Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 4/28/09

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§ Evan Dorkin passes on the ways of his tribe to his child, Emily via WALT AND SKEEZIX:

Anyway, as I posted recently, some cheap copies popped up on Amazon, and we purchased one for the framing project. Our plan hasn’t quite worked out, however, as Emily has started reading the second copy, and has sort of adopted it. Not that I’m complaining. Seeing her pore over the book kills me. She’s been quoting some of the dialogue (“Well I’ll be jiggered”, being the line that cracks me up the most) and really enjoys reading the strips, especially the ones where Skeezix is a toddler. Emily has up until now had a strict policy of not enjoying comics that “have people in them” — she’s been reading Disney books (mostly Donald Duck), some old Disney film adaptations (mostly Dumbo), Molly and Emmett comics from Ladybug magazine (Molly is a girl but Emmett is a cat), Polo (two new volumes out soon), Johnny Boo (ghosts and a monster) and Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks comics in an old Whitman collection. She has been reading Julie and Grampa: Shark Hunters, actually, which has human protagonists, but there are a lot of talking animals in that as well. And there are monsters and creatures in Magic Trixie and Scary Godmother, which she’s nuts about. But Dennis the Menace was out, as were several other comics “with people in them”. But so far, the Walt and Skeezix Sunday strips have passed muster, perhaps because of the many dream sequences and strips based on Halloween and Christmas and whatnot. Who knows, I’m not going to press her on it, we let her enjoy what she likes and don’t shove anything down her throat if she’s not interested. For some reason she won’t read Hideshi Hino comics. Don’t ask me.

§ At CBR, George Khoury interviews Spanish art great Miguelanxo Prado:

Some of your short stories and books contain a certain voyeuristic quality to them. Are you someone who likes to observe the actions and movements of others? Are there always parts of your works that are based on such experiences?

Inevitably. There’s an attractive aspect to art, that it is the interior universe of the creator. But, most of the time, for me that sole element seems insufficient. The other aspect that makes me feel attracted to the work of an artist is their personal form of seeing and interpreting the world, sentiments, society, human beings… the universe, to that extent. And that interpretation has to bear fruit, inescapably, to observations and reflection.

I’d say “yes,” that all my comics works are based, to a greater or lesser degree, on experiences.

§ This disturbingly detailed report on the DC softball team’s upcoming season lists Nel Yomtov among the league’s leading sluggers. Isn’t this the same Nelson Yomtov who has been around for like…forever? Did he secretly steal some of that Super Serum when he was at Marvel?

§ Scott McCloud examines highly experimental webcomics:

I sometimes joke that my early experiments in webcomics put me in comics’ “lunatic fringe” but it’s nice to know that there are artists like Sutu out there that make my scribblings look tame by comparison. He tells me he may release a graphic novel follow-up including the first chapters on DVD, so I guess all the walls between print and web are tumbling down if a strange beast like Nawlz can cross the line.

§ Headline of the day: Mr. T and Will Wright fight Nazis

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§ Some Philadelphia fans aren’t happy with the planned activities for Wizard World Philadelphia and they are planning a protest, in accordance with the democratic principles of this great nation:

“We are a group of fans that are staging a funeral for what is known as Wizard World Philadelphia,” he said over email. “The majority of us have been going for most of the years the con has been open. It has gotten to the point where convention coordinators who once asked us for feedback and what we would enjoy at WWP have been let go and new ones just don’t care. It is like the captain going down with the ship. Now with the new acquisition of Big Apple Con and it being in New York, we are to believe they wouldn’t want to use the time or the resources to stage two cons merely two hours apart.”

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§ CARTOON FLOPHOUSE is a prolific new blog by cartoonist Michael Aushenker that looks back and forth at all manner of off the beaten path cartoonists. A recent subject: Frank Robbins, who drew comics from the Silver Age on.

That’s because Frank Robbins has always been a polarizing figure in the annals of Marvel. People flat out either loved his style or despised it, and the proof is all over the letters pages of THE INVADERS, THE HUMAN FLY, GHOST RIDER, LUKE CAGE, CAPTAIN AMERICA and other titles he ran stints on. Given the two camps, I belonged to the former. I loved his anatomically incorrect, funky-posed superheroes and his Flash-paced action, the best combo being the two Franks: Robbins inked by Springer. Robbins was no prim and perfect Neal Adams, photo-realistically rendered and almost static at times…his work was high-octane, breakneck-speed fun and trashy, in the best, B-comic sense. You didn’t stick a Robbins comic in a mylar and mount it on your wall, you rolled it up in your back pocket and took it with you wherever you went. Yes, Frank Robbins had soul.


(Confession, we never could stand Robbins art as a kid; but we didn’t much like Kirby then either so obviously we were jerks. )

§ Paul DiFilippo reviews a few GNs at B&N.com.

§ Some fellow has started The Definitive Guide to the History of the Comic Book Industry as an editable Google Doc…anyone can edit. Go have fun!

§ Kristy Valenti and Shakespeare investigate The Seven Stages of the Comics Critic. We’re at the hazy and rambling stage ourselves.

Comics ad second life as viral poster? Or just a booboo?

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A bunch of movie sites are posting today that a viral teaser poster for THE SURROGATES has been released (more, see Splash Page.) While the fellow in the ad does look a bit like Bruce Willis, who stars in the film, we’re told by Chris Staros and others that it is actually one of the fake ads for the story’s Virtual Self Inc (VSI) Corporation which ran on the back of the singles of the series, published by Top Shelf.

Has Disney re-released the comics ad as a teaser poster? Or did some scamp send this out to see who would bite?

Comics Alliance is back; now with Laura Hudson

200904281252Well, the source of Comic Foundry senior editor Laura Hudson’s Twitter glee over blogging has been revealed: AOL has relaunched its Comics Alliance blog and Hudson is the blogger on the bubble. RSS feed added — check!

Welcome to my world, girl! My #1 blogging tip is to remember to stand up and walk around the room at least once every day.

Pope’s Adam Strange

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Do we link to just about every piece of art Paul Pope posts? Well, maybe, but when it looks as good as this page of STRANGE ADVENTURES art for WEDNESDAY COMICS, how can anyone resist?

Here is the first of the 12 episodes of STRANGE ADVENTURES (starring Adam Strange) which will appear in Wednesday Comics, with coloring by Jose Villarrubia, who collaborated with me on Batman:Year 100. Jose is using only the fabled 144 colors available to newspaper printers circa 1940.

Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me by Peter Bagge

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The Flog Blog at Fantagraphics previews one of this summer’s must-haves: Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me by Peter Bagge, which reprints his various comics for Reason and other places. The site has a slideshow, ordering info, and a ton of other extras, like a screensaver. And here’s a link to a 12-page preview.

Christy onboard at Archaia

So what’s the deal at Archaia Press? The company foundered about a year ago as it sought new investors, and was rumored to be purchased by Devil’s Due at one point, but it ended up being acquired by former DD partner PJ Bickett, whose current title is President. Founder Mark Smylie is in place as Publisher. There was a lot of confusion at the time, but obviously, Archaia is back and putting out books, and even hiring people. We mentioned that Mel Caylo had come on board as Marketing Manager, and that means we should see a lot more news coming out, including another hire, Stephen Christy, who is joining the publisher as Director of Development. Christy was formerly at Devil’s Due, where he negotiated deals, such as the Humanoids license. More info in the PR:

In his role as Archaia’s Director of Development, Christy will be responsible for acquiring new comic book properties, overseeing the reverse engineering of previous “made for” scripts, strengthening partnerships within the entertainment sector, and ensuring that Archaia remains true to its reputation of providing the highest caliber of content. Previously, Christy headed IP Development for Devil’s Due Publishing and successfully oversaw the negotiations of nine development deals with major Hollywood production companies over a 14-month period. Prior to Devil’s Due, Christy worked at both Marvel Comics and DC Comics in various aspects of the business.

“We are pleased that Stephen will be joining the Archaia family,” commented Mark Smylie, Publisher and founder of Archaia. “His keen eye for quality content and his outstanding relationships with top-flight creators are the hallmark of what we have built with the Archaia brand. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to run our development slate.”


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The Mark Waid interview

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Everyone is talking about this career-spanning interview with writer/BOOM! EIC Mark Waid at AICN. In a comics media drowning in promotional interviews, the long, in-depth interview is a thing of the past (or a TwoMorrows publication) but this one pulls out the stops, and Waid spells out his version of some of the most colorful comics incidents of the past decade, like…Crossgen:

[Mark Alessi’s] idea of creative guidance was to; quite literally, scream until he was red in the face that there wasn’t enough detail on the page and that he wanted to see every single blade of grass, Goddamnit! He’d punish guys who drew perfectly well without his help by focusing on some detail or another on one of 22 pages–some face that somehow wasn’t exactly what he saw in his head, whatever the hell that was–by berating them at the top of his lungs and then sending them home for the day, “and don’t come back until you can draw it right!” That, people, is art directing at its finest. Despite his inappropriate behavior, which was deservedly notorious, there were some damn good Crossgen books put out–but I swear to you, none of them were issued by Crossgen so much as escaped FROM Crossgen.


And…the Jemas Years at Marvel:

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Wolverine Week everywhere!

Are you counting down to the theatrical release of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE? Or at least to a few hours of shirtless Hugh Jackman? Well, so is everyone else. We’ll try to survey some of the best stuff around the web. Living Between Wednesdays has an excellent overview of the flood of Wolvie products out there, including alarming things like cologne, pictures belts, a product with the slogan “Let’s slice some CAKE!” and so on. And the claws just haven’t successfully been visualized yet, have they?

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A rubber band with nails on it?! What the hell is that thing? But it’s hard to fault this product because that kid on the package RULES.

Carlton Hargro at Creative Loafing has absolutely the best guide to Wolvie’s best comics we read:

The big problem with Wolverine comics is that they usually don’t focus on the things that make the guy cool. Just like he was portrayed in the X-Men movies, Wolverine is the super-powered self-styled “best there is at what he does” — and what he does is slice people up with a set of razor sharp claws that pop out of his hands. He’s a tough, ruthless, mysterious loner with metal bones (seriously) and mixes the best aspects of Han Solo, James Dean and Hannibal Lecter (minus the propensity to eat flesh). But, unfortunately, most of the comics that star Wolvie focus on the fact that, as seen in those previously mentioned X-Men films, the character has no memory of his past; consequently most books show him trying to uncover his lost history. And, for a hero who’s been in print since 1974, that search for identity can get kind of boring and hampered with decades of confusing people, places and things. Bottom line: As a lover and collector of comics, I didn’t want anyone getting their hands on crappy products. And to help alleviate that potential problem, I felt it was my duty to direct folks to Wolverine’s “greatest hits” — the comics that even the most casual fans of the rough-and-tumble super guy would understand and enjoy.


For people who want the personal touch, this WEDNESDAY, there will be a Wolverine event at MoCCA with Chris Claremont and Matthew K. Manning, moderated by Peter Sanderson.

Wednesday, April 29th, 7pm
Admission: $ 5 | Free for MoCCA Members

In anticipation of the May 1 theatrical release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, join us as Chris Claremont, best known for his work on Marvel Comic’s X-Men series, leads a discussion with Matthew K. Manning, author of DK Publishing’s newly-released Wolverine: Inside the World of the Living Weapon, a comprehensive guide to the savage world of the X-Men’s most popular Super Hero.

Great moments in comics PR

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We just don’t have time or inclination to summarize all the comics-related PR we get each and every day, but in deference to our publicist pals, every once in a while something jumps out that must be pondered. For instance here’s a good one from Archie:

IT’S CELEBRITIES AND SUPER-MODELS AS BETTY & VERONICA DIVE HEAD-FIRST INTO THE WORLD OF POP CULTURE!


What could that mean? Are they starting a website or something?

Archie Comics and pop culture have gone together forever. Singing sensations, hit TV shows, popular movies, hot fashions, the latest toys and gadgets – one look through any ARCHIE AMERICANA trade paperback is all it takes to realize all have had a featured place in the pages of Archie Comics throughout the years. Now, Betty and Veronica take pop culture to new heights of hilarity in a pair of star-struck issues shipping this July.

The razzle-dazzle fun begins in BETTY & VERONICA SPECTACULAR #90. This celebrity-packed issue offers readers a chance to see more stars than there are in solar system! In “Star Struck,” it’s a boy band brouhaha, as Betty and Veronica get jobs as reporters for Ginger Lopez’s “Glitz Magazine” and have a controversial run-in with The Juneau Brothers! Then, in “Paparazzi Problem,” “rumor” has it that the girls grapple with the age old dilemma: to gossip or not to gossip! Finally, in “Sign Me Up” Mr. Lodge reveals a sensational secret from his past: he once dated a celebrity! All this, plus pop-culture extras like a Hollywood quiz, celebrity fashions, and more!

The pop culture comedy continues in BETTY #181, with a spoof of one of the most popular movies of recent years. In “The Diva Wore Yada,” a summer internship at “Harmon’s Bazzar” fashion magazine brings Betty face-to-face with a demanding diva of a boss. Imagine Betty’s surprise when the boss demands she model for the magazine’s spring fashion spectacular! Celebrity news columnist Hal Lifson brings his fashionable first-hand perspective to this “tongue-in-chic” tale!


Could this “pop culture comedy” become a trend? Developing.

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Meanwhile, Marvel informs us of a more tragic tale:

The Hulk Faces Off Against His Son

There’s one thing we’ve said a million times and that’s if it’s good enough for Turgenev, Homer and Arthur Miller, it must be good enough for the Hulk.

What will happen when these two green giants, bound by blood, collide in this savage showdown? One thing’s for sure—Skaar is coming and there will be smashing & slashing!


Will smashing and slashing become as big a trend as pop culture comedy or shirtless Hugh Jackman? We’ll remain vigilant.

Studio coffee run: 30 DAYS, Megan Fox in HEX

§ A 30 DAYS OF NIGHT sequel is in the works, but it will probably be direct to DVD. Cinematical has deets, Actually this is a pick up from a Splash Page interview with Niles that ran last week:

According to [creators Steve] Niles, a script has already been submitted, and he is hard at work on the project with Ben Ketai (director of the 30 Days webisodes). The sequel will be based on the comic book follow-up Dark Days, and the story centers on “the character of Stella Olemaun [who] heads to Los Angeles after surviving the vampire attack in Barrow, Alaska. She intentionally attracts the attention of the local vampire population in order to avenge the death of her husband, Eben, during the Barrow incident.”

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§ Megan Fox has been spotted on the JONAH HEX set. So it’s set in ancient Roman times?

BTW, it’s been scientifically proven that running pictures of Megan Fox every day will boost web traffic exponentially, but we’re trying to resist.

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§ BUT Salma Hayek…that, we can get totally behind. As her young child grows, she gets even more Luba-esque! Hayek recently tied the knot and we’ll try to dig up some wedding photos…pronto.

Web ephemera: When Legends Gather

Very much Not Comics, but we were tooling around and found this blog called If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats, which has a feature called “When Legends Gather,” and you will probably spend a lot of time looking at it. As you might guess, it’s photos of famous people together you never thought you would see together. The archeological data on fashions and fame alone will occupy hours. A sampling:
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Famed silent film star Harold Lloyd and baseball star Babe Ruth. Gosh, people were funny-looking back in the day. (PS: If you’ve never seen a Harold Lloyd movie, you need to remedy that.)

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Film stars Yul Brynner and Gene Kelly yuk it up.

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And another silent film star, Charlie Chaplin, chowing down with playwright George Bernard Shaw. What do you think they are talking about? Brussels sprouts?

Much, much more in the link.

Bea Arthur and Star Wars


We have failed to properly mark the passing of Bea Arthur, but must now remedy that. As our pal Zena pointed out, there are now as many surviving Golden Girls as Beatles. As we probably noted when Estelle Getty passed away, our step-dad produced Golden Girls for a few years, so we know all about that and still have our Golden Girls cast jacket, even if it is too hot to ever wear it again.

Arthur, always a fierce, witty presence, made her great contribution to nerd culture playing the manager of the Cantina in the Star Wars Holiday Special. You can see her crooning, serving up drinks, dealing with Rodians AND Harvey Corman in the above clip. It’s pretty amazing.

As you watch it, you realize there was never a character in the whole Star Wars canon any tougher than Bea Arthur. RIP.
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