Dig Comics

Caturday: Door Climbing Kitteh Edition

Ten on the Tenth is happening now! Post your 10 Drum Songs here!

I have a show tonight! Improv comedy by two groups, the Magic Meathands (with me!) and Jump Start, at our brand new location, Heyler’s!

Meanwhile, at The Comics Observer:

Also, listen to my second appearance on the Part-Time Fanboy podcast, where we review The Avengers movie. I show up about halfway through.

Caturday: Scouting Kitteh Edition

– All sorts of exciting things are going on over at The Comics Observer:

  • The debut of our newest column The Journey, Man by Wayne Rée, where he takes you through his discovery of comic books.
  • The second installment of Dig Comics by Miguel Cima, where he reveals his recent discovery of dramatic manga.
  • And here are three graphic novels released this week worth checking out for people with little or no history with comics.

– Changes are afoot with the improv comedy group Magic Meathands! If you didn’t read about it here, check it out over there. (And we’ve got a show next Saturday.)

– Music lovers! Get your lists ready! Ten on the Tenth is happening on Tuesday, April 10th.

– And Nahleen.com continues to be revealing, eye-opening and funny. I think my favorite one this week was her total take-down of the interior decorating skills of doctors’ offices.

Oops… Things Change Fast on the Internet

So yesterday I teased the debut of a new column by Dig Comics director Miguel Cima at The Comics Observer. It’s still coming! But I decided to push it back to Friday so that a post could go up today about a comics conference (or colloquium, as they’re calling it) about race and comics that’s happening tomorrow.

Because my bandwidth is stretched pretty thin these days, I’m just not able to make The Comics Observer one of those high-volume sites with 5-10 posts a day. Maybe some day but not right now. So bear with me as I juggle when things come up.

It’ll be worth the wait. Miguel’s column should make for good weekend reading and debating.

Dig Comics director Miguel Cima speaks out

I’m very excited to announce the launch of a new column at The Comics Observer starting tomorrow. Director/writer/host of the award-winning documentary Dig Comics, Miguel Cima, will be contributing a new installment every month, where he’ll be looking at what excites him about the art form found in comic books and graphic novels, and what he feels is holding it back. He starts off with a doozy where he challenges readers and publishers alike to step up.

Disclaimer: I helped produce the two Dig Comics shorts that can be seen on DigComics.com, and continue to serve as a consultant and more as we talk with production companies to launch a TV series, feature-length film or web-series. To follow our progress and join in the crew’s comics discussions, check out the Dig Comics Facebook page.

Sorting Some Things Out

Yes I actually took a weekday off from blogging yesterday. Were you lonely? Did you miss me?

I converted CoreyBlake.com into the current blog format back in April 2008. For a while, I mostly blogged on a “whenever” schedule (sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, sometimes a few times a month). But thanks to the encouragement of my friend and coach Cindy Marie Jenkins, I committed to blogging Monday through Friday. Since November 2010 that’s just what I’ve done (OK, with the exception of a couple days off for Thanksgiving in November 2010, the lost week in January 2011 from a computer crash, and yesterday). A little over a year isn’t really that long, but for the Internet, I think it’s worth mentioning.

If you follow this site, you know that a good percentage of my blogging shifted to covering comic books, graphic novels and the like. My ongoing work with Dig Comics inspired a new direction in my career(s) that has included comics punditry, journalism, consulting and generally spreading the good word of sequential art in its myriad forms. It’s an area that continues to fascinate me. So I’m creating a new site/blog that will be dedicated to what I’ve been doing in that realm here and more. Right now, it looks to be on track for a February 1st launch. I’m very excited and have lots of ideas for the site’s future. I’m starting at what I’m hoping is a manageable level and hope to build up as I’m able. So as I continue to work behind-the-scenes on that, comics coverage here at CoreyBlake.com will take a breather and then resume at the new site next month.

Meanwhile, my performing with the comedy troupe Magic Meathands continues. We do fully improvised shows in and around Los Angeles, and also do community outreach shows for audiences that aren’t able to come to us. I perform with them every chance I get and am also running their blog, which generally updates every Monday. In between posts about upcoming shows (we perform at least 3 times a month), I’m hoping to start spotlighting members, some of the groups that do shows with us, and some of the non-profit organizations that invite us to do shows for them.

Earlier this month, I also launched something for music fans. Ten on the Tenth had a great first month for an idea that popped in my head 5 days before it went live. Based on some feedback I’ve gotten, I’ll be tinkering it a little for February. If you missed it, how it works is I announce a theme (January was “new”) and then on the 10th of every month, people post their list of 10 songs within that theme. Watch for February’s theme to be announced around the 8th.

So with all of that (and more ideas still percolating), what happens with CoreyBlake.com? The frequency of blogging here will probably drop to two to three times a week so I can juggle the other stuff. There will be some self-promotion but that gets boring (for me too), so I’ll also talk about things that catch my eye, and maybe getting back to some of the silly blogging I was trying out in 2008. Otherwise, we’ll just have to see what catches people’s attention. Heck, I’ll even take requests. If you’d like to see me blog about something, let me know.

I’m excited to see where all of this will lead. If you’re still reading, thank you very much for being so interested in what I’m doing. I stopped reading after the first paragraph, so kudos to you.

Missed It: Dig Comics video review

Here’s a video review of the documentary Dig Comics that I somehow missed when it was originally released. I helped produce the doc short, which won Best Documentary at Comic-Con International: San Diego’s Independent Film Festival, and has also been an official selection at the Cannes and Vancouver international film festivals (among about a dozen other film fests). We shot some more footage a few weekends back and are ramping up for some epic comic evangelism action.

The video was produced by InMag.com, Video Symphony, and Action on Film.

To watch the full 20-minute doc plus a new 10-minute pilot, check out DigComics.com.

(Oh and Miguel Cima’s name is pronounced “see-ma” but otherwise a good review. I hope reviewer Jennifer Marks checked out one of any number of fine comic book stores in Los Angeles, such as Meltdown Comics, Golden Apple, Secret Headquarters, House of Secrets, The Comic Bug, and more!)

Bonus alternate trailer of the original Dig Comics for the NewFilmmakers LA screening:

Read It: You’ll Never Know by C. Tyler

You'll Never Know Book One by C. Tyler

My final recommendation for this past week and a half run is You’ll Never Know Book One: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler.

This is a beautiful and moving memoir about Carol Tyler’s efforts to find out what happened to her father in World War Two. It is truly among the most accomplished releases of the last five years. Maybe ten. It is such a testament to how communicating through comics is a unique and singular creative choice of expression. From the layouts of her pages to the physical production of the book itself, You’ll Never Know holds up in service of the story from cover to cover.

Fluid and expressive, Carol takes us through her journey to unearth the secrets of her father, who after decades of adamantly refusing to discuss the past, is suddenly ready to talk. Somewhat. In the process, she discovers more about her family and herself than she expected. It’s a challenging relationship that Carol reveals with such sincerity, it’s difficult not to relate.

The design of the book is meant to resemble a family photo album or scrapbook, and that’s exactly what Carol is making for her father. The story weaves in and out of two modes. The first is what could be seen as a behind-the-scenes look at what she had to go through to get this book made. The second is the scrapbook itself telling her father’s life history. A lot of storytelling devices are employed to accomplish this, but Carol’s skills as a cartoonist and illustrator, her cohesive style, warm coloring, and personalized lettering/calligraphy, all come together perfectly to tell such a layered story.

It’s a faster read than I expected, but it lingers in the brain because of its richness. It stays with you and makes you think of your own family. This book was heavily featured in our second Dig Comics segment, where it was used to show an adamant non-comics reader that there’s something for her. There’s a really lovely moment between Carol Tyler and this woman that I will probably always remember. You can watch the segment below, as well as a look at one of the pages. Click on the image for a series of images.

This graphic novel is the first in a trilogy. It’s followed by You’ll Never Know Book Two: Collateral Damage, released last year. The third and final installment is expected next year.