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1. James Bond’s worst enemy arrives in the first Spectre teaser trailer

spectre poster

Even though filming seemingly just began about a month and a half ago, MGM and Sony have started to rev up the marketing machine for Spectre full blast.

Here’s the first teaser which gives us just enough to get rather excited about, including the debut of Christoph Waltz‘s shadowy villain(?), who is maybe Blofeld?

One thing that’s clear, much like Quantum of Solace was for Casino Royale, with Spectre we’ll be getting another direct sequel, this time to the billion dollar grossing Skyfall. I’m holding out hope that it lives up to its predecessor’s legacy (unlike QoS).

Spectre arrives on November 6th, here’s the official synopsis:

A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

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2. Review: The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1 Is a metatextual masterpiece

2015-03-25-multiversityultracomics

 Writer:
Grant Morrison
Penciller:
Doug Mahnke 
Inkers: 
Christian Alamy
Mark Irwin
Keith Champagne
Jaime Mendoza 
Colorists:
Gabe Eltaeb
David Baron

Comics aren’t meant to make readers feel guilty, but The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1 paints the fan as the individual leading the protagonist to his ultimate fate. This is it – the haunted story teased since the first installment of Author Grant Morrison’s magnum Multiversity opus. The Multiversity as it stands is my favorite ongoing series from superhero publisher DC, it’s something that’s hard to believe anyone at the Big Two could even think about publishing. Morrison has been circling a sphere of comics self awareness with titles like Animal Man for several years now, and this feels like the natural progression of all those titles. Even though the writer continues to discover new things about self reflexive superheroes, he never feels like he’s repeating himself in this work. The ideas of the Psycho Pirate and Animal Man being erased from continuity is far different from than the mechanically engineered Ultra Comics presented in this work.

Standing on it’s own merits devoid of what came before with the series, is this book good?

Yes. The story can simply be read without that context via the playful opening from Morrison and the exceptional Doug Mahnke (who’s pencils have been sorely absent from Green Lantern.) Nearly every idea within this saga is a reintroduced story beat hatched from the DC vault. Still, this hero (Ultra Comics) emerged from pretty obscure roots and builds on nearly everything that Morrison has done with the DC Universe. There is even a reference to Final Crisis directly in this title showing that Morrison takes this absurdist pillar of the DC landscape that he has built extremely seriously.

The first thing that catches my eye about The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1 is the Doug Mahnke cover. The piece is elegantly designed yet filled with utter madness reflecting some of the best covers from tales long ago. The text reading “YOU MUST NOT READ THIS COMIC,” should be the first clue that this is one of the most subversive and enthralling DC books you’re going to find this side of Convergence. What follows this is stirring image complete with a warning from Ultra Comics (our protagonist) to not finish this issue for the sake of his own very life. The storytelling stakes are set in this issue, and if we the reader choose to continue reading we’re to believe that the very fate of Ultra Comics has been decided. That’s a lot to take in over the span of just one story, and my own personal guilt regarding what happens next led is my own fault.

The first issue of The Multiversity arguably mixed the most concepts and characters and introduced us to the primary threat featured in this story – it’s essential reading to anyone left scratching their heads with this issue. This can be read stand alone as mentioned earlier, but to enjoy this text to the fullest a background in Morrison DC’s work is ideal. Ultra Comics is a book was first introduced via the live dissection from a Monitor within that issue. As a result, don’t expect this comic to be an easy read without the context of the broader series. It’s tempting to say that the threat of this book will be capitalized on as the baddie for the full Multiversity event, but Morrison has trained readers not to look at his work with such a clear lens. The Gentry are not everything that caused the bleakness in Multiversity – as the Multiversity Guidebook clearly articulated.

Mahnke’s storytelling skills haven’t missed a beat. The artist perfectly captures the detailed linework and impossibly huge facial expressions that make this work something truly special. His haunting images are best utilized in the context of horror, which this series arguably falls under. The villains contained within this story are terrifying, silly, and then maddening all in the context of one issue. Mahnke is called upon to be a really versatile artist in this experience, and does a great job on the static rendition of Ultra Comics nobly glimpsing at the reader. Also called upon are several other small flashes of violence with an exploration into the brutality buried deep within superheroes. Christian Alamy, Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne, and Jamie Mendoza bring this issue to a total of four inkers in this oversized. There are the occasional moments of inconsistency here, but overall this is some admirable work from the four mostly blending into each other and not detracting from the reader experience too much. The important part of the art in this issue is that Mahnke was allowed to draw a riveting horror comic.

There are so many different ideas crammed into this one piece of writing. The self reflexive asides kept the plot from becoming too complicated or too pedestrian. The buffer of Ultra Comics explaining his bizarre inner thoughts to the reader perfectly bring casual fans into the strange world of the title. There are so many different ways in which the story engages with readers, whether it be through Ultra Comics speech patterns, inner thoughts, dialogue trees, word balloons, and even meta-commentary within the context of the work itself.

To say much more about this story would spoil the delightful surprises waiting inside for readers to engage with. The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1 is the only comic that ever melted off my face and left me in charge of the fate of my new favorite superhero.

I’m sorry Ultra Comics.

3 Comments on Review: The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1 Is a metatextual masterpiece, last added: 3/28/2015
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3. Rio Rancho school library review committe rules to keep Palomar on the shelves

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Gilbert Hernandez’s Palomar—a masterpiece of small town life, longing and the search for love—survived a challenge and will remain on the shelves at the school library in Rio Rancho, NM Betsy Gomez reports for the CBLDF.

The book was challenged a few weeks ago as “child porn” by a parent in a highly slanted scare TV report. A review committee has decided that the book can stay:

The Rio Rancho review committee agreed. By a 5-3 vote, the committee voted on March 16 to retain the book.

“We commend the Rio Rancho Public Schools for adhering to its challenge policy, and are pleased with the result that the review committee has retained this important book for the benefit of its student community,” says Charles Brownstein, Executive Director of KRRP sponsor organization Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

As NCAC’s original letter stated, a decision to keep Palomar would “demonstrate respect for your readers and their choices, for the professionalism of the librarians who serve the reading public, and for the First Amendment and its importance to a pluralistic, democratic society.”


5-3 is a little close, but the literary merit of Hernandez’s work is universally acknowledged and it’s a relief to see that the obvious scare quotes of the first TV report were not persuasive.

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4. Interview: We talk Europen graphic novels with Titan’s new editor Lizzie Kaye

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Last week Titan Comics announced it had hired Lizzie Kaye,  formerly of SelfMadeHero, to the position of editor for their European graphic novel line. We talked with Kaye within a week of her jumping on-board the Titan Comics team about her new gig and Titan’s expansion into the bande dessinée market.

Edie Nugent: Congrats on your new position as editor for Titan’s European graphic novel line. How does it feel to step into those shoes after many years with indie publisher SelfMadeHero?

Lizzie Kaye: Thanks, it’s wonderful to have joined Titan, it’s a company that’s doing really interesting things and moving in a great direction. Obviously, it’s a bit of a change from SelfMadeHero, in terms of the kinds of books each company puts out, but I’m excited by so many of the titles we have coming up and can’t wait to see other people getting excited by them too!

Nugent: You have a background in literature. How you feel you’ll be able to draw on that knowledge in bringing bande dessinée to Titan readers?

Kaye: I think it’s most useful in that studying literature results in you being well-read, which leads to a good understanding of pacing, character, and plot.

This is something that the European market deals with differently than the US/UK market, as the standard length of an album is normally 48 pages. When they have the luxury of that page count, creators can take their time building characters and revealing the plot at a slightly slower pace.  A lot of, though by no means all, BD series are designed from the outset to be at least three volumes, so you could almost consider them as neat, three-act plays.

It also helps in that the European market operates within a slightly different outlook, and BD are often filled with literary references, even if the subject matter itself may not explicitly be so. For example, the series The Chronicles of Legion, the first three volumes of which are out now, with the fourth coming soon, is ostensibly a vampire story. But it’s also more than that. It draws heavily on the origins of gothic literature (before vampires could sparkle!) as well as using devices traditionally found in that literature, such as a story within a story and a layering of narratives. Form my perspective, a literary background helps in that I can see the references, and therefore am able to judge the tone and direction of the story, and consider how that may translate to a market less familiar with seeing those devices used in a sequential art format.

Nugent: Three-act play, it sounds almost like a more Manga way of telling a story. Do you think the BD market exists in that place between monthly single-issue sequential storytelling and the more fast-paced, multi-volume format of Manga?

Kaye: That is one way of looking at it. BD readers can sometimes have to wait a long time for the next volume of a series they are following. It’s important from the outset that the narrative is tightly constructed, and that the characters are memorable, in order to retain the reader. I don’t necessarily think it exists in a place between monthly single-issue releases and manga, more that it uses the medium of sequential art for a different kind of story-telling that is less episodic in nature.

Having said all that, there are of course a number of series that go into much longer runs, Samurai, the first four volumes of which will be released by Titan as an omnibus later in the year, being one of them.

Nugent: Titan has released BD’s of Snowpiercer, which was a French graphic novel-turned-movie starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, Elric, which is based on Michael Moorcock stories, and now Void. How does Titan decide which BD’s to put on the publishing slate? 

Kaye: A lot of factors come into play when we’re choosing which titles to put out. There are certain books that we’d love to see in the English speaking market that we specifically seek out based on our own love of the stories or creators, such as the upcoming Lone Sloane series by Philippe Druillet, and my own personal favourite, The Nikopol Trilogy by Enki Bilal.

For others with creators that might not have had as much exposure in the English speaking market, we take a lot of time to consider the artwork, the story, the length of the series, and how we feel readers might react to it. There are a lot of incredible BD series out there, luckily, so we have a rich seam to mine, and we want readers to really love what we offer them.

Nugent: What series would you recommend to readers just starting to explore what BD’s have to offer?

Kaye: That’s a tough one, as there are so many great stories out there! It depends on each reader’s specific interests, and that’s the beauty of the BD market, it caters for all readers.

I think Elric is a great starting point, because it is so incredibly beautiful, each page is a joy to look at. It’s a good introduction to the more European artwork style, which tends to be a little looser and fluid with a more painterly aesthetic. Titan also has a wonderful new series coming out now called Masked, which is a European take on the Superhero genre, and would be a great entry point, too, and the artwork in that would probably be a little more familiar.

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5. Ryan Reynolds pulls a Burt Reynolds in the first official image for Deadpool

deadpool

In an image posted today on his Twitter account, Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds is all suited up to reprise his old role of Wade Wilson.

This is definitely a far cry from the days of the “sewn-up mouth” Deadpool that appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I think it’s pretty safe to assume they won’t even acknowledge that such a thing even happened, unless it’s in a fun fourth-wall breaking way.

This Deadpool basically looks like the costume as it appeared in the all-CGI proof of concept footage that leaked out last Summer, and received such a rapturous reception that this retooled take on the character got a green light right away.

Here’s the official synopsis of the film, directed by Tim Miller, which releases on February 12, 2016:

Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

 

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6. Interview: Balak, Bastien Vivès, and Michaël Sanlaville bring the award-winning Last Man to the states

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A collaboration of French stars from three different mediums, Last Man brings together the gifted animator Balak, Bastien Vivès, the much heralded comics creator, and Michaël Sanlaville, a rising talent in game design, for a manga influenced, tournament-based martial arts adventure that’s been all the rage in their native country.

The planned 12 volume series, 6 of which have been published, was recently awarded the Prix de la Serie at Angoulême this year, highlighting the popular and critical acclaim of the series overseas. Last Man centers on Adrian Velba, a 12 year old boy enrolled in Battle School whose highest ambition is to participate in the annual tournament sponsored by the King and Queen. After the sudden departure of his required partner, Adrian faces having to wait another year to compete, until a mysterious loner named Richard Aldana, who is also in need of a partner, crosses his path. This unlikely pair, and how they turn the tournament and city on its ear, makes up much of the excellent first volume, entitled “The Stranger”, which sees English-language publication from First Second on March 31st.

I was fortunate enough to chat with these three creators in the lead-up to its release in the U.S.:

balak 2

L to R: Sanlaville, Balak, Vivès

You began working on Last Man in 2013, what was the origin of the project and how was the creative nucleus of this ensemble formed?

Balak: Bastien and I have known each other for 12 years. We hung out at the same message board, catsuka.com<http://catsuka.com/>, chatting about comics, Japanese animation and well-endowed women, the usual geeky stuff. Then we went to the same animation school in Paris, Gobelins, where we met Michael. Bastien and Mic got along well and quit the school to make comics. Years later, Bastien told me he’d like to make a comic book with eveything we like in it: cool one-liners, great adventure with a manga-ish epic feel, larger than life characters and larger than life natural breasts. In short: The very reason Art exists. The catch is that we wanted to do it the manga-way: to draw 20 pages a week and publish 3 books a year. So we had to be a three-person team, well organized, and say goodbye to any social life for a few years. It seemed like a cool project, so  here we are.

While reading the first volume, I was reminded of my time perusing some of my favorite mangas, including that of the shounen variety, was that an influence…or more specifically, was there a particular type of action-based storytelling that informed this series?


Balak: Yes, that was the reason Bastien asked me and Mic to join in the first place. He knows we’re avid manga readers since forever. Basically, we wanted to have this very calibrated shounen feel that we love in the first books, and put our little twist on it: What if John McClane was thrown into a Dragon Ball tournament? We mixed the two things we loved: manga and US action movies we watched as kids. This stuff made us who we are today, for better and worse. Last Man is the result of this.

Last Man looks to have a fairly wide audience appeal, particularly in terms of age, what is it about tournament stories that seem the draw the younger audience?


LASTMAN-sampler-1lowBalak: Even the worst Hollywood script doctor would tell you that story is about conflict. A tournament is the core of the most basic, comprehensive storytelling. You’ve got a hero you’re rooting for: he wants to win the cup, and everyone wants the same thing as well. The premise is simple, almost visceral. That’s why manga of this type are popular, they manage to convey each characters burning will to win and emotions; each battle is a story in itself. But when we say it’s simple, it doesn’t mean “simplistic.” Keeping things simple is hard, there is an unnoticeable elegance to it that is very difficult to achieve.

Were there any story elements in particular that you implemented or had to adjust in order to attract younger readers?


Balak: Not at all, we just did things as we pleased. The only thing we naturally refrained was sex. It can be sexy, but you don’t have anything too graphic.

Describe a typical day in the creative process for the series, were you all huddled in a room together planning out the beats of the story or was it more segmented?


Balak: “A quiet mayhem” is the best expression that could sum up our typical day and creative process. We don’t write much like a regular script. Bastien puts down his ideas on 10 or 15 pages for the book to come. Mic and I read it, then we discuss it, have several meetings, decide what is changing, what would be better. I take quick notes on a paper towel and I directly draw the 20 first pages of storyboard, come up with dialogues ideas, new situations. Each Monday, we discuss what the next 20 pages will be about, while Bastien and Mic draw the previous pages, 10 each. It’s not very kosher, and it’s quite exhausting, but it’s what keeps our ideas fresh and our motivation going. If we had the classic “here is the script, then we do the whole storyboard, then we can draw the whole thing,” it wouldn’t work for us. With our method, it feels very organic, we are constantly reacting on each others pages, at any time.

There’s a fascinating sense of culture combination in this first volume, with a setting that resembles pre-Revolutionary era France but with Eastern traditions sprinkled throughout. What is it that makes these two very different cultures mesh so well together?


Balak: To be honest, we didn’t put a lot of thoughts into this culture mix. We just drew what seemed right to us, the French medieval thing is a part of our culture, we just put a martial art in it not thinking twice if it would match or not… It seemed obvious to us!

Bastien, you’ve had a few of your comics translated into English into the past, how has the LASTMAN-sampler-2lowtranslation process for Last Man compared? Has it been relatively smooth overall or have any pieces of dialogue had to be changed outright?


Bastien: My English is not very good, so I can’t really tell!!!  But I think First Seconds did a good job!
Balak: The translation is very good, some cultural, typical French things are well adapted to an English audience. The main difference is that the French version is filled with cursing and very bad language that the English version is toned down a little . . . Aldana is even more rude in French!

For Balak and Michael, was the transition into comics a difficult one from the work you’re used to, or is there a natural handover from gaming and animation into sequential art?


Balak: I always wanted to draw comics. That’s the very first thing I wanted to do as a kid, so it’s not an issue at all. Sometime I’m a little frustrated by the page constraint, the fact that you can’t surprise the reader anytime you want, you have to take care of the double spread, keep your surprises for the first panel of the left page. . . . But it’s fun. I tried to get rid of this by creating something called Turbomedia, a way to make digital comics. You can see how it works by looking up Marvel’s Infinite Comics line, I’ve worked with them on this. Or even better, check the great Mark Waid’s Insufferable, at Thrillbent.com.  It’s cool. (Yes, that was a shameless plug.)

Do you see Richard Aldana as a character to be admired or one to be pitied? Is it somewhere in the middle?


Balak: You pinpointed Richard. He’s right in the middle. He’s a badass, he’s looking cool and cracking jokes, but you wouldn’t want his life. But don’t try to show him pity, he would punch you in the face. Or walk away with a burning one-liner that would hurt you even more. Or both at the same time, if you’re not lucky.

Will Richard’s background play a bigger part going forward in the next chapters being released this year?


Balak: Yes, a big, BIG part. We’re even making a whole animated TV show about Richard’s past. It will be out in 2016 in France. It will be dark, violent and funny.

When you’re writing the dialogue of a child Adrian’s age, how difficult is it to find a right tone of voice that sounds natural?


LASTMAN-sampler-3lowBalak: Adrian’s way of talking is mostly Bastien’s. He’s kept is inner ten year-old child very close. It seems very easy for him. When I’m writing Adrian’s dialogues, it almost always sounds wrong.

Last Man was incredibly well received in your home country, to the point that it won the Prix de la Serie at Angoulême. What was the first thing that went through each of your minds winning such a prestigious honor?


Balak: I should’ve dressed better for this.
Bastien: It’s very good to feel supported in your country.
Balak: (Bastien tries to look tough and all, but he cried on stage. Really.)
Mic: It happened quite fast, I think I haven’t realized yet what it means. . . . To me, this prize goes out to all the great Japanese manga artists that inspired me to draw, and are still unknown to the wide audience for the most part. . . . But things are changing, so that’s good.



At what point was First Second the natural choice to bring Last Man to the states?


Balak: Mark Siegel gets the book totally, it seems that everybody there genuinely loves what they are publishing. We’re proud to be  surrounded by all these other great books.

Beyond the translation of Books 2 and 3 this year, what’s next for the series? I understand there are other media plans. How is that process coming along? Is it possible I’ll be playing as Richard Aldana in a video game soon?


Balak: Hopefully, it should happen this very year! We’re producing our own video game, called Last Fight. It’s kind of like Power Stone, you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLFxFKmqYDs If everything goes smoothly, it will be released in September. And as I’ve said previously, the animated TV show about Richard’s past is scheduled to next year. On each project, we have a very close look on the whole creative process.

What can/should your American readers look out for in Books 2 and 3? Any major surprises you can tease?


Balak: I can guarantee you some surprises . . . I can only say that you won’t stay into King’s Valley too long.

You can pick up Last Man Vol 1: The Stranger this coming Tuesday, March 31st from First Second at a book retailer near you.

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7. Two Nerdlebrity duos launch competing crowdfunded comic-con TV shows

Seems like everyone had the same great idea at the same time: with comic-cons proliferating, and nerdlebrities making a circuit out of it, wouldn’t this be fine fodder for a realityish TV show/webisode of some kind? And wouldn’t actors who had starred in TV shows that had insanely fanatic fanbases but who didn’t get much airtime outside of that be the perfect  people to do it?

It seems both Firefly’s Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion and Supernatural’s Rob Benedict and Richard Speight, Jr had the same idea. And both have turned to Indiegogo to bring these ideas to fruition.

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The Tudyk/Fillion effort launched first. It’s called Con Man and it’s already a go, with $2,386,241 raised, a bit more than the $425,000 they were going for. This is a scripted adventure about nerdlebrities who go to cons starring…nerdlebrities who go to cons.

Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk-Me!) was a co-star on Spectrum, a sci-fi series which was canceled -Too Soon- yet became a cult classic. Wray’s good friend, Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) starred in the series and has gone on to become a major movie star. While Jack enjoys the life of an A-lister, Wray tours the sci-fi circuit as a guest of conventions, comic book stores, and lots of pop culture events.  The show will feature all the weird and crazy things that happen to Wray along the way to these events.

Galaxy Quest without the galaxy, then. Okay maybe a little Galaxy.

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In an interview with EW, the pair expanded on the idea::

Fillion and Tudyk are hoping to raise $425,000 to finance the show’s first three 10 minute-long episodes. But Tudyk says that he has written 10 scripts in all so far and that at least one later show will indeed see both actors back on a spaceship. “There’s a lost episode of Spectrum that gets released within the show,” he says. “That’s done in a funny way—but there are actual scenes of me flying a spaceship and Nathan captaining.”

Guest stars will include more Firefly alumni, Sean Maher and Gina Torres, and othr nerdlebirty royalty including Amy Acker , Seth Green, Felicia Day, and director James Gunn. Easy to see why this has raised so much money. The initial budget was for three 10-minute shorts, but I guess there will be more than that.

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Meanwhile, the Supernatural effort is more of a “reality-based” show set within the world of Supernatural fandom. It too was once called “Con Man” but now it’s called Kings of Con and here’s the pitch:

$100,000 will cover production costs for the first three to five episodes, and Benedict says 10 have already been “roughly written and mapped out,” with a 10-minute teaser/pilot previously filmed. According to Benedict, “Our idea is that every episode will be a new city that we’re in — or rather, the suburb outside of that city where our hotel is! We’ve shot in our actual conventions too, so you’ll get a POV of the view from the stage during karaoke, and a bird’s-eye view of the merchandise room, the lines, the crowds, the energy… in a utopian world, we want to continue to capture all that in each episode.”

 

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This effort has already raised $57,000 of the $100,000 requested..in fact it raised about $7k while I was writing this post, so I think this will hit its target as well. It only launched yesterday and they are aware of the rival show:

While Benedict and Speight acknowledge that the concept sounds similar to another crowdfunded comedy series inspired by two genre actors’ convention experiences (Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion’s “Con Man”), their series has been in development for over a year, and is wholly inspired by their “real life exploits within this ‘Supernatural’ convention world — with our own creative, fictional spin,” Benedict tells Variety. “While it is nowhere near reality TV, it will be shot naturalistic and play on our relationship with each other and others through scripted and semi-scripted dialogue. Rich and I have developed quite a rapport over these few years, and quite a unique, combustable and comical relationship. We’ve been to the front lines, so to speak, and have been in the thick of it, all around the world, together. Really, this show is about Rob and Rich, and the conventions will serve as a unique backdrop for that quirky relationship.”

These are not the first efforts in the “nerdlebrity goes to a con” genre. The trailblazer in this regard is Mark Hamill’s Comic Book: The Movie in which he portrays Donald Swan, a documentary filmmaker who goes to Comic-Con and meets a lot of weird people. Made in 2004, this features the state of the art autograph circuit of the day, such as Stan Lee, Chase Masterson, Bruce Campbell and Kevin Smith in cameos.

Then there was Morgan Spurlock’s Comic-Con IV: A Fan’s Hope, the 2012 actual documentary about people who go to Comic-Con. Actually, I think Bruce Campbell also made a short film about fans and fandom, but no one has ever seen it.

Huh well whaddaya know.

I have my own idea for a movie set at a comic-con, but it’s so explosive that I can’t even talk about it here. I’ll just give you the elevator pitch: Clue + Comic-Con. Interested parties can contact my agent.

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8. Julia Wertz on illegal pinball—and running her own crowdfunder

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Here’s a history comic on Newyorker.com by Julia Wertz about when pinball was illegal in New York City

In other Wertz news, she’s working on Impossible People, a second memoir about her alcoholism that she started after The Infinite Wait and then abandoned. To fund it’ she’s running her own crowdfudning effort, which you can support at the above link. Why her own thing?

While many cartoonists have had success with Patreon (a monthly donation site) or with Kickstarter for specific projects, I decided I would rather create my own page for two reasons. 1) Both those sites are built on a rewards model for donation amounts. While that sometimes works great, my time is very limited and I think it would be more beneficial for readers, and myself, if I use all my time to generate new material for everyone to read, rather than spending time making extra nonessentials for an exclusive group of people. I’d much rather be making less money while producing substantial work, than making more money and creating extraneous things. A) I am uncomfortable with the transparency sites like Patron and Kickstarter that make public financial amounts and goals. It is really no one’s business how much or how little anyone is making, and I have no set financial goal, as I’m just grateful for anything.


Here’s a page from the original version:

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I’m a big fan of Wertz’s work—it’s funny, perceptive and brave. Her reasons for going with her own platform make a lot of sense for some creators—fulfilling elaborate Kickstarter pledges are a lot of work, and Patreon, while not as complex, has its own time-consuming maintenance. I hope a bunch of people will support her in her work.

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9. #hoteloween: just how fast must you be to get a good room at Comic-Con?

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For over a decade we’ve been chronicling the agony of getting a hotel room for San Diego, and this year’s fret spree seemed to find new ways to be stressful. As we’re writing, the admission letters are going out, and it’s like the lottery scene from The Hunger Games for tension and FOMO. For some reason, I got a room—I got one last year but got shut out the year before, so it all seems random in the end. Time stamps, forms that didn’t load, fate, destiny…for some reason this year has has more anxiety about how it was going to work out, and as the selection of tweets below show, a sense of humor is a good thing to be armed with.

The thing about the hotel room sprint is that it isn’t random—like the badge lottery—or selective—like getting a pro badge or a press badge or an industry professional badge. You can marshal evidence or get a testimonial to get those things. But not so a hotel room.

No, getting a hotel room is a physical and mental race against the clock. You need to have Nolan Ryan’s fastball, Ronda Rousey’s reflexes and Edward Snowden’s keyboard skills. It’s the ultimate test of nerves for nerds.

But some may wonder, just how short IS the window to get a room downtown? I think the notification that downtown hotel rooms are gone usually starts within about 10 minutes, but the timestamp needs to be a lot shorter than that. While there is no definitive way of knowing the answer to what is the magic time stamp—short of hacking into Travel Planners— the Unofficial Comic Con blog ran a survey of attendees vis a vis their hotel longings, and we’ve taken the results of the questions “How long, including initial load time, did it take you to submit your form?” and made a chart. Oh yeah we did.
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560 people answered this question so while it’s a sample, it’s a decent sized one. As you can see, most people are in and out in under three minutes, with most within two minutes. That’s about the length of the Ramones classic “Blitzkrieg Bop” so you may want to use that as a training guide for next year.

Anyway, if you’ve been thinking you don’t have long to get that form filled out and submitted…you’re right.

Oh yeah and here’s the twitter reaction.

https://twitter.com/Crazy4ComicCon/status/581284173018591233

0 Comments on #hoteloween: just how fast must you be to get a good room at Comic-Con? as of 1/1/1900
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10. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/27/15: Jason Shiga is lord

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§ MUST READ: Laura Hudson enters the world of Jason Shiga, who is probably one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists. If you don’t believe me, go read Demon, or Fleep. He’s surely one of the great visionary thinkers about the possibilities of comics storytelling, his comics unfolding like tesseracts in real time and space, with codes, traps, mysteries and more.

The first time Shiga blew my mind was with an interactive graphic novel called Hello World. The story is simple enough: You’re a little boy sent to the store by his mother with a grocery list of items and a suitcase to carry them home. But the moment you open the cover, it’s obvious this is unlike any comic you’ve ever seen before. Every page is sliced in half, separating the comic into two parts. The top half is where the story unfolds, while the bottom half displays the contents of your suitcase. The two sides are connected by an intricate system of page-turning: When you see a number inside a square, you flip to a page in the top half of the comic, advancing the story; when you see a number inside a circle, you flip to a page on the bottom, adding and removing items from your suitcase. That’s when you realize that this isn’t just a choose-your-own-adventure story: It’s a comic with a functional inventory system.


Much more in the pprofile, including Shiga’s post -Demon plans.

§ A very nice story by Margo Dabaie about a class she taught for aspiring cartoonists:

I loved hearing the stories they had in mind because they were always really ornate and involved (I definitely had to drop some gentle reminders that there’s only one page to work with!). It was clear the students were fans of comics and were excited to make work.

§ Another cool story about how comics worpshops are being used in the Mumbai district of Dharavi to educate and improve, as reported by Ryan Holberg.

Usually, World Comics India, wherever it goes, collaborates with local activist groups. A trained “comics tutor” will be sent to conduct a workshop, the composition of which, in terms of age and sex, differing widely according to locale. The tutor first gets workshop participants to speak about social and political issues important to their daily lives. The participants are then instructed in the basics of how to make short four panel comics, from step one of conceiving a story idea, to breaking the story down in panels, and finally inking the drawings. The finished comic is then photocopied and pasted onto walls. Other formats like eight-page booklets are also produced. The range of topics depends on the locality, and the nature of the collaborating NGO: from concerns with water shortages in states like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, to illegal deforestation in Mizoram. Political corruption, male alcoholism, discrimination against women, and health problems due to bad sanitation have been treated in workshops in many states, giving you a sense of how extensive these problems are in India.

§ Speaking of improving, the once great state of Indiana has passed an odious law that allows discrimination, and it’s sad to think we live in an era where this is playing to the basest of bases. Anyway, the large gaming show Gen Con is threatening to leave the state because the law may allow attendees to be discriminated against:

The so-called “religious freedom” bill, passed in the Indiana House of Representatives Tuesday, would give business owners free rein to refuse to provide services to anyone if they claim doing so would go against their religion. That could mean a baker could refuse to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, for example. Gen Con CEO and owner Adrian Swartout sent a letter to Pence on Monday in which she said the state will stand to lose the $50 million the convention brings to the city of Indianapolis each year if the bill becomes law.

She wrote:   Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years. We ask that you please reconsider your support of SB 101.

 
Other, non nerd associated companies are also warning that they will stop investing in the state.
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§ President Obama won the internet this week by posing with the above Girl Scout troop who has arrived at the White House for a Science Fair dressed as superheroes. Perhaps emboldened by this, he talked about his interest in comics in a letter to supporters;


I grew up loving comic books. Back in the day, I was pretty into Conan the Barbarian and Spiderman. Anyone who reads comics can tell you, every main character has an origin story — the fateful and usually unexpected sequence of events that made them who they are.


We got our milk board!

§ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM8sfznqoFk
Here is a video of Dan DiDio talking about Convergence which I understand imparts important information about this event. Perhaps someone can explain it to me.

4 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/27/15: Jason Shiga is lord, last added: 3/27/2015
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11. Dynamite teams with bundling site Groupees

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Bundling, unboxing…so many ways to get cool stuff these days. And here’s another one, Groupees, which offers a pay-what-you-want bundling service. And they’ve just teamed with Dynamite to offer a bundle of digital titles, with multiple tiers and special art prizes—and a portion of the proceeds benefit the CBLDF! So it’s  a win all around. The offer is live now at the Groupees site. Details on all below:
Legenderry01-02-03Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce that Groupees LLC, a unique media and charity bundling site, will host – for the first time ever – a ten day comic book bundle promotion that allows fans and curious newcomers to purchase over 75 digital Dynamite comics and graphic novels with “Pay What You Want” purchasing power.  A portion of proceeds will be contributed to one of the industry’s most important charitable organizations, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The bundle promotion will run from Thursday, March 26, through the afternoon of Monday, April 6, on the website Groupees.com.
Through the Groupees program, customers can purchase a bundle of digital comic book and graphic novels for a price they decide.  The first tier of exciting digital content is unlocked with the dollar minimum investment, but consumers can double their take by reaching the $5.00 second tier. Dynamite offers a highly desirable batch of comics at the third tier for a $10.00 minimum investment, including the bestselling Dynamite Art of Alex Ross art book.
Legenderry01-08For those who support the “Pay What You Want” initiative with considerable support, Dynamite will reward the top ten consumers with special prizes.  The Top Prize will see the contributor illustrated on the cover of an upcoming Dynamite comic book, alongside the title character and the cover will be drawn by super star artist Jae Lee!  The winner will also receive 100 copies of the comic AND the original art.  The second, third and fourth-highest contributors will be illustrated as characters on one interior page of a Dynamite comic book, while the fifth through tenth-highest contributors will receive a hand-drawn illustration of their favorite Dynamite character again by super-star artist Jae Lee.  Additionally, top-secret Group Bonuses will be unlocked for all consumers to enjoy when the overall orders reach certain thresholds.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Dynamite Entertainment to offer this First Edition Dynamite Groupees Comic Bundle,” said Thomas Brooke, Groupees Founder and CEO. “Dynamite has an exceptional catalogue of titles and is offering fans in this promotion an amazing deal on some truly exceptional books including the likes of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. As we expand into this category of media, we look forward to continuing to work with Dynamite to offer literary fans of all types curated, great deals during our online social events that connect fans and artists.”
The $1.00 Minimum Tier features superhero action, pulp intrigue, Victorian mystery, tough-talkin’ private eyes, and mind-blowing swords-and-sorcery, courtesy of some of the comic industry’s brightest stars: Gail Simone (Batgirl), Alex Ross (Kingdom Come), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), Jim Krueger (Earth X), David Liss (Black Panther), and more!  This accessible bundle includes:
• Project Superpowers (Vol. 1) #0 – #7
• Dawn/Vampirella #1
• The Spider #1 – #6
• Chaos! #1 – #6
• Shaft #1
• Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives #1 – #5
• Red Sonja (Vol. 2) #1 – #6
• Altered States: Red Sonja
Legenderry01-Cov-BenitezThe $5.00 Minimum Tier features 48 comics written by the mainstream’s most beloved authors and movie directors, like George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones), Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Kevin Smith (Clerks), Warren Ellis (Iron Man, Red), Garth Ennis (Punisher), Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), and Nancy A. Collins (Sunglasses After Dark).  Also, the Fox cartoon sensation Bob’s Burgers, gaming powerhouse Pathfinder, and rock ‘n roll icon Alice Cooper round out the package, making it worth the additional investment.
• A Game of Thrones #1
• Vampirella: Feary Tales #1 – #2
• Warren Ellis’ Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1
• Garth Ennis’ Jennifer Blood #1 – #3
• Alice Cooper #1 – #3
• Bob’s Burgers #1 – #2
• Army of Darkness (Vol. 3) #1 – #5
• Purgatori #1 – #4
• Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #1  – #10
• Django/Zorro #1 – #2
• Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Storm Front (Vol. 1) #1 – #4
• Pathfinder #1 – #6
• Cryptozoic Man #1 – #4
• Blood Queen Annual 2014
Finally, the $10.00 Minimum Tier features 17 comic books by Bill Willingham (Fables), Jim Starlin (the creator of Thanos from Marvel’s The Avengers), and Tom Clancy (the video game Splinter Cell), as well as the bestselling Dynamite Art of Alex Ross, a 328-page retrospective of the influential painter’s cover artwork and character designs on such characters as Vampirella, Green Hornet, The Bionic Man, the Kirbyverse, Black Terror, and more.
 
• Dynamite Art of Alex Ross
• Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure #1 – #7
• Dreadstar #1 – #6
• Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Echoes #1 – #4
Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment, says, “Groupees has a unique and incredible mechanism to engage fans and bring content to a new audience, as well as reward any fans of our existing audience who wish to take advantage of this promotion.  They’ve built a model that stands out and can help grow the fan base for comics, which in turn can bring more readers to the industry, and that is extremely exciting.  With comics being if not the only, one of the only forms of print that has grown side by side with digital, we’re proud to be working with Thomas and his team to create more awareness of comics to their audience, who in turn will come into our industry and many of whom will then become ongoing readers.”
Part of the proceeds from the first-ever Dynamite Groupees Bundle will contribute to The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers.

 

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12. Alan Moore Interview Part I – Steve Moore, River of Ghosts, The Show, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…

It’s the 26th of February, and the time is 7.00pm, the usual time for all my telephone interviews with Alan Moore, since the first one we did, back in March 2008. This is something like the eighth time I’ve interviewed him 1, but I still get nervous. There’s the usual fumbling around with a voice recorder, and making sure I know how to put the phone on speaker – I’m totally technically incompetent, so Deirdre, my wife, has to come and oversee all this, to make sure I don’t do something stupid.

Pádraig Ó Méalóid: I’m going to get stuck into this thing because I’ve a long list of questions, at least some of which we’ll get to. OK, I was going to ask you about Steve. Obviously Steve Moore’s death must have been an enormous blow to you. 2

Steve MooreAlan Moore: Well, yeah, obviously, and it – it was a period of massive shock, and of course a few marvels in there. There was an ethereal period. We managed to follow Steve’s instructions, and scattered his ashes on the burial mound in Shrewsbury Lane by the light of, not only a full moon, but of a Supermoon, which is when the Moon is full at its perigee, which is apparently its closest approach to Earth, and it was just at the tail end of Hurricane Bertha so we didn’t think that we were going to be able to really do it successfully, but as it happened, the hurricane had blown all the clouds out of the sky by the time we got down to Shooters Hill, and it was a – a rather magical night in its way, even though I managed to end up wearing at least a small portion of Steve, when we had a difficulty transferring him to the scattering tube. Funnily enough, I’d said on the way down there that I hope this doesn’t end up like The Big Lebowski, with me kind of going on inappropriately about Steve’s service in Vietnam, while getting ashes all over me, but apart from me going on inappropriately about Steve’s service in Vietnam, that was pretty much what happened. But otherwise it was a great night and, yeah, I suppose that after Steve’s death I kind of hurled myself into a great deal of creative work – it’s just my way of dealing with things, you know? Or perhaps my way of not dealing with things, I don’t know. But, yeah, it still goes on, like at the moment I’m, I just went down last weekend to Steve’s place to talk with Bob Rickard3.

I went to the burial mound – it’s been padlocked since we did the scattering there, which – I don’t think it was in response to our scattering, probably more in response to some of the empty cider bottles that I’d noticed around the site, but I suppose in its way it’s fortuitous – if Steve had died a year later it probably wouldn’t have been anywhere near as – convenient? – to honour his final wishes, but – no, he’s still an immense presence in my life. I’m still, I’m wrapping up dealing with his estate – and I shall be dealing with that for a number of years, I’m sure. But, yeah, we’ve still got the Book of Magic to come out, which is very very much a joint venture, even if – even if one of the members of The Moon and Serpent is now only active upon the Inner Plane, it’s still going to be both of us on the cover, there. It’s going OK, Pádraig.

Bumper BookPÓM: Good, I’m glad. As you mentioned the book, The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic, is there any kind of a timescale for that?

AM: Well, at the moment I have just finished the final article, the big concluding essay that me and Steve had been working on for about six months before last March and that leaves me one episode of The Soul4 to do, and then I’ve got to go back and tinker with the Tarot Card, and the Kabala Boardgame, and some of the other, more art-centred things, and less text-centred – most of the text-centred stuff is completed. As to when that will come out – we would like to get it out in 2016, but that is not a promise, that is an aspiration5.

PÓM: [laughter]

AM: I’m sure that – yeah, you know what that means – we’ve been living under a coalition for some several years now, so we will know what we mean by promises and aspirations.

PÓM: Somebody was suggesting – are you likely to do a performance related to that when it’s finally finished?

AM: Don’t know. Don’t know – I hadn’t been thinking of a performance related to it. Eh, don’t know, is the answer to that, it is nothing that I’d actually considered. These things tend to come in seasons. There was a period when I was closer to Tim Perkins – Tim moved to Oxford – me and Tim still communicate, and we still talk about possible projects together, but it doesn’t feel like the time at the moment when performance stuff is probably at the forefront. I had a very very nice offer from Paul Smith of Blast First records, talking about the possibility of getting some satellite time for something live, but, quite honestly, it would be filling three hours of live – no. It’s not like I – my urges at the moment are not really towards live performance. That said, tomorrow night I shall be going down to the local café, and me and Robin Ince and Grace Petrie will be doing another one of our, just impromptu little events6 which Robin is – we’re recording them all, Joe Brown is doing all of the mixing and everything, and they will eventually be released as podcasts. But that’s pretty much the extent of my public appearances at the moment.

PÓM: I met Tim Perkins for the first time in August. Worldcon – that’s the World Science Fiction Convention – was on in London, and myself and himself and Gary Lloyd ended up doing a panel about your musical output.7

AM: Aw, brilliant! And how is Tim? I haven’t spoken to him for ages.

PÓM: Tim was good! I was delighted to meet him, because I have a lot of his work, but I’ve one question I was asking him that I had always been interested in, which was, in all the musical work that you did, did you play a musical instrument at all?

AM: Oh, no. No, I never played a musical instrument. I am – yeah, I know I’m a fairly multi-competent kind of individual, but no, no. Playing a musical instrument has always been beyond me, and I have nothing but the greatest of respect for those that can, and I tend to – even if I could play a musical instrument, I’ve known such brilliant musicians that it would have been foolish not to leave that side of things to them, and to play to my strengths.

PÓM: Yeah, I know. He did say something about your playing – was it with one hand, was it Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, something like that, on a piano?

The Sooty Super Xylophone, Green Monk Products (Games and Toys 1956)AM: Oh, I can actually – because when I was a child, I had a Sooty Xylophone, with numbered keys, and the actual score to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, with numbered keys on xylophone, is 1155665 – it’s been a long time since I played it, but I could remember it all the way through, on my Sooty Xylophone. So, yes, I suppose technically, if there is ever any need for a kind of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star refrain on xylophone, then you’ve got my number.8

PÓM: Fair enough. I always wanted to clear that one up.

AM: Well, it’s an important point, Pádraig. No, I’m surprised that Tim remembered that.

PÓM: Yes. Well, it obviously made an impression.

AM: Yeah, obviously, obviously.

PÓM: Tell me about The Show. What’s happening?

AM: The Show. Well, The Show is the name of the project that follows on from the Jimmy’s End films – which, surely to Christ, should be out soon. It should be very very soon – I’ve been kicking up a fuss, Mitch [Jenkins] has been kicking up a fuss…9

PÓM: This is the stuff from Lex Records?

AM: Apparently there’s been unavoidable delays on the packaging side. I don’t know!

PÓM: Yeah, I know, I know. It’s bad enough having to always wait for your comics to come out, but really…!

jimmys endAM: It’s this film business, it’s – and I am kind of limited in what I can actually do. And it’s the same with the comics business, I suppose. Anyway, that should be out soon, and I have written a screenplay for a feature film, called The Show, which is designed to follow on from that. We have been talking with various parties about maybe making that screenplay into the first two episodes of a serial, which – we could probably have done it, but that doesn’t seem to be – that’s not technically gonna happen. At the moment we’re talking about maybe doing what we had originally intended to do, which is to bring out The Show as a feature film, and then to launch The Show as a television series, so at the moment, that’s all up in the air, and in my experience of these things, some things just remain up in the air forever, in defiance of gravity. So, who knows? But there are talks going on, it’s looking quite promising, and I’m sure that one way or another there’ll be – we’re asking for so little, to do this film, at least in terms of money. We’re asking for complete control, and complete ownership. But financially we’re asking for very little. It would be a very good film – it’d need me writing a few more songs, and it would be very differently paced to the five short films, because short films, they can be as long as you want them to be, and you can linger, whereas a feature film, that’s got to have – I’m not saying that it’s gonna be kind of action/thriller paced, but certainly a lot more conventionally paced for a feature film, put it like that.

PÓM: Yeah, of course.

AM: Yeah, that’s all going on as we speak – there might be more news – I’m sure if there is any more news, that’ll be in a couple of – in a couple of months we might know more.

PÓM: OK, fair enough. Emmm, what was I gonna ask? The League. The next – the third part of the Janni Nemo trilogy is coming out soon…?10

River of Ghosts coverAM: River of Ghosts. I’ve just looked in the box that I got from Knockabout the other day, and I’ve got – yes, very soon, I’ve got my copies already. We are very pleased with it. It’s funny – when me and Kevin O’Neill first got our complimentary copies, we both looked through it, skimmed through it, independently, and when we were talking on the phone later I was – he was saying that he’d been – he’d felt that his art really, it was a bit tired-looking, and I was saying, ‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘I thought your art was great,’ I said, ‘but I don’t know with my script – I’m not sure that the ending’s not rushed, or something.’ Like, all these little things. And then, after that, I was still a bit despondent, but I sat down, and picked up the copy again, and started reading it. And I got to the end, and I went and phoned Kevin and left an answer phone message saying, ‘Actually, Kevin, I should go back and having another look at River of Ghosts, I think that it might be about the best run of the League since the first couple of volumes.’ And I got a phone call back from Kevin about ten minutes later, saying ‘Actually, I was going to call you and say the same thing! ’ It’s just that, when your expectations are up, and you first see the thing in print – I should know by now that very often my first reaction is disappointment. But then, you read it again and, yes, this is – it’s a bit of a corker. I think, beautifully rounds off the Nemo trilogy, and I hope will put the other two books into perspective, ‘cause I did hear a couple of comments saying, ‘Oh well, we’ve read Heart of Ice, good story and all that, but it does seem a bit – a bit slender, a bit thin, a bit inconsequential, compared to other graphic novels.’ It’s forty-eight pages, it’s like two issues of a comic and, really, it’s not until the River of Ghosts that we get to the end of the story – yes, they are all self-contained episodes, but there is an over-all story that’s going on, which I think we tie up quite nicely in River of Ghosts.

The story opens upon Lincoln Island in 1975, so this is six years after we saw Janni in League volume three in 1969. She’s now – what? – around eighty, and it’s been very interesting – I’ve always wanted, since I started writing Halo Jones, I always intended to have that conclude with Halo Jones as a very old woman, and I – I don’t know, I think that there is something magnificent about old women, and I’ve always wanted to do one with a very old woman in the main role. So, with River of Ghosts I think I’ve accomplished that.

Hugo HerculesThere’s – we see a couple of old characters. There’s a couple of interesting new characters, one of whom might be of interest to you. Kevin found an American newspaper strip from, I think, 1902, that was entitled Hugo Hercules, and this is a very very big, very very strong man. I think it lasted for six or seven episodes – it wasn’t very long-lived. But, yeah, the first American superhero, I think, pretty much. I can’t imagine any earlier than that. Certainly earlier than Hugo Danner in Gladiator, a long while earlier than Superman.

So, yeah, I had a look at some of these early strips, which generally don’t have much in the way of dialogue balloons, but put most of the dialogue into captions under the panels, and from that, in the transcriptions of whatever the accent was supposed to be that Hugo Hercules was speaking in, I finally figured out that it was probably a racist and ill-informed transliteration of an Irish accent. It could just as easily have been Polish, or possibly Trinidadian, but I think probably it was meant to be Irish. So, we’ve kind of worked out, yeah, all right, if this Hugo Hercules, so-called, was Irish, what might be his backstory. Me and Kevin are very pleased with him as a character, and he plays quite a major part in River of Ghosts – which deals with, as you might expect from the first two volumes, it deals with a conclusion to the Ayesha question. Just kind of tying it all up in a neat and somewhat blood-stained bow.

The River of Ghosts in question is the Amazon, which means that we get to – as we did with Heart of Ice, less so, perhaps, with Roses of Berlin – but with Heart of Ice we were very much depending upon the New Travellers’ Almanac, and its gazetteer of fictional sights, and we’ve fallen back upon that quite a bit for this exploration of the Amazon. So, if that gives you any hints as to what sort of things we might be running into…

New Travellers' AlmanacPÓM: It does! I actually find, I go back and I reread the New Travellers’ Almanac and the Black Dossier quite a bit, because I think that there’s a huge amount more information, a huge amount more stuff, about various adventures that’s coded into those than you’re probably ever going to put down on the comics page.

AM: Well, that’s true. And also, because we were very specific – I think back in the New Travellers’ Almanac there’s already bits talking about Jenny Diver…?

PÓM: Yes, yes.

AM: And we did have this fairly fully planned out, right from the start. One of the things that I’ve thought about is the possibility at some point in the future, of an actual integrated volume of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in chronological order, to see how that reads? I don’t know. This is nothing I’ve discussed with anybody else, so I’m going off the menu here, a little bit. But…

PÓM: I know – from all the stuff, there’s all sorts of bits and pieces, and there’s dates, and it is possible to build up quite a detailed chronology of – particularly from the beginning of the Victorian League, and Mina Murray and all of that, upwards. It’s remarkable how much little bits and pieces fit in. Like the current volumes, the Janni Diver stuff, is filling in more little odds – and you go back and look at something and say, ‘Ah, that was there all along.’

AM: This is it, this is what we’re trying to do. And, actually, having said that it would be nice to put it all in chronological order, there is a lot to be said for the way that we’re doing it, where we’re jumping back and forth a little bit. Jack Nemo, whom we glimpse at the end of volume three, and in River of Ghosts, it’s almost like an origin story. Jack Nemo features in it – he’s a very small boy, a couple of years older than when we saw him as a five- or six-year-old running around on the Nautilus in 1969. We’re stitching all of this together, and we’re doing it all for a reason. One thing that might be of note is that this will be the last piece of work that me and Kevin will be doing on the League for a little while. We – this is largely because – me and Kevin have both been doing the League for fifteen years now. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but it actually is.

PÓM: I know. It’s 1999, wasn’t it?

AM: Something like that. Fifteen or sixteen years? And during that time I’ve been doing quite a bit of other work, but Kevin, the League has been pretty much the only thing that he’s been doing, so it’s more like – it’s a long-term sentence. And although me and Kevin are both in love with what we’re doing on the League, I could see that, it was a bit of an unfair strain upon Kevin, because the League might not be the only thing he wanted to do with the rest of his life. So, anyway, I can’t tell you very much about what we’re doing – in fact, I can barely tell you anything at all, except that me and Kevin are going to be doing something new for about eighteen months, summat like that.

PÓM: OK. In a comic form, I presume, is it?

Black DossierAM: In a comic form. It’ll be an episodic thing. It will be a million miles away from the League. And we’re both very excited about it, we think we’re actually breaking new ground in term of the effects that comics can achieve. Which is, again, ‘cause I know that Kevin’s always had a hankering to experiment, and we’ve done as much as we can of that in the League – the League is limitless in some ways, but in other ways there are certain stories that perhaps wouldn’t fit quite so easily into it, and with this, yeah, we’re a long way away from the League. What we’re thinking is, we’re going to do this, as a break for Kevin, for the next eighteen months, or something, and then we will probably be going back to do book four of the League, but this is a long way in the future, but we have got a lot of good ideas that would – in some ways I’d like to do a book four that wouldn’t be the last book of the League, but could be. And if it was the last book of the League, then everything would be tied up. All of the strands and insinuations and implications in the Black Dossier, all of the tiny little threads, going right the way back to issue one of the first volume, I can see a way that all of this could be tied up splendidly into a fantastic story – but that will have to wait until me and Kevin have had our little vacation. We’re about four months into this eighteen months sabbatical anyway, so hopefully it won’t seem as long as that in the outside world.

PÓM: Before we leave it, can you tell us anything about what’s going to be in volume four?

AM: Other than, like I say, a tying up of ends, it would probably be set not long after 2009 and it would be tying up threads from all three volumes of the League, from the Black Dossier, and from the Nemo trilogy. It would be a – it’s a kind of story that I’ve been thinking of for a few years, but, yeah, after we’ve taken this sabbatical, both me and Kevin thing that, when we do go back to the League, we’ll go back refreshed, and capable of giving – not that we aren’t incredibly pleased with River of Ghosts. Like I say, that seems to have some of the energy – I wouldn’t want to deny the energy of any of the volumes of the League, but it’s undeniable that, say, the first two volumes are paced and structured very very differently to Century. And there were some people who thought that Century was a bit slow, or a bit over-complex, but that was just what we wanted to do with the characters. We wanted to show that it didn’t always have to be a fast-paced Victorian romp, that there was plenty of interesting stuff in this world that could do with lingering over. But, when we finished Century we thought, all right, let’s take a break from that stuff, and do the Nemo trilogy, something very fast paced, where we’re paying a lot of attention to spectacle, where that is a big part of the story development, and that gives Kevin an opportunity to really show what he can do on some nice spreads, and things like that, of which there are a couple of – some of the best pages of art by Kevin I’ve ever seen, in this upcoming issue. Some very memorable little images there.

To Be Continued…

——————————————————————————————————-

FOOTNOTES11:

1Previous interviews I’ve done with Alan Moore in various places, including the Forbidden Planet blog, 3:AM Magazine, here on The Beat, and on my own Slovobooks blog:- June 2008 FP I, FP II, May 2009 FP I, FP II, FP III, March 2011 3:AM, July 2011 FP, April 2013 CB I, CB II, October 2013 MM I, MM II, MM III, and January 2014’s Last Interview? Which, of course, it wasn’t. That question mark wasn’t there for nothin’!

2In case you all think I was being hideously impolite by launching directly into talking about Steve Moore, I should point out that there was a certain amount of small-talk in there beforehand, which none of you need to know anything more about. However, if you wish to read my interview with Steve, called The Hermit of Shooters Hill, you’ll find them all (six parts so far) here on The Beat, under the tag HERMIT.

The News, issue 1, November 19733Bob Rickard is the founder of the Fortean Times: The Journal of Strange Phenomena (Originally called The News, which both Alan Moore and Steve Moore contributed to over the years. He is also one of the two people Steve described to me as being his best friends. The identity of the other one should not be hard to grasp…

4The Soul is a strip, written by AM and drawn by John Coulthart, that was to appear in America’s Best Comics’ Tomorrow Stories, but is now going to be in The Moon & Serpent Bumper Book of Magic.

5A favourite saying of British politicians.

6 Another of these events, Alan, Grace and Robin’s Blooming Confusion is in the NN Café in Northampton on the 31st of March 2015, and there are still tickets available, here. Robin Ince is a comedian, and Grace Petrie is a singer.

7Tim Perkins is AM’s main musical collaborator, with five CD releases thus far between them. He has a hopelessly out-of-date website, here. Gary Lloyd is another of AM’s musical collaborators, having worked with him on the audio version of Brought to Light. The interview with Tim and Gary is slowly being transcribed, and will doubtless turn up on the ‘net eventully.

8Before anyone writes into to point out that the Sooty Xylophone isn’t actually a xylophone, not being made of wood, we’ve already got that covered. All I can do is report what is said!

9This is in reference to Lex Projects’ Kickstarter for Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins’s His Heavy Heart short film, which those of us who backed it are still waiting to see make its way into our hands. It’s by no means the only Kickstarter project I’ve backed that I’m still waiting for, mind you.

10There was some confusion about the actual publication date of this book. It first made landfall on the shelves of GOSH! Comics in London on Tuesday the 3rd of March, and should have been available elsewhere – not just in the UK, but also in the US – that same week. However a labour dispute at American west coast ports meant that containers remained in the docks, rather than being shipped onward, with the result that copies weren’t available until about a week and a half later on the 12th of March.

11Why all the footnotes? I’ve been reading through the works of Flann O’Brien, and bits of it have rubbed off on me. It’s even slightly relevant to the subject of this interview, as it was largely his fault that I went back to them in the first place. Further enlightenment, at least of a sort, here.

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13. Next Games and IDW launch new Compass Point: West comic

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Finland—home of saunas, heavy metal, fish pies…and mobile game design. It must be all the coffee they drink. Next Games is one of Finland’s newest game studios, comprised of veterans from Rovio and other studios, and they’ve just launched Compass Point: West, a 3D game set in the Wild West which ties together mobile game play, card collecting, and now a comic book from IDW. Yee haw!

“In Compass Point: West we draw inspiration from the unbelievably rich Wild West theme. The game boasts fascinating characters and lots of humor combined with stunning 3D graphics and an original card collecting mechanic at its heart. This setting lends itself very well to other entertainment formats beyond games such as the gorgeous comic by IDW Publishing”, said Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO, Next Games.

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The comic will be available worldwide through multiple platforms including Apple iBooks and Google Play or on the web. Obviously, comics based on games have had a big impact in recent years—IDW’s Angry Birds comics, Dark Horse’s Plants. vs Zombies, and Dynamite’s Doodle Jump comics being prime examples. (The Beat is currently enthralled with PvZ, but it’s about time for a new game, so we’ll check this one out.)

“IDW has been developing the Compass Point: West  comic since very early in the game’s development, and we’ve enjoyed creating characters and backstories in a way that extends the game’s world,” stated Ted Adams, IDW CEO & Publisher. “The Next Games team has a long-range plan that we’re proud to be a part of.”

Next Games has three more games on tap, but you can download Compass Point West now for iOs and Android, or check out the trailer below.

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14. Review: Gotham Academy #6, The Kids of the Black Hole

Gotham Academy #6

Gotham Academy 006-000Story: Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher

Art: Karl Kerschl, Mingue Helen Chen 

Color: Msassyk, Serge Lapointe

Letters: Steve Wands

Publisher: DC Comics

 

 

 

As much as we love reading about the adventures of the world’s greatest detective, you have to figure Gotham city is probably a pretty messed up place to grow up. Walking down the street could get you turned inside out by Joker gas or someone in a skintight cat outfit could shred you to pieces. Even adolescents in this world have it rough. This is mostly due to Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher. They put kids in buildings with Arkham inmates, fire hazards, and sinister looking headmasters. All these obstacles put forth for our enjoyment in Gotham Academy #6.

The issue wraps the first story arc and sheds a little more light on Olive Sliverlock’s forgotten past. What issue six finally does is make good use of a Batman appearance. It’s powerful, and not just because of the fight with Killer Croc. This chapter of Gotham Academy puts Olive on a collision course with the caped crusader. Neither character is shown to be on the right side of the argument, which makes this matter poignant to the series and a mystery we’re sure to want answers about. Cloonan and Fletcher write the usual whimsy and angst sprinkled voice that cast of characters has become known for in the series. It’s just that now the team has managed to raise the stakes for all of them.

In addition to the usual fantastic Disney animated style art of Karl Kerschl, issue six brings Mingue H. Chen on board for some key flashback sequences and an epilogue that leaves us wishing DC would just skip Convergence altogether. Her style is noticeably more painted than that of Kerschl but it never jitters the reader. The two artists blend pages smoothly and that’s the best you can ask for when sharing illustration duties on a single story.

Gotham Academy is one of the best new ideas DC has published in awhile. If you’ve been on the fence about trying this series, go do it. Issue six, as a standalone, has major hook and you’ll definitely be enticed enough to pick up the pieces you’ve missed. One usually has to read a Vertigo published book to find this much depth in a comic.

Now that the kids are united it’ll be even more fun to see how they’ll be divided.

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15. Entertainment Round-Up: Your first look at The Thing in Fantastic Four, Jubilee is cast in X-Men: Apocalypse, Idris Elba for Star Trek 3?

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While Jesse Eisenberg‘s shaved head is grabbing most of the attention today, here’s a few other headlines of note in the Entertainment world:

– An intrepid Instagrammer snapped this photo of the international banner for Fantastic Four, giving us our first look at Jamie Bell as The Thing along with the rest of the cast similarly powered up. Here it is via Spencer over at ComingSoon. On the whole, it’s hard not to be an improvement over how Ben Grimm was presented in the last two films, but how it works on screen will tell the tale.

#Me #LastNight #Cine #Cinepolis #Multiplaza #Poster #Fantasticfour #Comingsoon #SoExcited

A photo posted by Sir. Alberto (@albertoheineken26) on

Bryan Singer has added another mutant to X-Men: Apocalypse, this time breaking with the 80’s set canon and bringing Lana Condor on as Jubilee. He announced the newest X-Men teammate on his Instagram:

I’d officially like to welcome our newest mutant #JubilationLee, #Jubilee @LanaCondor to #XMEN #Apocalypse

A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on

 

Star Trek 3 is still slowly plugging along and Variety reports that Paramount may have its eyes on fan-casting favorite Idris Elba to play the yet to be revealed villain in the 2016 release. Simon Pegg and Doug Jung are co-writing this third entry in the rebooted series for director Justin Lin. Variety also states that The Klingons are rumored to be the main adversary of the film.

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16. Review: Past Aways Needs A Wilson

Past Aways #1

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Story: Matt Kindt

Art: Scott Kolins

Colors: Bill Crabtree

Letters: Rob Leigh

Publisher: Dark Horse

 

 

As a fan of the comics medium, it’s a privilege to go into a comic book shop or Comixology and try all the new #1’s. Comics are where ideas are born that translate into tomorrow’s film and television. There’s nothing like them, and lately a lot of science fiction books have debuted; some good, some not so good. Past Aways is Dark Horse Comics latest contribution to the genre.

Written by Matt Kindt, Past Aways is the story of a group of time travelers tasked with recording the events of history. They’re stranded in the 21st century and the strain has splintered the group. Right from the gate, Kindt puts their defects out there for us to see. Detached, distant, suicidal, and conceit are the words that only begin to scratch the surface of these characters. Instead of being united under the goal of returning to their own time, they can barley stand each other. Like any team an event needs to happen to bring them together and issue one sees the beginnings of such a moment. I won’t spoil that for you because it would give away too much.

Scott Kolins brings his energetic art style to these pages. The characters and designs of the futuristic equipment feel kinetic. Even the layouts feel unique, from the effects tying together the panels or the footnotes explaining what we’re seeing, everything has distinct purpose. Where he’s separating himself from his previous work is in how much risqué he’s adding. Naked bodies and acid sh**ting dinosaurs are just some of the weird things you’ll get in Past Aways.

Ultimately, Past Aways is interesting but it throws out so many questions with no answers. Yes, the opening chapter of a book should do that, but it should also give you a reason to want answers. The reasons to care about the characters are missing. It could be due to having everyone crammed into the issue. None of the characters feel like they have any breathing room. A new idea is always welcome but it needs to present the hook right away and it’s just missing from these pages. I’m a fan of Matt Kindt and Scott Kolins, but it feels like the introduction of this story could have used a bit more fleshing out.

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17. Legendary announces new Pacific Rim comic book and much more!

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Gypsy Danger! If there was ever a no brainer in this transmedia world where comics are a nice placeholder and more between filmed entertainment outing, it’s tat the world needs Pacific Rim comic book. The controversial film wasn’t considered a box office hit but has rapidly become a cult movie with a strong fanbase. And now Legendary, which procued the movie, is putting out a comic from its publishing arm.

The new series will be presented by Guilermo del Toro and plotted by Pacific Rim creator Travis Beacham, with writer Joshua Fialkov (The Bunker, I, Vampire, Elk’s Run) and artist Marcos Marz (Batman Confidential, Blackest Night: JSA) produced the comics. Release details are to come, but Pacific Rim: Tales From the Drift picks up where the Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero graphic novel left off, with new kaiju, new Jaegers, and more giant monsters battling giant robots.

AND also a contest to win a page of original artwork; enter here.

The book comes out in November and runs as a four issue mini series.

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Legendary is also ramping up its original content with two new titles. And They Are:

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• With Black Bag, Legendary jumps on the popular female protagonist bandwagon. Chris Roberson and artist JB Bastos portray the adventures of a suburban wife-turned-covert government assassin.

A suburban housewife with a criminal past and a thirst for adrenaline is about to get a top-secret side job: carrying out the government’s most dangerous missions.

Renear is tired of playing by the rules. A valedictorian and top athlete in her younger years, she’s sacrificed a promising career to tie the knot and play house… isn’t there more to life than this? Of course there is – if you’re willing to take the shot.

It’s time the world found out what she is truly capable of.

The 6-issue espionage thriller written by Chris Roberson (Superman Grounded, Fables, iZombie), featuring artwork by JB Bastos (Night Trap).

Release Date: Fall 2015
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: J.B. Bastos
Colorist: Jamie Grant
Length of Series: 6 issue monthly series
Price: $3.99 single-issue cover price




 

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• Cops for Criminals is by Steven Grant and Pete Woods, a crime-thriller about a federal agent forced to find true justice in the criminal underworld.

When a federal agent becomes a victim of the system he has sworn to uphold, he finds true justice in the criminal underworld.
Agent Woods was one of the best – but everything changed when he was wrongfully convicted and labeled a traitor. After serving his time, this ex-convict is cut loose onto the lawless streets to fight corruption on both sides of the law. Even criminals need a code – and every code needs an enforcer.
The 5-issue crime-thriller series is written by Steven Grant (Punisher War Journal, Avengers, Hulk, X) with art from Pete Woods (Deadpool, Robin, Catwoman).
Release Date: Fall 2015
Writer: Steven Grant
Artist: Pete Woods
Format: 5 issue monthly series
Price: $3.99 single-issue cover price






 

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18. Spider-Island in Secret Wars, More All-New Avengers Revealed

Today Marvel dropped yet another piece of the Secret Wars. Dan Slott’s Spider-Island gets a piece of Battleworld. Secret Wars: Spider-Island  features a lead story revisiting the “Spider-Island” event by Christos Gage and Paco Diaz, and along with that is a secondary story featuring a return of not just Mayday Parker but the entire MC2 universe, with key creators Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz.

Gage says his lead story in Spider-Island is set in an alternate timeline where Spider-Queen won that day instead of being thwarted by Spider-Man. Spider-Island‘s secondary story featuring Mayday and the return of the MC2, it starts off with Mayday’s decision to transition from the name Spider-Girl to Spider-Woman.

spiderisland_secretwars

SPIDER-ISLAND #1 & #2
Written by CHRISTOS GAGE & TOM DEFALCO
Penciled by PACO DIAZ & RON FRENZ
Cover by HUMBERTO RAMOS
· The Spider-Queen has turned Manhattan into an island of Spider-Madness and Peter Parker has lost, thanks to Spider-Scribe CHRISTOS GAGE (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN) & rising star artist PACO DIAZ (WOLVERINE, SCARLET SPIDERS).
· With Spider-Man defeated and captive, does Flash Thompson, A.K.A. VENOM stand a chance?
· All this, plus visit the MC2 patch of BATTLEWORLD! Mayday Parker and her Spider-Family are back courtesy of classic Spider-Girl team TOM DEFALCO, RON FRENZ & SAL BUSCEMA!
40 PGS./Rated T …$4.99






Today, two more characters were revealed for the All-New All-Different Avengers. So far we’re 2 for 5 in our pool with the reveal of the Vision and Nova. It looks like Marvel isn’t going to wait till FCBD to show the new team off to the world. Expect the entire roster to be revealed within the next week.

All-New_All-Different_Avengers_Assemble_2

Who do you think the remaining figures are and who do those glowing hands belong to? What about Spider-Island, ye or nay? Are there events left you think Marvel should revisit?

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19. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/25/15: The $50 million swipe

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§ Many people in comics have a a deep abiding hatred of Roy Lichtenstein, who appropriated comics panels for paintings that are now worth millions of dollars. That antipathy will grow more as the above painting, taken from a panel by Ted Galindo, is being auctioned off with a value of $50 million. Scott Edelman has more, and the above image, which was created by David Barsalou, who has long been cataloging the Lichtenstein/comics connection. According to Sotheby’s

In its 53-year history, the painting has only ever had two owners. It was consigned from the collection of Chicago businessman and philanthropist Stefan Edlis. The Ring “encapsulates all of the major themes of the artist’s most acclaimed and sustained body of work,” according to a statement from Sotheby’s.

“Major themes.” Okay.

§ Chris Sims is taking a voluntary hiatus from Comics Alliance, as revealed in his War Rocket Ajex podcast.

Like I said, it’s not something that I went back and tried to hide, but it is something that I’ve tried to move away from as a writer and as a person. I got called out on it. I did it – that is not in question – and it was not OK. It was not OK then, it is not OK now. I never apologized for it then, because at the time, I felt like it was better to just let someone who was trying to disengage disengage. I have apologized now. I regret every part of it, and it was all me. There was a part of me that enjoys being a jerk. And a lot of the mistakes I’ve made in my life come from that. They come from a refusal to acknowledge that other people have feelings – in my personal life, and my professional life.

 

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§ The CBLDF continues it look back at women in comics with a profile of Lee Marrs:

Lee Marrs, who would become one of the first and most outspoken women creators of the underground comix movement, got her start working in the comics industry as a part-time assistant on the strips Little Orphan Annie and Hi & Lois. Although this was her beginning in the industry, her entrepreneurial drive ultimately led her to San Francisco in 1971 where she worked alongside other underground legends like Trina Robbins. Her passionate approach to comics and desire to create works that spoke to all kinds of women became a major inspiration for other women creators to get involved in the comics scene. In a time when mainstream comics were still being heavily regulated and censored by the Code, the fledgling underground scene was really the only place where creators could express themselves freely and produce the books that they wanted. Although it was still heavily perceived as the proverbial “boy-club,” this didn’t stop Marrs. Instead of trying to be exclusively included in their comix, Marrs made her own. The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp was born and would run from 1973 to 1978—an incredible run for an independently created work.

Marrs has such a long and important career in comics and later animation. It’s a shame her work is so little known now.

§ Blossom did not like Frozen.

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§ Wonderful comics! Remember that stuff! Comics Alliance profiles Aatmaja Pandya, whose name I have been hearing for a long time as one of the most talented recent SVA grads. She had a new comic coming out for MoCCA. Check it out.

CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?

AP: Growing up, it was manga and video games and cartoons that made me want to draw/tell stories. Stuff like Fullmetal Alchemist, The Legend of Zelda series, lots of anime. I feel like this is the case with a lot of younger people in the industry? I read Calvin & Hobbes and Tintin when I was a really little kid. Then I got really into webcomics as I got older – Bobwhite by Magnolia Porter, especially, was the comic that made me want to start making my own comics. Then in my late teens I started reading some of the graphic novel classics, like Maus and Persepolis and Blankets and Asterios Polyp, and finally had the realization that the “mainstream” comics world existed beyond superheroes. Recently, I’ve been looking at Ranma 1/2, Kuragehime, Studio Ghibli movies, and slowly re-reading the Earthsea books, which aren’t comics but are super inspiring.

§ Speaking of comics influences, Boom! Editor Shannon Watters, one of the driving forces behind the introduction pf the “Adventure Time/tumblr” style to “mainstream” comics publishing, talks about the #ComicsForward thing and touches on a lot of the new culture clash of comics buyers:

It’s kind of why I put it as Wednesday comics buyers. It really is a cultural thing. It’s less of a group of people; you can’t really say that everyWednesday comics buyer is a white male between the ages of 30 and whatever, you know? You can’t pigeonhole that, but what does set those people apart is they’ve learned the status quo of the direct market system. They are used to the ritual of going to a comics shop every week on Wednesdays and picking up books. Or going once a month and picking up their stack. I think that has been the most interesting thing, and Kelly Sue [DeConnick] has really done an incredible job with this, educating people who are not Wednesday comics buyers on the importance of preordering within the direct market system to support a book. I think that’s really where the education and honestly the separation is coming from. Not everybody knows how the direct market works and how publishing within the direct market works.

§ CBR is hiring an entry levelLos Angeles-Based Editorial Assistant

JOB DESCRIPTION: CBR is looking for a part-time Editorial Assistant. Duties will include: Data entry General office work, filing, organizing, trash take out General errands including shopping for supplies and more Familiarity with content management systems a plus. Basic knowledge of Photoshop also a plus. Previous journalism experience preferred Knowledge of comic book storylines, creators and culture a plus

 

§ There is a controversy going on over all the money that was donated to Charlie Hebdo after the January attack. The magazine is owned by several different entities, but the surviving cartoonists want to share in the revenue because it’s quite a bit of money: 30 million euros. Oh boy.

§ Remember Lost? Remember Mark Coale’s weekly recaps? And polar bears and smoke monsters? And endless theorizing? So long ago. Staff writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach has a long remembrance of the first few years. This one is hot beverage worthy.

If you are reading this, it might be because you asked me how it all began and I sent you here. Or it might be because — as still happens with depressing regularity — one of the show’s detractors, be that a critic, or, more vexingly, someone who has just created a show and wants to make sure the media realizes that they are above making the mistakes we made (all the while cribbing our best moves) has come out purporting yet again to have some sort “proof” that “the writers of Lost did not know what they were doing.” 

BAM.

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20. Kickstarter’s new Spotlight feature: an ongoing storefront for creators

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A Kickstarter is a little like having a baby in only 31 days, You put all your efforts into the birth, but then what happens to the baby? Well now we’ll get to see the kids grow up and go to school. Kickstarter is enabling creators to showcase more of what happens to projects after the initial funding ends with a new “Spotlight” feature that launches today. All creators with funded projects will now be able to manage the page to present a view of their work, with huge graphics, an inviting look, an attractive new timeline feature that can share the creator’s story at a glance, and links that can go anywhere—so buy buttons and links to ongoing projects can be added.

And for those who like to see how the project got made, the original Kickstarter page will still be archived in a tab called “Story.”

Since Kickstarter ages are often top search results, this is a good way to promote the finished project and later developments and direct buyers to a place to purchase related projects.

For instance here’s how the old pages looked:

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And how they’ll look now:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 5.36.35 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 5.41.45 PM

 

As you can see it’s a huge improvement and a perfect showcase for further interaction and sales. For comics people where Kickstarter pages are already a hub of activity, this can effectively become a storefront. Kickstarter has a very creator-oriented philosophy and this is a strong indication of how they’re implementing that going forward.

 

And here’s a video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7KLTEWL8S4

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21. Diamond Book Distributors hires Carter and Hayes

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A few personnel notes at Diamond Book Distributors, the arm of Diamond that sells to bookstores and other non returnable outlets. Sales Rep Brooke Borneman lest to become director of Marketing for Dorchester publishing last month, and now longtime Diamond employee Stuart Carter has been hired as the new DBD sales manager for Barnes & Noble, Barnes & Noble College, BN.com, Hastings, as well as airport newsstand accounts HMH Host and Hudson Booksellers.  Prior to working at Diamond, Carter was a buyer at Borders/Waldenbooks and HMS Host.  He’ll report to Emily Botica, DBD Director of Sales & Marketing.
 
Also, Josh Hayesis joining DBDas Director of E-Commerce Business Development, where he’ll manage the global supply chain between Amazon North America, Europe, China, Japan and Brazil, and oversee existing and emerging worldwide e-commerce opportunities.  Hayes will report directly to DBD vp Kuo-yu Liang.

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22. Jesse Eisenberg with a bald head = Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Via Entertainment Weekly, here’s your first look at Jesse Eisenberg with a clean shaven dome for his role as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Director Zack Snyder shared a few words on Eisenberg in the role:

He’s not any of the Lexes that you’ve seen, that’s for sure, other than him being a captain of industry and one person to the world and another person to himself. And bald, of course. Our Lex is disarming and he’s not fake. He says what he believes and he says what’s on his mind. If you can unravel the string and decipher what he means, it’s all there.

More importantly, this tips me off to the idea that we’ll be seeing a trailer very soon, as they had been keeping Eisenberg’s head under wraps (literally) for months. Now that this cat is out of the bag, those WonderCon trailer debut rumors don’t seem so unfounded.

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23. Review: HIT 1957, A Good Year For California Wine and Crime

Hit 1957 #1 (of 4)

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Story : Bryce Carlson

Art: Vanesa R. Del Rey

Colors: Niko Guardia

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

 

 

 
Hit: 1957 is the second volume in the Bryce Carlson series and continues its dark and violent dive into the depths of 1950’s corruption in Los Angeles. While it certainly doesn’t blaze new territory, it does deliver on the promise of sharp noir with only the slightest of hiccups.

Writer Bryce Carlson picks up the series two years after the events of the original. Mickey Cohen is out of jail and the LAPD have seemingly regained control of the city. The underworld is however a different story. A battle for Los Angeles has been raging between infiltrating crime boss Domino and detective Harvey Slater’s morally gray area task force. That’s really the direction the story goes, as Slater must deal with the war on organized crime, pressure from internal affairs, and the kidnapping of Bonnie Blair.

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Russ Manning Award winner Vanesa R. Del Rey takes on art duties for the book and in a word, it’s stellar. She has a knack for cinematic angling. When you combine her heavy lining with the moody colors of Niko Guardia it makes for a noir combination that’s just right. The opening sequence of the book illustrates that magic hour pop of the day just right. This natural auburn cast by the setting of the sun is depicted as an augment on the emotional tone of the characters. Though it isn’t all sunshine, towards the end of the book its look feels a little inconsistent with some of the face work.

Overall the book is solid, though its jumps can be a bit jarring at times. Carlson writes a story for California history buffs. You’ll see a lot of seediness, which marred an influential period in the economic and social development of Los Angeles. In a book like this you won’t always be able to tell the good guys from the bad, and that’s the mark of any good noir. Crime stories aren’t fast by nature and their fury heats to a boiling point subtlety and that’s what you’ll see here. Hit: 1957 isn’t blazing any new trails with its content or plot devices, but it does so many things right that it warrants picking up for a chance at your pull list.

 

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24. Who should play Jesse Custer in the Preacher TV Show?

The Preacher pilot is HAPPENING. I never believed this day would come. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s scabrous, epic take on religion, armageddon and personal honor is still violent and shocking. But it’s happening.

They’ve cast Tulip (Ruth Negga)

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And Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun)

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And Arseface (Ian Colletti)

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But who will play Jesse Custer? The main man, the fallen preacher whose power allow him to take on God himself?

Maybe it should be Matt Ryan, who plays the almost sure to not return Constantine.

After all, Constantine and Jesse Custer look a lot alike.

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Actually, the front runner is said to be Dominic Cooper, who also has a strong resemblance to Howard Stark. This is all getting very confusing.

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25. San Diego Comic-Con Hoteloween was scarier than usual this year

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As I write this, the hotel situation for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con remains in flux. Open hotel registration—which is in effect a lottery based on hand and browser speed—took place yesterday morning, and it was a tense, tense 10 minutes with confirmation emails yet to go out.

Hours of training, both physical and mental, memorizing maps and testing internet speed were all for nought for a bunch of folks—the Beat included—because the website suffered some kind of hitch. Tony Kim has a sad account, backed up by many on Twitter. As the world collectively hit the refresh button at high noon EDT, 9 am PDT, the hotel selection form froze up and then sent you to the “Congrats, wait for your email” screen. That’s what happened here. I got the first screen, clicked on some hotels hit return, got kicked out and then sat there in confusion and dread and then went back in. The second time it worked but by then four minutes had passed, four precious, precious minutes, and downtown hotels are usually gone long before that to people with better autofill speeds.

Several people have heard from Travel Planners, the company that has been running Hotel Hell for many years, that a follow-up email would be sent to those who had submitted faulty forms and they would have a chance to pick their six hotels and resubmit. But would the first time stamp be honored? A few tweets of relevance:

I didn’t get any Travel Planners email so I guess my second form went through alright…but too late. No one seems to have gotten any “confirmation” emails from Travel Planners yet, either. But the fine folks there are doubtless working hard to make sure that people are taken care of.

And now the waiting begins. But I’m not going to just sit here and wait. I’m making a bold offer. If anyone has a spare room at the Omni, either Hilton, the Marriott Marina or the Hyatt, I’m willing to trade this mechanical pencil for it.
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That’s right, for an extra hotel room you have no need of, you will receive this beautiful mechanical pencil, size B. The pencil is a few years old, but has not been used much, and has a secure grip for a firm, confident line. The pencil does not come with leads, but I’m sure you can find those at any stationary store.

This is a good deal, please give it some serious consideration.

Good luck to everyone caught up in this trying time. And as is now traditional for speaking of Hoteloween, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

PS: I know that the hashtag used among Hall H waiters is #hotelpocalypse, but I’ sticking with #hoteloween because you never know what you’re going to get and I was here first.

3 Comments on San Diego Comic-Con Hoteloween was scarier than usual this year, last added: 3/27/2015
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