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.
"PANEL: MUSIC & PANEL: LUCK by Ferret Studios ($3.00@)
PANEL remains of the more adventurous mini-comics (for lack of a better term), sometimes trying to create comics that double as artifacts. So MUSIC shaped like an old 7" record sleeve to match the theme, but the real draw is that the level of work has jumped considerably since the last issue I saw, and the vignettes, mainly built around how different people experience music, are nice attempts, though, curiously, it's Dara Naraghi's photoessay on a New Zealand rock festival that works best. LUCK is more standard, with more standard if somewhat better crafted stories, and though some of the art slips, most is of pretty good quality. Unfortunately, I can't find credits for the best two pieces, but they're the final stories in the collection. PANEL has stepped up its game. Check it out."
I'd venture to guess the reason he liked my Music contribution is because he used to be a rock journalist in his formative days. And it seems he didn't reference the TOC for Luck, because all the credits are there (albeit we don't have story page numbers marked on the pages themselves.) But overall, a positive review.
"In 1999, Jeremy Adolphson, then 17, began sending artists that he likes 4" x 6" notecards in the mail with a stamped return envelope and a request to draw him a picture. Now, he has hundreds of amazing artworks from the likes of Dan Clowes, Hunt Emerson, Chester Brown, Seth, Chris Ware, Roberta Gregory, Will Eisner..."
You can check out all the cool art on his site, 4x6-art.com It looks like there are over 500 pieces of art in his collection. Certainly the envy of many comic book and art fans.
(below, left to right: Paul Chadwick, Jon J. Muth, Duncan Fegredo)
Here's a 10 minute clip of what is purported to be the pilot for a Plastic Man cartoon. Not sure if this show has been picked up or not. Tom "Spongebob" Kenny provides the voice of Plas, but it somehow seems...not right for the character. I dunno, it's hard to say with these things.
The Ineffables: Political Science Here's the b&w cover art for the Political Science tpb which will be available shortly; Tom has graciously offered to color it. In an attept to defray printing costs, I've offered it for presale at my website. The first 50 people to shell out their hard-earned $14 via Paypal will get a signed-and-numbered print of the very same b&w cover artwork, followed by the book itself in early October. I've been pleasantly surprised to already get some nibbles on the offer.
The book will contain:
Ineffables#0: The Dawn of Reason Ineffables #4: Patriot Act The 24-Hour comic from 2004 (never printed) Political Asylum (never printed) Moon Tunnel, an 8-page story originally made for Oh, Comics which never saw the light of day.
The majority of the plot centers around Abraham Lincoln's return to The Ineffables and his subsequent campaign for the Mayor's office. It also has rampaging monsters, zombies, and intelligent design advocates.
I was on the fence about whether to attend Mid-Ohio Con this year until I saw Herb Trimpe’s name on the guest list. Holy shit, Roger, my check’s in the mail! In anticipation of the arrival of the definitive Hulk artist, I’ll shelve my comparison of the Kirby Eternals vs. the Gaiman Eternals (which was really hard on Neil anyway, and I have nothing against him personally), and spend a few moments with a comic which may be chiefly responsible for the sickness that drives me to wax nostalgic on comic weblogs, one of the first comics I ever laid eyes on:
The Incredible Hulk # 187. The issue previous to this is actually, by my reckoning, the first comic I ever saw. This particular issue is a much better example of everything good about Hulk comics in general, though, so I figured I’d skip ahead to it instead.
Most readers misremember this character as “the Savage Hulk”, when in fact the persona he kept for two decades was more akin to an angry child hounded by bullies. While his earliest appearances certainly were in the form of an angry misanthrope, he soon morphed into a modern version of Karloff’s Frankenstein, with Betty Ross standing in for that girl by the river and General Ross favoring fighter jets over pitchforks and torches. Here’s a favorite sequence of panels: See? He even tried smiling! Who among us hasn’t felt at one time that no matter how hard we tried, the world wouldn’t cut us a break? There’s much more to identify with in this version of the character than in the simple revenge fantasy of recent depictions.
The Hulk’s backstory, more than any other Marvel character, is rooted in the Cold War world of Soviet spies, bomb tests, and military hardware. Add to that the cast of Godzilla movie monsters that regularly paraded through these pages and you get the recipe for one of the coolest comics ever made. Trying to adapt the character to a more modern setting takes away much of what makes him great; like James Bond, the character is best served in stories set in the decades of his origin. Check out these technical diagrams of some cutting edge stealth aircraft—though not cutting edge enough to thwart those dirty commies: This issue’s story revolves around a rescue mission is deepest, darkest Siberia. Betty Ross’ husband, Glenn Talbot, was thought dead until it was discovered the deceased was a Soviet spy impersonating the army officer. Nick Fury sends a team of Hulkbusters into the Soviet Union to rescue the missing man, and Bruce Banner stows away in hopes of aiding his lost love (Betty, not Glenn). Banner is ejected from the aircraft during a firefight, and approaches the gulag known as Bitterfrost from the front in his jade form while the heroic agents sneak in the back. All does not go well: a brainwashed Talbot gets the drop on Ross and his men, while the advanced superscience of the Red army subdues the Hulk. Here’s the villain, Bitterfrost’s resident twisted mutant, The Gremlin:
The Gremlin is a prime example of why Marvel villains were always cooler than DC villains. DC Villains were basically just dicks, guys who thought tying a guy to a giant boomerang or carrying a trick umbrella were clever ideas. Marvel villains were all twisted freaks you could be repulsed by, the kind of horrors you hoped you had a superhero around for. Doctor Octopus? A freak. The Abomination? A freak. The Toy Man? A dick. The Gremlin? Definitely a freak, and pretty angry about it.
Herb Trimpe’s tenure on the book spanned about eighty issues, and saw collaborations with writers such as Len Wein, Steve Englehart, Harlan Ellison, and Stan the Man himself. I’m looking forward to getting the chance to thank the guy who helped start my interest in comics and cartooning when I was a wee lad when I see him in November.
Class of 2006 I’m looking for submissions of artwork for my third volume of Class of 2006. Class of 2006 is a small publication filled with bizarre, funny, and stupid quotes from high school student essays written for a standardized test. For the first issue, I used scanned yearbook pictures. The second issue featured artwork by Steve Black and Tim McClurg on the covers. For this third volume, I’d like to use artwork throughout the whole book.
What I’m looking for are portraits of typical, anonymous high school students (both male and female). Print size of the artwork is approximately 1.75"W x 2.5"H. You can submit black and white or color art.
Following is an example of art by Steve Black to be featured in the next volume along with a quote from a previous issue and my snarky headline:
They Traded Madison Avenue for Beads and Blankets "Not everyone will agree that Columbus discovered America first. Others will argue that the Native Americans had discovered it first, they just did not publicize it like Columbus had."
All contributors will receive a copy of the book. Deadline for the artwork is Friday October 6, 2006. The book will premiere at SNAP! on Saturday November 4. Please send submission and any questions to me at smcgurr [at] gmail [dot] com.
Copies of the first two volumes are available now at my Web site. Pick up both now for only $3 (includes shipping).
I was excited to find Gipi's website. One of my favorite european cartoonists to come to light, thanks to the Ignatz series. Verbally, it doesn't make a lick of sense to me as I don't speak anything other than english. But there are loads of drawings.
Also on the Gipi page, I found a link to Baru's site. Not much there but worth a look.
Hopefully I'll come to enjoy more translated work from both creators. I've been torn about purchasing the original books which I did find on amazon.
A few weeks back I picked up Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters, a new series based on some old concepts The King had lying around but never used. It doesn’t have much promise as a series—a much better idea would have been a series of one-shots with more prominent writers and artists, each showcasing a different “lost” Kirby creation (of which I believe there are plenty, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been hard to round up contributors for such a project), each with one of those old concept sketches Jack made for the cover.
Something on one of the ad pages did catch my eye, however; a new Jack Kirby tpb available only online, a share of the profits of which benefit the Kirby Museum. I snagged it from Amazon.com and have devoured it a couple times, and would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t yet heard of it:
Kirby’s last original creation that he himself worked on was featured in a six-issue miniseries for Pacific Comics called Silver Star. Originally developed in the form of a screenplay that was never sold, the story is another sci-fi concept dressed in the trappings of a superhero story: A scientist, fearful of the threat of nuclear annihalation at the height of the Cold War, tampers with a number of embryos, producing the next step in human evolution—Homo Geneticus, a new breed of superhumans capable of living through a nuclear holocaust. Their powers are broadly defined and border on omnipotence, and of course one of them, evil cult leader Darius Drumm, is bent on destroying all the others and remaking the Earth according to his vision.
While even the foreward of the book acknowledges that Silver Star isn’t exactly the pinnacle of Kirby’s career, the format of this edition makes it a must-have for any Kirby fan. Apparently, Jack adopted the habit at some point in his career of photocopying all his pencilled pages before turning them over to be inked; a large portion of his body of work is thus preserved in pencil form, and TwoMorrows Publishing has given us a taste of it in this Graphite Edition tpb, as well as a Captain Victory edition I haven’t yet seen.
The results are wonderful—Kirby’s dramatic layouts, coupled with a surprising nuance that isn’t carried over into inked pages. It’s easy to compare because some pencil photocopies were lost, so inked pages are scattered throughout the volume; about 80% of the trade is in pencil form. The uninked material appears just as energetic and detailed as the best of his work at Marvel in the ‘60’s; the only minor quibbles I have are the uncharacteristic lack of cosmic double-page spreads, as well as the infrequent use of four-panel pages; most pages have six or more panels, the crowded space leaving less room for his usual dynamic compositions. Nevertheless, all the Jack Kirby glory is presented in these pages in its purest form, undiluted by the hands of an inker, straight from the King’s pencil.
An added bonus: as two characters argue early on in the book, it also features the line “Come on, Mister Big! Don’t rattle your gonads in my ears!” What more could you ask for?
Just a note for you iBook and PowerBook owners who are heading over to Apple's support website for their battery recall program: if your battery model number and serial number fall within the ranges posted on the website as the bad batteries being recalled, and you enter it on the form along with your valid iBook serial number, but it still comes back with the message "Your battery serial number is invalid..." and doesn't let you proceed any further, it's their ass-backwards way of saying "Actually, your battery serial number is correct, we're just fucking retards who don't know how to simply say 'your particular battery is good and doesn't need to be exchanged,' so instead we'll display some vague, general error message."
Which it took me 45 minutes on hold for their tech support department to find out.
45. Fucking. Minutes.
So much for the legendary Apple simplicity and intuitiveness.
One simple fucking message that says "hey, your particular battery is fine" would have done the trick, asshats.
..is quite possibly one of the biggest disappointments I've ever read. Thank God for the Columbus Library system. I had been debating buying this book for weeks now and it showed up before I plunked down $20. Wait for it to show up in the half price bin for $8 or $6. It is very funny in moments but lacks the punch of previous efforts by Nilsen. Highlighting this fact is the not so charming doodles on a cocktail napkin approach Anders has taken. Gone is his previous style from Dogs and Water. Seemingly get it all down on paper as fast as humanly possible. Worse still it's all single panels?!? Single pages are not panels ya asshat. I hate this whole miserable Kolchalka approach to comics. Though Anders comes off way smarter than magic elfs scraped out of bong resin. This is so typical of the overproduced indie book. Alternative Comics was probably the worst case as far as this goes. Putting out really handsomely produced books but not being very selective in their output. No editorial input what so ever.
Everyone has an off day. I hope that this is the case with Anders. Anders mistake was trying to string all these separate stories into one random narrative. Is it a narrative? The stream of consciousness humor I could find in any handful of well made zines or mini's. Notably Icecreamlandia. The tightly constructed (but deceptively loose) work I've admired falls apart in Monologues. When I read the back, it's noted that it's all pieced together from previous works and sketchbook pages. WTF?? This book should of never come out or been edited down.
(this review is a week late because Blogger was giving me trouble the last time I was able to attempt to post.)
Strangely enough, I owe my entire spectrum of musical tastes to the single We Are The World. During a trip to Record Town at the local mall when I was about 14, I spotted a tape in the cutout section by that guy whose voice sounded so funny on the USA For Africa song. I took home Bob Dylan’s Shot of Love as a joke, expecting to get a few good hours of ridicule out of it. Instead I was floored by what I heard; I went on to devour everything I could find by Dylan, and before long I memorized the lyrics of It’s All Right, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) like it was John 3:16. The second concert I ever attended was a Dylan show in Akron, backed by Tom Petty, opening for another band I’d never heard of called The Grateful Dead. As a kid coming of age in the early ‘80’s while MTV was being born, Dylan’s mix of politics, social commentary, poetry and rock n’ roll was a welcome respite from the awful, shallow British synth-pop dominating radio playlists at the time.
The first concert I ever attended was a trip with my brother to the Ohio State Fair to see the Fabulous Thunderbirds while they were touring behind the album Tuff Enuff. While they were unfortunate enough to be saddled with one-hit wonder status based on the crossover success of that album, most don’t realize that it was actually their fifth studio effort. The previous four records were bare-bones roots rock and blues, heavily influenced by the likes of Slim Harpo and refined over countless nights in Texas roadhouses. This group provided my introduction to blues music and made me a fan for a decade through several incarnations. The engine driving the band through its earliest and best days was Stevie Ray’s older brother Jimmie Vaughan, who left the band after it drifted too far into pop music and released several scintillating solo albums that brought an edge of spaciness to his bluesy roots.
So what did I get at Cooper Stadium this past Sunday? One of the coolest concerts I’ve ever attended, as Jimmie Vaughan opened for Bob Dylan with country music’s answer to Dick Dale, Junior Brown on the bill as well (it was a pleasure to finally hear his cover of Highway Patrol performed live). If someone had thrown in a jazz horn section, I think every kind of music in creation would have been represented—there was even an Appalachian fiddle band kicking off the show. I was in Heaven.
The set I most anticipated was Jimmie Vaughan’s, since he’s only made it this far north a handful of times in the two decades I’ve followed him. The Good Texan ripped through a number of his original tunes and even dipped into the Thunderbirds songbook with Sugar-Coated Love, for which he brought out fellow Texas roadhouse veteran Lou Ann Barton. I swear I could close my eyes and feel my feet sticking to the beer-stained floor as her brassy voice belted out from behind the chickenwire. The dust in my nostrils told me I was still standing on the Clippers’ second base, however.
Jimmie could have stopped there and it would have been one of the most memorable shows I’ve seen in years. Really, I was perfectly happy after hearing him tear through Motor Head Woman and the cover song he adopted from his brother, Texas Flood. But noooo… Halfway through his set, he had to go and make an announcement:
“I’d like to bring out a good friend of mine… Eric Clapton.”
While Clapton’s studio efforts over the last fifteen years have been rather tepid, check out his live performances on the John Mayall 70th Birthday Celebration CD or his own Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD and you’ll find he still has all his blues chops. There I was, standing on a baseball diamond in front of the stage while the two best white boy blues players in the world jammed together in a set that included So Long, another trip to the Thunderbirds catalog for the instrumental Extra Jimmies, and the rockabilly-tinged Boom-Boppa Boom. Wherever you get to after you’ve gone to Heaven, that’s where I was at that point.
And when they left the stage, I still had a Bob Dylan concert to go before the night was over. Oh my god.
The Poet Laureate of rock n’ roll emerged before too long and wisely did what the Crowes screwed up a couple weeks ago: mellowed out the crowd when they’ve been hyped up by the opener. He’s made a concession to his age by standing behind a keyboard instead of a guitar these days and his nasal whine has taken on a gravelly edge, but the band he’s put together is absolutely incredible and the material he has to draw from for a set list is unmatched by anyone, anywhere. The rocker Maggie’s Farm opened his set, but he then drifted into some of his more low-key, introspective material, which worked splendidly after the adrenaline shot of the previous act. His angry side briefly reared its head with a driving reworking of It’s All Right Ma (making my evening complete. I could’ve died happy right then) before segueing into hopeful-sounding renditions of New Morning and Shelter From The Storm. Then, when the crowd was all cozy and comfortable, out came the scathing king of protest songs, Masters of War, followed soon after by an urgent Highway 61 Revisited; his verse about setting bleachers out in the sun to observe the staging of the next World War seemed surreal when heard in a baseball stadium in the present political climate. He returned for an encore with a soaring version of the greatest rock and roll song ever written, Like a Rolling Stone, and I was delighted to not have died happy a few numbers previous.
I'm usually a big supporter of arts in Columbus, so it pains me to pan any local artistic endeavor. And I've been going to the Shakespeare in the Park productions since I was a kid, and I think it's one of the nicest amenities this city has to offer. I've no doubt that I will see another show there next summer.
Keeping that in mind ... I have to ask you to skip the production of Twelfth Night that's going on in Schiller Park until Sept. 3.
The main problem is that they took this venerable old Shakespeare comedy -- and turned it into a musical. This causes three problems: First, the songs don't replace any dialogue, they just stretch the play out to three hours. Second, they keep the actors from finding any rhythm in the play. And third, the songs just aren't ready for prime time.
There were several serviceable performances, and I could tell there was a lot of talent on the stage. And maybe they were having a flat night, and the songs are better under different circumstances.
Did I miss something, or is there not going to be an SPX anthology this year? We're less than 2 months away from the con and there's no info on their site regarding anthology submissions. The only post is about last year's contributors.
Just wanted to share a few pics from the roadtrip that Wendy, Hanna, and I took these past 2 weeks. 1300 miles, 12 nights of camping in various locales, museums in Washington DC, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, parasailing in Ocean City, Maryland, and camping on the beach at Assateague State Park with the wild horses.
If you'd like to see the full set, they're located here.
Franklin County I know there aren't a ton of sports fans in our group, but if you are, you need to check out Deadspin which offers a hilarious take on sports on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, they've have a lot of fun lately making fun of Central Ohio. In addition to the whole Maurice Clarett situation, they've also had quite a time with Mike Cooper, an Ohio State fan who was caught on a hidden camera masturbating to porn in a public library (video available on YouTube).
The latest fun comes from this rap video simply entitled Franklin County. Yep, this is where Panel hails from.
Hey Tom, you are from Kenton, right? I see Kenton is in the news for letting a couple of kids not serve their sentence until after football season (they are both on the team). They were charged with putting a fake deer in the road and causing a near-fatal accident.
Just a quick reminder that the newest storyline in my Lifelike webcomic started this week. It's a story I wrote about 3 years ago, and it's gone through about 4 artists until I found Irapuan Luiz. I'm especially proud of this story, and it draws a tiny bit on my own experiences.
Don't let the door hit you on the ass, hack! There are very few monthly comics I actively pick up at the library because I can't bring myself to buy it. I just can't because either the writer or the artist is just horrid. One of those titles is Ultimate Spiderman. I actively loved, loved Bendis' take on Spidey. One of the most refreshing updates in quite some time. Probably since Batman:Year One in my opinion. Spiderman sings when he's a mopey lil' emo kid. Emo well before the term was coined. Sucks once he gets past college.
But the big reason I've never bought an Ultimate Spiderman is because I actively hate Mark Bagley's art. Probably for the some of the same reasons I hate Paul Gulacy (who ruined Catwoman for me, and maybe Brubaker as well) The nightmare anatomy, horrid redesigns of the villains, etc. make me want to pull my eyes out and hit them with a bat.
The question now is I guess who will replace him and where will Bendis go next with Spiderman? 103 issues in, no matter who the team is, is quite a feat. It feels as though Bendis has also taken the character as far as he could go. I haven't read recent issues (being as it's a library thing). It'd be interesting if the book progressively got darker. Parker isn't one of the most stablest characters. I think eventually he'd crack, die and or 'ultimate'ly quit due to his neurotic nature.
Fellow Chemsetter Elizabeth Genco will be posting up interviews to fill up the off weeks when Scheherazade is on break (over at The Chemistry Set). In a column she's coined From the Library. The feature will ask five questions from some of her favorite artists, writers and 'free spirits'. First up is Brian Wood.
On a minor note, someone has whipped up a wiki page on The Chemistry Set. Nothing fancy but cool in it's own right.
Once again it's a solid anthology, and I think three solid ones makes a pattern. Before I get to the comic, kudos on the production value and the intro and bio pages. It starts with a fake chain letter type thing, typos and all, and ends with astrology signs for all the creators that had me laughing out loud a few times, and you can't beat that...Seriously, for an anthology, there's not a bad piece in here.
I think every contributor gets some praise passed their way. If you haven't picked up the book yet, it is available in the store.
Item 2. There is apparently a Star Trek manga. Original series, folks. Just imagine how annoyed Manga Spock will be by manga-style emotional outbursts! And is it just me, or did they make Uhura’s skirt *longer* for the manga?
Item 3. Star Trek: The Animated Series is *finally* coming out on DVD. This means I don’t have to buy it bootleg at Mid-Ohio this year. (Although I was looking forward to doing so – pirating is cool! Arrrrr.)
"Comics are killing comics." -- Craig Bogart, 8-9-06 (in response to the comment that waiting for the tpb is killing comics)
The other thing that came out of this discussion was the idea that there are just too many titles out there to deal with.
I kind of agree with that. With so many titles, it's hard for any one thing to stand out, no matter how good it is. And if you have two good series competing head-to-head, there may not be enough audience to support both of them.
I wonder, though, if comics are experiencing the same thing the TV industry is going through. There are hundreds of channels, and most of them are filled with crap. The audience is so fractured, there are very few hits left.
Hey kids, welcome to a special "on the road" edition of MMGTA. Comin' atcha live from the Smithsonian Castle Information Center on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Thanks to free wireless in the building, I can bring you your usual fix of comic book goodness. Also starting today, for the whole month of August, it's gonna be a Superman theme. This week's page is below, guess away:
I stopped reading Batman on a regular basis around 10 years ago, right before he got his back broken. I read the Animated Series book for a year, picked up a few issues of Greg Rucka's Detective Comics, but none of it ever stuck.
I think I'm back in it now. Last week I picked up the new issues of the core Bat-books, Batman and 'Tec, written by Grant Morrison and Paul Dini, respectively.
Dini's one of the guys responsible for the Animated Series, and his Batman is solid as a rock. If you've ever wondered how the Animated Series would be with a different art style and the freedom to go to a bondage club, you're in luck. So far Dini's done two one-shot mysteries, bringing in mystery, mood, and that solid Bat-action. Recommended.
The jury's still a little out on Morrison's Batman. He did Batman well as a member of the JLA, although he drifted into sci-fi a little too much. His first regular Batman issue reads a little bit like good ol' days Steve Englehart, with lots of casual weirdness and a little humor.
Both Morrison and Dini show Bruce Wayne trying to get back to his old playboy ways. Morrison has Alfred list off some of Bruce's former conquests -- Julie Madison, Vicki Vale, Silver St. Cloud -- etc. That's a good thing.
Because no one asked, here’s a review of the two concerts I saw this week:
My other favorite band, the Black Crowes, had a contest on their web site a couple months ago. Up for grabs was an all-expenses paid trip to see a pair of concerts out west and enjoy a meet-and-greet with the band. To enter, one simply had to post on their message board the reason why they should win; the Robinson brothers narrowed the entries down to twenty finalists who would then be voted on by the forum users to select the winner. On a lark, I submitted the “Angry Clown” poem from The Ineffables #2 as my entry, and did not make the cut. However, an email turned up the next day letting me know that everyone who entered the contest would get two free tickets to the show of their choice—the coolest consolation prize ever. Having already purchased tickets to their Columbus show, the missus and I decided to catch them in Cleveland as well.
Tower City Amphitheatre turned out to be a great outdoor venue, essentially a ginormous tent on the river with a stellar view of the Cleveland skyline. Our tickets, waiting for us in the will-call booth, turned out to be for seats in the tenth row, just left of center—another pleasant surprise. Two openers played before the main attraction; The Drive-By Truckers, a good-ole’ boy southern rock outfit, and Robert Randolph and the Family Band, who did a passable Sly & The Family Stone impression before closing the show with a rousing Hendrix-via-SRV cover of Voodoo Child. We quite enjoyed both sets, which doesn’t always happen when you’ve been anticipating the headliner for weeks.
I’ve seen the Crowes more times than I can remember, but it had been a five year stretch since the last time, given that we were sidelined by the imminent arrival of a baby when they reunited last year. The Cleveland show turned out to be the best performance I’ve seen them give, showcasing a lot of material that hasn’t yet been recorded in studio and featuring a number of cosmic hippy jams that never meandered. Always having been a group to wear its influences on their collective sleeve, they opened with a new song that sounded like it was lifted from a Derek & The Dominoes album, while a later instrumental jam seemed to pick up a guitar riff belonging to Midnight Rambler from the Stones’ Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out live album. A surreal atmosphere was provided with a fireworks display from the nearby baseball stadium as the concert roared along, and when the band closed the show by rolling through A Conspiracy/Jealous Again/Remedy, we were soaked with sweat from dancing and I had yelled myself hoarse. As a bonus, the show was recorded and CD’s were available for purchase on the way out the door, so I was able to play the entire concert back on the drive home to Columbus. Listening to it again while rolling into Columbus at 2:30 a.m., I could almost smell the clouds of pot billowing over the crowd.
Four days later, the band made its Columbus stop at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. It was my first visit to the venue, and I liked what I initially saw. I’d rather see most bands in an outdoor setting, but the place was small enough to preserve the sense of intimacy that an indoor show brings.
Unfortunately, a completely different band showed up for the concert that night. Upon taking the stage, singer Chris Robinson announced the first set would be entirely acoustic. I applaud their decision to experiment with their material and bring something different to a show so close to other stops on the tour, and I was excited to hear about this at first. However, the material they selected to bring out for the set could have been chosen better, and an acoustic set might have gone over had it been dropped in the middle of the show rather than at the beginning. With no opener this night the crowd wasn’t yet primed, and the group plowed through a set of mellow tunes that didn’t build up any momentum as the show progressed. While the previous show had started with a bang and kept running until the end, the acoustic set proceeded in fits and starts with only a couple highlights. Soul Singing in particular seemed to have a gaping hole in the center of it when the band didn’t segue into the instrumental that knocked me out a few days before.
They took a break before returning for an electric set and their chance to redeem the evening. The set opened with Got To get Better in a Little While, a Derek and the Dominoes cover which only served to remind me of the superior opening I saw in Cleveland. Things appeared to pick up when they came alive during Black Moon Creeping and Young Man, Old Man, but the latter song was interrupted when a fight broke out in the audience; the band had to stop playing and any momentum fizzled. They then proceeded once again with the appearance of trying to mellow out a crowd which was never fired up in the first place, as the low-key ballads kept coming. We were treated to a Bob Dylan cover I’ve seen on numerous setlists but hadn’t heard personally—It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry—but even this was a by-the-numbers, plodding dirge. The missus and I checked out when Ballad in Urgency was playing, and checking the setlist today I see the only thing of note we missed was a cover of The Grateful Dead’s Sugaree—another sleepy tune.
To be fair to the band, I’ll add that I had some problems with the sound system at the LC Pavilion. Whoever worked the soundboard needed to be taken aside and beaten; the sound was muddy and the bass was overwhelming. In addition, it wasn’t remotely loud enough. A trio of giggling girls to our right jabbered nonstop through the entire show; the music should have been loud enough to drown them out, but wasn’t.
Fortunately, I still have the recording of the amazing Cleveland show to fall back on, and I gather there's another tour in the works this fall. Up next: the strange and wonderful pairing of Bob Dylan and Jimmie Vaughan at Cooper Stadium, Aug. 13.
This week in Canton is Hall of Fame week. For those non-sports folks it's the week before the NFL inducts their new class into the Pro Football HOF. Big deal, right? It's estimated there will be 54,000 people at the hall this weekend for the ceremonies and the kickoff to preseason. I live about a 10 minutes walk from the Hall and I must be getting old because all I can think of is that I won't be able to make a left turn until Tuesday. I say we get back to leather helmets and topless cheerleaders (they used to have those, right?)....
It's official. Warren will be hand selecting webcomics to host on his new venture, the webcomics portal Rocket Pirates. Here's the press release:
"oey Manley talked me into curating a mass webcomics site. I've known Joey for getting on for six years now. It's partly my fault that he got involved with comics at all. I suspect this is his revenge.
People who want to make webcomics are invited to submit their ideas to me for membership in the Rocket Pirates, a webcomics collective which will be housed at http://www.rocketpirates.com.
Rocket Pirates will be the first site to launch with the new Webcomics Nation Collective Edition technology, which will be available as a commercial product for people wanting to quickly and cheaply launch their own multi-creator webcomics portals sometime in the next few months. Because we're all about being quick and cheap, believe me.
Rocket Pirates will be free to all readers, all the time. This means, of course, that there is no cut of subscription fees to offer to creators. Instead, the system allows each creator the freedom to install Google Ads, Amazon Associates ads, ads for their own products, rate cards for prostitution services or any other damn thing on their comic's Rocket Pirates page. Also, since we're not paying, all Rocket Pirates engagements are on a non-exclusive basis, allowing the creators to run their comics on their own websites or any other place that'll have them.
The non-subscription approach means that I'm also doing this for free, so anyone who wants to send food and clothing c/o Joey Manley at Modern Tales is welcome to do so. I also offer inexpensive adult services.
The submissions system is simply this: email your materials to me at email@example.com. I want to see at least three completed pages and an overview of what you intend to do. No need to be formal -- rambly emails talking about the central concepts and what you want to achieve are fine.
I'm open to anything -- series, serialised graphic novels, single panels, self-contained shorts, newspaper-style strips -- in any style, from manga to clipart to whatever the hell you just invented in your basement. No limits.
I'm open to any kind of content. You're going to have to work pretty hard to get me to accept a superhero project for the site, but if you've got something that knocks me flat, I'll take it. But, seriously, I want to eventually curate something that takes in a wide breadth of what comics can achieve. Surprise me. Give me something straight out of literary mainstream fiction, give me a warped genre, give me something I've never seen before. That's the "theme" of the site, the glue that holds it together. It is quite simply "stuff Warren really likes."
The submissions process is open to everybody. I don't care if you only decided you wanted to try and make a comic ten minutes ago -- I'll look at it. I'll warn you in advance that the chances of my being able to provide detailed and constructive rejections are slight, but I'll do my best.
(Also, if the site turns out to be all-male because only guys submitted, I'm going to be very pissed off, and will infect you all with this lung disease my girlfriend seems to have passed to me over the weekend.)
I'd like to be up and running by the end of the month, but I won't kick the site live until I have enough work of quality. The submissions process will remain permanently open. Unless, you know, I change my mind. I am unpredictable and I drink a lot.
That's all I've got. Please feel free to pass this unedited post on anywhere you like.
We've got a new fancy press release thanks to Mr. Dougan (by 'we' I mean the Chemistry Set) Working out some last minute glitches with the site but I think we'll be ready to go by Monday.
THE CHEMISTRY SET BRINGS NEW, FREE SERIALIZED COMICS TO THE WEB www.chemsetcomics.com launches 08.07.06
THE CHEMISTRY SET is a collective of writers and artists, including several Xeric Award winners, pooling their talent to provide readers with free weekly comics at the website www.chemsetcomics.com starting Monday, August 7. The stories will be in a variety of genres, including fantasy, thriller, Western, and straight-up adventure, and the collaborators aim to provide something for everybody.
Each of the collaborative teams will debut their comic on the August 7 launch date, following up quickly with additional pages throughout the first week, before moving to their regular page-per-week release schedule. "We want to get our hooks in you and not let go!" says CHEMISTRY SET member Chris Arrant (FOUR STORIES).
The idea for THE CHEMISTRY SET was born with Vito Delsante (BATMAN ADVENTURES, FALLOUT). "The Chemistry Set came from two separate conversations; one with Neil Kleid (BROWNSVILLE, NINETY CANDLES) and one with Chris Arrant," says Delsante. "We all seemed to want that grassroots kind of 'back to our roots' movement that Dean Haspiel and the ACT-I-VATE crew have, but the three of us are all writers. So we decided to focus on the collaboration...the CHEMISTRY, so to speak, between an artist and a writer." Before long, Delsante had recruited the rest of the SET.
So why webcomics? Simple economics. As several SET members can attest, print self-publishing is expensive, and its reach is limited, as compared to the internet. "Webcomics are the future of the serial comic, and I believe they will eventually supplant the 'floppy'," says SET member Kevin Colden (HOUSE OF TWELVE, TRUE PORN 2). "Of course, it may be some time before computers become small enough to make for convenient bathroom reading."
No matter what you read or where you choose to read it, THE CHEMISTRY SET will provide something to your taste. For more information about each of the stories and their creators, look no further:
THE CHEMISTRY SET: FIVE DAYS OF FREE COMICS
MONDAY: STUCK (Vito Delsante and Tom Williams) A story of tragedy and the human condition, set on one car of New York City's N Train. Each chapter focuses on an individual passenger and his or her respective "Last Night." Told in a similar fashion to TV's Lost, STUCK is a story that has resonance and relevance in today's post 9/11 world.
"Vito threw two choices at me," says Williams, (NO DEAD TIME, SPB:RISE!). "Both were really great concepts. It was hard to choose but I knew I wanted to sign on. We've got a pretty strong group of contributors and I can't wait to see what they all come up with."
-- TUESDAY: VULTURE GULCH and OTHER STORIES (Jim Dougan and others) New Mexico – 1875. Dr. Clem Cooper has the busy job of undertaker in Vulture Gulch, a raucous Wild West town, and with a personality that's part Lt. Columbo and part John Constantine, he's a burr in the saddle of the bad guys who come looking for trouble. Throw in sexy outlaw Molly Hill and her gang, and you've got a recipe for excitement!
"I'm an anomaly among the SET," says Dougan (CRAZY PAPERS). "The others are hatching ongoing stories, while I'm presenting a series of shorter stories with a variety of amazing collaborators. The primary focus will be VULTURE GULCH, including stories from Eric Kim (LOVE AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE), Christine Norrie (CHEAT, HOPELESS SAVAGES), and Michel Fiffe (ACT-I-VATE). But that's not all! In addition to VG, you can also look forward to romance, comedy, noir - you name it – including a spellbinding story drawn by recent SVA graduate Hyeondo Park (DE-ACT-I-VATE). THE CHEMISTRY SET is an opportunity for me to work with terrific collaborators and to tell shorter stories that might not find a home elsewhere."
-- WEDNESDAY: 1 WAY TICKET (Chris Arrant and Dan Warner) If you have ever carved a band logo into a desk, If you decided what instrument to play based on what was needed to make a band with your friends, if you know who would be in the 'Special Thanks' liner notes of your debut album, if you have ever closed your eyes and imagined yourself surrounded by thousands of screaming fans -- this one's for you.
"Depicting music in comics is a huge challenge," says Warner, Xeric Award Winner and Creator of Slave Labor Graphics series COCOPIAZO. "You usually see some musical notes, or lyrics written in wavy lines—it's all very flaccid. Chris and I decided we needed something more visceral. What we came up with has sharp emotional claws. I'm eager to see how readers will respond."
-- THURSDAY: SCHEHERAZADE (Elizabeth Genco and Adam Boorman) A modern urban tapestry woven from old magic and old stories. It's a sheltered young woman in a house without windows, peeling back the blinders and throwing open the shutters. It's the tale of a dying man and his last victim, whose stories just might help him find the redemption he craves.
Says Genco: "The basic idea for SCHEHERAZADE hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks from my subconscious, shortly after my husband Leland [Purvis] began posting his stuff on ACT-I-VATE. The next bricks had Boorman's name all over them. I knew I had to make it happen somehow, if Adam was up for it. Then Vito teased me at an ACT-I-VATE party about 'something' he wanted to get me in on, and, well... that whole bricks thing? Not an accident."
-- FRIDAY: TODT HILL (Neil Kleid and Kevin Colden) Todt Hill is a tale of ancient treasure, insular societies, immortal greed and the infinite possibilities of youth. Yesterday, Mike and Gil Tompkins, newly arrived on the isolated island of Todt Hill, found a secret map and alongside a zombie mechanic, a Mafia princess and the smallest pirate in the world. They are out to find a treasure that will heal their community and reunite them with the rest of America.
Says Kleid: "Ever since the initial PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN flick hit me on the back of the skull and made me yearn for a yarn of adventure and high seas, I knew I would one day write TODT HILL. A weekend visit to my wife's hometown of Staten Island only confirmed set of place when we tooled through a patchwork community easily set adrift in the waters near the New York/New Jersey mainland if only someone removed the bridges. When Vito cornered me in a darkened pub on a night dedicated to serialized webcomics and laid out a grand plan to tell ongoing collaborative comics and asked if I had anything brewing, I immediately flashed on the tale of Todt Hill, hidden Peruvian treasure, Corporate Pirates, Mafia shakedowns and a child's quest for adventure and excitement." -- So check out www.chemsetcomics.com on August 7 and join the experiment! -- For more information on the creators: