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.
Good god almighty! Did you see it? Did you see tonight's episode?!?
My rollercoaster love affair continues, and tonight I'm at the dizzying heights. Now that was an awesome episode! Probably one of the best they've had in...well, forever. And not just because they started answering some of the BIG QUESTIONS about the island, but also because the emotional heart of the episode - Desmond's tragic life and love for Penny - was so damn good.
So, I'd suspected for a while that the island exists "outside of time". Not a revolutionary theory, obviously, as I'm sure a lot of other folks had come to the same conclusion. But this episode finally confirmed that theory. And it was scripted absolutely brilliantly; impeccable pacing, tight plot, emotional payoff.
So my other theory, about Jacob, was that Dharma had somehow induced (or boosted) his psychic abilities to uncontrollable levels. But now I think what's happening to Jacob is what Desmond has been going through, jumping back and forth through time. Except in Jacob's case, he's jumping as such an accelerated pace, that he's essentially come unglued from time as well, existing outside of it for the most part. Which is why sometimes people see him, or hear him, but not for any length of time.
I have a feeling they'll also use the time travel phenomena to ultimately "redeem" Ben as a somewhat sympathetic figure. As a child on the island, he somehow sees what Dharma intends to do with the knowlege gained on the island, and it's not good. So he decides in order to save the world, he has to kill them all. That's why in his mind he's so sure that he's "the good guy". And somehow, he knows how to navigate the time field between the island the the "real" world without any negative side effects.
Now, the part I'm not so sure about is who the freighter people are. Up until tonight I was convinced they were Dharma, coming back to reclaim their island. I always figured Penny's father (Mr. Widmore), sun's father (don't remember his name) and Alvar Hanzo were all in it together; the brains and finance behind Dharma. But the auction scene with the log from the Black Rock being bought by Mr. Widmore makes me question that. They made it a point that the journal has belonged to the Hanzo family before the auction, and Widmore was intent on getting it. So, does that mean he's not associated with Hanzo? If Hanzo was the Dharma founder, is Widmore's group the "freighter" people, trying to essentially steal/salvage what remains of Dharma's research?
On a final note, Wendy just made a great observation: so here's Desmond, the guy Widmore supposedly hates, yet he gives him his daughter's contact info? He is also the guy who later on would "sponsor" the sailing race around the world that Desmond embarks on. Wendy thinks it's because Widmore knows what will happen with Desmond, knows about the time travel, etc. He sets Desmond up from the beginning: making sure Desmond gets Penny's contact info as his "constant", then concocting the whole race to get Desmond on a boat, knowing he'll end up on the island, knowing him and Penny will try and find each other, and thus allowing Widmore to find the island through Desmond.
My brain's exploding. This episode was amazingly good!
One last thing before I go: Daniel Faraday is my new favorite character, and the actor who plays him deserves an award. Above and beyond anything else this show does well, I have to say they have phenomenal casting. I can't think of a single actor on the show that hasn't been impeccably cast for the role they are portraying.
Steven Russell Black
2/28/2008 07:36:00 PM
I can't be at S.P.A.C.E this year but i've got a few projects with the panel guys.
And i've been helping out as many people as i can to get ready, just put together this poster for sean. Art by Mr. McClurg, color and design are mine.
You can also read the first colabo between me and Mr McClurg Goby @ http://blackandmcclurg.blogspot.com/ its all there in color. there will be a b&w version in print in the new panel anthology as well.
I'm printing out two books right now, right? One of them I did at digest size, which I hate, because there's no room for my words. My precious, precious words.
So I decided to do the other one at standard comic book size. That requires printing out on 11 by 7 paper and cutting down. I've tried to do this before, and I really should know better.
I laid the pages out in InDesign 2-up, being very careful to get the right pages facing each other. I made a little mockup of the book with notebook paper to check the pages. In InDesign, I got the pages dead in the center of the document, and I even put in crop marks so I'd know where to cut.
Of course the printer prints each page a fraction of an inch off. The error is magnified when each page goes to double-sided. My beautiful, beautiful crop marks are a fraction of an inch off on every side.
Optical Sloth recently reviewed PANEL X and said what we’ve all been thinking: “Well, it's about damned time they got to sex.” The Mr. Love story gets a special call out as “probably the strongest piece in here, dealing with various cupids trying to make love happen, how some people don't know who they are yet and how love can actually hinder them from figuring that out.” Overall it is a positive review, concluding “to these people and their committment to quality work, I wish more anthologies were as consistently enjoyable as these.”
I was recently lured back into the Laughing Ogre because I wanted to establish a pull account in order to make sure I didn’t miss a particular new title I had read was coming out-- namely, IDW’s new Doctor Who series based on the revived television show. With some considerable effort I managed to come up with a list of monthly books that met their minimum requirement to establish the account, and I waited until the announced release month of January to pick up the first issue of the new series.
Hey, guess what, we’re about to roll into March and that first issue hasn’t appeared yet. I know late books aren’t exactly a new complaint in this particular market, but I was contemplating an angle of the issue I hadn’t heard mentioned before. Had the publisher managed to ship their books according to schedule, I would be about to buy my third issue of the series. Assuming the first issue actually debuts in March, I would have bought three times the number of issues by that time-- multiply my purchase by however many people were planning on getting the book, and it seems IDW has lost a pretty hefty chunk of money by not delivering their product on time. So why do publishers put up with this crap themselves?
I’ll grant that most comic readers now seem to follow creators rather than being fans of specific titles or characters, but I wonder how many other industries don’t consider missed deadlines the kiss of death for freelance artists.
At least I’ve got the new Millar/Hitch Fantastic Four to look forward to in the coming months…
Via The Beat, I ran across this information-ladden interview with the producers of LOST over at the Entertainment Weekly website. They talk about the whole time/space theory, which mysteries will be answered by the end of this season, which ones won't, and other juicy goodies.
"LINDELOF: We're not going to tell you that we're against bending the time-space continuum. We are very for it. Carlton and I are PRO time-space continuum bending! But we're ANTI-paradox. Paradox creates issues...So when we start having those conversations at Lost, we go, ''This show is already confusing enough as it is.'' To actually have characters traveling through time has to be handled very deftly.
CUSE: For example, the fifth episode of the season [airing next week] deals with time travel and operates in different time periods. It was a tough story to break. But we adhere to our rule: no paradox. "
We'll find out who's in the coffin by the end of this season, for example. And I found this comment funny:
"LINDELOF: One of our producers, Eddie Kitsis, has been pitching to us ''Frank Lapidus, Helicopter Pilot'' for years. "
Jessie Fink, frequent contributor to Threadless and cartoonist, unfortunately got one of her t-shirt designs lifted by a design company. You can read more about it on her LJ and or on a newish blog called 'You Thought We Wouldn't Notice'.
Last night Tony and I (along with Bob Corby & Max Ink) were on the Open Mike, Insert Foot podcast. Talking.. hugging.. loving S.P.A.C.E. with Mike Leuszler. Go to the Talkshoe homepage. Tim Fischer pops in to harass us. It was an interesting experience.
I spent about five hours last weekend filing and arranging my comics. I'm not quite done, but at least things are in order.
I had a longbox full with comics that were unfiled -- they were alphabetical in the box, but not bagged or archived. I also had all the comics I bought since I moved in with Jess, sitting unbagged in piles around my drawing table.
I finally found Dara's Moon Knight comics, as well as some others of his that I borrowed ages ago. And I found Craig's Schoedinger's Cat pages.
I found some things I forgot I had. Did you know I have about two dozen issues of Christopher Priest's Steel run? It's like his Black Panther, of which I have nearly 60 issues. And Steven Grant's X! Man, X rocks.
But for me personally, I really like the fact that I can now put my hand on any comic in my collection. Do you want to read U.S. War Machine? Here you go. The Day of Vengeance miniseries? Right here. A few random issues of Midnight Suns? Check. Marvel's 1990 Brute Force miniseries? I am your hookup.
A thought balloon forms over my head: 'I don't need to buy comics for a while. I can just go "shopping" in my own archives.'
But then I realized that I also could find out which runs have holes in them. So really, I need to buy more comics to fill in those holes.
People are weird - an account of my first book store signing
I've done signings in the past, but they've always been at comic book stores or comic conventions. Yesterday was my first signing at a book store. But not the fancy kind. Not big hardwood table in the center of a massive Barnes & Noble, with a complimentary cappuccino and a line of fans waiting outside in the cold. Rather, it was a little Waldenbooks in a mall.
Yes, a mall.
But hey, you gotta' start somewhere, right? In this case, it was the Waldenbooks in Polaris Fashion Place, Columbus' newest and latest sprawling temple to mass consumerism. To her credit, though, Liz (the store manager) was excited about having me over and they set me up with a table right outside the front doors, so everyone walking into the store would walk by my display first.
In retrospect, the time she picked out (noon till 4) probably wasn't the best, as mall traffic didn't really pick up until closer to 1 or 2. The store had ordered 5 copies of my graphic novel (not a huge number, obviously, but also not bad for a $20 book from a bunch of unknowns.) The good news: I sold out of all 5 copies in the 4 hours I was there. The bad news: I had to put up with a lot of weird people:
3 different people asked me where the restrooms were. Apparently I looked like a mall information specialist.
One older gentleman talked my ear off about the many manuscripts he'd written over the years, including one where teenagers dig tunnels under a cemetery to rob the caskets from beneath of jewelry and other valuables. He was a nice enough guy, but he pretty much blocked my table from other passers by.
A lady asked me where they had the store "with the massge type chairs".
Another lady asked me if she could use her debit card at the ATM around the corner.
Upon seeing my small signs with the list of my upcoming projects (which includes a Zombies! series from IDW,) I had two different guys ask me if I drew Marvel Zombies. And in what's got to be a blow for the anti-online piracy efforts of Marvel, one of them wasn't even aware that Marvel printed those books! I kid you not! He said he only read them online and didn't think Marvel would ever publish any of them "you know, like in a comic format"!
A lady asked me where the Stride Rite store was. I guess it's too hard to look at the mall directory and easier to ask the guy behind the table with a sign that reads "Book Signing".
But worse than any of those annoyances was the Nailpro nail salon across the aisle. The fumes emanating from it were so bad that I had a headache by 12:30, and even the mall patrons who walked by all made faces and looked around for the source of the stench. I shudder to imagine what those fumes are doing to the poor souls that actually have to work in that store day in and day out!
But like I mentioned earlier, I did have interested customers as well. A couple of coworkers purchased books, as well as a couple of complete strangers. One was familiar with Jeff Smith's work on Bone and was getting more into graphic novels, while another was a senior at Bowling Green who was studying art and was interested in the mechanics of making comics. I enjoyed chatting with both and also the other people who flipped through the book, offered congratulatory sayings, or were just curious.
So overall, not a bad day. I'd still like to do a signing in one of the bigger stores close to the OSU campus, where I think there's a bigger audience for the book. But Borders and Barnes & Noble have such overwhelming, bureaucratic policies and procedures for in-store signings that it seems to me like they've actually set out with the goal of discouraging any such events.
Oh well, their loss. While they're too stupid to actually leverage the few advantages they have over faceless online retailers (by bringing people into their stores through community features, spotlighting local creators, and other face-to-face events), places like Amazon.com will continue to beat them every single time through deeper discounts, bigger selections, and the convenience of 24/7 shopping from home.
For those of you in the Columbus area, I will be doing a book signing for my graphic novel LIFELIKE this Saturday, 2/16. It will be from noon until 4 pm, at the Waldenbooks in Polaris Mall: 1500 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240 (614.848.3150)
WoWEE people...check out some funs at 2.15: High Five Bar in Columbus OH part of Rock N Comedy W/ Mark Lucas, Christopher Root, Chris Coen, Sumukh Torgalkar, Featuring Bob Cook and Lord of the Yum Yum 1227 N High St Columbus, OH 43201
Might not be news to many, but I just heard myself that Steve Gerber has passed away. The guy was a HUGE influence on my own work, so I felt compelled to make a note of it here.
I was recently shocked and amazed to see his name on the cover of the latest Doctor Fate miniseries from DC; I didn't think the big two let veteran creators in the door anymore. Picking up those issues has been a treat; I've felt the same vibe reading those books as I did when I was discovering Howard the Duck and Man-Thing back in high school. The guy still had the touch all the way to the end, and I'm glad I'm getting to enjoy his talent one last time.
Time to dig Howard out of my long boxes again, I think. If anyone cares for my recommendation, track down that particular Essential collection.
"So after a long and bitter strike, the writers won, right?
On points, yes, probably. On principle, certainly. From a practical perspective, maybe not so much."
It goes on to say:
"It is equally true, however, that the strike was bad for writers in the short term. The delays caused by the strike prompted the studios to ask themselves a fundamental question about the need to finance all manner of pilots for a traditional upfront extravaganza followed by a traditional introduction in the fall. That system, fairly unchanged through the years, has historically been lucrative for writers.
Some 70 development deals in which writers were essentially paid lucrative stipends to come up with shows that might not ever be broadcast are now gone, and they will not be coming back any time soon. "
The big question remains: just how much revenue will be generated by "new media" in the upcoming years? While everyone seems to agree that that's where TV shows (and movies, and music, and...) are headed, nobody yet knows exactly how the business model is going to work.
Interesting times ahead. But I'm glad my livelihood doesn't depend on it.
Behold: another splendid Tom Williams coloring effort on the cover of the latest issue of The Ineffables, set to debut at SPACE in two short weeks. While the comic (part one of two) only clocks in at 16 pages, it has an idea-to-panel ratio equivelant to four regular-sized comics.
I was driving past Broad & High yesterday and I think I saw a protest of the Scientology Reading Room. There were about 3 dozen people, and signs I could read were "Religion should be free," "Scientology kills" and "Google Lisa McPherson."
At least one person in the crowd was wearing a V for Vendetta/Guy Fawkes mask.
The Aldus Society: the origins and evolution of the graphic novel
Got this press release via the editor at the Short North Gazette:
"COLUMBUS, OHIO: Flowers. Chocolates. Bonbons. For its February meeting, The Aldus Society will present a special Valentine's Day treat with a program devoted to the origins and evolution of the Graphic Novel. This presentation will be by Dr. Jared Gardner, Associate Professor of English and Film at The Ohio State University's College of Humanities.
This presentation will be Thursday, February 14, 2008, at 7:30 p.m. at the Thurber Center, 91 Jefferson Avenue, Columbus, OH. This event is free and open to the public. Socializing begins at 7:00 p.m. For more information call 614-864-9794.
The Aldus Society is a Columbus Society that meets monthly (except during the Summer months) that welcomes all lovers of Books and the Printed Arts.
"Columbus has been singled out as one of the top ten markets in the nation for the sales of books. Now book lovers in Columbus have an organization whose members share their fascination with the printed word...
The Aldus Society is open to all individuals who appreciate the many facets of text and image through various media, but principally the book, past, present and future. Aldus provides educational and entertaining programming for its membership, be it the history of printing and publishing, book illustration, book design, book bindings, paper making, typography, calligraphy, book collecting, or libraries."
Woot.com was selling Mac Minis for $500 today (sorry, all sold out) But as always, their product write-ups take the prize for being clever and humorous. From the listing:
"If there is one thing which will turn a casual internet conversation into an oily black sludge faster than the sentence “Firefly was cancelled for a reason”, it’s the question “Which is better, Mac or PC”? On the one hand, the PC has so many games, freeware applications, hardware options and ways to emulate other platforms. On the other hand, the answer is Mac."
I swear, you take me on an emotional roller coaster ride that no TV show should have a right to do.
I loved your season 3 finale. You really redeemed yourself after a mostly frustrating and meandering season. I liked your season 4 opener last week well enough, setting up the chess pieces and giving us some new clues and mysteries.
But this week...this week, my friend, you turned right back into an asshole.
First of all, someone just kill Ben already. Yes, he's a great villain. Yes, he's awesomely manipulative and utterly reprehensible, everything a villain should be. But enough already.
The Joker and Doctor Doom and Lex Luthor are great villains too, but they're part of the reason I don't read the big-name monthly comics. The same villains show up, make life miserable for the heroes, kill loved ones, and the heroes don't do anything to prevent it from happening again. They just come back 6 months later to wash, rinse, repeat. When you overuse a villain time after time after time, they stop being interesting and start becoming annoying. Like Ben.
So let's put a bullet between his bug eyes and move on to something new and interesting, ok? And while you're at it, don't make the same mistake as season 3: stop introducing half a dozen new mysteries every damn episode without answering a few of the 200 existing ones. Naomi's mission. A helicopter. 4 new characters. Polar bears in Tunisia. References to Walt, the cabin, the freighter, double-agents, and on and on and on. Did you learn nothing from the fan outcry last year? Damn it, already, get with the program.
I'm such a sucker for watching you. Which I'll do again next week, despite your callous disregard for my feelings.
Jacob Covey has an open spot left on the next Beasts art book. The guidelines are that you can't depict any beasts already depicted in both volumes. He's posted a list up on the Fanta blog. It's a shame that it's not more open because there were some pretty awful pieces in the first Beasts. (along with the gorgeous). By 'awful', I mean works from the Paper Rad school of composition and draftsmanship.
Jeff Smith, in the upcoming weeks, is hosting a guest blog series on the beginnings of the Small Press movement. A movement that began with the likes of Dave Sim and mutant turtles. Running through the 90's to today. Should be an interesting read. It's open to co-conspirators: Paul Pope, Colleen Doran, Dave Sim, Charles Brownstein, Terry Moore, Larry Mauder, etc. He'll also be posting some select thoughts from the brimming webcomics scene/indie comics crowd. Should be a good read.
From Steven Grant's column this week, a short advance review of Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now #5:
"#5, with Dara Naraghi & Erich Owen adapting "I, Robot" (not the Asimov version), about a cop trying to track his semi-delinquent teenage daughter though a cybertech landscape, is a significant improvement, with sharp presentation and a good punchline."