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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Saturday, December 30, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 12/30/2006 10:25:00 AM :

      

Dan Vado is answering questions about publishing.. sort of on his livejournal account. Really if you want to hear about Dan on publishing at Slave Labor go read Neil's interview with him over at newsarama. Alot of the questions I would have with an offer like that are ones that clearly he won't answer because it's related to how they operate (where do you get your stuff printed, how did you hook up with Hot Topic, etc.) But it's nice of him to try to impart his experience to the masses regarless.

Overwhelmingly the questions so far have been related to Slave Labor's submissions policy. Dan posted up some pretty good rules of thumb for submitting to SLG. Which I think is pretty applicable to any indie publisher. Dan doesn't handle submissions anymore. Those responsibilities are handed over to Jennifer Guzman (SLG's editor-in-chief). Here's a real gem from his post..

'If today's Jennifer were looking at my submission pile 10-12 years ago she would have probably rejected Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Lenore. This isn't a knock on Jennifer nor a knock on Roman or Jhonen's work back then, it just
points out a basic difference in approach between then and now and a basic
difference in approach between Jennifer and I.'



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Friday, December 29, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 12/29/2006 03:29:00 PM :

       geeky conundrum


What would happen if a stormtrooper from Star Wars fired on a redshirt from Star Trek?

Redshirts always get killed. But stormtroopers can never hit anyone. Hmmm.

Redshirt death medley


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  Posted by Tony on 12/29/2006 11:32:00 AM :

       I saw the sign, which opened up my eyes, I saw the sign


The 1990s are back, baby!

I walked into the Laughing Ogre the other day, and who do I see but Lloyd? Lloyd! When I got back into comics in 1999, Lloyd was one of my pushers at Comic Town Westerville! I thought he was out of the game for good.

So if you're in the shop and you see a redheaded guy with sideburns, tell him Tony says hi.

And on that same visit, I'm perusing the new comics and what do I see but a new Sandman Mystery Theatre? When budgetary concerns caused me to stop reading comics in 1996, Sandman Mystery Theatre was one of the last books I dropped.

Apparently, the new Sandman restarts the series with a new character and a tenuous tie to Wesley Dodds, the original Sandman. I read the first issue and ... I'm reserving judgment.

Well, actually, I have no clue what happened in that issue. Something about jihadists and burning people. I couldn't tell what happened in 1997, what happened in the present, and what was a dream sequence. Also, the new main character is kind of a douchebag. One of the things that made the original Sandman Mystery Theatre so good was that Wesley and his companion Dian were such neat people.

Hopefully it gets better in the second issue.

To download the first issue of the original Sandman Mystery Theatre, click here.


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Thursday, December 28, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 12/28/2006 08:17:00 PM :

       Fuck you, Blogger. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

From their equally shitty "help" pages:
"While the new version of Blogger is no longer in beta, some users with certain types of blogs will not immediately be able to switch to it. We'll be adding support for these blogs as soon as possible, so everyone can join in the fun. But for now, if you have a very large blog (more than a couple thousand posts + comments), you'll need to hold off for a bit.

Note that, even if your blog is eligible to switch, you may not have the link to do so on your dashboard. We are starting out by just switching over a limited number of accounts, but we'll add more and more as time goes on."
So basically, we'll plaster "new and improved" all over the place, but won't let you switch. Oh, and on top of that, we won't tell you why; instead we'll bury the info in some help file you have to search 30 minutes to find. And just so we can really screw you, we'll break the group blog feature on your current blog, so none of the other people in your group can post.

Assholes.


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  Posted by Dara on 12/28/2006 05:57:00 PM :

       Even the "new and improved" Blogger SUCKS ASS

God holy fucking damn I hate Blogger!

From their worthless "help" page on switching your existing account to the "new" Blogger:
"If you haven’t yet switched, click "Old Blogger" and use the same Blogger account you’ve always used, or — and this is the better choice — click "Switch Now" button."

Which is fine and dandy, except when I log in to my old Blogger account there is no fucking "Switch Now" button!

I hate this thing. Hate it with all my soul.


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Wednesday, December 27, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 12/27/2006 10:57:00 PM :

       Awesomely awful NRA-produced propoganda graphic novel

Go check out Wonkette for their scathing review of "Freedom In Peril: Guarding the 2nd Amendment in the 21st Century", a crazy-ass propoganda book produced by the NRA. Snark aplenty from the Wonkette gang: "Scary Fact: Most Negroes are, in truth, illegal aliens who work with the Super Asian-Mexican-Black Gang, known as the 18th Street Loco Al Qaeda Kommu-Nizzle Boyz." (in reference to the chapter illustration below)



boingboing has more details on the upcoming book. The consensus seems to be that the illustrations are by Chris Gall. Some readers who downloaded the leaked PDF file did some investigating and posted the actual text from image placeholders. Apparently instructions to the illustrator, like the following:
"(20) Idea: Criminal gangs are in all communities and of all races. Concept: Clearly Asian, black, white and Latino gang members."


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  Posted by Dara on 12/27/2006 10:44:00 PM :

       Friends of the Ferret get reviewed

Steven Grant did his end-of-the-year review blowout over at his column this week. Both Tom Williams and Tim Fischer's mini-comics got reviewed. Steven's usually pretty brutal...
"S.P.B. Rise - ...I don't know if I'd say (yet) that it's good, but at least it's different and interesting.

Space Pilot Girl - ...it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to cap off a story mainly about women sexing porcine aliens with a feminist manifesto."
But you know what they say about publicity. So did you guys see a noticeable visitor spikes on your websites?


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Monday, December 25, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 12/25/2006 11:25:00 AM :

       Monda Morning "Guess the Artist"

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

I was planning on posting a holiday-themed page today, but ran out of time looking for one. So instead, here are a couple of guys who don't know the meaning of the holiday spirit. And I think it's an easy page to guess, so consider that my little gift to you all...



(click image to villianize)

(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, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006)

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Thursday, December 21, 2006
 
  Posted by Tony on 12/21/2006 03:14:00 PM :

       memories of Gib

Today's Gib's last day at the Ogre -- you'll be missed, Big Guy.

I first met Gib around 1995 or so. I was in town from Athens, and someone suggested I hit that store. He recommended me "Stray Bullets," which true to form, was a great book.

(I stopped collecting "Stray Bullets" around 1999. I think I've missed maybe three issues that have come out since then. I should go back and fill in that run.)

Anyway ... feel free to leave Memories of Gib in the comments, or heck, just run out to the Ogre and give him a hearty handshake.


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  Posted by Tony on 12/21/2006 09:15:00 AM :

       said it once before, but it bears repeating


Steve Black, founder of West Coast Panel, has a new blog. He's been really prolific lately, and it's showing in his skills.

http://crowntriple.livejournal.com/


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 12/21/2006 09:14:00 AM :

       COMICS WISH LIST FOR 2007

Since Tom did his "best of 2006" post, I thought I would look ahead a bit and do a post about what I am wishing for in the world of comics for 2007.

THINGS WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN ANNOUNCED AND I AM EXCITED AS HELL ABOUT
-A second DC Archives collection of Kamandi issues.
-Marvel Masterworks: Adam Warlock, Volume 1 collecting the earliest adventures of the man-god and some of Gil Kane's finest work. Gil Kane is also a man-god.
-The first Fourth World hardcover collection, reprinting Kirby's magnificent unfinished opus in chronological order.
-A thorough collection of Joost Swarte's comics and art from Fantagraphics.
-Vertical Inc.'s next Osamu Tezuka reprint Apollo's Song.
-I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks collection from Fantagraphics. This guy's stuff is just so bizarre and so obtuse and so amazing it beggars description. There is a brief taste in Dan Nadel's "Art Out of Time" collection from 2006, check it out. Or just Google 'Fletcher Hanks.' I'm serious.

THINGS WHICH WILL PROBABLY HAPPEN
-A second volume of Tove Jansson's Moomin strips collected and reprinted by D & Q.
-A second volume of Segar's Popeye strips collected and reprinted by Fanta.
-A DC Archives collecting the Golden Age Dr. Fate issues.
-Essential Rampaging Hulk.

THINGS WHICH MIGHT HAPPEN SINCE THERE HAVE BEEN TANTALIZING HINTS
-A collection of underground legend Rory Hayes' art and comics.
-The heavily hinted at by Marvel's Cory Sedlmeier but not yet confirmed Marvel Masterworks: Deathlok, Volume 1 hardcover. Luther Manning rocked my world as a kid.
-Paul Pope's art monograph PulpHope finally getting printed and released.
-Kramer's Ergot 7.
-PictureBox Inc. finally putting out Brian Chippendale's Maggots.
-A better, bigger Basil Wolverton art and comics collection.
-A hardcover collection of Marc Bell's fine art and comics. From PictureBox Inc. again, I think.

PURE WISHFUL THINKING
-A full color hardcover or trade of Kirby's Devil Dinosaur. Pure awesomeness.
-A DC Archives for the short 8 issue run of Kirby's OMAC. Done in one!
-A collection of Mat Brinkman's Multi-Force strips from Paper Rodeo.
-A beautiful and definitive reprint series for Walt Kelly's Pogo, preferably from Fantagraphics since they do such a nice job with the Krazy Kat and the Popeye.
-Marvel Essentials of ROM, the Micronauts, the Shogun Warriors, and Crystar the Crystal Warrior.
-An American printing (and translation) of Osamu Tezuka's Dororo.
-For Jeffrey Brown to stop. Just, please, stop.
-Ditto James Kochalka. That goes for the music too, buddy.
-A photo of Tom Williams shirtless and a soul kiss from Dara Naraghi. Hey, they're comic related!

So what's your 2007 comic wish list?


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  Posted by Dara on 12/21/2006 08:20:00 AM :

       Your political moment of the day

"I have no future."

Thank god.


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Wednesday, December 20, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 12/20/2006 09:28:00 PM :

       Best/Worst of 'O6



I'd thought I would gather my thoughts on some of the stuff I've enjoyed over the past year. I've been catching myself picking up some more mainstream this year. But it's mostly from writers or artists I like. I can't tell whether it was from burnout or what but picking up every title that Bendis, Brubaker or Wood pens can be too much of a good thing. Not everything can be a 'winner' I guess. Doesn't matter who's writing it but I'll never pick up a Avengers or Captain America comic. I will however pick up a copy of a Fantastic Four comic drawn by Paul Pope (coming out next year possibly?). Even if it's only 12 pages. Something that's finally wearing on me is continuing to pick up monthlies. I think I'm going to try jumping to a trade only route next year and see if I can hold out. It was great seeing Jordi Bernet doing American comics. My webcomic reading has really picked up since the onset of groups like Act-I-Vate. Though I'll never read Penny Arcade or Diesel Sweeties anytime soon. So in a fit of random order here's my lists...

The best:
  • Still the Ignatz series from Fantagraphics
  • The Showcase presents Teen Titans. this is balls out funny when you read it today.
  • Curses. If you've never read any Kevin Huizenga, this is a good primer. New Ganges comes out next year from the Ignatz line from Fantagraphics.
  • Fun Home
  • Moomin
  • Get a Life. Dubey & Berberian.
  • Meathaus:Head Games.
  • The Escapist. The best thing I've read yet from Brian Vaughn. Also sports another impressive list of artists on covers and interiors.
For the mainstream crap I'd say Criminal, DMZ, and Deadman. Morrison back on Batman was really fun. Really incouraging news that DC is starting up their girl friendly line MINX next year and it's not faux manga. Thanks to Morrison's new found popularity, I'm finally getting all the Doom Patrol trades I always wanted. If I ever see that run of Excaliber in trade form I'll definitely be a happy boy. That stuff was like crack as a teen.

Not so minky (or middle of the road):
  • I fell off the Daredevil kick (and can't get back on)
  • Batman 100. The art's gorgeous as always but Pope really needs to either start working with a writer or stop listening to Frank Miller.
  • Local: uneven series that I had high hopes for coming off of Demo.
  • Scott Pilgrim (kinda confusing this go round but fun in parts)
  • Monologues for the Coming Plague. Funny funny read but I really wish he had went back and not drawn everything on a cocktail napkin
  • Mome. For the love of God- stop including SOPHIE CRUMB in Mome. Hear that sucking sound? That's the sound of Sophie sucking the life out of what would otherwise be the perfect anthology.
Balls out rotten:
  • publishers who still promote their books way before they're even in the can (or waiting till the next big indie show). ex. Moomin, Pulphope.
  • weak biocomics with amazing production value: It's an ongoing problem that won't go away anytime soon. Lucky by Gabrielle Bell, pretty much anything penned by Jeffrey Brown.
  • obnoxious crossover events. I'm on the side of anyone who can stop the madness of Civil War.
  • still All Star Batman.
  • edit: Totally meant to put Nextwave up on here. I was actually excited by some of the press on it. Then I picked up the first two issues. Dorkin could of got the job done in 6 pages. Mercifully canceled due to a conflict with the artist (who I kinda liked).
Stuff I may never get to see till the next big indie show: The Mourning Star and Brian Ralph's Daybreak from Bodega. Which I hear is awesome but can't find anywhere. Think I'll try the Wexarts bookstore next. They had a whole stack of the new Mark Bell anthology.

So what did you enjoy this past year?


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Monday, December 18, 2006
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 12/18/2006 10:44:00 PM :

       Black and McGurr Web Comic

Steve and I are jumping into the wonderful world of Web comics. Our story will debut the first week of January, but you can see some teaser art by Steve now at the Web site. Look for updates once a week at my site and check out some behind the scenes work by Steve on his journal.

Web Comic Teaser Image


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  Posted by Dara on 12/18/2006 07:52:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Ok, last week's page was pretty easy. Let's see what you think of this week's page...



(click image to get ahead...get it? get a head? ha!)

(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, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006)

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Sunday, December 17, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 12/17/2006 11:23:00 PM :

       Blogger admits it's a piece of sh*t

Well, well, look who's got a "new and improved" version of their software. I like how they basically admit that the current Blogger is a buggy, piece of crap application and the new version is "more reliable". And then there's this big selling point: "Say goodbye to the dreaded 'Publishing...' spinner."

Nice.

By the way, file this under the definition of irony: I've been getting the "dreaded 'Publishing...' spinner" while trying to publish this very post! Maybe if I'm lucky, it'll finally publish after the 10th try...


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  Posted by Dara on 12/17/2006 11:16:00 PM :

       Link-O-Rama

Courtesy of Wendy:

Top 10 Dirtiest Names in Sports - You thought the kids teased you in school? I'd hate to think what these guys went through before they became famous (or semi-famous, as the case may be.) Pete LaCock, Harry Colon, and more.

Heroes vs. Lost: The Rumble in the Sci-Fi TV Jungle - TV geek pits the two shows against each other in a snarky, funny, knock-down, drag-out fight. Categories like "Least Annoyingly Self-righteous Male Lead with a Background in Medicine and Emotionally Unavailable Fathers" and "Better Young Black Kid With Special Powers and Bad Dads".


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Thursday, December 14, 2006
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 12/14/2006 08:50:00 PM :

       PANEL: Travel Review

The first review I've seen for PANEL: Travel is out at Optical Sloth. Generally a positive one:
Once again, nice work with the production value here. As the theme is travel, this is made up like a passport. The usual cast of suspects are brought together here again, which is quickly becoming a good thing in my book.


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  Posted by Craig on 12/14/2006 12:32:00 PM :

       Way Back Machine

Not all the comics I wax nostalgic about were mine when I was a kid. Many moons ago, there were no comic stores, no conventions (outside of major cities, anyway), no mylar-bound back issues. The books rotating through the pharmacy shelf on any given week were all the comics in the world—those and the ones in my closet, and in the collections of a couple other kids in the neighborhood. If the kid a couple houses down had that Hulk comic with the Wendigo’s first appearance, you might get to see it while visiting his house, but at the end of the day it was locked back up among his possessions, tantalizingly out of reach. Trading comics was an enjoyable pastime which saw the value of a certain issue determined not by dollar amounts or grading of condition, but by just how much I like this book. Everyone had a couple comics they desired mightily that the neighbor kid just wouldn’t let go of; Travis Parker wouldn’t give up Captain America #253, so it didn’t actually become mine until Groveport got its own comic shop years later. Nevertheless, I remember it fondly.

This comic by Roger Stern and John Byrne is another masterpiece of compression; at the beginning, we see Cap stop a convenience store holdup Dirty Harry-style, complete with a “do you feel lucky, punk?” moment, before moving on to struggling commercial artist Steve Rogers on a date with a supporting cast member, followed by a discussion of the show they saw (Oklahoma). There’s more characterization in those few pages than three trade paperbacks. Only then does Steve get the call from Jarvis that an odd message has arrived at the mansion for Captain America. The colorful Avenger is soon transported to a setting of gothic horror and mystery as he hops a jet to England. A series of gruesome murders has attracted the attention of the residents of Falsworth Manor, who sent Cap the message in a code he hasn’t heard since the days of World War II. Gloom and foreboding fill every panel, effectively distilling the essence of a Conan Doyle or Stoker tale into comic form.

What follows is an Invaders reunion, but the group isn’t ready to spring into action. The formerly nimble Spitfire is an aging widow, and her father, old man Falsworth (aka the original Union Jack), is confined to a wheelchair, gone senile in the eyes of his family as he shouts out the window for the Nazis to get out of his yard. It turns out he has sent the message across the Atlantic, having been convinced that the grisly “Slasher” murders are actually the work of his own estranged brother and wartime nemesis, the vampiric Baron Blood. Everyone knows Blood’s body is still being kept under guard in the Tower of London, but Cap agrees to investigate out of respect for the history he shares with his fellow Invader.


Turns out to be a good idea; in a series of creepily atmospheric panels, Cap demonstrates that a different body has been switched for the vampire’s. Their old enemy is indeed on the loose. As the story progresses, an Agatha Christie-like lineup of cast members is introduced one by one as hints of a mortal accomplice are dropped; the country doctor with the tragic past, the Falsworths themselves, including Spitfire’s young son and his scruffy art school acquaintance. Before the two-part story is over, one will be revealed as Baron Blood, another will become a new Union Jack.

What strikes me most about this issue is the parallels Roger Stern has drawn between the cast of characters and the imminent threat. A palpable sense of regret hangs over the meetings with Cap and his wartime friends as he sees them in their decline, shadows of their former selves, while he is still in his physical prime. As the threat of a vampire hovers over them all, his old friends gathered around him are symbolically undead themselves. This subtext reflects the gloom of the macrocosm the action is taking place in, and if Stern didn’t do it deliberately it’s a very happy accident.

Back to the story: Cap uses himself as bait to draw out Baron Blood, and the battle ensues. I really like this villain; being a vampire is a little odd for an origin story, but in the Marvel Universe perhaps it’s not so illogical when you’re handed a bunch of abilities that qualify as superpowers to decide to pick out a costume and fight superheroes. It’s got to beat dressing up like a Victorian count or one of those goth wankers.

The issue ends on a cliffhanger, as Blood calls on his army of rats to attack the Manor residents and puts Cap under a hypno-zap. The last page shows the Baron about to sink his teeth into Cap’s neck as his friends look on in helpless horror. It wasn’t until years later, when Jake’s Comics opened up in Groveport that I got my own copy of this issue and it’s conclusion, and learned that vampire fangs have a tough time with chain mail.

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  Posted by Matt Kish on 12/14/2006 10:33:00 AM :

       Darwyn Cooke at the Criterion Collection

Darwyn Cooke has created cover art for 4 new Criterion Collection DVDs. The titles are The Haunted Strangler, Corridors of Blood, the Atomic Submarine and First Man Into Space and they can all be seen here. Really amazing art, but I would expect nothing less from Mr. Cooke. Here are my two favorites...





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Wednesday, December 13, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 12/13/2006 08:50:00 PM :

      

My first review on SPB:Rise! over at the Comics Reporter. A mixed bag but fair. I'm going to take this all in before I start shopping it around.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 12/13/2006 09:04:00 AM :

       Vertical Inc. Keeps On Rollin'

I caught this on The Beat a few days ago. Vertical Inc., the publisher responsible for bringing Osamu Tezuka's masterpieces the multiple Eisner award winning 8 volume saga "Buddha" and more recently "Ode to Kirihito" to American audiences for the very first time just announced that they will be translating and publishing yet another Tezuka title, the 500 page graphic novel "Apollo's Song."

New York-based independent publisher Vertical, Inc. has announced it is publishing its third Osamu Tezuka property in June 2007. Apollo’s Song will be published as a single-volume graphic novel at approximately 500 pages in length and will follow the same design format as the award-winning classic Buddha, and the runaway hit Ode to Kirihito. Apollo’s Song will have the same trim size as well as an obi-band mini book jacket just like its two American predecessors, and will be published as a trade paperback.

In a continuing effort to show Americans the more literary and adult side of Osamu Tezuka’s manga-graphic novels, Vertical proudly introduces Apollo’s Song, the story of Shogo, a troubled young man who has no faith in love. When his misanthropy reaches its peak, he is met by the Goddess of Love, who condemns him to an eternity of heartbreak.

Vertical, Inc. launched its manga publishing venture with Buddha, an 8-volume biography of the iconic religious leader, thereby making a name for itself as a publisher of prestige-edition comic books. Coincided with the release of its more affordable paperback version was the release of Ode to Kirihito, wherein “kirihito” represents an implied pun on the name Christ as pronounced in Japanese (kirisuto). With nominal appreciation of the ancient Greek god, Tezuka’s homage to spirituality comes full circle in Apollo’s Song.


Damn it all to hell, this is great great news. Tezuka is consistently amazing, and I have yet to be disappointed with anything of his I've read, from the kid friendly all ages 23 volumes of "Astro Boy" to the more mature and still outrageously funny and touching "Buddha."


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 12/12/2006 09:09:00 PM :

       Chanukah: A Time for Superheroes

Heard a promo for this program on NPR today:
""Chanukah: A Time for Superheroes" illuminates the connection between ancient heroes and modern-day superheroes. Host Arye Gross begins with the Chanukah story of the Maccabees, the Hebrew band of brothers who fought against the religious repression of the Syrian-Greeks over 2000 years ago. This heroic tale has inspired comic book writers since pow, zap and bam first appeared in print and on the silver screen.

Listeners enjoy insights from Marvel Comics' Stan Lee and DC Comics' Wil Eisner, who describe their humble origins and the backdrop of their Jewish experience that informed Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and Wonder Woman. Listeners also hear from filmmakers Sam Raimi ("Spiderman") and Brian Singer ("X-Men,") from Michael Chabon, the acclaimed author of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay," and they visit the studios of Art Spiegelman and the Hanouka brothers, cutting-edge graphic novelists.

"Chanukah: A Time for Superheroes" includes archival radio and movie clips, music and readings, all woven around the compelling tale of how the holiday evolved from a story of military victory to one of light and inspiration."
Here in Columbus, the special will air on WCBE on Saturday, Dec. 16th at 5pm. Check your local NPR station to see if it airs in your area. This is supposedly a PRI production, but I couldn't find a mention of it anywhere on their site. I'm assuming it's an old program from previous years, being rebroadcast this year.


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  Posted by Matt Kish on 12/12/2006 09:11:00 AM :

       Andrew Schoultz Book

Andrew Schoultz, one of my absolute favorite artists, is finally getting a nice thick hardcover book collecting his paintings, drawings, murals, public art, sketches and more. Based in San Francisco, Schoultz is well known for the massive and detailed murals he paints in public spaces. Here are a few photos-















The book is limited to 3000 copies and is being put together by Derek and Jamie, the fine folks behind the Park Life Store & Gallery out in San Francisco. Check out Andrew's site for more examples of his amazing art, and if you want the book then head over to Park Life Store to reserve a copy. Derek tells me they'll be shipping at the end of December.


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Monday, December 11, 2006
 
  Posted by Matt Kish on 12/11/2006 11:41:00 AM :

       What Happened?

I saw this post by Jesse Hamm over at The Comics Journal message board and it got me thinking. The thread was questioning what superhero comics, specifically from the Big Two, would have to do differently to be as fresh and exciting as our modern perception tells us the work of Lee, Kirby, Ditko and so on were back in the day. Jesse wrote...

Here's what happened to superheroes: fans got old enough to realize they should add adult drama to their entertainment diet, but they were too lazy to start reading alt comix or Raymond Carver or whomever, so they starting enthusing over the adultish elements in their usual fare, resulting in a tsunami of soapy stories about deeply flawed superheroes suffering romantic and/or political troubles, often sans costume. Today's "grown-up" superheroes are to comics what McDonalds' "healthy options" menu is to food: a dull-but-guilt-free middle ground between decadence and nourishment.

TV has occupied that middle ground since its inception -- never as trashy as film, nor as profound -- and now it's the superheroes' turn to snap on that tie, clip on those earrings, and parade around the party with a long-stemmed glass of Martinelli's.


I'm really not sure what I think of that right now, but it's really got my brain working.


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  Posted by Dara on 12/11/2006 07:30:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

It's back to Marvel week. Here's some Frank Castle for you vigilante types...



(click image to punisherize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 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, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006)

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Sunday, December 10, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 12/10/2006 10:35:00 AM :

      

New Punk Planet's out with an amusing Top 10 issue. Comic related: An interview with Dash Shaw, a top ten from Brent Warnock & Paul Hornschemier, and reviews (heavy on the Oni product this go)

Funny sampling for you Lost fanatics..

10 TOP HEADLINES OF 2006 PAIRED WITH QUOTES FROM SAWYER, OF THE HIT TV SHOW LOST, THAT SOUND AN AWFUL LOT LIKE THINGS GEORGE W BUSH WOULD SAY

1. House Ethics Commitee Member Steps Down
"So how does it feel? Taking my place at the top of everyone's most hated list. Sucks, don't it?"


2.Vice President Shoots Friend During Hunting Expedition
"Don't look at me. I was just here pushing the button."


3. Bush Proposes Legislation to Authorize the Use of Military Tribunals
"Sorry, I'm fresh out of sweet forgiveness."


4.Tom Delay Leaves Congress
"Why are you lookin' at me?"


5. Bin Laden Warns U.S. of al-Queda's Plans
" If you'll excuse me, I've got some revenge to tend to."


6. Scientists Find Evidence of Water on a Saturn Moon
"I'll take comfort knowin' some day, this is all gonna be a real nice shopping complex. Maybe even an auto mall."


7. Bush Tours New Orleans, Promises Change
"You got a Band-Aid?"


8. Sectarian Violence Continues in Iraq
"I'm guessing everybody's going to want to play cowboys and Indians. And once those guns are out and about, something tells me they ain't never going back in."


9.President Bush Turns 60
"Do I get a lollipop?"


10. North Korea Performs Nuclear Weopons Test
"Well, well. Look at who's got a secret stash... Seeing as I got all the guns, I do get to ask why."


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Friday, December 08, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 12/08/2006 07:57:00 PM :

       For all you computer nerds out there

Three articles bridging the small divide between computer nerds and genre geeks:

1) Top 20 Hackers in Film History - from Wyatt Donnelly (Weird Science) to Michael Bolton & Samir Nagheenanajar (Office Space)

2) Top Ten Servers in the Movies - from Teletraan 1 (Transformers) to Deep Thought (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

3) What code DOESN'T do in real life (that it does in the movies) - "Code is not three dimensional," "People who write code use mice ," etc.

Let your geek flag fly.


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Wednesday, December 06, 2006
 
  Posted by Craig on 12/06/2006 11:08:00 AM :

       Way Back Machine

Iron Man #150


Despite the fact that Iron Man has been around as long as any of Marvel’s mainstays, I don’t quite grasp his popularity. The surface concept of the character is cool, but there’s no appealing human core driving the personality of the main character, like Spider-Man’s guilt or Batman’s grim resolve. The series has probably been carried by the strengths of whoever happened to be working on the book at a given time, and while several popular names have been attached to the character, only once in my experience did a writer/artist team intersect to make something memorable. Fortunately for Tony Stark, it was memorable enough to propel the series through years of mediocrity to follow.

David Michelinie wrote my least favorite issues of Amazing Spider-Man, teaming with Todd Macfarlane to turn everyman Peter Parker into the spouse of a supermodel, hanging out with rock stars. Whatever fantasies he was expressing were much better suited to Tony Stark, and he grounded them in the business world of Stark International’s industrial complex much more effectively. I came into the series shortly after the alcoholism storyline, when the series had settled comfortably into a cycle of corporate boardrooms, goofy supervillains, and playboy living. A solid supporting cast and a series of costumed lunatics tearing up the factory grounds was penciled by newbie John Romita jr.; I’ve always liked the guy’s art, but I think he peaked early, and on this series.

The cover of this particular issue blares “150th Anniversary Issue!” as if those earliest episodes featured a steam-driven suit of armor back in the 1830’s. Semantics aside, this comic abstains from any form of retrospective story (since, as mentioned, the character has no real history to look back on) to give us the next best thing: an adventure story with everything but the kitchen sink crammed between the covers of the double-sized book. The previous issue showed Iron Man tracking some missing tech to Latveria, where a battle with Doctor Doom ensued. During the scuffle, the pair lands on Doom’s time machine, and a minion with a grudge throws a lever to send his master and the Avenger back in time, presumably lost. They wind up in the least likely setting for a story about techno-warrior Iron Man:

Camelot. Okay, maybe there’s some connection in that these two armored guys (who aren’t even traditional foes) are mixing it up with a bunch of knights, but that connection is tenuous at best. But who cares? Iron Man and Doom are dragged before King Arthur himself. Iron Man wows the crowd with the old magnetically-levitating-the-throne trick, but Doom considers such parlor tricks beneath him, flashing his royal insignia to the fellow monarch instead. The two are led away to separate quarters while the King considers their fate, and Tony Stark ponders life as a technological fish-out-of-water in this age of myth and magic. His outlook does brighten at one point, however:

Good old Iron Man. Unlike Batman, who pretends to be a playboy but would rather be busting heads, this guy really digs the cars, drinks, and chicks that come with the superhero lifestyle. That drinking problem aside, that’s a well-adjusted hero.

Doom, on the other hand, takes off to find the only woman in this time he’s interested in; it turns out the time machine’s coordinates were preset as part of a mission to track down Morgana Le Fey. A frequently overlooked part of Doom’s backstory is his gypsy heritage, including dabbling in sorcery. His mother was a sorceress herself, and Doom obsesses about freeing her from Hell or wherever she ended up. To that end, he has used his time machine to track down mystics through the ages to learn their ways. Le Fey agrees to help him if he in turn will lead an army of zombies against King Arthur; only upon seeing an army of zombies waiting to do his bidding does Doom become aroused.


Now comes the battle royal, as Doom and Iron man take to the skies while Arthurian knights and zombies trade blows on the ground. This issue really does have everything! Iron Man has an epiphany that if he bypasses Doom and takes the fight to Le Fey, the zombie menace will be dealt with-- but on the way, he has to fight a dragon, grumbling about his dislike for magic as he produces just the right gadget to neutralize it.


With Le Fey gone, Doom is pissed, but he’s also pragmatic. He has no reason to stay in this time, but he needs Iron Man’s help to get back to the distant future of 1981, so he promises not to kill him for the time being. Then we’re treated to an A-Team style montage as the two disassemble their suits of armor to construct a time machine. As a bonus, we get one of those Kirby-esque gadgets at the end of the process, along with some cool time travel special effects that might be mistaken for Ditko's work:



Any good comic with Doctor Doom should be replete with excellent quotes, and this is no exception. Besides going through the entire issue referring to Iron Man as “lackey”, Doom delivers:

“You dare lay a hand on me? You have little regard for your life, fool. And I have even less!”

“Your repulsor means as little to me as the slap of a velvet glove!”

When a knight presumes he has used a catapult to make a hole in the side of the castle: “Fah! Doctor Doom needs only—DOCTOR DOOM!”

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 12/05/2006 08:28:00 PM :

       Stuck wraps up for the year..



Another chapter in the Stuck saga wrapped up yesterday. Check out the whole she-bang here. I guess Vito & I are taking a break till January. There'll be a lil' interview session next week and some such to fill in the void.


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  Posted by Tom on 12/05/2006 08:17:00 PM :

       Ohhhh that Haspiel.


Not only do you get to see the sweetness that is Dean's art but sometimes you get to see Moby play drums on a naked lady. New American Splendor comes out tommorow (?) I think with a new cover by Haspiel. Also sports some interior by Haspiel and Bob Fingerman.

Damn I love NYC!!


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  Posted by Tony on 12/05/2006 09:37:00 AM :

       Spirit and Opportunity

I got an e-mail from my nephew Quentin this morning, so I decided to write him back. I sent him some information on nasa.gov about the Mars rovers. I told him about the Mars rovers a few weeks ago, but I'm not sure he believed me. I wrote:

"Hey, Quentin. It's good to hear from you! How's school and whatnot?

Here's some info on those Mars robots I was talking about the other day. They look kind of like four-wheelers with big solar panels and mechanical arms. The Web site says Spirit's right front wheel stopped working, but they can still drive it a little. Spirit and Opportunity are taking pictures and examining rocks and sand. They were only supposed to last a few months, but they've been going for almost three years.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mer/index.html

Those Mars robots make me really proud to be a human being. We can do some amazing things when we try, you know?"

We really are capable of amazing things. Ever since I was a kid, I've always loved the idea of human achievement. There was a real sense that humans were improving as a species, and we might even be able to reach perfection here on Earth. Lately I feel like I've lost that idea.

Both here and abroad, I feel like I'm seeing old hatred persist, science and reason shouted down, and people killing people for their own prejudices. I weep for that world.


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Monday, December 04, 2006
 
  Posted by Dara on 12/04/2006 08:25:00 PM :

       More press coverage and reviews

The Ferret has been getting a lot of love lately, here's a quick roundup:

  • Blogging Ohio -
  • "Local comic book art talent shines" posted by Tom Barlow (he claims no relation to Dan!)
    "At the forefront of the Columbus scene is Ferret Press, an independent publisher of a variety of titles. The press is the creation of Dara, a prolific Columbus comic writer who is featured in many of the publications."
  • Columbus Best Blog - "This is a blog about what is best in Columbus and Central Ohio!" Sort of a marketing gimmick from HER realtors, but hey, we still got the nod.

  • Almost Normal Comics -
  • I've had several correspondenses with Andrés Indaburu, a small press comics fan and creator living in Barcelona. He had e-mailed to let me know somehow he'd come across several issues of Panel and loved them. Well imagine my surprise when I saw him reviewing PANEL: Myth and PANEL: Music over at Almost Normal Comics.
    "Funny, entertaining, interesting, exciting or touching, each story represents a point of view, a technique, a vision, an idea, and it brings to my mind the memory of magazines such as Metal Hurlant or Creepy without having to depend on big-breasted-giant-gun wielding-hotties or red eyed ooze and muck monsters to hook an audience."



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  Posted by Dara on 12/04/2006 07:26:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Once again, this week's page is courtesy of fellow PANEList Andy Bennett. I have a feeling this one is going to be a bit harder to guess than last week...



(click image to get KRUNKTED!)

(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, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006)

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Saturday, December 02, 2006
 
  Posted by Tom on 12/02/2006 02:25:00 PM :

       Teasing me like a 10 year old girl at recess




I thought I'd post some Paul Pope comps I found on the 1st Second site. No reason to get excited- they're just character studies. I completely breezed by the mention in an interview with him during that Batman:100 hype. Battling Boy is an all ages tale supposedly coming out next year. Which remains to be seen as his coffee table artbook Pulphope is a few months overdue from it's slated release.

*update: read Pope's new blog?


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