls.
"As an exercise in the formal bounds of pure comics, Lost Girls is remarkable, as good as anything Moore has done in his career."

And finally, Optical Sloth reviews friends-of-the-ferret Alice and Leighton Connor's mini-comic, Robots.
"A pretty solid effort overall, the robot mayhem and the "historical" piece make for a nice contrast."


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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/28/2006 09:12:00 PM :

      

Spied this off the Engine...

Nice interview with Demo/American Virgin artist Becky Cloonan. It's good to hear she's living off the art full time now. Can't find her Tokyopop book anywhere yet. Either it's sold out or not carried in town.

Then again, It did take a while for Road Song to hit the local shops.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/28/2006 11:35:00 AM :

      

Spider-man 3 trailer

Is now online. Enjoy a teaser look at Sandman, the symbiote "Venom" costume, and other stuff.


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/28/2006 10:26:00 AM :

      

Superman Returns
Somehow, my local movie theater skirted the official Wednesday opening date of Superman Returns and had a 10:00 showing last night. Although I'm not the biggest Superman fan, I saw it (and at $3.75 it was quite a bargain).

It was a good, if not great, movie. Brandon Routh exceeded my low expectations, but neither he nor Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane) seemed old enough/mature enough to play these parts. Routh does a good job of channeling Christopher Reeve and Bosworth is a fine enough actress for the role. Kevin Spacey does a good job of chewing scenery as Lex Luthor, but Parker Posey is wasted in her role.

The plot was fine, but the Christ symbolism was poured on thick. Bryan Singer made the right chose in staying faithful to the original movies (the John Williams theme is rousing), but Marlon Brando's lame voice-over work shouldn't have been rehashed.

I can't quite believe this was the most expensive movie ever made. The effects are fine, but any of the Lord of the Rings movies seemed more special-effects laden. With Superman, out of all the superheroes, I'd like to see some more primary colors; everything seemed washed out and dingy.

I'd give it a solid B. It doesn't surpass the first two Christopher Reeve movies like the newest Batman surpassed its predecessors. But, unlike any other superheroes, Superman still is able to provide a sense of awe. I did get chills during one scene.

More importantly, there is a teaser trailer for Spider-Man 3. Venom, Sandman, black costume. I haven't been able to get it to work online, but in the theaters it looked very cool.


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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/27/2006 07:50:00 PM :

      

Activism, music, beer, boobs...and comics: a Comfest 2006 report

Ferret Press and the PANEL writer/artist collective once again had a booth at Columbus, Ohio's long running community festival known as Comfest. Now in its 34th year, Comfest is the largest all-volunteer run, non-corporate sponsored, and above all, free community festival in the US. With an emphasis on peace, love, community, and social activism, Comfest brings together people from all walks of life. Exact attendance figures are hard to come by, but most estimates place the number of people converging in Goodale Park for the 3-day event at well over 50,000. This year, the festival featured 200 exhibitor booths (from arts and crafts to social and political organizations,) 220 live bands on 7 stages, and a plethora of spoken word and performing arts acts. Not to mention all the food vendors, and the beer taps that fund this free festival. We were lucky enough to secure one of the 200 competitively juried arts marketplace spots (out of a pool of 450+ applicants!)

(Note: for a full set of Comfest 2006 pictures, go here)

Friday, June 23:

Fellow PANEL member Tony Goins and I set up the tent by 9:30 AM, at which point it started to rain at a steady pace. It continued to rain well into the afternoon, finally clearing up around 5 PM. Needless to say, sales were slow, as attendance was low and we had a hard time putting out any of the comics, due to the extreme humidity warping all the books. Oh well, that's the downside of exhibiting at an outdoor event.

Wendy and Hanna stopped by in the afternoon and we took in some of the sights and sounds. Hanna found several playmates from the nearby booths, and they had a blast chasing each other around. Later on, she got her face painted like a panda. It was pretty darn cute, even though people kept thinking she was a member of KISS.

I was able to catch local-boys-gone-WB-recording-artists The Sun on the Bozo Stage (aka main stage) at 10 PM. Despite the late start and the audio problems, it was a good set and a nice way to close down the first night of the show. Our booth was located close to the Jazz Stage, which runs notoriously late each night. As midnight approached and Tom Williams and I were packing up to leave, local funksters Flypaper were rocking a crowd of several hundred by the jazz stage. Complete with stilt walkers and go-go dancers. It was quite the sight.

Quote of the Day: a hippie-type guy with braided hair and a huge hemp belt stopped by the booth to ask where the Libertarian booth was. After giving him directions, we noted his all-black attire and the myriad of objects hanging off his hand woven belt (mugs, bags, flashlights, etc.) All of which prompted Tony to say "wow, that guy was like the stoner Batman!"

WTF Quote of the Day
: a guy dropped in and started talking about Frank Miller's Sin City books. Since he seemed to be unaware of Miller's earlier works, I started telling him about The Dark Knight Returns and Daredevil: Born Again. Which made him pause, think for a moment, and say "Daredevil...yeah, I think I know that character...he's like a Mexican, right?"

Saturday, June 24:

With the rain behind us, the festival finally kicked into high gear. Sunny skies and huge crowds greeted us on Saturday. Sean McGurr helped me set up and man the booth in the morning. Stealing away, I did a bit of shopping, picking up a book of poetry by Columbus native Is Said, who was making his 30th consecutive appearance at Comfest. Also bought a kitchy 1960s Batman alarm clock. Don't know why. I picked up information on hostels in the US from our neighbor booth, as well as pamphlets from a couple of great volunteer organizations: Third Hand Bicycle Co-op (who promote cycling as safe and environmentally responsible transportation, as well as providing free facilities, tools, and skills for cyclists) and Free Geek (who provide free computers and education to those in need through the reuse and recycling of old computers.)



Traffic to the booth was steady. We met a lot of different people, introduced a whole slew of folks to the world of small press and indy comics, and handed out tons of free indy comics (courtesy of Gib at the fantastically awesome Laughing Ogre comic book store!) Sales were good across the board, as people picked up our inexpensive small press books as well more expensive fare like Tom's No Dead Time graphic novel. Andy Bennett dropped by to help out later in the day, and sketched up a storm while his wife worked the Ohio Roller Girls booth.

Several of my friends dropped by in the afternoon, and we caught the funkalicious shenanigans of The Fabulous Johnson Brothers on the Bozo Stage at night. Joining them on stage were 4 stilt-walkers and a hoola girl, from Dr. Grimaldi's Circus Fantastique. It was quite the spectacle. And then it was back to the Jazz Stage to close down the night with Jamnesia. Time of departure for some much needed sleep: 1:30 AM.

Quote of the day
: The stickers somebody had stuck above all the urinals in the men's port-a-johns, which read "Ken Blackwell's Voting Device" with an arrow pointing down. (For our out of state readers, Ken Blackwell is our very Republican Secretary of State who many have accused to rigging the 2004 election to favor Bushy Bush.)

Sunday, June 25:

No beer for me today. I tried to take it easy, and even took a nap behind the booth in the afternoon. We had beautiful weather again, and sales surpassed our Saturday figures. Tom, Andy, and Tony were all on hand to man the booth, meet and greet, and do sketches for fun. I caught my coworker's band Black Cat Revival at the Offramp Stage, and in the process ran into several other coworkers. This was also the day of Tony's infamous conversation with the lady who knew about the secret greenhouses built on the moon in the 1930s by a Canadian company, with help from Columbus' own Jeffrey Mining and Manufacturing Company.

The topless women sightings for the 3 days came out to around half a dozen. Alas, no guy-in-chainmail-thong like a couple of years ago, but them's the breaks. Comfest: a little something for everyone. (By the way, it's perfectly legal for women to go topless in Columbus. That, combined with Comfest's very liberal leanings, has made the whole topless-women-walking-around phenomena a Comfest tradition. Some do so with elaborate body paintings, while others opt for the au naturale look.)

By the way, to the drunk redhead who chatted us up on Sunday night: you couldn't remember the name of the comic book artist who did the cover to the latest CD from local band Denovo, and it was driving you nuts. It made me curious enough to look up their site, and from the looks of it I'd say the artist is Paul Hornschemeier.

Extra special thanks to Andy, Tony, and Jess for help with the tear down Sunday night. We got the gear loaded in the truck by around midnight.

Quote of the Day...in fact, Quote of the Whole Weekend: the crusty old guy in a faded civil war hat and a big dog on a leash who came up to us and asked "Excuse me, fellas, do you know where they're painting them titties at this year?" Alas, we didn't know at the time. But as it turned out, one of the body painting booths was just 5 spots down from us.

Final Thoughts



I love Comfest. The crazies, the hippies, the goth kids, the artists, the musicians, even the Dublin soccer moms pushing their $500 baby strollers. It's a goldmine for people watching, it's a 3-day party in the park, it's a free music festival, and it's just plain awesome. You get to hang out with friends, picnic, drink beer, and just chill. Then there's the whole TOG factor, as Tony calls it. "That One Guy" or "That One Girl," as in "hey, I just ran into that one guy who used to date my roommate's sister." It doesn't matter that there are 50,000 people milling around, at Comfest, you'll inevitably run into your coworkers, college classmates, ex-boyfriends, or high school coach who is now out of the closet.

Plus, we sell lots of our comics to people who are genuinely interested in supporting local talent, and trying something new.

I'll leave you now with some random overheard conversations from throughout the weekend:
"I'm gay."

"I think they're all bongs."
"Wow, really?"

"Dude, do you know how many white tents near port-a-johns there are around here? You gotta' be more specific."

"There sure are a lot of...interesting people here."
We love you, Comfest. Don't ever change.

(Reminder: my full set of Comfest 2006 pictures are here)


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  Posted by Tony on 6/27/2006 09:48:00 AM :

      

"'Scuse me, fellas ..." Another Comfest Report

Friday: Rain. It rained from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. At 6 p.m., the clouds parted, the sun came out, and Tom Williams appeared. Definitely the slowest day.

Saturday: You'll have to ask someone else about this, 'cause I pretty much avoided the table on Saturday. I did take my nephew to Comfest, which he was not too hippy-skippy about. He wanted to go to GameWorks, and then he wanted a luchador mask, then he was scandalized by the guy in ladies' underwear ... and so on. Personally, I thought the luchador mask was pretty cool, but his mother disagreed.

Sunday: Beautiful weather, steady sales -- can't beat it with a stick.

Crazy People: All told, three people randomly told me their life stories this weekend. One guy had to put his cat to sleep the night before. Another lady told me a long, rambly story about military moonbases in the 1930s. They required greenhouses built by a Canadian company and Columbus' own Jeffrey Mining and Manufacturing Co. Nixon either shut the program down or ran it secretly -- she was unclear on this point.

Most Irritating: People who walked up, read Sean's whole "Class of 2006" book, then left without buying it. It's only $1, you cheap bastiches.

Quote of the Day: A crusty old guy with a Civil War cap walked up behind the table and asked us, "'Scuse me, fellas. Can you tell me where they're painting up the titties?"

We could not.

See you next year,
Tony.


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Monday, June 26, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/26/2006 10:04:00 PM :

      

Articles of note-

Independent Propaganda has an interview with Carla Speed McNeil on her moving Finder to the web.

An old find from last week-Chris Pitzer (Adhouse) gets interviewed on Graphic Language. Talks about shows, editing the Project books, and future projects.


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  Posted by Tom on 6/26/2006 07:04:00 PM :

      

Comfest wound down last night. I put down some thoughts and posted a couple of sketches from the show.


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  Posted by Tony on 6/26/2006 03:02:00 PM :

      

Emo Fight!!!

I wasn't there, but that doesn't stop me from telling the story: Apparently two emo kids threw down right in front of our booth the other day. Word around the campfire is one emo kid just cold-cocked the other emo kid. A bunch of hippies had to come break them up.

My guess is they were arguing over who was more emaciated -- the winner of the argument was the loser of the fight. You can take your own guess at the beef in the comments section.



(rude graphic courtesy Rock and Roll Confidential, home of the Hall of Douchebags.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/26/2006 12:40:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

What, yet another Green Lantern page? Ok, it's official. There's some sort of theme here. Anyway, use the comments section to guess the artist. (Hint: I'd say he's moderetly well known, thought definitely not an A-list artist.)



(click image for a lesson in anatomy)

(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, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006)

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  Posted by Dara on 6/26/2006 12:32:00 AM :

      

Sunday at Comfest (a quickie report)

Another gorgeous day.

Great sales, we even surpassed our Saturday numbers.

Since I was up till 2 AM last night (and got in plenty of drinking at the festival too) I opted for an alcohol-free, mellow day today. Caught my coworker's band (Black Cat Revival) at the Off Ramp stage. Took some pictures around the park. Took a nap behind the booth (aka passed out from exhaustion for a little bit.) And had several great people watching (and interacting) experiences.

Thanks to Tom, Andy and Tony for helping out at the booth today. And big thanks to Andy, Tony, and Jess for help with the tear down and haulin' the crap back to the cars. We were out by midnight, smooth and easy.

Pictures and a write up of the festival sometime on Monday or Tuesday. I promise.

And now, time to go crash.


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Sunday, June 25, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/25/2006 12:04:00 PM :

      



Enter the 'tude' or 'The Circus has arrived!'

Riot Media has opted to go online with their comic. I guess they were as disheartend by the Diamond hydra as the rest of us. As far as the guts go, the carpet truly does not match the drapes. I only had cover duty on this one. Don't know who did the actual comic but it looks awfully clean given what they were going for. Brought to you in ripin' Tude vision. I'm just happy something saw the light of day. (the $$$ was nice too.)


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  Posted by Dara on 6/25/2006 09:35:00 AM :

      

Saturday at Comfest (a quickie report)

The weather was warm and sunny.

It was gorgeous.

We sold lots of books.

Saw The Fabulous Johnson Brothers on the main stage, and Jamnesia closing the night down on the jazz stage. Also: Sean, Andy, and Tom helped out big time with the booth, Andy and Tom did sketches, there was lots of great people watching, topless women, bought a book of poetry from local writer Is Said, and my friends hung out behind the booth till 1:30 AM.

It was a good day.

(Pictures coming soon.)


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Saturday, June 24, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/24/2006 12:53:00 AM :

      

Friday at Comfest (a quickie report)

It rained.

A lot.

We sold close to zero books.

Because it rained. A lot.

When the rain finally let up in the evening, the humidity was so bad all the display copies of our books were warped.

But the crowd was out in full force at night, I caught several bands (including the all-girl rock quarter Giganta, who did indeed bring teh rock,) and got to hang out with lovely Wendy and Hanna.

So all's good.


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Thursday, June 22, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/22/2006 07:57:00 PM :

      


I finally got the chance to read the run (to date) of Frank Espinosa's Rocketo. Wow, he really nailed that sense of wonder that's been missing from superhero comics since Kirby left. Reminds me of that thrill I'd get reading Flash Gordon or a Fantastic Four comic. My only complaint, which is knit-picking, is sometimes the art is completely unreadible and the bizarre word balloons. Moments where all sense of structure evaporates and I know he can do structure. I still highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't checked it out. If handled right this could be the next great kid's comic, ala Bone.

Speaking of Kirby, I picked up the new Gaiman Eternals yesterday. It's almost made up for the horrid horrible 1602. I'm loving the Berry/Romita Jr. combo and the story so far is going somewhere.
_________________________



DC writer (Scooby Doo) Vito Delsante announced on his Pulse column last week our new upcoming collab Stuck. Part of the Chemistry Set webcomic group. Currently I think we're going live with it in August. The group's going to pimp the hell out of it in San Diego. Oh the excitement!


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  Posted by Tom on 6/22/2006 07:26:00 PM :

      


It's been nuts lately so I didn't get to print off this poster I did for the Panel booth. I smell. Anyway, reminding y'all that the local music fest Comfest begins tommorow! Located in Goodale Park in the Short North. The festival runs till Sunday. Band's I'm likely to check out are Brainbow, the Kyle Sowashes, the Sun. Maybe the Tough & Lovely. The girl's amused by the band name Necropolis but I dunno. Whatever everything's free except for what's in our booth. Thought about doing caractures or temp tattoos. But I suck at likenesses and don't even know what's involved in the temp tattooing. We'll see.


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  Posted by Craig on 6/22/2006 10:31:00 AM :

      

Way Back Machine

Because I kind of enjoyed it, and because no one else (here) is doing it: more reviews of some of my old comics as I enjoy them in a warm bubble bath. My mission is doubly important because judging by most discussions (and even what I see over at the wonderful Dave’s Long Box), it seems few of us have memories of these books stretching back before the late eighties. This is unacceptable since these books were obviously so much better back in the day (damn kids and their comics these days…). There was a time when pre-corporate Marvel rightfully ruled the Earth and Batman wasn’t defined by Frank Miller and Tim Burton, before made-for-tpb publication was the model and stories could be sophisticated yet accessible to any reader. And, oh yeah, they sold a gazillion times better than they do in the present day, too, so they must have had something going for them.

My first few entries will cover the books that are among my earliest childhood memories, beginning with:

Man-Thing #5



First, just look at that killer Mike Ploog cover: the “shambling, mindless mockery of humanity” has dug a grave for a dead clown, preparing to lower him in while shocked witnesses observe from the background. The Vertigo cover hasn’t been made that equals the creepiness of this image. Ploog could easily match Bernie Wrightson for this sort of bizarre horror illustration when the task called for it, and this particular cover is a favorite of mine.

(In case anyone doesn’t know: Wrightson was, at this same time, working on DC’s Swamp Thing, a character with an identical origin and premise. As both characters debuted on exactly the same month, it’s obvious who was ripping off whom: they were both ripping off the Hulk. Or maybe Frankenstein. I dunno, actually. While DC’s character went off on retro-gothic adventures, however, Marvel’s went on some characteristically 1970’s head-trippy storylines, so there are actually few similarities between the two.)

Anyway, this was 1974, so the story is obviously going to be some simplistic, kiddie-safe material that kept comics as a storytelling medium stagnant for the next couple decades until a more discriminating market abandoned the comics code. Let’s see, after the main character is introduced, we move to page three…


…wherein a clown wanders into the swamp, puts a gun to his head, and kills himself. Man, that’s quite a downer to begin your story with. Rather than leaping in at the nick of time to save Pagliacci, our hero (?) wanders off into the swamp with his corpse, some part of his dim brain sensing that it needs to be put in the ground.

Outside the swamp, we meet a couple of hippie kids named Richard and Ruth. Picture Shaggy and Daphne hooking up and wandering into a 70’s horror comic; these two were recurring protagonists, bumping into the erstwhile Ted Sallis on a regular basis. They witness an altercation between some carnies; a female aerialist is upset over a missing clown; the owner, a guy named Garvey, and the strongman Tragg are glad to be rid of him. A triangle between the woman, the clown, and the owner is suggested; before long she enlists the aid of Rich and Ruth to search for the little guy, as the sinister owner and strongman tail their car in the distance.

The trio thinks they’ve found their quarry when they see the clown sitting at the edge of the swamp in the center of a mysterious spotlight. He doesn’t respond to their calls, instead wandering into the bog. Fearing something is wrong with him, they follow. Meanwhile, behind them, Tragg and Garvey encounter the clown in an entirely different fashion:


Two points about this page: 1) That panel with the clown sitting in the road as the car approaches, surrounded by a circle of light? More creepy stuff. 2) Observe that car crash, which is depicted in one panel, not three pages. Pay attention, JMS and Bendis.

Everyone converges in the swamp, where the Man Thing hands Tragg his head in another of those unfair comic book fights I enjoy so much. After the creature decides how long he intends to hold the strongman’s head under the water, the fight is interrupted when the clown’s ghost rises to put a halt to the proceedings. The issue ends on a cliffhanger: the clown intends to make those present reenact the drama of his own life, portraying those who abused him and those he loved. Spectral figures will judge what his fate in the afterlife should be. Here’s the creepy clown ghost:


As a kid, I actually had the Power Records comic & LP version of this story, which was rewritten to make that last scene a happy ending. I wish I could read it again to see just how much revision had to go into that sanitized presentation.

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  Posted by Craig on 6/22/2006 09:23:00 AM :

      

Since I was unexpectedly AWOL from last week's meeting, I'll post these here: a sampling of pages from The Ineffables: Political Asylum. The plot: the mayoral election is approaching, and the incumbant's attempt to clone his opponent, Abe Lincoln, goes terribly awry.





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Tuesday, June 20, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/20/2006 09:24:00 PM :

      



David Choe's jail drawings

This quote says it all...

David Choe got arrested for punching out an undercover detective in Tokyo in December of 2004. Then he spent four months in solitary confinement in a Japanese prison. Deprived of his usual drawing and painting tools, David improvised materials out of whatever he could scrape together in his tiny cell, including soy sauce and his own urine.
Definitely not work-safe. This one is soy.. I hope. They say he went thru a brief Christian phase in the clink but he got better. (well, that depends on your version of 'better')


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Monday, June 19, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/19/2006 12:10:00 PM :

      

One movie to entice them both...

If the rumors pan out, the 30 Days of Night movie will accomplish something Wendy and I have joked about for a while: a reason for both of us to go see a movie due to our respective geeky obsessions. On my part, it's a comic book adaptation. On her part, it may star Josh Hartnett.

Now if only they'd cast Gina Gershon in it...holy crap, that would be a triple threat of guilty pleasures.

(yes, you may use the comments section to make fun of our respective B-list actor obsessions...but only if you identify your own shameful celebrity crush)


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  Posted by Craig on 6/19/2006 10:52:00 AM :

      

It's She-Hulk's A$$ Week at Marvel Comics!

It was a relatively light week for me last week at the comic store; I left with only three books, two of them being Marvels (Two-Gun Kid #1 and Civil War #2). Assuming my purchases were a random sampling of Marvel’s offerings that week, I believe I’ve noticed a theme:


Of course, this isn’t news to anyone who reads comics, and for good reason. I can’t tell you how many times I’m working on a page of cartooning and realize that what I need to balance out a composition is a giant butt staring the reader in the face.

I have no moral or philosophical objection to pornography, and have certainly done my share in the past to support the Lion’s Den in my community. But c'mon, somewhere there’s a wanker lurking in a darkened corner of his mother’s basement gazing lovingly at an assortment of cartoon butt, and I’d prefer not to be associated with him just because I walk into a comic store. I have to take these home and sit down with them next to my wife, and she's usually got Faulkner or something, so I don't want to cringe too much when she looks over to see what I'm reading. If I’m in an adult bookstore, I’m not looking for comics; likewise, if I’m in a comic store, I’m looking for something more like this:


I'm told this bears a striking resemblance to the new Rawhide Kid, but I haven't read that yet.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/19/2006 07:43:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Two Green Lantern pages in two weeks? Is this the start of a theme? Who knows...in the meantime, guess away at today's artist.



(click image to visit alien worlds)

(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, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006)

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Saturday, June 17, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/17/2006 04:27:00 PM :

      



Happiness is a warm gun..

Some really brilliant stuff on this site. Discovered it on LJ today. All pen & wash by a NYer named Stella who recently launched her site.


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Friday, June 16, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/16/2006 12:29:00 PM :

      

Hey Kids, (indy) Comix!

Volume 7 of our anthology is now available for purchase via the website. Panel: Luck features the work of 9 creators on 6 stories, coming in at 48 pages. Each book comes with one of several different stenciled covers and fortune cookie slips. Go on, you know you wanna'.




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Thursday, June 15, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/15/2006 05:50:00 PM :

      


(above: coming soon.. Act_I_Vate 2007 calendar. pic by samuriphotog)

MOCCA wrap-up 2006.

As far as how well or how bad one did seems to affect one's perspective on the show. O'Malley sold thru everything he had in 3 hours. Some were saying the show was slow. Judging from the reports, it's a nice snapshot of the changes happening in the industry. The slow collapse of the direct market and the continuing penetration of graphic novels. Particularly targeting the tweens and young adult. This being the one show I'd like to table at in the near future. It sound's like one giant party regardless of attendance. Here are some of my favorite articles/posts from about last week's show. Swimming in pics. Thanks to Kish for scoring me a Spigot mini by Farel Darymple.

Dave Roman
Dean Haspiel
Draw!
The Beat

and one of the best scanned minis in recent memory by Nikki Cook


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  Posted by Dara on 6/15/2006 01:01:00 PM :

      

Columbus trio win Adult Swim animation contest

C-bus residents Paul Rentler, Dan Ross, and Lee Keeler made a 3 minute animated short for the Adult Swim "Put On Your Shorts" contest. And won. Here's their bizarre, disjointed winning entry.

The Other Paper has a short article about them, emphasising the fact that for all their efforts, they actually didn't win anything and had to browbeat the Cartoon Network to send them some crappy merchandise.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/15/2006 11:35:00 AM :

      

Useless trivia of the day

What's the longest word in the English dictionary? Courtesy of the A.Word.A.Day site:
"pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, noun
(NOO-muh-noh-UL-truh-MY-kruh-SKOP-ik-SIL-i-koh-vol-KAY-no-KOH-nee-O-sis, nyoo-)

A lung disease caused by inhaling fine particles of silica.

[From New Latin, from Greek pneumono- (lung) + Latin ultra- (beyond, extremely) + Greek micro- (small) + -scopic (looking) + Latin silico (like sand) + volcano + Greek konis (dust) + -osis (condition).]

Even though we have included the pronunciation of this word, we advise caution lest you may have to avail the services of an otorhinolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist).

At 45 letters, it's the longest word in any English language dictionary. It's a trophy word -- its only job is to serve as the longest word. In day-to-day use, its nine-letter synonym "silicosis" works just as well. Whatever you call it, it is deadly. Here's the story of an incident: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawk's_Nest_incident"


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  Posted by Tony on 6/15/2006 11:18:00 AM :

      

Men ssstink! Hungry.


It seems like I’ve seen a lot of comix blog posts talking about how they’ve discovered (or re-discovered) Grant Morrison in the wake of Seven Soldiers of Victory. This is going to be one more.

Up until six months ago, my main impression of Morrison is that he wrote the Invisibles. I never read the Invisibles, but it seemed pretty trippy. I always considered him kind of a poor man’s Alan Moore.

But those blog posts reminded me of Morrison’s run on JLA. That includes one of my favorite F#$% Yeah moments of all comics: Electric Superman reversing the moon’s polarity. It’s a new twist on the old reverse polarity gag, a good use of a lame Superman gimmick, and it looks damn cool as a splash page.

I picked up a few more Morrison JLA tpbs, and danged if he doesn’t come up with a F#$% Yeah moment every other issue. Superman fighting an angel. Humanity defeating the white Martians Freebird-style. And so on.

Morrison's We3 was simply the best thing I've read, seen or heard in any medium in 2006. The plot is ridiculous -- three animals are modified into killing machines, but have to hide from their military handlers -- but Morrison turns it into poetry. In addition to bloody action scenes, he really gets into the animals' heads and makes you care about their plight. If it's possible to write realistic dialogue for a genetically engineered hunter-killer kitty cat, Morrison pulls it off.

My new favorite thing is Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory, a series of six interconnected miniseries and a couple of bookends. I go back and forth on which miniseries is my favorite. Manhattan Guardian has the old Kirbyesque action – subway pirates, killer robots, brain babies, etc. Klarion has a certain gothy charm, mixed with a sense of wonder. Zatanna has a nice Xes Ni Eht Ytic vibe. Although Shining Knight has swords and faeries, which usually give me hives, I’m digging on the sense of high adventure and the high stakes.

A few of the plot points get lost, but this is an impressive piece of work by any standards. I’m impressed by Morrison’s ability to write in a number of different moods and voices. Wrapping all those plots together takes real skill. The “mad ideas” are interesting – but he doesn’t skimp on the two-fisted, four-color action.

So I no longer think of Morrison as the poor man’s Alan Moore. Now I think he's kind of like Chuck Dixon and Warren Ellis combining to form Voltron.



(Thanks to Dave for the concept of F#$% Yeah moments. Shout-out to Beaucoup Kevin for the Grant Morrison pic.)


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/14/2006 10:21:00 AM :

      

Free tacos + beer tomorrow night

(sorry, this probably only applies to our Columbus readers...)

Well, it's that time again: the 3rd Thursday of the month is tomorrow, which means free tacos and beer in downtown Columbus.

Taco + Beer

"Fresh, Due Amici, C Magazine and reSource Real Estate host Fresh Taco Night at 65 East Gay Street. It's a great way to run into friends, meet new like-minded folks and most importantly, fill up that space in your stomach with some tacos and beer."


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  Posted by Craig on 6/14/2006 10:19:00 AM :

      

Be Careful What You Wish For: Somebody Gave Me Too Much Story.

I tell my wife that despite my love for the kitschy fun that old comics provide, I occasionally crave the more substantial rewards of a heavier, more cerebral sort of read. At times like those, I’m likely to seek out one of the ancient classics which have had a profound influence on western literature. Always at the top of my list: The Iliad.

In this case, the Elliot S. Maggin translation published by Marvel Comics.


First, credit where credit is due: 1970’s pre-corporate Marvel went to great lengths to attract readers outside the men-in-tights crowd, trying often to target older readers and women. This revised Ernie Chan Conan-cover was obviously meant to draw the attention of, er… college freshmen who remembered that big exam was the following day? Fortunately for them, as Maggin writes in his introduction, “if Homer were alive today, he might very well have written comic books.” That sentence was likely plagiarized on numerous essays.

Marvel was wise enough to know that a regular sized comic could not accommodate the powerful narrative of this epic poem whose written translation could boost my one-year-old up to the height of our dinner table. No, they knew that translating this tale into the format of the American comic book would require 52 full pages of story and art in order to effectively pull off the task.

The result is, um… well… Look, that’s about all I can say about it. Really, this is the most impenetrable comic book ever published. I seriously think sitting down with the untranslated poem might be an easier read. Characters are introduced and their conflicts resolved in single panels, enormous amounts of time pass during a single word balloon, and a cast of thousands are crowded onto each page in such a fashion that a single narrative or plot point can’t be discerned. It doesn’t even benefit from an interior artist of the caliber of the guy who drew the cover, so every face is muddled and indistinguishable from the rest.

I will concede that this comic story would have benefited from some small amount of decompression. This was back before the miniseries was born, but perhaps this could have been a two-part story. It might have flowed a little better then.

There’s a war going on over someone who was kidnapped, and Gods alternately participate and are barred from participating. Zeus holds a lot of meetings. Like most college freshmen, I only got halfway through this. Has a movie been made I could watch instead?


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Tuesday, June 13, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/13/2006 09:40:00 AM :

      

Comfest music schedule

The music schedule for Comfest has been posted. The Sun are headlining the Bozo stage Friday night, which makes me very happy indeed.



Remember, kids, your friends here at Ferret Press and Panel will have a booth at Comfest again.

June 23-25.

100+ bands.

Absolutely free.

So be there, or be square.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/13/2006 07:55:00 AM :

      

FU Blogger

Huh, Blogger's down. Again. Yet again.

Imagine that.

Piece of shit.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/13/2006 07:40:00 AM :

      

Oni talent search

Geared mostly towards artists, but writers can also submit proposals (but only in person at San Diego Comic Con.) Artists can submit at the con or via mail.
"In order to have your portfolio reviewed by an Oni Press editor at Comic-Con you will need to illustrate one or more of the three scripts found on this page. Realizing that different artists are geared towards different subject matter, four different professional writers have developed three different five-page scripts, each one using a different genre and showcasing a different personal scripting style. The genres and authors are:

"Noir" by Jen Van Meter (JSA Classified, Hopeless Savages)
"Romance" by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (Past Lies, New X-Men)
"Comedy" by Jim Massey (Death Takes A Holiday)"
Read all the details here.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/13/2006 04:52:00 AM :

      

A TV show about superheroes?

So in this week's column, Rich Johnston has a first look review of the new fall NBC series about superhumans, Heroes. And it's surprisingly a positive review.
"I quite liked it. And I really wasn't expecting to. It's not all twenty year olds playing high schoolers, which makes a change. It's international. The characters are rough, and don't fit into all the usual stereotypes. They even play around with the idea of what a "hero" means, and the motivations behind that...Superpowers are hidden, revealed more like "Unbreakable." And it doesn't have the action tone I'd expect from the likes of "24" or "Lost." It's more like the background stories to "Lost."
Personally, I don't have high hopes for the show. First of all, network television has an abysmal record when it comes to sci-fi/fantasy/genre shows. Especially NBC, who are masters of the sci-fi light. SeaQuest, anyone? Earth 2? Surface? I rest my case. And honestly, this sounds like another one of those "5-8 year story arc" shows, which I have nothing against but it's just a bit too much on the commitment front, you know? I've already got Lost, I don't have enough hours in the day to spend watching more TV.

Then again, maybe we'll all be surprised. Maybe it'll turn out to be an interesting, original take on the old superhero genre.


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Monday, June 12, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/12/2006 12:18:00 PM :

      

Ultimate Avengers 2

Here's an online preview of the direct-to-DVD animated sequel, Ultimate Avengers 2.



Looks like they've added the Ultimates version of Black Panther to this one.

The first movie was...spectacularly mediocre. Fake Russian accents have always bothered me, and the Black Widow's is about as cliche as they come. The most interesting and exciting part of the whole movie was the knock down, drag out fight with The Hulk, which is sad when you realize that was just a subplot. The main story about the alien invaders in league with Nazis was so generic and vanilla that it instilled a lot of apathy throughout the movie.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/12/2006 09:59:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

An old page of art from a fairly well known artist. Use the comments section to make your guess.



(click image for Christmas in June)

(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, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006)

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Friday, June 09, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 6/09/2006 04:26:00 PM :

      

Dimestore, reloaded

I just noticed a review of a book from Dimestore Productions on Steven Grant's column this week. I clicked the link thinking, that's not Ian Shires' outfit, is it?

Turns out it is. I guess he's completely revamped the site since I saw it last. It's a nice looking site; it looks a very professional and feature-y. And he's gotten rid of that damned floating photocopier.

I'll definitely check this out in the next few days or so: http://www.dimestoreproductions.com/


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  Posted by Tony on 6/09/2006 09:23:00 AM :

      

Unraveled plots threads, myth and continuity

This is an expanded version of a comment I posted on a post at Absorbascon:

The writer asked if people had any unresolved plot threads that had nagged them lo these many years. He cited a story where Lois Lane’s mother had a terrible disease and Lex Luthor was the only one with the cure. This plot thread was apparently forgotten.

Then he complained about
A) titles that switch writers a lot, preventing character development and causing lost plot threads.
B) titles that switch concept too often, losing the “mythic” or “iconic” versions of the character.

So I said: Myth and character development are often contradictory forces.

Personally, I don’t want to see Batman grow as a character. What’s he going to do? Come to terms with his parents’ death and live a normal, well-adjusted life? We don’t have much of a story then.

Continuity is the same thing. I recently tried to re-read my Batman comics from the mid-1990s. Couldn't do it. I just don't care as much about Batman's day-to-day life anymore. I want to see him have the big iconic adventures. A rotating cast of writers tends to keep him closer to the freshness and myth.

But lost plot threads can be irksome. One that nags at me sometimes is how Bruce Wayne "adopted" a class of inner-city school children somewhere in Detective Comics in the mid-1990s. He pledged to pay their way through school and college. Those kids would be about ready to graduate by now, and I've often wondered what happened to them.


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/09/2006 07:15:00 AM :

      

You Tube Goodness
The Fantagraphics Blog pointed me to some strange, fun comics-related videos on You Tube.

My favorite (sending me back to my youth) is a 70s Spanish comic adaptation of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" set to music.

Although short (it is just part 1), an adaptation of Daniel Clowes "Eightball #23, The Death Ray" does some neat things replicating panels. Plus the music is catchy.

Finally, for all your fanboy fantasies, a comic shop promotion featuring a leggy model.

There are a bunch more on the Fantagraphics post including Chris Ware, Peter Bagge, and Popeye.


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Thursday, June 08, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/08/2006 11:50:00 PM :

      

Bloggin' around, bloggy, bloggy, bloggy, bloggy-bloooooooooog

Farel's LJ is teaming with new art- two new posts including this awesome 'Can't believe Marvel's publishing it' cover to Omega. He'll be selling a new mini at MOCCA this weekend called Spigot.

Kevin Huizenga is featured in Comics Foundry this month. Once I discovered the 'print' button, their features become more readible. (when you eliminate the troublesome layout). Probably the first decent article I've read from CF.
Kevin's also bloggin' it on blogger- check out the Balloonist.

* Kish is leaving for MOCCA this weekend. Maybe he'll bless us with his thoughts on the show. Some day I'll do this show. Sounds like one giant party.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/08/2006 10:15:00 AM :

      

Another chance to win a trip to San Diego Comic Con

Here's another opportunity for you artist types to score a trip for two to the San Diego Comic Con:
"Contestants will illustrate a comic based on a special Blade: The Series video clip exclusively on Marvel.com and a panel of Marvel comics editors will judge and select the top ten entries which will then be voted on by you, the Marvel.com users! The grand-prize winner will win a trip for two to the San Diego Comic Con and have their Blade: The Series drawings printed and distributed at the Spike TV booth at Comic-Con, July 20-23!

Round-trip airfare, three-night hotel stay, two tickets to the San Diego Comic-Con, and $500 spending money are all included!!"
Entry deadline is June 28th, details here.


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Wednesday, June 07, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/07/2006 07:44:00 PM :

      

Forget Ghost Rider, give me Hell-Rider

Back in 1971, Skywald published a black and white magazine called Hell-Rider. Covers by Harry Rosenbaum, interior art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Check out this sweet first issue:



"Right on with the now Super-hero!" Indeed! Right there, you've got:
  • Hot beefcake action
  • Hot flamethrower to the face action
  • Hot motorcycle wheel to the crotch action
  • Hot interracial lesbian action
  • And some dude who looks like a homeless Cobra Commander
Now that's what I call a comic! Let's see Nic Cage make a movie out of that.

(and now I just sit back and wait for all the Google keyword hits...)


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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/06/2006 04:40:00 PM :

      

Stephen Colbert's Commencement Address

Colbert was invited to give the commencement speech at Knox College. Not as bitingly funny as his Bush-bashing, but still quite humorous.

"And when you enter the workforce, you will find competition from those crossing our all-too-porous borders. Now I know you’re all going to say, "Stephen, Stephen, immigrants built America." Yes, but here’s the thing—it's built now. I think it was finished in the mid-70s sometime. At this point it's a touch-up and repair job. But thankfully Congress is acting and soon English will be the official language of America. Because if we surrender the national anthem to Spanish, the next thing you know, they'll be translating the Bible. God wrote it in English for a reason! So it could be taught in our public schools."


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Monday, June 05, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/05/2006 06:05:00 PM :

      

Snakes on a Plane

Ohio style.

My favorite quote: "They came back and asked what my problem was," he said. "I told them I had one hand full of snake and the other hand full of plane. They cleared me in."


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  Posted by Dara on 6/05/2006 10:39:00 AM :

      

Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

And old page of art from a fairly well known artist. Use the comments section to make your guess.



(click image to join the cult)

(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, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006)

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  Posted by Craig on 6/05/2006 09:35:00 AM :

      

Somebody owes me a page of story

Continuing my tour of comics whose creators are deliberately ripping their readers off by not providing sufficient story for their comic buying dollar.

"Written for the trade."

That's the excuse given for the unreasonably decompressed style of storytelling we're frequently treated to by comic publishers; the stories have to be stretched further to accommodate being published in trade paperback form. What mystifies me about the acceptance of that reasoning is the notion that six ripoff comics combined into a single trade simply means the reader is being ripped off six times over. Case in point:

New Avengers: Breakout by Bendis and Finch.

I wasn't foolish enough to purchase this $20 hardcover, but presumably someone was. Without commenting on the incredibly poor story, here's what I gleaned from reading a copy on loan from the public library:

Splash pages galore! From a full page image of Electro's face early on, to the incredibly contrived non-surprise of Wolverine popping out of the bushes at the end of a chapter, no moment of drama was too dubious to merit the full page treatment, and some even got double page spreads featuring muddy artwork and wasted compositional space. I counted the full- and double-page splashes throughout the book and discovered they numbered the same as the length of a single issue or chapter. Consider: an entire extra chapter of story could have been delivered but was not.


Big big panels! When pages weren't consumed by a single image, they were certainly chewed up by two or three large panels. A single panel dominating the top half of a 2-page spread above a couple smaller panels was a popular theme; also overused was the 2/3 page introduction of every character from Mister Hyde (who appeared in almost no other panel) to Jarvis. Observe this wonderful 2-page example:
Man, that building must have taken minutes to draw. (I'd like to also add the art isn't so good that it merits this presentation.)

A returning favorite: The three-page crash sequence! Like the car from an earlier entry, a crashing Quinjet takes a full three pages to descend from the sky to an undignified end. Though this sequence was played for laughs, it could have been accomplished in a single page.


Just plain dragging s**t out. You want to show the group as they convene for the first time? You do a Perez-style splash of everyone gathered around the conference table with snippets of conversation floating about and the meaning is conveyed; you don't devote two thirds of an issue to it. And even us old farts looked down on the comic that was nothing but fight scene back in the day. So how do today's writers working for a "more sophisticated" audience get away with the opening fight scene lasting two-and-a-half friggin' issues?!!?

Looking at the basic story structure, I see the Avengers stopping a prison break at the beginning, pursuing an escapee to the Savage Land, and confronting the shadowy conspirators (TM) behind the plot. That looks like about three issues of comic story to me. Bendis and Finch burned up six in the process of telling it before packaging it in tpb form.

This is obviously theft from anyone gullible enough to drop $20 on this hardcover collection. Bendis and Finch, you should start mailing out $10 checks or hand over 66 additional pages of story (that’s 132 in "Bendis pages" if you keep this up, by the way); as always, I will accept payment in the form of script or thumbnail sketches on behalf of those you have robbed. And let’s please quit pretending that tpb publishing is a legitimate excuse for this practice.



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Sunday, June 04, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/04/2006 01:59:00 AM :

      

Today is Matt's Birthday!



Fellow Panelista Matt Kish turns 37 today. I think I made his day when I relayed to him one of the guests for the upcoming MOCCA. The man-crush continues.


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Saturday, June 03, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/03/2006 09:45:00 AM :

      

Science shout out

So scientists at our very own Ohio State University have discovered a 300-mile-wide crater one mile beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which they believe was created by the crash of a 30-mile-wide meteor 250 million years ago. They theorize that this catastrophic collision caused the largest mass extinction of animals in earth's history, as well as possibly creating the Australian continent.

So what's this got to do with comics? Well, nothing really. I just posted it because I thought it was a cool story.

Then again, if you're comics legend Neal Adams - with your own bizarre and nutty theories on geology - you'll probably find much in this article to argue over :-)


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Friday, June 02, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 6/02/2006 07:12:00 PM :

      

Small press shout out: Tim Fischer's Space Pilot Girl

So my Rocket Science collaborator, and former Panel member, Tim Fischer has a new webcomic out. It's the continuing adventures of his mini-comic creation, Space Pilot Girl.



Check it out, kids. It's yummy.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/02/2006 09:58:00 AM :

      

McKeever goodness

No, not the writer.

The artist. Ted McKeever. And he surfaces in a most unusual place: drawing a new Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars 5-issue limited series for IDW.



Mmm, mmm, I loves me some Ted McKeever art.


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Thursday, June 01, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 6/01/2006 10:01:00 PM :

      

Due to much encouragement from the fella's, I've decided to dabble in some fashion..




Whaaa? I've started up a new t-shirt series on cafepress beginning this month.

The concept: Each month I put out a new design. This will run from now till June of next year. The t-shirt design comes in a variety of sizes and styles- baby t, men's, women's, etc. Unfortunately, due to the way cafepress is set up:there is no subscription rate for all 12. Each design will only be up for that specific month.

If this goes well, certain favs might be offered in the future as a 2 color silkscreen tee. (I'll be looking into it.)

First up.... Turtlebunn!


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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 6/01/2006 12:10:00 PM :

      

Writing Contest
Are you still not reading McSweeneys? Then in addition to the hilarious writings they post regularly (check out today's Lolita/news-magazine mashup: DATELINE: TO CATCH A PREDATOR: HUMBERT HUMBERT), you also missed word about a writing contest they are having based on some strange writing prompts, including:
Write a story that ends with the following sentence: Debra brushed the sand from her blouse, took a last, wistful look at the now putrefying horse, and stepped into the hot-air balloon.
Here are the contest instructions:
Write a story using one of the 13 writing prompts found in "Thirteen Writing Prompts."

Make sure the story is 1,000 words or less.

Send the entire story, pasted into the body of an e-mail, to 13prompts@mcsweeneys.net.

Send us your story by 5 p.m., Wednesday,
June 21, 2006.

You may win books and magazines from McSweeney's and even get your story featured on their Web site.


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