graphic novel

Woman wants Camera Eye for Graphic Novel Project

Multi-media artist Tanya Vlach of San Francisco wants to replace her eye, lost in a nearly fatal car accident, with a web-cam able to take video and still photos which will be used to create an “augmented reality” of her sci-fi alter ego depicted in a graphic novel and other media. She has set up a Kickstarter page to raise $15,000 for the creation of the new eye. So far she’s nearly 50% of the way there with 16 days to go. A $25 donation includes production sketches for the graphic novel.

Below is her Kickstarter video. Viewer discretion: There’s a shot of her putting in her prosthetic eye, so watch with caution.

I love that she chose the graphic novel as one of her crucial pieces of this project. It’s certainly a compelling concept, as the New York Daily News, Engadget, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, and one of AOL’s Buzzmedia blog network have already picked up the story.

This brings up a ton of interesting questions about privacy (her own and anyone she looks at), the boundaries of reality and art, and others I’m sure that haven’t occurred to me yet. It sure is a fascinating idea. It reminds me of Warren Ellis’ Doktor Sleepless, a sci-fi comic set in the future where people wear Clatter contact lenses that allow access to instant messaging and social media with the ability to upload pictures taken by the user based on what they see. And of course there’s the obvious Six Million Dollar Man connection as Bill Hemmer makes in that Fox spot seen in the opening of the video above. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a news anchor so giddy over getting to spotlight an old TV show for a news story. Someone please get Bill Hemmer the new Bionic Man comic book coming this August.)

Based on engineer proposals she’s received, she believes she’ll be able to get the high-tech eye engineered for $15,000, but that doesn’t include the cost to get it safely working and installed. As seen in her updates, there’s still a lot of things to figure out, like how to keep the camera’s battery charged and whether to use silicone or acrilic for the casing.

Comics Can Be Anything: The Cookbook Edition

I say it a lot because it’s true. Comics can be anything. Public perception of comic books has significantly improved just in the last 10 years, but for the Average Joe & Jane, comics are still just superheroes and/or funny animals – kids stuff.

Well sure, they can be that. But superheroes and funny animals are two genres, like romantic comedy and political thriller are to books and movies. Comic books as a form can be about anything. And there are hundreds of examples out there to support this argument. (Comics can be romantic comedies and political thrillers, too.)

Here’s the latest example that has me excited: A comic book cookbook! Or a graphic novel cookbook. Or as the artist calls it, a cartoon cookbook. That last one has the best ring to it but isn’t entirely accurate. (I’m sure I’ll get around to my post about comic books vs. cartoons vs caricatures vs illustrated books at some point).

However you describe it, it may be the first of it’s kind. (There is a popular manga genre about food but I don’t think any of those are actual manga cookbooks. Let me know in the comments section, if I’m wrong.)

The Dirt Candy Cookbook (working title) written by chef and New York City-based Dirt Candy restaurant owner Amanda Cohen and drawn by Ryan Dunlavey is scheduled for a Summer 2012 release from Random House/Clarkson Potter.

Dunlavey has a knack for these kinds of projects where he injects a fun appealing energy to information, so I’m thrilled to see him get this kind of gig. He’s probably best known for Action Philosophers with writer Fred Van Lente, where the two ripped through the lives and schools of thought of some of the world’s most brilliant minds. The two also teamed up for a similarly frenetic yet informed look at the history of comic books with Comic Book Comics. What? Comics can be used to teach us about history and philosophy?

Why, it’s as if comics can be anything!