LOST: Romeo and Juliet


Juliet’s romantic history is not to the only Shakespeare connection in this week’s episode. More after the jump.
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RIP: Gary Gygax

The co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons passed away this morning. He was 69. From the AP Article:

Gygax and co-creator Dave Arneson developed the role-playing game in 1974 and it went on to become one of the best-selling games ever. Dungeons & Dragons is considered the grandfather of fantasy role-playing games and has influenced video games, books, movies and inspired legions of adoring fans.

Undoubtedly, more later.

UPDATE: ICv2 has a nice obit that talks about the various legal battles surrounding GGG and DD.

posted by mark coale

Random universe; random links

Fix Rachel's Wonky Mouth Webcomicker Rachel Nabors (Rachel the Great, Crow Princess) reports that she needs $25,000 worth of dental surgery and orthodontics. She’s a freelancer with no health insurance.
But she does have a Paypal button. § Everyone is talking about Destination: Blog! § Author and comics scholar Dr. Kent Worcester gets the local paper treatment § Dan Vado is grumpy but also reveals a bunch of new projects from SLG in this panel report. § Oh
no they ditn’t!
Someone goes there and wonders if William Blake might have been a pioneer of the graphic novel:

There is also a corner of the exhibition devoted to pop culture tie-ins including an interview with Patti Smith, the chance to listen to four different versions of Jerusalem, and a clip of Gus Van Sant’s Last Days (2004) with its half-Blake, half-Kurt Cobain central figure. But could there also be something to say about the links between Blake’s experiments in integrating
word and image and graphic novels or comic artwork?

§ Charlie Jane Anders stalks Dan Didio:

If you’ve found DC Comics hard to understand over the past year, chances are it’s because of the multiverse. DC used to have tons of alternate universes, but they collapsed into one nice, tidy universe in 1985. Until last year, when suddenly DC had 52 different
realities to play with again. I decided to hound DC super-editor Dan Didio for an explanation as to why DC’s writers and editors are so obsessed with alternate timelines. Here’s what he said the second and third times I asked him, plus some info on multiverses in science fiction.

§ Oh this is so easy. Dirk:

Last weekend’s WonderCon saw the debut of the first episode of Marvel’s new Saturday morning cartoon, Spectacular
Spider-Man, a project that has clearly been in the works for quite some time. In celebration, Marvel’s publishing division has… cancelled its Spectacular Spider-Man series and folded all Spider titles into a single series, which is called Amazing Spider-Man and, despite being completely rebooted and retconned, will still bear little-to-no resemblence to the cartoon. After all, doing anything else would leave you open to charges of attempting to leverage the brand, or reaching for the “Naruto Effect,” or even
(gasp!) acting like a competent manager of corporate intellectual property. This industry really does deserve everything it fucking gets, doesn’t it?

Fact. § Quote of the day: Mark Evanier, via Ian Brill

“I was at Bob Kane’s funeral,” Evanier said. “There were only four people from comics there: me, Stan Lee,
Mike Barr and Paul Smith. A whole bunch of Batman toys were put into Kane’s coffin and they were lowering it down. As the Kane was being put into the ground Stan turned around to me and said ‘Steve Ditko was the best inker Jack Kirby ever had.'”  Evanier admitted that Lee didn’t have the best attention span.

Happy Hockey Day in Canada

skating away on the thin ice

For those so inclined, take a break today from reading those comics or watching DVDs for today’s annual Hockey Day in Canada. (Apparently, it’s also Hockey Day in Minnesota, according to the Islanders/Wild telecast.) The Detroit/Toronto game may be in the books already, but there are plenty of games left tonight (including the Battle of Alberta).

Some of the better-known hockey/comics/nerdverse connections:

* Although people always associate PEANUTS with baseball, St. Paul native Charles Schulz was a big hockey enthusiast, owning a rink in Southern California and was even inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993.

* Todd McFarlane used to a partial owner of the NHL Edmonton Oilers and even designed their one of their alternate logos. And there was the Tony Twist Lawsuit.

* James Kolchaka and the Zambonis’ song “Hockey Monkey.”

* Hockey is a big part of Kevin Smith’s View Askew Universe, from playing rooftop hockey in CLERKS to the skating demons in DOGMA.

We know there are more but it’s almost time for the prime-time games to start on CBC. Gotta go.

Posted by Mark Coale

A Testosterone Filled Weekend

Here comes the pain.

If you’ve been spending a little much time surfing the net and reading comics (be they capes or non-capes) and feeling a little too nerdy, this is the weekend to change up the routine. There’s MMA and Super Bowl to get your juices flowing.

First up the third UFC event in recent weeks, a mega-show taking place in their traditional pre-Super Bowl Saturday timeslot. The main event is a contest for the Interim Heavyweight Championship between former champ Tim Sylvia and ex-PRIDE titleholder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. But, to many casual fans, the fight to see this night is the UFC debut of former WWE champion Brock Lesnar, who is taking on yet another previous UFC Heavyweight Champion, Frank Mir.

But that’s really just a warm-up to the big event of the weekend, Super Bowl XLII in Arizona. To make yet another pro rasslin’ analogy, the New York Giants are the scrappy babyface looking to take down the swaggering, arrogant heel, being the New England Patriots. New England, penalized earlier in the year for stealing another team’s signals and full of players often accused of playing dirty, is shooting for a perfect season, something not done in over 25 years.

sometimes it still feels like 1984

Oh yeah, for those of you going to a Super Bowl party but not really caring about the game, the early buzz on the Big Commercial during the game is a Pepsi spot revolving around a couple of hearing-impaired guys looking for a buddy’s house. You can see the commercial online already here.

And, as THE BEAT mentioned the other day, there will be an IRON MAN trailer shown during the game, one of many advertising summer blockbusters.

If you really don’t care, there’s always PUPPY BOWL or the MYTHBUSTERS marathon to watch on cable instead.

Posted by Mark Coale

LOST: Who are the Oceanic Six?

Jack, the babyface you love to hate.

I know they are the good guys, but whenever I kept hearing the name, I kept thinking “Sinister Six.” Yes, super nerd here.

Anyway, Heidi gave you the LOST season premiere post the other day. So, here’s a place to talk about what happened in “The Beginning of the End.”


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San Diego launches blog to help you get a hotel room

THe San Diego Comic-Con has launched a blog called “Staying in San Diego” to help with the most arduous task of the comics year: getting a hotel room for the show:

In 2007, Comic-Con International had 125,000 attendees. We realize the challenges related to an event of this size. One of the most challenging aspects of attending Comic-Con is trying to reserve a hotel room. Each year, we open hotel reservations only to have them initially sell out in a matter of hours. And while rooms almost always are added or become available due to cancellations, the simple fact of the matter is there are not enough hotel rooms in San Diego for everyone who wants to attend Comic-Con.

The purpose of this blog is to offer a forum on both the hotel reservation process and to help answer your questions. We will also offer tips on staying in San Diego, including nearby restaurants and attractions, Comic-Con’s shuttle bus schedule, the city’s mass transit, and more, as we get closer to the event.

The blog also includes a preliminary list of con hotels.


Our five lucky Lulu reprint winners have been chosen. Congrats to:

Brian Winkeler
Joe Williams
Jason Green
Jennifer Sweeney
Richard Krauss

Your winnings are in the mail. Thanks to everyone who entered — the response was tremendous. We will be doing MORE Beat Giveaways as we find more stuff that deserves loving homes.

Annnnnnnnd one last word

Fantagraphics’ Eric Reynolds weighs in on the pre-sell controversy, and manages to see both sides. Ultimately, however, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

The Direct Market is important to us and there’s no reason it won’t remain so. So I hope we all remain interested in working with each other to grow. I believe that our con sales serve to promote our artists and books more than those sales have an adverse effect on the industry’s bottom line. I can’t prove this, but no one can supply any hard evidence to the contrary, either. I really need to see some harder figures before I can really believe otherwise and start considering doing fewer shows or considering giving up much-needed revenue at those that we do attend. We debuted 50 copies of I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets at Comicon last year (to 100,000+ people!) because we thought it would be worthwhile beyond just the cash value (after factoring in airfreight from asia and other comicon overhead, it’s not all that) — there was an unquantifiable promotional value. Paul Karasik was there and did a hugely popular presentation. We sold out and everyone wanted a copy and blogs were writing about the book and creating demand. When the book hit stores a few weeks later, we had an immediate sellout of the 1st printing and have had two subsequent printings in the seven months since. How can you tell me everyone would have been better off if that book had not hit cold there and knocked people out the way it did?

Gary Groth chimes in at the end and makes a very persuasive case for the benefits of preselling a few copies at conventions far outweighs to costs:

This may be a case where we have to continue promoting our books in this fashion for the good of retailers despite their wishes that we stop the practice. Which is pretty damned weird, but there you have it.

When all is said and done, the retailers who vocally oppose the practice  — led by Robert Scott — have been asked again and again what would be the absolute, provable benefits of stopping the practice of pre-selling at conventions for the publishers. The answer almost always comes down to “Retailers will like you more.” We’re sorry, but given the very strong case that Reynolds and Groth make in the above linked post about the benefits for the entire medium, that just doesn’t wash.

Heath Ledger found dead

Oscar nominated actor Heath Ledger, who plays the Joker in this summer’s THE DARK KNIGHT was found dead in his Soho apartment this afternoon, multiple sources are reporting.

According to the NY Times, a masseuse arriving for an appointment found the actor dead in his bedroom. Pills were found near his body.

Ledger’s Joker character was the subject of an ongoing viral marketing campaign for the new Batman film. These plans will undoubtedly be reassessed in the wake of Ledger’s death.

The Beat named among EW’s 100 Greatest Websites

Thanks to my EW colleagues for the very nice kudo:

The Beat pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/ Heidi MacDonald is one of comic-dom’s premiere journalists, and this ”news blog of comics culture” is the result of her hard work.


We owe it all to one man.

No Laughing Matter

MTV.com has an article up talking to a bunch of folks about Heath Ledger’s Joker. Included in the article are Guillermo del Toro, Paul Dini, Jeph Loeb and … ADAM WEST!

Posted by Mark Coale

CBLDF Member Holiday Party tonight!


Tonight, come celebrate comics and the First Amendment, while reveling alongside an all-star line up of creators! The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s NYC Holiday Member party, co-hosted by JahFurry, begins promptly at 7pm and continues until 11pm, with plenty of fun in between, including a live comics jam, raffles and door prizes, live jazz-funk by Avi Bortnick, delicious vittles, and more comics stars than you can shake a sketchbook at. Location: Village Pourhouse, 64 3rd Ave @ 11th St.

Instead of buzzkilling lines for sketches, guests can take advantage of this unique assemblage by getting a CBLDF HOLIDAY JAM SHEET for a $50 donation, which they can then fill with original on-the-spot art from as many artists as they can corral.

Confirmed guest creators include: Kyle Baker, Paul Pope, Moby, Alex Maleev, Douglas Rushkoff, John Lucas, Rick Spears, Dean Haspiel, Josh Neufeld, Nick Bertozzi, Michel Fiffe, Molly Crabapple, Nikki Cook, Dan Goldman, Anthony Lappe, Andy MacDonald, Arvid Nelson, Jen Tong, Ryan Roman, Kevin Colden, Alec Longstreth, Vito Delsante, and Ulises Farinas, and Paul Azaceta.

Throughout the night, the Fund is giving a way a host of great door prizes, including gift certificates at partner stores Forbidden Planet, Jim Hanley’s Universe, and Midtown Comics. The Fund is also raffling off prizes including an Arthur Suydam signed Marvel Zombies hardcover, full signed sets of Strangers in Paradise, Liberty Meadows, Invincible, and much more.

The first 50 Members to attend will take away a fantastic gift bag that includes a limited edition signed Paul Pope print, collectible preview editions of Jungle Girl, Superpowers, Infinite Horizon, and Displaced Persons, a variant cover of Sinbad: Rogue of Mars #1, a DJ Spooky sampler CD, a Will Eisner graphic novel and additional signed CBLDF prints!

While having fun, partygoers can get some holiday gift shopping done at the fundraising table, boasting a wonderful assortment of signed graphic novels, comics, and original art.

So, come to the Village Pourhouse and bring your CBLDF member card or sign up at the door to be a part of this unforgettable night for comics!

For more info or to join: http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000344.shtml

HIGH MOON wins first Zuda competition

Click for more.

Not directly related to comics but…

I don’t mean to alienate a good 8 million people, but is Washington DC a strange place or what?

Go to the Corcoran Gallery near The Memorial and check out Ansel Adams in one wing, and Annie Liebowitz directly across. It’s a somewhat peculiar experience – smallish pictures of vast mountain vistas one second, and then huge portraits of celebrities in various stages of undress. What ends up happening is a glamorification of Yosemite National and a landscaping of Susan Sontag.

Meanwhile back in Europe, TV broadcasters just got the greenlight to advertise via product placement. They’re calling it, “Television sans Frontieres.” Talk about a bad appropriation of a well-meaning formula. As if everything wasn’t already an advertisement. I just can’t believe it wasn’t already happening.

2008 Eisner Judges Announced

(Via CBR) The 2008 Eisner Judges have been announced.

(Please forgive my second-sourcing blog news items. I know it’s not the best netiquette but I’m just a guest-blogger?)