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1. Recently Received: NAVA

Nava Superbag

NAVA is an Italian brand that has strong roots in the design community. Established in 1970, they have a long history of working with the leading designers of the day. Nendo Projects, Massimo Vignelli, Enzo Mari, Naoto Fukasawa and Max Huber are just a few of the designers that NAVA has collaborated with over the years. The success of these partnerships has allowed NAVA to craft a functional yet undeniably stylish product line that supercedes vain fashion.  Many of these products have gone on to become icons that are still displayed in museums and galleries around the world.

We recently received a package from NAVA which contained items from the latest Michel Charlot collaboration as well as a classic notepad/daily planner designed by Max Huber during the early stages of the company. We explore these products in words and pictures after the jump.

 

Nava Superbag

 

Superbag – Vertical Shopper
Designed by Michel Charlot for NAVA
Dimensions - 39 x 41 x 12 cm

The Vertical Shopper is one of five bags designed by Michael Charlor for the Superbag collection. Weighing in at a mere 1.5 LBs it remains lightweight yet durable. The bag features several handles along with a carrying strap and can easily contain a 15″ MacBook Pro. In addition the bag is 100% waterproof for those seeking extra protection against the elements.

Available at Nava

 

 

Max Huber notebook

Max Huber notebook

 

Day By Day Agenda
Designed by Max Huber and Aoi Kono for NAVA
Dimensions - 17×24 cm

Designed in 1972 by Max Huber and his wife, the Day by Day planner presents a simple yet elegant way to capture your thoughts and structure your calendar.  Spared from flashy graphics and superfluous features the minimal and unobtrusive design keeps you focused on the tasks at hand.

 

Available at NAVA

 

Nava notebook

 

No Ordinary Notes notepad
By NAVA
Dimensions - 15 x 21 cm

Developed in-house, No Ordinary Notes is a sturdy line of notebooks available in a variety of colors. Each notebook features 160 ruled pages and are available in the A5 and A6 sizes.  In addition it features a waterproof cover and an elastic band to keep it sealed shut.

 

Available at NAVA

 

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2. I am taking the Great Ivy and Bean Reread Challenge!


THE GREAT IVY + BEAN REREAD CHALLENGE

Parents, get your reader on board with the Great Ivy + Bean Reread Challenge! This year’sInternational Ivy + Bean Day is on Saturday, October 18th. And boy, have we got some treats (no tricks!) in store for your little reader.
We’re kicking things off today with The Great Ivy + Bean Reread Challenge! Encourage your reader to take the challenge and reread all 10 Ivy + Bean books in the 10 weeks leading up to Ivy + Bean Day–then enter your email address for a chance to win a prize for your Ivy + Beanie.
Each week we’ll randomly choose a winner to receive a prize. Weekly prizes might include an Ivy + Bean personalized lunchbox, an Ivy + Bean Button Factory, a set of Ivy + Bean mini-notes, or an Ivy + Bean personalized folder.
How does that sound? Is your little reader ready for the challenge?
On your mark…get set…yow!

Here is a week-by-week breakdown:
Week 1, August 4th, 2014 : Ivy + Bean (Book 1)
Week 2, August 11th, 2014: Ivy + Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go  (Book 2)
Week 3, August 18th, 2014 : Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record (Book 3)
Week 4, August 25th, 2014: Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter (Book 4)
Week 5, September 1st, 2014: Ivy + Bean Bound to be Bad (Book 5)
Week 6, September 8th, 2014: Ivy + Bean Doomed to Dance (Book 6)
Week 7, September 15th, 2014: Ivy + Bean What’s the Big Idea? (Book 7)
Week 8, September 22nd, 2014: Ivy + Bean No News is Good News (Book 8)
Week 9, September 29th, 2014: Ivy + Bean Make the Rules (Book 9)
Week 10, October 6th, 2014: Ivy + Bean Take the Case (Book 10)

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3. 2014 American Poets Prize Winners

The Academy of American Poets has revealed the winners of the 2014 American Poets Prizes. The organization will give out more than $200,000 to poets in award money.

Robert Hass has won the Wallace Stevens Award, an honor which recognizes “proven mastery in the art of poetry” and comes with a $100,000 stipend. Hass is the author of a number of collections of poetry including The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems. Tracy K. Smith has received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, which recognizes ”distinguished poetic achievement” and comes with a stipend of $25,000. Her most recent collection, Life on Mars, won the Pulitzer Prize

Rigoberto González’s book Unpeopled Eden has received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, which includes a $25,000 purse. The award  ”recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year.” Brian Blanchfield’s book A Several World  has been awarded the James Laughlin Award, a prize for a “superior second book of poetry by an American poet,” which carries a $25,000 prize. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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4. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Malachi Ward

_VILE DECAY Cover-toned-up

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Malachi Ward has been building up steam in the small press comics world the last few years. His latest release, Ritual 3: Vile Decay, has been met with critical acclaim, and he continues his strong creative collaboration with writer/artist/friend Matt Sheean on their self-published title, Expansion, and Prophet from Image Comics. His earliest works, Utu & Scout, introduced his distinctive character-driven, surreal, sci-fi stories to readers, and you can find similar themes explored in his paintings, as well.

Malachi Ward was raised in Yucaipa, California, and studied drawing & painting in college. Some of his biggest influences growing up included Calvin and Hobbes, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Spider-man comics. He currently lives in South Pasadena, CA with his wife Keiko.

Malachi will be attending the San Francisco Zine Fest this coming Labor Day weekend, Small Press Expo in North Bethesda, MD on September 13th & 14th, and Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco on October 4th & 5th. His work with Matt Sheean continues in Prophet Strikefile, hitting comics shops in the next few weeks.

You can order a copy of Ritual 3: Vile Decay at the Alternative Comics website.

You can follow Malachi Ward on his tumblr site here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

The post Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Malachi Ward appeared first on Illustration Friday.

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5. Ed Chavez and The Success of Knights Of Sidonia

This past Saturday Kinokuniya and Vertical Inc held a Knights of Sidonia event, which turned out to preview the first episode of the Sidonia anime on Netflix, some brief talk on Vertical’s involvement with the anime staff, and a Q & A which revealed the anime was doing well on Netflix. After the event, Ed ... Read more

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6. At Long Last! The Return Of The Improbability Of The British Super Hero


I think it well worth re-posting this item (with some new artwork) because, as I pointed out in my post on Delcourt jumping on to the cash-cow of super heroes (admitting it!) by having its series Sentinels made into a film, super heroes are highly profitable and if the rather conservative big Franco-Belgian BD publishers realise this....

But where are the business entrepreneurs -hmm?

Myself, Stransky, LaBatt and Ben Dilworth sit ready.  Yes, after years of just saying "someone" needs to be a figure-head to launch such a project I am now so fed up that I am putting myself forward ("Blimey! A Saviour complex -I told you!" I can just hear that little moron screaming it now).

Forget skyscrapers. We have high streets, coastal towns, villages and cities -we have unique scenery in the UK and all are ripe for British super heroes!



“Hmm. Don’t you understand?  Think about it –we have no skyscrapers!  How can you have American style super heroes in England?”

Those were the words of a Marvel UK editor (Dave White) back in the 1980s as I sat across from him having travelled from Bristol to London at his suggestion to discuss new projects.  About a month later a very senior Marvel UK editor responded in the same words but adding “That is why UK comics have never had super heroes.”

Firstly, as I pointed out to Dave White, we are the UK. Britain. You think of characters for a comic as being English you are excluding Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  Why?

My response to the senior editor is probably why things went a little “odd” work-wise.  My first response was “So, what exactly is Marvel UK publishing? And Power Comics (Odhams) before it? And…” I went on to rattle off a very, very long list of British super characters going back to the 1940s.  I think I ticked him off.  Really, he should have known better though, in one respect, he was right.



British comics never had super heroes.

Before you start thinking that I’m on new medications and answering “Yes” and “No” at the same time allow me to explain.

Tim (Kelly’s Eye) Kelly travelled the world and even in time and space at one point and was totally indestructible.  He was not a super hero.


Clem Macy, television news reporter had a costumed archer alter ego…The Black Archer.  He was not a super hero.

Cathy had amazing cat-like abilities and wore a costume.  She was not a super heroine.

William and Kathleen Grange were incredible acrobats and wore costumes as Billy the Cat and Katie The Cat.  They were not super heroes.


In fact, for my graphic novel featuring many old IPC and Fleetway costumed characters, The Looking Glass, I noted several times that the characters were not super heroes.  In the UK we tended to call them “costumed adventurers” or even “masked crime fighters” but not super heroes.

Some, of course, were…uh..”revived” for the Wildstorm Studios Albion mini series which had great art but, sadly, showed a lack of any real knowledge of the characters by the writers –which they admitted to.  In comics you get paying work you take it!



Characters such as Adam Eterno, the focal point in the Looking Glass story had no choice and were at times almost anti-heroes.  Whereas The Spider had a choice of being a master crook and then changing sides (basically all ego driven), Eterno did not.  He was cursed to be taken by the mists of time from one period to another where he encountered Spanish Conquistadores, pirates, sorcerers and even modern day (well, 1970s) crooks.

Olaf (“Loopy”) Larsen a rather meek school teacher found the Viking helmet of one of his ancestors and, donning it (that’s putting it on his head) became a super strong, flying Viking hero…The Phantom Viking.  There are stories of The Phantom Viking rescuing ships and much more and not a skyscraper in sight.


The great exponents of British roof-top crime-busting were, first, Billy The Cat and later Katie The Cat.  Running across the rooftops and leaping the often not so great gaps between one row of terraced houses and another, the duo were the fictional ancestors of today’s urban free-style runners/jumpers –examples found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ0YDF9bpZ8&feature=player_embedded#!

To most people who never get to see the rooves of terraced houses they assume they are all steep and sloping.  However, having on two occasions chased someone across terraced root-tops I can tell you there is plenty of room to move about (though at my age I now look back and get nauseous over that memory!).

Later, in the 1970s, William Farmer became the costumed crime-fighter known as The Leopard From Lime Street.  As one Fleetway boss told me (later confirmed by artist Mike Western) “Thomson had a schoolboy who fights crooks in a costume and if Billy the Cat was popular I was sure we could do better!”

Interestingly, in the Billy The Cat series he was later to be hunted as a vigilante by authorities who did not like what he was doing.  Likewise, The Leopard was also hunted down at one point.  In fact, a number of British comic crime-fighters found themselves not just ducking the crooks out for revenge but also the very side they were fighting for!




Towns, cities, villages, countryside, coastal locations –all featured in some very fun stories that endure in the memory to this day.  And not a bloody skyscraper in sight!

When UK creators were recruited to save the ailing US comic companies such as DC in the 1980s (I was at those UK comic art conventions watching how desperate they were to recruit British talent –and in some cases introduced both parties to each other) the idea of outlawing super heroes and tracking them down so they could be arrested was a new concept.  In the UK we’d been doing that since the 1940s ( thanks to the creators who churned out material for publishers such as Gerald Swan)!

The mistake in the minds of publishers is that they equate costumed crime-fighters with skyscrapers and the United States.  Despite the long history of such characters in the UK going back to the Boys Papers of the 1900-1930s.

What it says, really, is “This is just a job.  I don’t care about comics history.”

D. C. Thomson (may they be forever cursed in the hallowed halls of British Comics Hell) have enough characters to produce good costumed-crime-fighter comics.  The same applied to IPC who appear to have now taken the stance (a letter to me from senior management dated 19th July, 2011) “We were once publishing comics but that was over 30 years ago and have no further interest in comics.” Of course, had a rich stable of characters.



I have no doubt at all that a good “super hero” comics could work in the UK but so few Independent Comics writers/publishers seem to be able to produce an obscenities free script that does not also include over the top violence and rape –the “Millar-Ennis-Morrison Legacy (MEML).”

But let’s mention, I really must, two shining examples of British “Super Heroes” by British creators that have excellent plotting, story and action without having to resort to the MEML.
Jack Staff and cast
The first is, naturally, Paul Grist’s Jack Staff.  Okay, he’s never accepted my offer to interview him in the last decade but I’ll not hold that against him!  When I first saw Jack Staff I thought “**** that anatomy is really off!”  I bought a copy.  I’m a comics bitch, I just can’t help it.

I read through issue 1 and do you know what? I..I..deep breath…I enjoyed it!  There it’s out now!  The anatomy did not put me off and, as the manager of Forbidden Planet (Bristol) said “It doesn’t make a blind bit of difference –it’s so enjoyable!” With references to old British TV comedy series and so much more each issue of Jack Staff was a must read. There was, I must point out here, a major flaw in each issue. There were not enough pages!

And while Grist takes a break from Jack Staff he came up with a new series –Mud-Man (which should not be confused with my German character Schlamm Mann –mud-man!).  Lovely stuff but, again, the major fault of not enough pages but maybe that is why this works: it is almost episodic like old British weekly strips…but with more pages…okay. Grist wins.

Then we have, and I have to say this on bended knees and in very humble tone…Nigel Dobbyn. When someone told me that he was drawing Billy The Cat I remember thinking to myself “I wonder whether his art style is any different than when he was drawing for Super Adventure Stories?”  (a 1980s comic zine).  I opened up the comic and a big thought balloon appeared above my head in which was written in bold Comic Sans “WOW!”

The style and colouring I had not seen outside of European comics (say Cyrus Tota’s work on Photonik).  After that I never missed an issue and I made a point of grabbing The Beano Annual as soon as it appeared in shops. But with this incredible talent working for them did Thomson take advantage?  No, they did something ensuring he would not work on new strips for them.  The story can be found here:

http://www.comicbitsonline.com/2010/12/12/nigel-dobbynbilly-the-cat-and-d-c-thomson/

You want to see how good Dobbyn is?  Visit his website which has great art on show including Billy The Cat colour pages:

http://www.nigeldobbyn.com/


Dobbyn even re-introduced (with help from scripter Kev F. Sutherland, of course) General Jumbo but as The General.  In fact, you go over those issues and I can see why so many people were telling me that they only bought copies for Billy The Cat. I could drool on and wax lyrical for hours about Dobbyn’s style and colouring.

Now here is the real kicker.  Two talents such as Grist and Dobbyn whom any UK publisher (I know –“Who??”) should be fighting, spitting and kicking to get their hands on but are they?  Nope.  And while Grist publishes his books via Image Comics you have to wonder why Marvel or DC have not tried to get him on a title?  Could it be his style is just not understandable by people in US Comics such as Joe “I’ll sell that for a Dollar” Quesada or Dan “I’ve had another brilliant idea on how to destroy DC” Didio?  What of Dobbyn, then?

I know that if as a publisher I had the money I’d be employing both full time!!

I need to stop mentioning Dobbyn now as my knees hurt (a lot) and it’s hard typing from this position.

What both creators have shown is that there really do not have to be skyscrapers for a “super hero.”  There is enough car crime, drug crime…violent crime of most types going on in the UK and believe it or not none involve a single skyscraper.  Incredible, isn’t it?

Also, the UK is rich in legends, myths, fairy tales and much more that are just crying out to be included in storylines.  The reason the Americans and other comic readers world-wide like UK strips is because they are uniquely British.  In India, particularly in Southern India, The Steel Claw, Robot Archie, The Spider and many others are still very popular in reprint form over 35 years since they last appeared in print here.

Of course, now that the Evil Empire (Disney) has extended its stranglehold on Marvel (Panini) UK nothing new from the UK is allowed –though why doesn’t Panini with all its international branches pull in some new characters/books of their own?  Oh. Its cheaper tp publish reprint material, isn’t it? I can be so silly!

Black Tower Comics has published a wide range of comics and the costumed crime-fighters (or even non-costumed in the case of Krakos) are the most popular.

So the market is there but where are the moneymen, the backers needed to help revive the corpse that is British comics so that it can proudly boast an industry once more that takes advantage of talents such as Grist, Dobbyn and Jon Haward?

However improbable British super heroes might seem to sum I can tell you they are not.  There is a history going back 80 years and even longer if you include the Penny Dreadfuls of the Victorian era.

Here endeth the sermon.

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7. The Best Part of the Day

A brand new just released 2 days ago picture book is a very exciting thing for everyone involved in the blessed event.

As the illustrator, I spent many months drawing and then painting the illustrations for this book. That part wasn't unusual, that's what happens with every book I illustrate.
But this book...everyday for months, for hours everyday...I was steeped in Gratitude, buoyed as it were in a sea of thankfulness.

   This is from the back of the book, for those old enough to read such things, a message "upon reading this book", from Sarah;
   " Each day all we have is all we need, although many days what we truly need is an awareness of how much we have. Gratitude makes this transformative miracle possible in tiny choices and small steps. The pace of Grace is best bestowed while holding a child's hand."

  While working on these paintings I fell in love with the concept, the practice of introducing Gratitude to small children, especially in these times when busyness and overwhelm and scary events that feel beyond ones control seem to be front and center. Creating a space for quiet reflection  is a gift I try to give myself everyday, counting my blessings and reminding myself that I am surrounded by abundance, miracles, large and small and that my life, always, is so very full of so much to be grateful for.
 Again, from the book, "...our happy task as we read to our children and grandchildren is to help them ( as well as ourselves! ) recall a few moments which brought smiles to their faces and made the day special. When we do this, we explore the grace of Gratitude, not as a "grown-up" philosophy, but as a creative and spiritual practice that anchors our lives in appreciation and wonder".
 She goes on to say more, but you'll have to read the book!

Working on this book made me happy, and I hope that happiness shines through in the finished paintings. I am grateful to Cheryl, Diane and Marji at Regnery Kids who chose me to illustrate this book and, of course, I am deeply thankful to Sarah for writing it in the first place....and to everyone who  takes a moment, everyday, to recall the best part of their day!

Advance copies...the day the books arrived!!!!

Oh, and before I forget, The Best Part of the Day can be found at bookstores everywhere and of course online at Amazon ,
Barnes & Noble





                                                                       Thank You

                                                                       best, Wendy



 



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8. The Empire Strikes Back

No Fighting1 The Empire Strikes BackALSC Past-President Starr LaTronica responds to my July editorial. Incidentally, we’re publishing a terrific piece in the November issue by Thom Barthelmess (former ALSC prez and BGHB chair) about how to conduct oneself in a professional book discussion. Thom is far more temperate about these things than am I.

share save 171 16 The Empire Strikes Back

The post The Empire Strikes Back appeared first on The Horn Book.

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9. Publishing Salaries Up 2.8% in 2013: Publishers Weekly

Publishing salaries increased 2.8 percent in 2013, according to a new study from Publishers Weekly.

The increase in salary is consistent with the rise in salaries between 2012 and 2013, which also rose 2.8 percent on average.

Here is more from Publishers Weekly: “The salary increase in 2013 was held down to some degree by the number of employees who received no raise in 2013—19% said their pay was flat in the year. One-quarter of employees said they received a raise of between 2.0% and 2.9% in 2013, while another 20% reported a raise of between 3.0% and 3.9%. Overall, 74% of employees received a raise under 4% in 2013.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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10. English Teacher Under Investigation For Writing a Fiction Featuring School Shootings

A school district in Maryland has placed an 8th grade English teacher on administrative leave after finding out that the teacher had written two works of fiction which dealt with the subject of school shootings.

Patrick McLaw, published two books under the pseudonym Dr. K.S. Voltaer – The Insurrectionist and Lilith’s Heir. The books deal with a fictitious high school shooting set in the year 2902 in which 947 people are killed.

McLaw is not allowed on campus until the school and local law enforcement investigate the matter. Here is more from RT.com:

“While on administrative leave, he is not allowed to come onto school property or participate in school events,” the statement continues. “Mr. McLaw’s teaching duties have been assigned to qualified personnel to insure the smooth transition of students into the fall semester.” Additionally, Wager wrote that an officer from the Cambridge Police Department will be at Mace’s Lane middle school “for as long as we deem it necessary.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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11. DC Comics -Warner: "No Jokes"

I think this Yahoo! News item by Drew McWeeny shows just how far behind the times DC Comics and Warner are.  Sadly, they seriously do not get the back-forth joky banter that Marvel was known for and which has been included in the movies.

Oh, and there are now rumours of some delays in filming "because of certain properties" -and I have no idea what the hell that is about.

Why Superman and Batman may lose the war to Marvel before they even begin



Why Superman and Batman may lose the war to Marvel before they even begin
.

Warner Bros. has ambitious plans for their superhero properties, but have they put a rule in place for all of the DC movies that has already given Marvel's flawed-but-lovable heroes the upper hand?
"No jokes."

Last week was about the fifth time I've heard that there is a mandate at Warner Bros. regarding any of the DC superhero films in development, and it's very simple and direct and to the point.

"No jokes."

It would seem like a crazy rule to set for an entire series of films. How can you know what the tone is for every story you'll be telling in a series before you've even started telling it? The thing is, DC has taken a few stabs at establishing this larger universe on film, and they've gotten smacked down for everything that hasn't had Batman in it. "Man Of Steel" made money, and I'm certainly not the only person to like the film. I may be one of its more ardent defenders, but I'm not alone. I think you'd have a far harder time finding someone to defend "Green Lantern," the studio's other big attempt at launching one of the core Justice League characters with a film franchise of his own.

One thing you'd have to grant "Green Lantern," whatever your feelings about it as a movie, is that they've got lots of jokes in that movie. They are resolutely unafraid to make jokes. Green Lantern/Hal Jordan/Ryan Reynolds (there is no discernible difference between these three identities) makes jokes throughout the film, and the trailer featured plenty of them. There is a wise-ass attitude to a good chunk of the film that is very much on purpose. Every one of the guys they looked at to play the lead in the film had to be as well-liked as a comic performer as an action star. That's not a long list, but it seems like the exact sweet spot that studios are constantly searching for. Look at the reaction to Chris Pratt now that he's made the jump to a lead in the biggest film of the summer. He's the guy studios dream of when they dream of new young movie stars. A sense of humor seems like an essential club to have in the golf bag, right?

Not according to Warner/DC. Not after "Green Lantern."


Now, to be fair, no one has directly connected those dots for me. But something has caused this shift in the overall editorial voice of the DC superhero movies. There's got to be a point behind an edict as broad and as specific as that.

Here's why I have trouble believing any studio would do that. Even in the most serious of mainstream movies, some of the most memorable moments are those points where they let off steam, where a laugh is used to punctuate. In adventure movies especially, a laugh can make the difference between a movie people like and a movie people love. The right laugh can make a movie a classic. Think of that beat in "Raiders" where Indy shoots the swordsman. That laugh is not just a huge rush of relief in the middle of a harrowing and thrilling action set piece, but it's also a character-defining moment for Indiana Jones. George Lucas may have his qualms about whether or not Han Solo shot first, but Indy's no dummy; of course he's going to shoot first. That's why Indiana Jones is still alive.

Laughter also allows audiences to swallow some of the more ridiculous things that they're asked to buy into with modern event films. Suspension of disbelief is always a sort of a magic trick if you're dealing with aliens or superheroes, but you add a talking raccoon with a fetish for giant guns and a talking tree creature that is meant to be the emotional heart of the film, and you'd better figure out exactly how to embrace that absurdity, make the jokes that win the audience over, and use that humor to smuggle in the sentiment. If you've got an audience laughing, you've got them willing to accept things.



DC is going to try for some big characters with Batman and Wonder Woman and The Flash and Cyborg and Aquaman, and one thing that's always seemed true to me of DC comics versus Marvel is tone. DC treats their superhero characters more like gods, fighting battles that we simply can't comprehend or participate in because of our natures. Even Batman, who has no superpowers, is treated like he is a legend, an icon that he's nurtured as a symbol of fear. Marvel characters are more flawed, more human, struggling to live human lives while still dealing with their powers and their responsibility to the world. And if DC finds a way to try to play their films on this larger, operatic, hero-as-myth level storytelling, I'd be excited to see that. I'd want to see that.

But if "No Jokes" is a reaction to "Green Lantern," an edict that comes from a desire to simply do things differently from Marvel, it could really paint DC's movies into a corner, and I would imagine that it's giving some filmmakers pause in considering whether or not they'd want to make a DC movie.

While I thought there were some gentle pokes at genre fans in "Man Of Steel," there's nothing in that film that I'd call a joke. There were set-ups and punch-lines in the Nolan Batman films, but I wouldn't really describe those movies as "funny" in any significant way. "Green Lantern" is the one film where they really gave a character permission to talk shit in the Tony Stark manner, fast and funny and self-aware, and where audiences seemed to love it when Robert Downey Jr. did it, they did not seem as smitten with Reynolds.
Instead of worrying about something as drastic as "No Jokes," the studio should look at how important it is to get a consistent sense of tone in one of these movies. The reason "Guardians" manages to get away with some of its more outrageous moments is because it tells us right up front, during that great opening title sequence, that this is going to be fun, and it's going to be irreverent, and it's not going to take everything deadly serious. There are serious moments in the film, heartfelt moments, sad moments, ridiculous moments, and big action mayhem moments. The film does all sorts of different things, but it always seems ready to wink and dance away, and that's what we expect from it. "Green Lantern" didn't fail because it was funny; it failed because it had no idea what kind of film it was. Martin Campbell goes for big broad comedy in some scenes, and he's got a decent visual wit. He stages some of the training stuff well, and he tries to give Oa a sense of wonder. There are images in the film that I feel like he comes very close to pulling off, but when he fumbles it, he really fumbles it, and the bad guy in the movie is a disaster.

Parallax is, for lack of an easier visual description, a cloud made of poop and mouths. It is a singularly unpleasant visual bad guy, and when he transforms Peter Sarsgaard, he makes him into a repellent big-headed horror movie bad guy. Considering how light some of the sequences are, like when Hal uses his powers to make a giant green race track to save someone, the villains feel ill-considered, like they're from another film.

Consistency is key. You can make jokes, and in films about Superman and Batman and Green Lantern, it seems perfectly okay to make jokes because these are giant cultural icons. We have complicated relationships with these characters because of the ways we are exposed to them and which versions we read or watch or see first, and nobody has the exact same checklist of what makes Superman Superman or what makes Batman Batman. Trying to hold everyone making films for the studio to one somewhat rigid, joyless tone would be creative suicide.

So I'm going to put the question out there, and as we all talk to Zack Snyder or David Goyer or any of the actors working on these characters, I'd love to hear an answer, a firm denial. Is it true? Is DC really so gun-shy that they've laid this rule down for all of their films?

Is it really a "No Jokes" future we have to look forward to?

And if so, do you think Marvel feels like they've already won in terms of audience sympathy if this is really how things are supposed to move forward?

Man, I'm curious to get a look at "Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice" on March 25, 2016.

Now, if all that sounds bad you need to read McWeeny's other great piece to see just how up their own arses these people are creatively: 
Warner pits writers of 'Gangster Squad' and '300' against each other on 'Aquaman'

Yeah, and you wonder why Aquaman ain't no happy sea horse!
Warner pits writers of 'Gangster Squad' and '300' against each other on 'Aquaman'

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12. LIVE! From the 71st Venice Film Festival - Birdman & The President

BIRDMAN directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, starring Michael Keaton

(Venice, Italy) The transitory nature of power and glory are the themes of both BIRDMAN and THE PRESIDENT, the opening films of the 2014 Venice International Film Festival.

BIRDMAN or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, stars Michael Keaton as a movie star who once achieved international fame by playing the superhero "Birdman," and is now trying to revive his career by betting everything, including his Malibu house, on a Broadway show, starring in, directing, producing and adapting a Raymond Carver short story. BIRDMAN has received mostly positive reviews, including a bunch of raves.

Michael Keaton & Edward Norton
From VARIETY:

Michael Keaton pulls off a startling comeback in Alejandro G. Inarritu's blistering showbiz satire.

From the LONDON EVENING STANDARD:

The Venice Film Festival has pulled off a genuine coup by bagging the star-studded Birdman for its opening night, an expertly delivered black comedy about showbiz and celebrity, fantasy and reality



This is a phenomenal start to this year’s Mostra: grand, spectacular, star-powered cinema that makes us ask anew what cinema is for. Call it a Dark Knight of the soul.

Amy Ryan & Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton soars in Alejandro G. Inarritu's brilliantly directed dark comedy about celebrity and creation

 THE GUARDIAN feels differently:

This year’s Venice film festival begins with Alejandro González Iñárritu’s showbiz satire, a film as jittery, shallow and occasionally inspired as its hero

I'm with The Guardian on this one. I just wasn't sure what key we were in. Black comedy? Drama? Magical realism? During the press conference, Inarritu said he wanted to step out of his comfort zone, and that he realized for the first time that you could laugh on a set. He said he was terrified, but was happy to have done it.

He did some get great performances out of his actors. Emma Stone in particular was impressive, playing Keaton's daughter, Sam, just out of rehab. At the press conference, Stone said she'd "learned more on this movie than I've ever learned," and wanted to do it all over again.

Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who shot Gravity, does the same thing to New York City as he did to outer space -- makes us feel like were are really there. Time Square, Broadway, the St. James Theater... I could smell the city. Amy Ryan, who plays Keaton's ex-wife, said that "New York is another character in this film."

When I think of other satirical films like, say, NETWORK, that aroused such a depth of emotion in audiences throughout the world, I don't think BIRDMAN matches that level of engagement. But if we compare it to yet another superhero action film, then it does reach the level of "inspired."

(As I write this in the press room, it is difficult to tell who is making more commotion -- the crowd roaring as the celebrities arrive on the red carpet, or the anti-cruise ship demonstrators protesting in the street below.)

THE PRESIDENT directed by Moshen Makhmalbaf
THE PRESIDENT, the opening film of the Orizzoni (Horizons) section of the Venice Film Festival by the Iranian director, Moshen Makhmalbaf was shot in Georgia, and is in the Georgian language with Italian and English subtitles. It opens with the dictator of an unnamed country holding his young grandson on his lap and illustrating how much fun it is to play with power when the boy complains he doesn't want his grandfather's job, he wants an ice cream. Grandpa picks up the phone and orders that all the lights in the major city below be turned off. Instantly, the city goes black. He hands the receiver to his grandson, who orders that all the lights be turned back on. Flash! The city lights up. The grandson then orders all the lights off once again. Again, the city goes black. But when the boy orders the lights back on again, nothing happens. The city remains black. And so starts the beginning of the revolution...

Dachi Orvelashvili and Misha Gomiashvili
His Majesty (as The President is called by everyone) and his grandson, are forced to flee their palace and disguise themselves as ordinary citizens, experiencing firsthand the pain and destruction the dictator's leadership cost his own people. 

From VARIETY:

Mohsen Makhmalbaf offers a didactic morality tale about a fallen autocrat and his innocent grandson fleeing murderous revolutionaries bent on vengeance.

During the press conference Makhmalbaf, who lives in exile in London, said he wanted to illustrate that not only the dictator, but the revolutionaries turn to violence. When you remove a dictator, the violence and thirst for revenge remains among the population, creating a vicious cycle. Variety said it expected more from Makhmalbaf; again, I disagree. Even though the message seems "obvious," given the state of current events, not many nations seem to grasp that simple thing.

Ciao from the Venice Film Festival,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog  

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13. 您好,欢迎所有的中国游客到CBO的!


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14. This Is Sadie

My new picture book This Is Sadie, co-created with the ridiculously talented Julie Morstad, and produced under the tender care of the brilliant editor Tara Walker at Tundra Books will be out in the world next spring. 

Today I saw it listed for the first time online and am so very happy to be able to share the cover!
  

More here.

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15. At An Inn

Staying at a Marriott,
You know just what you'll get.
In terms of cleanliness and style,
You have no need to fret.

The same applies to other chains - 
It's comforting to find
The room decor and toiletries
Are what you had in mind.

But when you book a local inn,
It's always a surprise.
Descriptions of your room might clash
With what's before your eyes.

It may be better, may be worse
But one thing is for sure,
It won't resemble any room
You've ever had before.

So play it safe or take a chance
But either way, relax;
When you're away, enjoyment should
Be amped up to the max.




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16. Working with Dream Themes: Health and Healing

Caduceus - Medical Symbol for Healing

Caduceus: The Healing Rod of Asclepius

With nearly 40 years of dreamwork experience, one thing I can say for certain about my dreams is that the archetypal energy of healing at all levels, spiritual, psychological and physical has been expressed in myriad symbols, processes and themes, indicating to me that the primary purpose of dreams is to heal and make whole.

The Benefits of Working with Dreams to Heal

Learning to recognize when and how healing is at work within is a fascinating aspect of the study of dreams. It was one of the first benefits I clearly saw from keeping a dream journal. (See my blog 6 Health Related Benefits of Keeping a #Dream Journal.) As I grew more adept at working with dreams, I learned that they could be used to diagnose, treat and monitor the progress of any kind of ailment. Over the years, I learned to request information about a piece of health information prior to getting the specific lab results to verify the accuracy of that test. I have found my dreams to be up to this point in time 100% accurate and I have been doing this for more than ten years. And last but not least, I saw healings take place within my dreams which then manifested in my body.

How to Become Adept at Working with Health-Related Dreams

If you want to become adept at exploring your health from the dream perspective, do the following:

  1. Keep a dream journal and be faithful in recording all the dreams you can remember, even the most minor and insignificant. Many years ago I had an obscure “one-liner” dream which conveyed the cryptic message, “Everyone is working to develop a method of self-healing.” I knew nothing of what this meant at the time but many years later, I saw it would become one the main purposes of my life, and “everyone” referred to all aspects of me!
  2. Read the groundbreaking book by Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., The Healing Power of Dreams, which gives researched information on how symbols occurring in dreams relate to the body and its state of health. She gives many of the commonly occurring symbols for health in dreams.
  3. In addition the to common symbols for health and healing; learn your personal dream vocabulary. (See Recognizing Your Personal Dream Vocabulary.) What are your unique symbols for health, healing and healers that appear in your dreams?
  4. Notice and reflect on all images, processes and symbols relating to health, the medical field, therapists and healers. What are they telling you?
  5. Learn to request specific health information from dreams (Dream Incubation.) (See Ask and You Shall Receive: Incubating a #Dream.)  For example, ask what particular foods do you need to eat to get healthier?
  6. Request healings to come in dreams.
  7. Test your dream findings with your medical lab tests or a doctor’s diagnosis.  If your dream tells you one thing, and a doctor another, get a second opinion.

Many doctors now are beginning to see the helpfulness of dreams in staying healthy.  My doctor always takes my health dreams seriously and so should yours!  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is said to have learned about the value of dreams and their relationship to health at an asclepion, an ancient type of hospital which was dedicated to the god of healing, Asclepius.  The caduceus, the symbol of medicine which comes to us from this ancient era, depicts snakes wrapped around the rod of Asclepius.


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17. September Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar

Book festivals are continuing in September.

Sat., Sept. 13 Local Authors Expo, Mystic & Noank Library, Mystic, 1:00 to 4:00 PM. No idea if there will be any children's authors involved.

Sat., Sept. 13 Jeanne Rogers, Newtown Arts Festival, Newtown, 3:00 PM. Presentation, Festival admission

Sat., Sept. 13 and Sun., Sept. 14 Sheila Murphy Adams, Dawn Aldrich, Catherine Gibson, Jason MarchiNewtown Arts Festival, Newtown, 10:00 PM to 5:00 PM each day. Admission


Thurs., Sept. 18, Randall Enos, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Westport, 7:00 PM

Sept. 21 Jack Jones, Diane's Books/Tudor Investments Corp, Greenwich, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.  Book launch

Wed. Sept. 24, Phil Nel, UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center, Storrs, 4:00 PM. Speaking on "The Genius of Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon."

Sept. 30, Julie Phillipps, Cheshire Public Library, Cheshire, 7:00 PM. Hour-long Picture Book 101 presentation for beginning writers

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18. Summer Events

Reading Flight School and making penguins with new friends at the Norwich library last weekend. That was fun. Thanks also to the Eric Carle Museum for hosting me at their storytime!

Norwich Public Library

Norwich Public Library

The post Summer Events appeared first on Lita Judge.

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19. Blogging Mistakes

Don't make these mistakes on your author blog. 

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2012/09/top-10-self-sabotaging-mistakes-of.html

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20. Once a Mentor, Forever a Friend

It’s been over 10 years since Mr. Wilbert Scott and Cashadell Lewis first met, but both remember it like it was yesterday.

“My name is Cashadell, but you can call me Cash,” said Lewis.

“You call me Mr. Scott. And I will call you Cashadell Lewis,” Mr. Scott replied.

“When I first saw Mr. Scott, I knew he didn’t play,” recalls Cashadell. “And even though I didn’t want it at the time, I knew I needed someone like him.”

Mr. Scott had been paired with Cashadell as a Power Lunch reading mentor with Everybody Wins! Atlanta. The program, now in its 18th year, pairs volunteer reading mentors from local businesses and community organizations with first through fifth grade students identified by their teachers as reading below their grade level. Nearly 90 percent of the 550 students who currently participate in the Power Lunch program live in poverty. Many have no books at home.

Every Thursday, Mr. Scott visited Hope-Hill Elementary School to read aloud with Cashadell over the lunch hour. As weeks turned into years, Cashadell grew into a stronger reader and developed a special bond with Mr. Scott.

Now a mentor and a friend, Mr. Scott sees Cashadell graduating from college and returning to Hope-Hill Elementary as a mentor himself. And when he does, First Book will be there to support him.

Power Lunch photoSince June 2011, First Book has provided Everybody Wins! Atlanta with 10,126 books. The books are used to stock book carts, which hold hundreds of books for reading pairs to choose from, at the 11 schools that participate in the Power Lunch program.  Each Power Lunch student also receives at least three new books to take home every year.

Last year, students got to take home even more books, thanks to our friends at dd’s DISCOUNTS. The local dd’s DISCOUNTS store raised funds to help provide over 700 brand-new books to Everybody Wins! Atlanta.

Help more kids more kids like Cashadell read, learn and succeed. Join dd’s DISCOUNTS in providing new books to outstanding programs like Everybody Wins! Atlanta by making a gift to First Book today.

The post Once a Mentor, Forever a Friend appeared first on First Book Blog.

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21. Sponsor Me: Camp NaNoWriMo

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22. A couple of years ago we were in San Francisco visiting my stepson, and one night we were walking...

A couple of years ago we were in San Francisco visiting my stepson, and one night we were walking back from dinner and there was this nice grenadine-ish smell in the air, and I said, “It smells like cherries.” My stepson paused, sniffed, and said, “That’s urinal cakes, Carrie.” (Except he’s very deadpan, so it was more like, “That’s. urinal. cakes.”) Anyway, I was writing well this morning so I was late getting to the woods for a walk. It was already hot out and there were lots of thick gnarly spider webs everywhere with dime-sized spiders in them. None of the guys I passed were wearing shirts. And once in a while when the breeze picked up it smelled a lot like urinal cakes (not unpleasantly!).

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23. Scanning the Backlist (2)


This my own personal backlist consisting of authors I've reviewed on the blog.  I took the time to go back through every author I've reviewed and checked out his or her backlist - and for some, even found new books I hadn't realized were released.  Each week I'll be featuring a Scanning the Backlist post with a few more authors whose backlist titles have made it onto my TBR.

Gail Godwin
Godwin's Flora was an NPR discovery I made during my brief period of unemployment last summer. I devoured the beautiful language and stunning setting.  I particularly enjoyed her young narrator, so, in exploring her backlist, I was drawn to Unfinished Desires, which also features a friendship between young girls.
It is the fall of 1951 at Mount St. Gabriel’s, an all-girls school tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina. Tildy Stratton, the undisputed queen bee of her class, befriends Chloe Starnes, a new student recently orphaned by the untimely and mysterious death of her mother. Their friendship fills a void for both girls but also sets in motion a chain of events that will profoundly affect the course of many lives, including the girls’ young teacher and the school’s matriarch, Mother Suzanne Ravenel. 

Fifty years on, the headmistress relives one pivotal night, trying to reconcile past and present, reaching back even further to her own senior year at the school, where the roots of a tragedy are buried.
Samantha Hayes
I know I've said this a million times, but evil nannies are my jam.  So I was thrilled to stumble across Until You're Mine on NetGalley last year.  I loved it and can't wait to read the next book in the series, Before You Die.  Luckily for me, Hayes also quite the backlist built up.  I'm not a huge fan of the covers, but each title description reads like the literary equivalent of an episode of SVU, which is like crack for me.
January 1992. A baby girl is left alone for a moment. Long enough for a mother to dash into a shop. Long enough for a child to be taken. 

Thirteen years later, solicitor Robert Knight's stepdaughter wins a place at a prestigious London school for the gifted. The only puzzle is his wife Erin’s reaction. Why is she so reluctant to let Ruby go? Doesn't she want what's best for her? As Erin grows more evasive, Robert can’t help but feel she has something to hide, and when he stumbles on mysterious letters, he discovers she has been lying to him. Somewhere in his wife’s past lies a secret; a shocking secret that threatens to destroy everything...
Elizabeth Haynes
I've read and thoroughly enjoyed two of Haynes' novels: Into the Darkest Corner and Dark Tide.  And although this aren't technically backlist titles, since they were published after Into the Darkest Corner, it's one that I somehow missed the release of and can't wait to read.
Two women share one fate.

A suspected murder at an English Farm. A reported suicide at a local quarry.

Can DCI Louisa Smith and her team gather the evidence and discover a link between them, a link which sealed their fate one cold night, Under a Silent Moon?

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24. Almost finished with Hungry Dragon!

I can almost see the finish line!! 2 more paintings left to tweek and then I can move on to final touches on all the paintings.   Monday deadline here I come!!!  Feelin determined 😆

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25. Using Darlene Beck-Jacobson’s Debut Novel WHEELS OF CHANGE in the Classroom

darlenebeckjacobson:

Thanks to Roseanne Kurstedt for the Interview on her blog!

Originally posted on Rosanne L. Kurstedt's :

I’m so excited to welcome Darlene Beck-Jacobson today in celebration of the launch (September 22) of Wheels of Change, her debut middle-grade historical novel.  I met Darlene at a NJSCBWI conference a couple years ago and was totally intrigued by the process Darlene and her idea went through. You see, she originally wrote Wheels of Change as a picture book. But after some urging from an editor she went back to the drawing board (or writing board in this case), did more research and turned her 1500 word manuscript that she envisioned as a picture book into a wonderful middle grade novel, rich with historical setting and multi-layered characters.  Since writing and education are my passions, I asked Darlene some questions about how teachers might use Wheels of Change in their classrooms, and if she could provide insights about her research process.

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  1. Tell us a little about how Wheels of Change came…

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