Month: June 2009

On Comic-Con panel to discuss Dig Comics

I will be one of the panelists for a brief Q&A panel just prior to the screening of Dig Comics, a documentary I associate produced. Also on the panel will be host/writer/creator Miguel Cima and others from the production staff as yet to be confirmed.

The Q&A/screening takes place on Saturday, July 25, 6:30 PM, in Room 26AB in the San Diego Convention Center, during Comic-Con International. As previously announced, we have been accepted into Comic-Con’s Independent Film Festival.

We’re very excited about this world premiere screening taking place at Comic-Con, the biggest annual celebration of comics. I’ve been going to Comic-Con every year since I moved to Los Angeles almost 10 years ago. I think I missed one year because of a show I was in. So it’s particularly exciting for me.

The bad news is that Comic-Con is completely sold-out. However, Comic-Con is selling passes on eBay. If you’re on Twitter, closely follow Comic_Con for notices of new auctions getting posted. They go REALLY fast. Good luck!

If you’ve already got your passes, I’ll see you there!

Dig Comics world premiere at San Diego Comic-Con

Dig Comics World Premiere Screening at San Diego Comic-Con International Film Festival

Olmos Productions To Produce Long-Form Follow-Up

LOS ANGELES – The documentary short film Dig Comics has been selected for screening at the Comic-Con International: Independent Film Festival on July 25, 2009. An exclusive question and answer session with director/host Miguel Cima will precede the screening.

Including interviews with Eisner®-winning writer Jeph Loeb (Lost, Heroes) and indie comics visionary Dame Darcy (Meatcake), as well as animation by Scott Shaw! (The Flintstones, Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew) and Emmy®-winning Russell Calabrese (Pinky and the Brain), the documentary challenges America to Dig Comics.

The documentary is hosted by writer/director Miguel Cima, who talks with comic book creators and retailers. He also conducts unique man-on-the-street experiments to find out what happened with America’s affection for comics.

Both a love letter to the American art form of comics and a call to arms to increase the dwindling audience, Dig Comics has already won the attention of Edward James Olmos’ company Olmos Productions, which has agreed to produce a long-form full-length Dig Comics. Olmos believes that as a medium, comic books not only increase literacy but also serves as an inspirational learning tool for both students and teachers.

Visit http://www.DigComics.com for more info and to view the trailer for Dig Comics.

What: Dig Comics world premiere screening with Q&A
Where: Comic-Con International, San Diego Convention Center, Room 26AB, 111 W. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
When: Saturday, July 25, 2009, 6:30-7:15 PM

[PDF file version of press release]

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 6/24

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?
Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.
Disclaimer: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 – $19.99
By Frank Miller and Jim Lee
240 pages; published by DC Comics; available at Amazon.com

The talked-about hit Batman story by modern master Frank Miller (BATMAN: YEAR ONE, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS) and artists extraordinaire Jim Lee and Scott Williams (BATMAN, SUPERMAN) is now available in softcover format! Lee and Miller join forces to tell a new version of Dick Grayson’s origin in a high-octane tale that unfolds with guest appearances by Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Black Canary and more! This volume collects issues #1-9 of the explosive series! Plus a Jim Lee sketchbook and a variant cover gallery.

This is either a train wreck or a satire that actually got away with using the source material it is satirizing. Or it’s Frank Miller either completely losing it or giving Batman fans the biggest middle finger ever. Or some combination therein. Very tempting.

Goats: Infinite Typewriters – $14.00
By Jonathan Rosenberg
176 pages; published by Del Rey; available on Amazon.com

It’s not as if one decides to wake up one day, argue existentialism with livestock, and fly a spaceship to the center of the galaxy to meet, greet –and eat – God. It just sort of happens. At least it does in the world ofGoats, the cult-hit webcomic wherein a clutch of brave if baffled barflies (including humans, chickens, and a cyborg goldfish) hit the interdimensional bricks to save the multiverse from certain doom kicked off by a cosmic computer glitch. You can’t make this stuff up–unless you’re one of the monkeys tapping on infinite typewriters who controls all reality. You’ll see…

To sample this web-comic, check out Goats.com (nice score on the domain name there, Mr. Rosenberg). It’s been running since December 12, 2003. Weird silliness. Comics does it good.

Low Moon – $24.99
By Jason
216 pages; published by Fantagraphics Books; available at Amazon.com

The acclaimed graphic novelist Jason returns with his most eagerly awaited book yet, thanks to the inclusion of the title story, the world’s first (and likely last) chess western, originally serialized in 2008 in the New York Times Sunday Magazine “Funny Pages” section.

This 216-page hardcover book features five yarns — all brand new with the exception of the aforementioned “Low Moon,” which is collected into book form for the first time.

The new stories lead off with “Emily Says Hello,” a typically deadpan Jason tale of murder, revenge and sexual domination. Then, the wordless “&” tells two tales at once: one about a skinny guy trying to steal enough money to save his ill mother, and the other about a fat guy murderously trying to woo his true love. The reason we follow these two parallel stories becomes obvious only on the very last page, in Jason’s inimitable genre-mashing style.

“Early Film Noir” can best be described as The Postman Always Rings Twice meets Groundhog Day. But starring cavemen. And finally, “You Are Here” features alien kidnappings, space travel, and the pain and confusion of family ties, culminating in an enigmatic finale that rivals Jason’s greatest twists.

Funny, poignant, and wry, Low Moon shows one of the world’s most acclaimed graphic novelists at the absolute peak of his powers.

Don’t let the use of anthropomorphics fool you into thinking this is some kind of funny animals goof for kiddies. Jason is sly and brilliant. Highly recommended.

Outlaw Territory Volume 1 – $19.99
By various
240 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com

Outlaw Territory is a collection of stories from a rougher and grittier time in America. Tales of the old west from some of the best and brightest writers in the industry, lavishly illustrated by amazing talent both new and experienced. This book is sure to appeal to fans of such television and film as Deadwood and 3:10 To Yuma, as well as the work of No Country For Old Men author Cormac McCarthy.

Western comics used to be very popular and there used to be a lot of them. Here’s are a bunch of modern takes by a whole host of talented creators: Greg Pak, Joe Kelly, Khoi Pham, Dean Motter, Joshua Ortega, Steven Grant, William Simpson, Ivan Brandon, Andy MacDonald, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Max Fiumara, Johnny Timmons and Michael Woods. And check out that cover by Greg Ruth. Here’s a 5-page preview.

Featuring Me This Thursday

Quick reminder that I am one of the featured players for this Thursday’s Magic Meathands Comedy Cafe show at The Spot at 4455 Overland Ave. in Culver City. It’s at 8 PM. $5 will get you in the door.

There should be lots of laughs and silliness!

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 6/17/09

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? – $24.95
By Brian Fries
208 pages; published by Abrams ComicArts; available at Amazon.com

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?, the long-awaited follow-up to Mom’s Cancer, is a unique graphic novel that tells the story of a young boy and his relationship with his father.
Spanning the period from the 1939 New York World’s Fair to the last Apollo space mission in 1975, it is told through the eyes of a boy as he grows up in an era that was optimistic and ambitious, fueled by industry, engines, electricity, rockets, and the atom bomb. An insightful look at relationships and the promise of the future, award-winning author Brian Fies presents his story in a way that only comics and graphic novels can.
Interspersed with the comic book adventures of Commander Cap Crater (created by Fies to mirror the styles of the comics and the time periods he is depicting), and mixing art and historical photographs, this groundbreaking graphic novel is a lively trip through a half century of technological evolution. It is also a perceptive look at the changing moods of our nation-and the enduring promise of the future.

Father’s Day gift? Of course, you might want to get a copy for yourself, too. I know I do. There’s an 8-page preview at the publisher link above.

Sleeper: Season One – $24.99
By Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
288 pages; published by DC Comics’ WildStorm; available at Amazon.com

“SLEEPER could hold its own against any noir, from any medium…Brubaker is without a doubt the best crime fiction writer in comics today. ” – Ain’t It Cool News.com

From the award-winning Criminal team of writer Ed Brubaker and artist Ed Brubaker comes SLEEPER, the story of Holden Carver and the secret criminal organization he must infiltrate, now back in a new edition collecting SLEEPER SEASON 1 #1-12. With his contact at the agency in a coma, Carver must live one day at a time in a deadly game of cat and mouse he plays with its leader, Tao.

This has been praised up in down in comics circles. I haven’t gotten a good chance to read it, but it looks like I just got one. And so did you. Here’s a 5-page preview in fantastically inconvenient PDF form.

Prayer Requested – $15.95
By Christian Northeast
96 pages; published by Drawn and Quarterly; available at Amazon.com

Succinctly stated and punctuated with a sharp-edged visual style, Prayer Requested presents a narrative of illustrations and collages, each one accompanied by a found or scavenged prayer. First excerpted in Nicolas Robel’s B.u.L.B Comix, the works of Prayer Requested are equal parts inspiring, amusing, enlightening, and in some cases entirely peculiar, each marrying heartfelt intent with frank unflattering interpretation.

With a roster of clients that include The New York Times, Playboy, and Rolling Stone, Christian Northeast’s illustrations are honest and without reservation. They represent a creativity and freedom of thought and form, cleverly depicting the intimacy, urgency, and absurdity of these found prayers with a sense of explicit surrealism.

Really funny yet just not right. Here’s an 11-page preview again in annoying PDF-o-vision (because I don’t have enough random files on my computer that I only looked at once).

Legacy – $14.95
By Jack Katz and Charlie Novinskie
100 pages; published by Hero Initiative

Jack Katz, creator of the epic, independent series, The First Kingdom, has teamed with The Hero Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to helping out comic creators in need, to bring you Katz’ new graphic novel Legacy. Following the death of Gavin LeClare, the family fortune – $70 billion dollars – is bequeathed not to the family, but to one Silvia Alogo, an unknown Hispanic woman that doesn’t speak English.

Enter Barney Barrett, insurance investigator, brought in to unravel the mystery of the LeClare estate. What Barrett discovers could make or break the LeClare family fortune – and the evidence he uncovers could have deadly consequences! A tale of corporate greed, family betrayal, love lost, and love found, Legacy is told in the classic style of Hogarth, Eisner, and Foster.

I had to really dig around to find good info on this. Jack Katz’s own website doesn’t even mention this book. Neither does the Hero Initiative. No previews available. No one bothered to get it listed on Amazon. One major comic book retailer has this listed as coming out next month, and another retailer thinks it’s coming out next week. Is this an experiment to see how badly a book will sell with absolutely no marketing efforts whatsoever?

Anyway, Jack Katz is a mostly overlooked pillar of the industry who toiled away for years at Archie Comics and Marvel Comics starting in the 1940s. In the ’70s, he dropped off the map to create and release over a 12-year period one of the early “indie” fantasy comics and among the first graphic novels, The First Kingdom. This looks to be a much more down-to-earth tale. This should be a big deal. The return of a lost master of the art form. If you can find it, consider yourself lucky.

The Mice Templar, Vol. 1 – $17.99
By Bryan J.L. Glass and Michael Avon Oeming
260 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com

Before their fall, the Templar preserved the order of the natural world, maintaining the balance of life and death for all creatures. But an ideological dispute pitted the noble brotherhood against itself, where they destroyed themselves in a vicious civil war. Chaos descended in their wake, where predatory and scavenger creatures now reign supreme bringing anarchy to the night world of the Shadow Time.

Yet the young mouse Karic receives visions from the gods that their creator Wotan has chosen him to challenge the imbalance and restore the order of the fallen Templar. But before he can even comprehend his supernatural calling, his home is destroyed by vicious rat marauders, and his family is taken into slavery. Karic soon learns of an ancient prophecy that one mouse will be chosen to recreate the heroic exploits of the past, and thereby save his family and his people. But Karic’s calling soon makes him both a target of his enemies, and a tool to be exploited by those seeking to use the savior of all for their own schemes.

And thus begins the first chapter in an extraordinary adventure of magic and wonder, faith and valor, and of one small mouse whose destiny might change the entire world.

This is an oft-praised anthropomorphic fantasy adventure. It’s like The Secret of NIMH but probably better. (And yes, the artist’s middle name is the same as a perfume company. Don’t hold it against him.)

That’s it for this week. Now go get yourself some funny books!

My Ooka Weekend

So there’s been a mysterious character roaming our offices recently. His name is Ooka Chaka. He’s been friending us on Facebook. And without warning, he will show up on your desk with a note instructing you to take him home for the weekend, take pictures, upload them to Facebook, and return him to a specific spot in the office on Monday morning. This past weekend, I was hit. So, what else could I do but comply?

So, I thought I’d post it here too, as I posted it to Facebook.

I found this on my desk at the end of the day last Wednesday. I think it speaks for itself.

Driving home from work. I insisted we drive safely.

It didn’t take long to lose control of the situation. A battle over the radio soon broke out. I won’t tell you which one of us preferred Ringo.

(More shocking is that anyone actually uses the radio anymore, much less has a preference about it.)

Thursday night was the weekly Magic Meathands show at The Spot in Culver City. (plug –www.magicmeathands.com – plug)

Of course Ooka had to go.

Before the show started, he decided to do an impromptu set to open for us.

Ooka then hung out with some more Meathands. Heather showed him some improv games that we use to warm up before the show. This one is called “hang loose telephone”.

Ooka really got into this improv thing. Here he is showing off his suggestion for our show. I don’t know why he’s showing it off like that. It’s supposed to be hidden until we’re on stage. That Ooka! Such a rule breaker!

Ooka jumped onstage during our show, nearly tackling Shane! Fortunately Shane’s sexy lips calmed Ooka down.

Friday night, we took a walk around our neighborhood. Ooka took an immediate interest in local print journalism.

We then stopped at a classy upscale restaurant known as Burger King. Ooka was thirsty!

And hungry!

(And lazy.)

He got so hopped up on fake food, he ran out to the Burger King playpen.

Ooka insisted that I take his picture in front of this. I couldn’t tell if he really liked the Jonas Brothers or if he was being ironic.

And Saturday night, it was another Magic Meathands show! Travis had to hold him down to keep him from jumping onstage again.

Soon after this picture, he exploded into a burst of rage and broke the camera on my phone. Needless to say the rest of the weekend was pretty awkward.

New to Comics? New Comics for You! 6/10/09

Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?

Here’s some brand new stuff coming out this week that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.

Disclaimer: While it may seem like it, I do not live in the future. For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.

Dragonero – $19.95
By Luca Enoch, Stefano Vietti & Giuseppe Matteoni
296 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics; available at Amazon.com

Beyond the civilized lands of Erondàr, the Stone Towers are crumbling. The great monoliths are falling one after another under the wild thrusts of an evil force. The Ancient Prohibition that binds the Abominables inside their dark world is soon to be broken.

Alben the Wizard knows what must be done. He will send for Myrva, a young follower of the powerful Technocrats; he will choose Ecuba, the fighting nun, to protect him; and he will call back Ian Aranill, a former Empire officer — followed by Gmor the Orc, his loyal friend — to use his scouting experience.

Together they will face the Painers, the evil beings who still live in the barren Dragonlands. Can Ian prevail against the last, horrible threat they will be facing?

* Dragonero is a brand-new stand-alone graphic novel in the spirit of Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Some straight-up fantasy with a lush illustrative art style. Should be a good fix for anyone feverishly waiting for the release of the Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit to hit the big screen in 2012. Preview three pages here.

Red – $14.99
By Warren Ellis & Cully Hamner
128 pages; published by DC Comics’ WildStorm; available at Amazon.com

Warren Ellis’s fast-paced tale of intrigue and revenge is back in a new edition collecting the 3-issue miniseries under a new cover by Cully Hamner that also includes the script to issue #1 and never-before-seen developmental art by Hamner!

As a C.I.A. operative, Paul Moses’s unique talent for killing took him around the world, from one hotspot to another, carrying out the deadly orders of his superiors. And when he retired, he wanted to put his bloody past behind him. But when a new administration takes over the White House, the powers that be decide that Moses knows too much, forcing him back into the game against the agency that trained him.

Here’s some straight-up spy-thriller action. This was originally released in 2003 and was recently optioned as a big Hollywood movie, with Bruce Willis rumored as the lead. Here’s a 7-page preview in PDF.

Douglas Fredericks and the House of They – $17.99
By Joe Kelly & Ben Roman
80 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Powell’s Books

Douglas Fredericks is a kid on a mission. His parents’ 15th wedding anniversary is just around the corner and he wants to create an extra-special present for them. However, his wild attempts at unique gifts are all shut down by his friends and neighbors, concerned that Douglas’ wild ideas go against what THEY say. But who are THEY? Why do THEY make the rules? And why does everyone listen to THEY?

And a straight-up children’s book. Here’s a 6-page preview. Looks delightfully odd and charming.

That’s it for this week. Not a lot of new and accessible stuff this time around but that’s comics for you. Let me know if I missed anything.