Charles Burns and FEAR(S) OF THE DARK

FEAR(S) OF THE DARK is an unusual French horror film we’ve talked about here a few times before. It’s an animated film of terrors with segments directed by such cartoon icons as Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti and Richard McGuire. Althought it had a limited film festival release here before, it is now touring the US, with a showing at the IFC Center here in NYC. The trailers can be viewed here.


Shock Till You Drop catches up with Burns in a fine, extensive interview. Burns talks about FEAR(S), the Black Hole movie, and even what he’s doing next:

Shock: Have you started on your next comic project? You spent a lot of time doing “Black Hole” so are you going to do another project that takes that much time or go back to doing shorter stories?
Burns: The piece I’m working on right now is almost done. It’s a much shorter piece. I’m going to be doing a color piece, and it’s kind of in not in the style, but in the format of the French “Tintin” books, the Belgian “Tintin” books, so it’s kind of a hardbound book.

Shock: Have you started writing it?
Burns: Yes I have, and as far as I know right now, there’s going to be two books, two parts of the story that will come out in two volumes, and I’m just about done with the first.

AX at Top Shelf

The Same Hat boys announce that the AX anthology will appear at Top Shelf. This is exciting news because AX is a respected anthology of unusual manga that rose from the ashes of GARO, the influential anthology that one might call the WEIRDO of Manga.

We’ve posted extensively about AX before, but remember that it’s an anthology book published by Seirinkogeisha, that took up the reins of GARO after they closed their doors and ran with the weirdness. Tokyo Zombie originally was serialized in AX, along with works by Suehiro Maruo, Shinichi Abe, Nishioka Kyoudai, Naoto Yamakawa, Usamaru Furuya, Toshio Saeki, Akino Kondoh, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Toyo Kataoka, and many many many other amazing mangaka.

I don’t have anything to do with this book, but recently learned about it and got permission to break the news to ya’ll (and of course, am supremely jealous I didn’t get to edit or translate for the book!). The full table of contents details have not yet been made available, but I hope to hear more specifics this Fall and post them here.

It’s am impressive lineup, so this goes high on the “eagerly awaited” list.

Tough ticket

Conan Bumpersticker Cho
Michael Cho has some fun.

[Thank you again, Kevin Melrose]

Bill Leak on the mend

Great news from down under, as cartoonist Bill Leak, who was in a medically induced coma for three days after experiencing a severe head injury, is out of ICU and on the mend:

“He continues to be lucid and doing all the right things. He is medically very stable.”

Dr Assaad said Leak did not appear to have suffered any memory loss despite the fall and having endured two brain operations to remove a blood clot on the surface of his brain.

“Bill is recovering marvellously well,” he said.

“So far, there have been nocomplications and we don’t expect any further surgery to be required.

Yes, it is

Thank you, Kevin Melrose. Is this a new milestone for comic book movies?

Crime watch: Avatar murder; proud papa goes too far

§ In Japan, a woman has been arrested for killing her husband. But it was only a MMORPG character that died, and the charge is computer hacking:

A 43 year old woman in Japan has been arrested on suspicion of hacking. She is suspected of ‘mudering’ an avatar of her virtual husband after they apparently divorced in the extremely popular MMORPG Maple Story. The woman allegedly used the login information taken from the virtual ex-husband, a 33 year old officer worker, when they were happily virtually married. If convicted she faces a jail term of 5 years or a fine of $5,000.

§ Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, a high school librarian’s pride over a manga Shakespeare adaptation illustrated by his daughter went too far, when he promoted the book in an unseemly manner: giving away copies for free and slipping a mention into the newsletter he edited.

On Monday, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board announced it had settled a case it had brought against Mr. Grandt for promoting his daughter’s work. He agreed to pay a $500 fine and admit in a three-page stipulation that he had violated the city ethics code.

Mr. Grandt, who said he was an unwitting villain, was disappointed the board did not see things his way.

“There are so many things going on they could investigate,” he said in an interview, “and they had nothing better to do than allege that my daughter would have gotten 20 cents in royalties if someone bought the book. But nobody did. I gave out free copies. I was just so proud of my daughter for writing it.”

Indeed, if the diligence applied by the Brooklyn library system were applied to, say, the rest of the government, imagine the world we’d live in.


Flog unveils Humbug!, a collection of the short lived but legendary humor magazine, created by Harvey Kurtzman.


Blotchmen Final Cc 01-1
Just in case we didn’t make it clear enough, you should check out Kevin Cannon’s BLOTCHMEN, his 24 Hour Comic.

News and notes

§ Mark Evanier notes the passing of Tom Fagan, whose championship of the Rutland, Vermont Halloween Parade made it an icon of superhero culture. The parade began nearly 50 years ago, and dressing as various be-longjohned Avengers became a colorful tradition that was big news in ’70s comics culture. Vermont Public Radio has more:

Fagan was crazy about comic books and he worked them into the parade, often dressing up as Batman. He was friends with many comic book writers and he encouraged them to come to Rutland, dress up in costume and appear with him in the parade.

In the 1970s, Rutland’s Halloween parade achieved a degree of fame when it was used as the setting of a number of superhero comic books, published by both DC and Marvel.

Tom Fagan was himself featured as a character in a number of these stories, usually depicted as an acquaintance of the lead character.

§ Colleen has more old photos. Hairstyle alert!

§ The Sardinian Connection reprints a 2006 essay by Mike Carey on WATCHMEN:

But I said metaphor, not allegory. Watchmen isn’t the sort of book that opens with a key, and turns out to have been talking about one particular thing all along, under the light disguises of fantasy. It resonates on every level, from the psychological to the mythic by way of the political. It has meanings but no morals. It refuses consolation both to the new frontiersman Rorschach and the utopian dreamer Ozymandias.

Perhaps that’s why it’s aged so well. It’s a trite truth that nothing dates faster than the topical, and nothing is more topical than the timeless. By cutting itself loose from any real world context, and yet at the same time tying itself so precisely to an era that could have/couldn’t have/could have happened, Watchmen has the best of both worlds: the acerbic accuracy of social commentary, and the endless, effortless now of fairy stories and myth cycles.

§ Reporter Dave Astor was one of those laid off in a wave of layoffs at various Nielsen magazines, including Editor & Publisher. At E&P, Astor probably broke more news stories about syndicated cartoons and cartoonists than any other source, and his loss is real for us bloggers and anyone who cares about cartooning. Hopefully there’s still a place for actual journalists in this day and age and he’ll land somewhere fitting. We wish him the best.

Hottest fashion trends: Indestructible bracelets, invisible jets



Fashion maven Diane von Furstenberg recently launched a line of Wonder Woman-inspired fashions and accessories at her signature Manhattan store. DC Comics Prez. Paul Levitz was among those in attendance at that kick-off party and gave his impressions of the event on Newsarama’s blog, along with revealing that DC brand manager Cheryl Rubin helped spearhead the project.

The DVF holiday fashion line also includes a matching comic book written by Furstenberg and illustrated by avant-garde artist Konstantin Kakanias. Called BE THE WONDER WOMAN YOU CAN BE, the $25 tabloid-size book features some classic Wondy material, along with the stories of modern three woman, Diva, Viva, & Fifa (DVF, get it?), who become empowered after seeing Wonder Woman in their own reflections. Or something. Topless Robot has a few scans and plenty of snark.


(Above: Actress Lindsay Price at the launch of DVF’s Wonder Woman launch, from DVF’s website.)

All sales of the comic, and the line’s complementary Wonder Woman T-shirt and tote bag benefit Vital Voices, a woman’s rights organization, which is pretty nifty.

Related: The New York Observer wonders if superhero fashion is here to stay; finds it all quite inspiring.

Posted by Aaron Humphrey, humble intern.

An Oscar for Gary?

Variety laments the continuing outrage of the Academy snubbing performances in superhero-esque films. but maybe this year the pain will end.

Oscar’s biases are nothing new. Unfortunately, they’re increasingly out of step with the reality that some of the finest acting in American movies — and, for that matter, some of the most artful filmmaking — can be found in the realms of what might be uncharitably described as “fanboy cinema.” In a year that saw a surfeit of memorable performances in superhero pictures — Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart and Gary Oldman in “The Dark Knight,” Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow in “Iron Man,” Charlize Theron in “Hancock” — it may be time for the Academy to start taking this work as seriously as the actors and filmmakers have.

Credit for this phenomenon must go in part to the recent infusion of indie directing talent into the studio ranks. From their earliest projects, helmers such as Christopher Nolan, Sam Raimi, Bryan Singer, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro demonstrated formidable filmmaking chops and a sometimes down-and-dirty enthusiasm for B-movie thrills — qualities they’ve maintained even as their ambitions, reputations and production budgets have soared.

Personally, we would like to see a nomination for Stan Lee for his lifetime body of work in such roles as Hot Dog Guy, Milwaukee Man Drinking From Bottle, Willie Lumpkin, and his devastating turn as Old Man at Crossing in DAREDEVIL.

Studio coffee run

200810240151§ Yes, there will be an UMBRELLA ACADEMY movie; writer Gerard Way will collaborate on the score…maybe with somene like RJ-D2…kick-ass!

“We just had our first meeting at Universal, and it went great. The hardest thing was finding the right building and the right gate. Nah, the meeting was great, really, really great. The book was optioned before [International Comic-Con in] San Diego, and now it’s been green-lighted. Now we’re talking screenwriters and directors, obviously. There’s no director attached yet.”

§ MAYBE there will be a RUNAWAYS movie:

MTV News recently spoke with Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige about “Runaways” — and discovered that, not only was Feige one of the project’s biggest supporters, a film based on the teen superteam’s adventures was high on the list of Marvel’s post-”Avengers” movie plans. In fact, he expects to see a finished script by early 2009.

§ Unlikely: 1602 movie.

§ Seth Rogen is excited about Stephen Chow contributions to GREEN HORNET script. Translation: a bunch of colorful misfits will prove to have fantastic, redemptive powers.

§ Sad: Kirk/Sulu wedding row. Kirk says he was not invited and Sulu is nuts; Sulu says the Shat was invited and never got back to anyone. Fact: Peter David WAS invited.

Stan wants to make Posh/Becks into crime fighters?

Piffle story of the day which allows the mind to wander. Stan Lee thinks David and Victoria (Posh) Beckham would be good for a TV show or something:

“There are so many ways to do it,” Lee says. “We could make them a crime fighting team where the soccer is just a facade. Or we could make them spies or we could make it a comedy where one of them wants to be an adventurer?”

Sounds interesting, right?

Here’s how it would work.

“He’s a very attractive, personable guy and she’s a very attractive, interesting looking girl. I haven’t met the Beckhams yet but I think we could do a great show.”

Seriously who could not look at photos of this kind and not be inspired to cast the duo as crime fighters?

Emporio Armani Underwear  David Beckham By Mert & Marcus.Preview
This superstar couple exudes the kind of dark, moody drama that would make a superduper comic book!

Posh Becks 2
Seriously, we can see the rogues gallery now: “The Red Card” and “Botoxin.” Or a miniseries called “The Case of the Missing Trousers.” “Secret Crisis: The Offsides Rule Explained.” That sort of thing.

16 days of Halloween; Stephanie Buscema

Illustrator Stephanie Buscema gifts us with this delightful piece!