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

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Read Dara's free webcomic @ Komikwerks.com

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Read Dara and Tom's comic @ Brainbotjr.com and in Melt magazine.

Read Tony Goins' webcomic Downs.
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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
  Posted by Dara on 6/30/2009 10:33:00 PM :

       Brainbot Jr. on your smartphone?

Maybe, if our pitch is accepted. I just sent a proposal to iVerse Media, Robot Comics, and Keenspot. We’ll see if anything comes of it.

In the meantime, you can catch up on the 20+ strips here.


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  Posted by Dara on 6/30/2009 08:14:00 AM :

       Harvey Awards nominees for 2009

The Harvey Awards nominees have been announced. Congrats to fellow PANELista Tom Williams, for being part of the Comic Book Tattoo book, nominated this year for Best Anthology.


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Monday, June 29, 2009
  Posted by Dara on 6/29/2009 10:40:00 AM :

       Fun with keywords

So I was just checking my server referrer logs and came across a couple of funny keyword searches which led people to our blog:
  • cake justice league - I don't get it, do they mean the musical band or the dessert product?
  • sense of right alliance -not familiar with that, but have you read that sweet new superhero comic Premonition of Righteousness Confederation?
  • comfest - well, sure. After all, this was the weekend for our big outdoor festival.
  • comfest boobs - to be expected.
  • comfest boob pictures - oh, you don't want to read about the boobs, you want to see actual pictures?

And my favorite:
  • playboy ferret faucet - see kids, spelling does matter

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Sunday, June 28, 2009
  Posted by Tom on 6/28/2009 11:18:00 PM :

       That's a wrap!

Over the course of the weekend, I've been taking pics of the show. Life's not work safe so you'll probably want to view this one at home, to be on the safe side. (Comfest comes with a PG-13 rating) Fun times. Exhausting. Hot. There were snakes and a certain funk in the air.

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  Posted by Dara on 6/28/2009 09:50:00 AM :

       Comfest Body Painting

Here's Tom at Comfest yesterday, with his first body painting customer. Although the young lady was quite lovely and more than happy to pose for a photo with the artist, in deference to her privacy I'm not going to post her face all over the Internets.

(Warning: partial nudity, for those of you who are offended by the sight of boobs...)

But since she was sharing her boobs with the whole Comfest crowd, I think it's ok to post the rest of the picture. Right?

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  Posted by Dara on 6/28/2009 09:37:00 AM :

       Weekend Versus

To make up for last weekend's by week, here's another two-fer. This weekend's theme: bad 90s parody comics: Loco vs. Pulverene and Wolverbroad vs. Hobo.

One parodies Lobo and Wolverine, and the other parodies Lobo and Wolverine and the whole 90s "bad girl" craze. Who wins? U Decide!


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Friday, June 26, 2009
  Posted by Dara on 6/26/2009 08:13:00 AM :


Comfest starts today and runs through the weekend. Once again, Ferret Press and the PANEL gang will have a booth. Come and visit us and enjoy music over the 3 days from 200 bands!

And it's all free!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009
  Posted by Tom on 6/23/2009 07:08:00 PM :

       *I thought this is why we voted a Democrat in... guess not.

Part of Ohio Governor Strictland's cuts in the budget is a 50% cut to Ohio libraries. The Columbus Metro system has been dealing with a 20% cut so this would be devastating. This will aggrevate the recovery in progress. Library foot traffic is at an all time high with the economy. People are coming in looking for escape or to job hunt. Surely this will close branches, cut staff, hinder their buying new material, and cut services. For one thing, you can kiss the free internet service good bye at branches.

The Library has set up a modifiable form to fill out and send to your representative or you can call the Governor's office line at 614-466-3555. The window to act is small. Voting to pass this cut is on the 30th. Personally I don't get the obvious disconnect with Strictland. Libraries and education go hand in hand so why cut this service? I wouldn't mind a bump in my state income tax, if it means keeping the libraries funded.

*While Strictland was a better choice than the one we had at the time. I'm open to a third party candidate in the next cycle. This pretty much clinched it for me. Yes he'll take some heat with bumping up taxes but you can't run a state on fumes. Or maybe you could if you legalized and taxed the crap out of pot.

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  Posted by Tony on 6/23/2009 09:07:00 AM :

       It's the Goddam Spirit

In other comics-to-film items ... here's the Onion AV Club's account of the DVD commentary to The Spirit.

I haven't seen the commentary myself, but this bit seems to encapsulate the experience:

Weirdly, they proudly point out several touches taken directly from Will Eisner’s original Spirit comics—always ridiculously minor things, like The Spirit tripping at one point, or Commissioner Dolan having a pipe, or the precise construction of a sewer grate—as if those things compensated for the fact that the film otherwise in no way resembles Eisner’s work.

In fairness, that was one heck of a sewer grate.


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Monday, June 22, 2009
  Posted by Tony on 6/22/2009 01:54:00 PM :

       Lights ... camera ... snikt!

So, we haven't talked about "X-Men colon Origins colon Wolverine," have we?

I saw it a few months ago with Tommy Ray, and I gotta say ... it was fine. I enjoyed myself, didn't look at my watch too much, laughed a couple of time ... fine.

It survives mostly on Hugh Jackman's charisma. Somehow, you root for the guy -- but you still enjoy seeing him get beat up. Wolverine is a combination between a tough guy and someone you could hang out with, and Jackman embodies that. That guy does exasperation better than anyone in the business.

I'm told that you'll enjoy this movie a lot less if you're a longtime Wolverine fan, or someone who cares about his life more than I do. The movie is basically a Reader's Digest abridged version of the last 30 years of continuity. If you wanted to see something really new -- or if you wanted something even more familiar -- you're probably out of luck.

Another problem is that certain things that look badass on the comic page look a little silly on the big screen. When you're reading a comic, you mentally fill in some of the badassedness. One of those things, unfortunately, is the line "I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do isn't nice."

Here are three other things you could complain about, if you were so inclined:

1. Wolverine doesn't need an origin. He works better as a tough guy with a mysterious past.
2. Too many last-minute twists.
3. We never see Wolverine being "the best there is." He basically follows Sabretooth around and looks vaguely disapproving. Likewise, we never see the berserker rage.
4. Gambit doesn't bother me personally. But if you need Will.I.Am to tell you he's cool, he's probably less cool than you thought.
5. Will.I.Am.


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Sunday, June 21, 2009
  Posted by Dara on 6/21/2009 10:11:00 PM :

       More protests, more government clampdown

Glued to the TV most of the weekend. Like everyone else, I fear things will get worse before they get better (if they ever do). The only thing I know for certain is that Iran won't go back to how it's been for the past 30 years. Change will come. Maybe not this week or this month or this year, then sooner than the mullah's would like.

"Les despotes eux-mêmes ne nient pas que la liberté ne soit excellente; seulement ils ne la veulent que pour eux-mêmes, et ils soutiennent que tous les autres en sont tout à fait indignes." --Alexis de Tocqueville, L'Ancien régime et la révolution

("Despots themselves don't deny that freedom is a wonderful thing, they only want to limit it to themselves; they argue that everyone else is unworthy of it.")


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Friday, June 19, 2009
  Posted by Craig on 6/19/2009 01:38:00 AM :

       I know I said I wouldn't do this, but...

EDIT: after re-reading the comments critiquing the Toddler's cover below, I finally remembered someone else had taken the same idea and done it correctly a couple years later:

Here's the most bestest Marvel Comics cover EVER, as voted by people who enjoy comics that suck:


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  Posted by Craig on 6/17/2009 12:39:00 AM :

       Way Back Machine

Tony has his Geo-Force, but I've got Machine Man...

There are great cosmic mysteries that baffle our minds, from the secrets of Stonehenge to male nipples, but none are so puzzling as the D-list status of Aaron Stack, aka X-51, aka Machine Man. Birthed in a premise taken from a Clarke & Kubrick movie masterpiece, translated onto the page and injected into the regular Marvel universe by Jack Kirby, picked up by Steve Ditko before being passed on to the hands of Barry Windsor-Smith; in terms of pedigree alone, Machine Man has enough going for him to make him ten times as popular as Wolverine, yet somehow he has been relegated to the sidelines, a blip on the radar less impressive than a third string Defender. In an ordered, sane universe, the character would occupy the center of our cultural consciousness. Instead, he has as much credibility as a prototype Inspector Gadget. Go figure.

2001: A Space Odyssey #8

It's a new Friday the 13th, only instead of the Knights Templar being put to the sword by the Vatican, it has been decreed that the new X-series robot, built for deep space exploration, must be destroyed en masse by the U.S. military. Like their predecessor the HAL 9000, these mechanical men have developed a rudimentary sentience, which leads to psychosis brought on by existential angst. The first fifty robots perish when their self-destruct mechanisms are triggered, but X-51 has bigger things in store for him.

Brought into the home of Abel Stack, one of the X-project's chief scientists, the robot has been named Aaron and "raised" as a human being, even coming to address his creator as "Dad." This foster father removes X-51's self destruct device when he hears of the order and sends his robot progeny away, sacrificing himself in the detonation of the bomb without Aaron being aware of his fate. The military hunts the fugitive robot down when he is spotted flying over an unnamed city (he flies by "cancelling the gravity equation"-- flight powered by math!) and he is quickly recaptured.

Mister Machine, as he will come to be called in another issue or two (the name Machine Man following a couple issues after that), is stripped of his human face and brought to a military lab where (in accordance with science fiction plot #317) his human tormentors are revealed to harbor less actual humanity than their inhuman captive. As X-51 gives voice to his tormented soul, a mysterious black monolith appears before him as it has during numerous pivotal points in human evolution. Breaking free of his bonds, he approaches it-- running straight into this issue's cliffhanger.

Kirby explored the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the character through a few issues of 2001 and then into Machine Man's own title. Marv Wolfman and Steve Ditko followed him, putting the character into more conventional superhero settings, and a couple years later Barry Smith (aided by Herb Trimpe!) moved the character back into a beautifully illustrated Blade Runner-esque future dystopia. Despite all of this, the character never set the world on fire and is not the subject of a summer movie starring Hugh Jackman, a fact which underscores what a horribly flawed universe we inhabit.


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
  Posted by Tony on 6/16/2009 09:02:00 PM :

       Star Trek -- Am I Still Canon?

Star Trek is one of the reasons I'm here -- but now all that's in doubt.

Follow me for a minute.

This is Lt. Uhura, who was played by Nichelle Nichols in the original series.

Here's me and my friend TJ meeting her at a convention, sometime in the 1980s.

Nichelle Nichols was part of TV's first interracial kiss, with her and William Shatner. That happened in "Plato's Stepchildren," originally broadcast Nov. 22, 1968. That's this here:

My mom was a big fan of the original show. Then, in 1975, she married a black dude. A year later, I was born. So I owe my very existence to Star Trek.


The new movie establishes an alternate timeline for Star Trek ... one in which certain events from the original series may not have happened. So ... did the kiss still happen?

Am I still in canon?

Will I cease to exist?

Animated Kirk says it makes his head hurt.


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Sunday, June 14, 2009
  Posted by Dara on 6/14/2009 09:28:00 PM :

       Iran so far

In honor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "victory" in the recent "election", here's a long distance dedication from SNL:


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  Posted by Dara on 6/14/2009 06:18:00 PM :

       Weekend Versus

This weekend, I'm going all meta on your asses. I'll let the comic title speak for itself:

Take that, Grant Morrison!


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  Posted by Dara on 6/14/2009 08:57:00 AM :

       Art of rock posters

So I was at the library the other day, helping Hanna to find some books on tree house and playhouse design, when I just happened to see the book Art of Modern Rock: Mini # 1 A-Z, by Dennis King. I picked it up, along with a book on skateboard art and logo design, and it's been a fun, relaxing time flipping through each and enjoying the eye candy. And while the King book is by no means a definitive collection or piece of historical work (by his own admittance, it's designed as a gateway to his more expensive tome Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion), it did entertain and led me in turn to his website. He owns D. King Gallery in Berkeley, California, where the focus is on "posters, screen prints, and non-print works by poster artists".

I suppose it's my comic book pedigree, but I found myself attracted most to the posters featuring a clean line illustration style. You know, folks like Coop:

and R.Black:

Now admittedly, both of them rely on a very limited set of subjects and compositions, but they do that whole good girl/devil girl genre so well.

A new discovery for me was Scrojo, who has a much broader range and serious design chops:

I especially dig that Chrissie Hynde image.

Here are a few other works I liked, from artists with a wide body of work:


Todd Slater:


And while not a huge Derek Hess fan (I know, I know, blasphemy!) I did like a few of his posters:

And finally, I'd like to give a shout out to a couple of local and regional guys who, while not world famous yet, are well on their way:

Cleveland indie/punk zine king and friend of the ferret, John G:

And Columbus boy Clint Reno:

So who are some of your favorite rock poster artists?


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Saturday, June 13, 2009
  Posted by Dara on 6/13/2009 06:24:00 PM :

       A sad day for Iran

“It was just a movie,” said Hussein Gharibi, a 54-year-old juice vendor, scoffing at those who got their hopes up. “They were all just players in a movie.”

Incumbent hardliner president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has "won" re-election with a supposed 62% of the popular vote.

What a sham.


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Saturday, June 06, 2009
  Posted by Dara on 6/06/2009 04:43:00 PM :

       Weekend Versus

Sorry for the skip week last weekend. But we're back with another episode of Weekend Versus, and to make up for the oversight, we're presenting a double dose of Dracula.

First up: X-Men vs. Dracula.

While the cover may be from fellow Columbusite Chris Sprouse, the book is actually a reprint of the 1982 X-Men Annual #6. According to the Grand Comics Database, the plot is as follows: "Dracula demands Storm's aid in obtaining the Darkhold so no one else will have the power to banish him, but a dark and sinister Kitty intervenes."

Next, Marvel dishes it out with Spider-man vs. Dracula

The Joe Madureira cover may be new, but the book is yet another reprint, this time of 1974's Giant-Size Spider-Man #1, plus additional stories from Astonishing and Uncanny Tales.


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Friday, June 05, 2009
  Posted by Tom on 6/05/2009 07:29:00 PM :

       SPACE transmission

UVN: Behind the Counter has posted up a few interviews from the SPACE show from a couple of months ago. They've shot an exhaustive amount of footage the entire weekend. Embedded above is the interview with me. Turned out good.

I've been working on retooling the SPACE website with Bob. We're close to rolling it out. There's still some bugs to nail down but it's coming along nicely. I'm finding my kung-fu in CSS and PHP coding to be weak to non-existant. It's a challenge. A preview of it is up on my site for now. Ideally I wanted to have up a blog on the front page. Work in progress. Lot of place holders for now. The middle column is where the posting is supposed to happen.


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Thursday, June 04, 2009
  Posted by Tony on 6/04/2009 02:30:00 PM :

       I call dibs on this one

"In a surprisingly under-reported story from 2007, Mark Holley, a professor of underwater archaeology at Northwestern Michigan University College, discovered a series of stones – some of them arranged in a circle and one of which seemed to show carvings of a mastodon – 40-feet beneath the surface waters of Lake Michigan."

Click here for more

I call dibs on using this in a story.

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  Posted by Tony on 6/04/2009 02:23:00 PM :

       Dios Mio! El Diablo Rojo

Inside Science is reporting that massive, killer red Mexican squid are moving up the American coast.

Although they normally stay in Mexican waters, scientists are finding fish and dolphins scarred by their attacks as far as Alaska. They speculate global warming is extending their traditional range up into American waters. Others suspect overconsumption of fish that prey on the squid is to blame.

"When you bring one up on deck, it looks like an alien ... their suckers have little barbules that scratch you, like pulling out of a berry patch," says Tom Mattusch, a fisherman from Northern California who calls the animal by its common name, the flying jumbo squid.

In Mexico, they're known as "El Diablo Rojo," or the "Red Devil."

(I nearly threw a cthulu spin on this item, but decided against it)

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009
  Posted by Craig on 6/03/2009 10:57:00 PM :

       Another Marvel top 100

Marvel's list of the top 100 cover from their 70-year history has so far surprised me; while there are far too many images from recent years to be believed, there actually is a good variety of older covers represented. I'm puzzled as to how the voting could vary so much between the two polls, but not so much I'm losing sleep over it... Though I will say that #64 left me shaking my head.

Sadly, I expect my own favorite cover won't even have been considered because of its nature as a licensed property. Check it out:

A martial arts master and a big breasted woman on skull island fighting a couple giant cyclops'. If she turns out to be a mutant, we'll have checked all the boxes.

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  Posted by Dara on 6/03/2009 09:55:00 PM :


With the impending speech by President Obama addressing the "Muslim World", I thought it was a good time to address this ugly rumor once and for all:



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  Posted by Dara on 6/03/2009 09:35:00 PM :

       Hipster Bingo

Please to be enjoying Hipster Bingo:

Perfect for the next time you're at Gallery Hop, and art opening, a funky downtown bistro, or anywhere in the Short North.

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Monday, June 01, 2009
  Posted by Craig on 6/01/2009 08:29:00 AM :

       I was so wrong, again.

An entry for the Joker on some web sites "Top 100 villains ever" list identifies "Batman: R.I.P." as one of the "greatest Batman stories ever created".


Once again, I stand corrected regarding my views of the powerful, instant classics that are being published today. Why didn't you guys tell me?

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