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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Wednesday, February 28, 2007
 
  Posted by Craig on 2/28/2007 09:06:00 AM :

       Way Back Machine

Devil Dinosaur

This one’s for Matt.

I’ve got a ton of 1970’s Kirby in my long boxes, my all-time favorite title of his being The Demon. I’ve always skipped past his books when looking for material for posts, though. Even though I can hold court and pretend to speak knowledgably here since Dara gave me the keys to the weblog, what the heck could I possibly contribute to everything that’s already been said about The King and his works? When Gaiman’s Eternals series debuted, I did write a piece contrasting it with Kirby’s original comics, but it was a bit too brutal on poor Neil so I shelved it.

Maybe I can add this: one thing I’ve never heard attributed to him was his apparent desire to move comics away from purely superhero material, starting when he moved to DC in the early 70’s. While his concepts may have had the superficial trappings of garish costumes and super-powered characters, books like The Demon, Jimmy Olson, New Gods, The Eternals, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kamandi, etc., all seemed more rooted in the realms of fantasy and science fiction. The guy who specialized in westerns in the 1950’s and invented the romance comic was trying to broaden the range of material available on the spinner rack well into the back half of his career (obviously there were some exceptions, like his splendid return to Captain America).

I’ll also point out that Jack was producing anywhere between two and two gazillion books on a monthly basis, as well as half of Marvel’s covers, and all of them hold up today (overlooking his, er, unique gift for dialogue). Skip ahead three decades and a comic artist is a “hot, rising superstar” flash-in-the-pan dilettante who can’t be expected to turn in twenty pages on a monthly basis, and publishers rely on creator hero worship to excuse the abandonment of a friggin’ work ethic. I’m going to get a shovel and dig up Jack, and we’re gonna kick the ass of Brian Hitch and every snot-nosed punk like him.

So here’s the plot of Devil Dinosaur: a protohuman pulls a thorn from a Dinosaur’s paw and they become friends, but he finds himself shunned by his own tribe who fear the beast he now rides around on. Outcasts both, they have adventures in their dangerous primeval surroundings. I don’t think anything else needs to be added, so I’ll just let these images from the first three issues speak for themselves.

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Monday, February 26, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/26/2007 11:12:00 PM :

       A short open letter to the creators and writers of Heroes

Dear Creators,

Fantastic episode tonight. The story is moving at a break-neck pace, the twists and turns are unexpected and exciting, and that ending was heart wrenching. You guys are at the top of your game.

Thank you for giving us a comic book inspired TV show that not only blows the socks off most other TV shows, but also most comic books.

Sincerely,
Dara


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  Posted by Dara on 2/26/2007 07:30:00 PM :

       Congratulations, Mr. Advertising Executive Asshat

So I just saw this commercial for Wendy's fast food restaurants that used the song Blister In The Sun by The Violent Femmes in the background.

Genius.

Let's try to advertise food by using a song that's either about masturbation, drug use, premature ejaculation, or at the very least, low self-esteem due to a perceived physical deformity.

My hat's off to you, Mr. Advertising Executive. As far as brilliant ideas go, this one's right up there with using Janis Joplin's song to advertise Mercedes Benz cars.


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  Posted by Craig on 2/26/2007 10:27:00 AM :

       Civil War


Believe it or not, I sometimes read new comics, too. I just finished the conclusion to Marvel’s Civil War series, and thought I’d throw out a few thoughts (though I expect I’m the only one hereabouts who read this book, as well…).

Stuff I liked:

1: One of Marvel’s strengths for me was always the notion that their books were more relevant than those of the competition. The cold war roots of their most prominent characters may seem dated today, but you couldn’t get more topical for their time. Likewise for the backdrop of campus unrest you occasionally saw in Spider-Man through the 1960’s and 70’s. In today’s political climate, with the country split down the middle between red and blue states, the idea of portraying such a rift within the superhero community was a great idea. DC’s own big event, Infinite Crisis, only offered self-referential fan wankery.

2: What hooked me when the first issue came out was actually an editorial in the back stating that they hoped Civil War would be accessible to new readers. I didn’t follow any other Marvel titles and didn’t pick up a single spin-off or crossover outside of these seven issues, and the story held up. Comparing it to Infinite Crisis again, I didn’t read any of the six miniseries’ leading into DC’s big event, was less familiar with newer characters, and was hopelessly lost.

3: For seven issues I was waiting for the two sides to have the “hey, we shouldn’t be fighting each other” epiphany, and it never happened. There was actually a clear winner and loser in the conflict, which came as a big surprise to me.

4: Cap’s Indiana Jones-style escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first issue was the most memorable scene I’ve read in a superhero comic in the last decade. There should be more of that kind of action in superhero books, and fewer panels devoted to Superheroes crying.

Stuff I didn’t like:

1: They got Cap all wrong. He leads a revolt against the U.S. government because a law gets passed he doesn’t like? Cap of all characters should know about checks and balances. A better story would have had Cap, whose identity was already known anyway, stepping forward with attorney Matt Murdock to argue before the Supreme Court that the registration law violated his rights to assembly, bear arms, and establish a militia, as well as the right to privacy. Heroes inspired by Cap would take up arms against Iron Man & co., to Cap’s regret.

2: While I like Marvel’s willingness to shake things up, they finished the job of totally screwing up the character of Peter Parker with this series. Gone forever is the everyman we could identify with, trying to live a normal life despite his superhero responsibilities. Now he’s as famous as a rock star, and nothing about our own lives can be projected onto his story anymore. Still, that seems to be what comic readers want these days, since secret ID’s are either abandoned or ignored all the time. And that wretched black costume’s back—look, just in time for the new movie!

3: Marvel wasn’t willing to shake things up enough. The big, dramatic moment when someone dies in battle, and it’s… 1970’s holdover Black Goliath? Maybe the idea that it’s a character no one cares about heightens the impact because we know he’ll probably stay dead. I don’t know. Reed Richards and Tony Stark kinda should have been tried for involuntary manslaughter over this one, or at least faced a wrongful death suit, but it didn’t happen.

4: A lesser point, but worth mentioning: They reiterate that the Punisher is a Viet Nam vet. Let’s assume he picked up all of his guerrilla warfare skills in the last six months of the war at the age of eighteen. That still makes him, what, 51 years old? Isn’t it time to change that to “Gulf War vet”? Then again, maybe the idea still works

5: In issue 2, Reed Richards presents a flow chart showing the chaos that will result if Cap’s side wins. A Reed Richards flow chart should have been enough to settle the argument right there.


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  Posted by Dara on 2/26/2007 07:32:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

A little something different today...a comic book version of a cover song...

As always, if you have the comic book this came from, please recuse yourself from guessing.



(click image to use the wandererize)

(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, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007)

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Saturday, February 24, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/24/2007 02:12:00 PM :

       Indie Record Stores = Comic Book Shops?

The Other Paper's cover story this week is about the decline in sales at used/indie record stores. Perennial campus landmark Used Kids Records is profiled, spotlighting part-owner Bela Koe-Krompecher, who was recently laid off from the store after 17 years.

You can read MP3s killed the record store star here.

Here's the quote from Koe-Krompecher that caught my attention:
"Record stores are becoming a place for collectors and music fanatics who still like to browse," he said. "The sales aren’t there like they were 10 years ago. Record stores may turn into, like, comic-book shops."
What do you guys think? It's hard to discount the effect that digital music has had on how music is marketed and sold. However, I think that used CD stores actually have a leg up on traditional "new" record stores, due to their lower price points. I think we'll see many more national music store chains going out of business before we see indie stores shutting down.


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  Posted by Dara on 2/24/2007 08:59:00 AM :

       Why We Love Manga: an essay

Check out this well thought out and well written essay on Livejournal, wherein the author explains the reasons behind the popularity of manga. I'll be the first to admit I'm not a huge fan of manga, but there's no denying the impact it's had in bookstores.

The interesting part of the essay, to me at least, is where the author tries to describe "the sex thing":
"Most manga is, on some level, about sex. This is hardly a revolutionary situation, as a quick glimpse at any picture of Power Girl, or the White Queen, or just about any heroine, will reveal that most American comics are also about sex. But manga offers something different: It offers sex that is either 1. much more perverted or 2. much less perverted."


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Friday, February 23, 2007
 
  Posted by Craig on 2/23/2007 09:24:00 AM :

       Way Back Machine

Defenders #49

You can stop collecting now, fellas. I've found all the comic you'll ever need:

Moon Knight, Kirby-style!
It’s strange that a team whose members included the Hulk, Silver Surfer, Sub-Mariner and Doctor Strange (and Moon Knight!) went on to become known as a collection of B-listers and back benchers, but it actually worked out for the best. Even though usually anchored by the presence of Doctor Strange and Hulk, the team quickly became the Rodney Dangerfield of the Marvel Universe, providing a seat at the table for whoever happened to show up in any given issue; the team was actually a “non-team”, a Marvel Team-Up series with a much larger cast. These days Luke Cage would probably leave the Defenders off of his resume, instead mentioning his involvement with the Fantastic Four or the Avengers rather than admit he was on the same team as Howard the Duck.

The plot of this issue is pretty straightforward: Nighthawk has been kidnapped by Scorpio, Nick Fury’s evil brother who is trying to recreate the team of villains known as The Zodiac. Regular Defenders Hellcat and Valkyrie, along with guest member Moon Knight, hope to enlist the Hulk’s aid in rescuing their fellow non-team member, but Hulk isn’t willing to do any smashing today. Their solution: piss him off so that he chases them across town to murder them, leading him to Zodiac HQ in the process. A brilliant plan.

David Anthony Kraft writes, and Keith Giffen spearheads the first generation of Kirby clones with this early entry in his long career. Check out this page and it’s subtle homage to the work of The King. I’m kind of surprised the editors at Marvel let Giffen get away with this, considering they already had a Kirby on the payroll.

To reinforce the fact that Marvel Comics take place in the real world (before anyone called it a “Marvel Universe”), the editors helpfully provide a map showing the Hulk’s path in case any comic reading tourists want to look for historical markers:

Along the way, Moon Knight demonstrates the qualities that make him a formidable addition to a fighting team. From his mastery of the obvious, halfway through a ten-page chase with the Hulk…
…to his superhuman powers of recall, remarkable when they are working…

…to spending the following issue’s climactic battle scene, er, begging for mercy…

…It’s plain to see why Frank Miller was so inspired by Moon Knight when he wrote his various Batman comics.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/20/2007 09:30:00 PM :

       Graphic novel sales in bookstores

Comics retailer Brian Hibbs has another edition of his insightful, informative Tilting @ Windmills column up at Newsarama. This time around, he looks at the 2006 sales figures for graphic novels in bookstores, as reported by BookScan, a subsidiary of Nielsen.

With the advent of the Internet and the proliferation of comic book news sites and message boards, our tiny little hobby has become even more insular. The direct market has come to be seen by most comic readers as the be all and end all of what's hot and what's not. In fact, it's not uncommon to read about books being a "bomb" or a "sales failure" just because they didn't sell through many copies in the local comic book shops. But people tend to forget that there's a whole nother market out there, one not under the monopolistic grasp of Diamond Distributors, that also sells comics.

Check out these excerpts from Brian's column, they're pretty amazing numbers:
"In 2006, Manga dominates with 575 spots on the charts for 6,705,624 pieces, and $61,097,050 in retail dollars...Naruto is 10.9% of all BookScan GN sales for the year’s chart, for that matter! That’s both awe-inspiring, and slightly scary."

"DC is very much helped by the sales of V For Vendetta – the only non-manga title to crack the Top 5 in sales (or the Top 20, for that matter), bringing in 79,907. It is also the #1 book of the year in dollars ($1.6 million)"

"Marvel’s big 2006 knockout punch is the Halo Graphic Novel, with 32,174 in BookScan sales, and just over $800k in retail dollars sold...Halo is also the #3 dollar book of the entire chart, which is very impressive. Halo’s dollar total is about 14% of Marvel’s total charted dollar sales. So, yeah, they have to be happy with how it did."
And lastly, this bit of success story about our very own Jeff Smith:
"The real big news for me personally, is that we can now see the Scholastic books, including Jeff Smith’s Bone. I’m suspecting that they had been previously miscategorized, because sales roar in with 25,730 for v1, 18,371 for v2, 27,392 for v3, and 22,280 for v4. If you add in the additional 8441 copies that Smith’s Bone One Volume collection sold, that’s over 100k for the year in one channel alone. Because of its price tag, the One edition brings in nearly 50% more income than the best-selling color volume."

Not bad, eh?

And yes, manga is still kicking ass and taking names in bookstores. And believe it or not, Dark Horse Comics, known mainly for Star Wars, Hellboy, and Sin City inside comic book stores, is actually the #4 manga publisher when looking at bookstore sales. They did $1.8 million retail in just manga books alone last year.


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Monday, February 19, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/19/2007 07:28:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

I suspect this week's page might be an easy one...



(click image to use the katanalize)

(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, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007)

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Saturday, February 17, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/17/2007 04:05:00 PM :

      

Renaissance man Phonzie Davis will be playing out tonight at the Carabar. As a part of the group known as Hugs & Kisses. The local Alive ran a small piece on the group this week.

Carabar's in Old Towne East. Show probably starts `round rock thirty which is typically 10pm-ish. Check out the myspace link above, they throw down some funky 5h!t.

Or check out the local label Manup.


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Friday, February 16, 2007
 
  Posted by Craig on 2/16/2007 03:14:00 PM :

       Way Back Machine

Conan the Barbarian #44

Someone tell Michael Turner and his ilk this is the way to properly draw human anatomy. While most comic covers have crossed over a line to appear like issues of Maxim, the notion of exagerrating certain features of idealized forms has morphed into depicting deformed circus freaks. If the hordes of sweaty-palmed collectors lovingly cradling their comics in their hands were ogling something resembling actual human females, I could appreciate a certain amount of titillation. But the people responding to what is being served up these days, they’re just messed up. For what it’s worth, I don’t think the editors or artists of these books are so far removed from reality themselves—they just have contempt for their audience.

Here instead is Red Sonja, looking like a really hot member of the human race. That cover is dynamite, too—nothing tops a John Buscema sword & sorcery comic, and Marvel’s Conan was another successful entry in their range of non-superhero adult titles. DC’s Vertigo line still gets credit for opening up comics to a more “mature” readership, but this comic, which predates Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing by about fifteen years, features the amoral barbarian title character getting gang-raped by an army of freakish subhumans, all under the stamp of the comics code. Not exactly kid stuff. As for comparing the Thomas/Buscema Conan to the modern Dark Horse incarnation: while the new stuff is nice, it’s like listening to Madonna’s version of American Pie. I’ll stick with the original, thanks.

Writer Roy Thomas was the original fanboy-turned-pro, and is probably the only living person who could defeat Andy Bennett in a comic trivia death match. I met him at a Heroes Con a few years ago and was actually taken aback at how personable and engaging he was; he had an anecdote or recollection for nearly every book someone brought for him to sign, and took the time to talk with everyone in the long line at his table. He was kind of the anti-Byrne.

As for the story behind this particular issue: Conan and Sonja have been captured by a pair of wizard siblings who gain immortality from drinking the blood of slaves they breed in their dungeons. While Sonja (just look at her—Jim Lee isn’t fit to shine Buscema’s shoes, lemme tell ya) hopes to find a means of escape, Conan is thinking mainly of gaining a different kind of entry altogether.
Conan strikes out, and his second choice for a date to the prom isn’t that appealing. It seems the poor souls their vampiric captors breed for feeding have become inbred beyond the point of grotesque, making their blood equally less appetizing. Their solution is to use Conan as a stud to infuse fome fresh blood into the gene pool. A drugged Conan is forced to shame himself repeatedly over the course of several days, returning each night to the cell he shares with Sonja refusing to talk about his experiences.

Eventually, the female half of the sorcerous pair gives in to the loneliness she has felt over the centuries within their tower lair and strikes a bargain to free Conan in return for his attentions—apparently it doesn’t bother her that he’s been sleeping around. She ends up getting knifed in a struggle with Sonja after she opens the cell door, and the barbarian duo attempts to make their way out of the castle. I’m fond of these panels, wherein Conan explains that, no, he doesn’t want to be a hero, he just wants to kill as many people as he needs to in order to live a long life.


The other sorcerer catches them on the way out and sends a few monsters their way, to no avail. Conan and Sonja set the tower on fire and escape out a window, aided in their flight by the wizard’s own pet monsters who are glad to be rid of him. At the end of the story, Red Sonja is tired enough of Conan’s company to brain him with a large rock and leave him lying on the ground as she rides into the sunset.

Inking credits for the comic go to “The Crusty Bunkers”, a group of artists who happened to be hanging around the studio shared by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.



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Thursday, February 15, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/15/2007 07:17:00 PM :

      

Thank's to the Flog I've found the amazing Dan Grzeca's art blog. Thank's to Kish I discovered this guy's work a year ago and was immediately hooked. Above is a shot from his studio. Another great gig poster guy from the Chicago scene.


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/13/2007 12:42:00 PM :

      


Newsarama's interview with me went live today.

thanks to Chris & Newsarama.


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Monday, February 12, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/12/2007 08:10:00 PM :

       The System part deux

The System returns over at the Chemistry Set this week. Rerunning a strip Tony and I did for Panel:Luck last year. Vito also muses over his top five films set in New York.


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  Posted by Dara on 2/12/2007 07:41:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

As always, if you have the comic, no guessing...



(click image to use the tentaclize)

(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, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007)

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Saturday, February 10, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/10/2007 03:02:00 PM :

       All links must go, no offer refused

Clearing out the blog-o-links drawer. Enjoy!
  • A not-so-nice review of the Steve Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore. From the sound of things, the place is chock full of cool and rare memorabilia, but light on organization and proper layout.
  • With Frank Miller's 300 movie opening this summer, Dark Horse has a slew of Miller reprints. But the best news: the final chapter of Miller Dave Gibbons' Martha Washington saga will see print.
  • Writer Mark Verheiden talks about his work on Batman/Superman, Smallville, and Battlestar: Galactica. Also, what sounds like a cool new movie: My Name is Bruce, starring Bruce Campbell, about "a stuck-up, forgotten B-horror movie actor who gets kidnapped and brought out to this small town of idiots who think he is the embodiment of "Ash" from the "Evil Dead" movies." Also of interest to my fellow C-bus residents, Mark recalls a weird fan experience at a Columbus comic convention.
  • Most poorly constructed sentence ever, from the solicitation copy to Marvel's The Irredeemable Ant-Man #7: "That is--until he realizes that the current subject of his perverted voyeurism is none other than CAROL DANVERS--otherwise known as BRIAN BENDIS' AND FRANK CHO'S THE MIGHTY AVENGERS' MS. MARVEL!" You know, just the other day I looked up the Ms. Marvel entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, and under the "Known Aliases" it said BRIAN BENDIS' AND FRANK CHO'S THE MIGHTY AVENGERS' MS. MARVEL!


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  Posted by Dara on 2/10/2007 02:52:00 PM :

       RIP Rocket Science

Rocket Science, the pop culture comic strip that Tim Fischer and I created for Melt magazine, sees its last episode this month. Appropriately enough, we bid farewell by trashing a trio of truly worthless "celebrities" in the Jan/Feb issue.



Tim and I will be working on a Xxxagnut Beefman webcomic next, while next month's issue of Melt magazine will feature a brand new strip by yours truly and Tom Williams, entitled Brainbot Jr.

Stay tuned...


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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/06/2007 07:07:00 PM :

       The Three Paradoxes

Well, we now have a release date for Hornschemier's new work: March. Publisher's Weekly ran an interview with Paul about it.

Paul: Each story is drawn in a different style, with different production methods, to the point where some of the pages have more than one narrative arc (and thus more than one art and production style)s. But hopefully it all works together to give one feeling, one tied-together experience.

So, you can see why I generally avoid summarizing the thing when people ask, "What's it about?" I usually just say something like, "It's sort of weird. But hopefully not completely depressing."

That could pretty much summerize my work except nix the depressing and add disturbing.


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Monday, February 05, 2007
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 2/05/2007 08:58:00 PM :

       Review of PANEL: Myth

Another positive review of PANEL, this time for PANEL: Myth at Optical Sloth.

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  Posted by Tom on 2/05/2007 05:47:00 PM :

       The System @ the Chemistry Set

Filling in this Monday is a story Tony& I did for Panel:Luck called The System. Vito's still trying to work out his computer troubles. Looks like Stuck will post late on Wednesday. It'll be interesting to see how much cross traffic Ferret will get.

Thanks Tony.


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  Posted by Dara on 2/05/2007 07:38:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Another page from the early career of a well-known artist. Guess away!



(click image to use the terminate)

(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, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007)

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Sunday, February 04, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/04/2007 01:48:00 PM :

       A couple of short movie reviews

Children of Men. Wendy and I saw this about a month ago. Based on the P.D. James novel (which I have to admit I'm not familiar with), the story is set in a bleak, violent London of the future where an unknown global crisis has robbed women all over the world of the ability to conceive. With the death of the human race all but assured, the whole world has gone to hell in an orgy of depression, desperation, and lawlessness. Only England manages to hold on to some semblance of order, based largely in part on a draconian "homeland security" policy of detaining and expelling all immigrants and foreigners. Yes, the allusion to the current US political landscape is quite palpable, though not so much that it detracted from the main storyline of the movie.

Clive Owen does an admirable job in his role as a reluctant hero drawn into bloody clash between a radical revolutionary group and government forces. Michael Caine is awesome in his supporting role as pot-growing free thinker, and Claire-Hope Ashitey brings an innocent, simple quality to her role as a young, scared immigrant who possibly holds the key to mankind's future.

But to me, the most impressive parts of the film were the sudden and shocking moments of violence. They interrupt some of the more quiet moments, surprising and assailing the audience with their unexpected arrival, perfectly mirroring the chaos and uncertainty of the world in which the movie is set. And the military clash at the end of the film is one of the most intense, realistic battle scenes I've seen, rivaling those seen in war movies such as Saving Private Ryan.

Highly recommended.


The Last King of Scotland. Saw this last night, and the some of the images still haunt me. The movie is inspired by real people and events surrounding the rise to power of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (played brilliantly by Forest Whitaker.)

James McAvoy plays Nicholas Garrigan, a young, naive, roughish doctor from Scotland who travels to Uganda in search of adventure and escape from what he perceives to be his bleak homeland. His arrival coincides with the military coup that put Amin in power, and through a series of coincidences, he becomes the dictator's personal physician and trusted adviser.

The film basically charts the evolution of Garrigan's maturity, from his naive fascination (and admiration) for Amin, to his reluctant realization of the depth of paranoia and violence hidden beneath the surface of the charismatic leader. The film does a fantastic job of playing with the audience's emotions, managing to make Amin admirable, pitiable, and loathsome by turn. Likewise, the ostensible "hero" of the movie, Garrigan, is shown to be self-centered, immoral, brave, and noble at different points. Amin has rightly earned a place in history as a brutal, oppressive dictator, and the movie doesn't shy away from showing (often in graphic detail) why this is so. But it also doesn't reduce the man to a two-dimensional "evil person" stereotype, rather taking the much more difficult path of representing all facets of his being, both the charming and the reprehensible.

Forest Whitaker, by the way, is an powerful presence on the screen throughout the film. Everything about his performance, from the accent, to the body language, to the ease with which he slips between jovial comrade and paranoid psychopath, is amazing to watch. The cinematography is also quite well done, especially in choosing to show the colorful countryside scenes with a subdued, grainy effect, always mindful of the darkness bubbling under the surface. There are a couple of short, yet very horrific scenes, that speak volumes about the evil that man perpetuates against his fellow man.

Highly recommended.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/01/2007 06:49:00 PM :

       Happy Anniversary Act-I-Vate!

For the sake of Tim's eyes I'll post the graphic 'behind the cut' as the LJ users say. I've thoroughly enjoyed all the output the Act-I-Vater's have cranked out this year. I've been clamoring for Dean's follow-up to Immortal.


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