§ Film site One Perfect Shot has a nice piece on Gabriel Hardman’s storyboard work—for stuff like Inception, above—he is a very talented fellow indeed.
Gabriel Hardman is an artist of compelling talent. How compelling? Compelling enough that Christopher Nolan has used him as a storyboard artist for the last three films he’s directed: INTERSTELLAR, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, and INCEPTION. Not a bad resume, but Hardman was already in demand long before Nolan caught wind of his talents. Hardman was also Bryan Singer’s go-to guy for a bit there, working with the director on SUPERMAN RETURNS and X2, as well as other notable helmers like Ron Howard (ANGELS & DEMONS, THE CAT IN THE HAT), Ben Stiller (TROPIC THUNDER), and Brian DePalma (MISSION TO MARS). As if this wasn’t enough, he’s also a writer/illustrator of comic book titles like KINSKI, STAR WARS LEGACY, PLANET OF THE APES, and SAVAGE HULK.
§ There’s a new software called ComicFlix that will quickly and cheaply convert a video to comics panels:
“We have a technology where we can do this in a week,” Rakshit said. “The software takes the video and does a lot of algorithmic and heuristic processing. It gives them a hand-drawn look, and stitches them together into a story. There’s very little human interfacing.” The technology was developed by co-founder and CTO Jeremy Stephens and an offshore development team. While text and art are created by the software, sound effects are not.
The choice to create a hand-drawn look was an aesthetic, or dare we say it, an artistic choice. “We could do this without the filters where it would just be the images and the speech bubbles, but we tried to convert them,” she explained. “It’s more about reading a good story in this format.” ComicFlix has the development of a reader in its roadmap, but for now is using the web and Amazon’s Kindle as ways to display its content.
This power must only be used for good.
§ The Image documentary Image Revolution directed by Patrick Meany is now available to rent or buy on Amazon. In addition to interviewing the original Image Seven — Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Whilce Portacio, Jim Valentino, Marc Silvestri and Jim Lee—you may see a moment or two of The Beat Herself in there. That’s why I have my very own IMDB page!
§ Holy crap! The first four guests for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con have been announced! Howard Chaykin, Daniel Clowes, Brian Selznick and Babs Tarr. A thousand more are yet to be announced.
§ The Walking Dead has reached issue #150, all but six with the same creative team, which, comicbook.com notes is a distinguished achievement:
The same creative team has produced The Walking Dead for 144 issues. Charlie Adlard has been the only artist to work on the series since replacing the original artist Tony Moore on The Walking Dead #7; Robert Kirkman has written the entire series. There are very few examples in American comics of creator owned series that lasted so long with a consistent creative team. Dave Sims’ Cerebus and Savage Dragon are the only obvious counterparts with 300 and 210 issues, respectively. Whatever your opinion of these series, the dedication of their creators and loyalty of their fans speak to a very rare occurrence within the medium.
In cas eryou missed the issue, no one was beaten to death with a baseball bat, but there was some beating of a different kind…actually sort of a positive milestone for a change.
§ LGBTQ comics advocacy group Prism is taking applications for the 2016 Queer Comics Grant, Comics Alliane has deets.
Prism Comics, a non-profit group devoted to the promotion of LGBTQ-friendly comics and creators, is now accepting applications for the 2016 Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. Prism gives its annual grant to creators who are self-publishing comics with queer themes and characters, and submissions are judged primarily on their merit, though the financial circumstances of the creators are also considered. In addition to money, the grant recipient will receive promotional assistance from Prism. Last year’s winner was Dave Davenport, for his graphic novel Stray Bullet, which deals with HIV. Other past winners include Ed Luce, Tana Ford, and Blue Delliquanti. The deadline for applications is March 1st, 2016. The winner will be announced during Wondercon, which is held in Los Angeles from March 25th to 27th. The application form is available on Prism’s web site.
§ If you want to know all about the Deadpool movie, i’s a good idea to check any of co-creator Rob Liefeld’s social media accounts, as he’s been live tweeting everything about it for years like a proud papa. But you see, Deadpool has TWO proud papas, as Liefeld is only the CO-creator — and here’s a profile of the other one, Fabian Nicieza!
Fabian Nicieza understands Deadpool’s enduring, if not oddly endearing place in comics as well as anyone. When he created the character with artist Rob Liefeld for “New Mutants” No. 98 in 1991, he drew upon Spider-Man’s gift of snarky gab, made it 10 times more crude, added a homicidal streak and set him loose on an unsuspecting world. “The reason Deadpool grabs the attention of so many young people is because he is an anarchy-maker, he is a disrespecter of authority, he is indifferent to societal norms,” Nicieza said. “He says whatever is on his mind with no filter whatsoever because he has no filter because biologically he has no filter that controls his impulses.
§ Brigid Alverson interviews former D&Q publisher Chris Oliveros about his new graphic novel, ‘The Envelope Manufacturer’ and it turns out Oliveros is another one of those
nutters incredibly focused individuals who uses a few moments a day before work to Get Things Done:
Were you working on this book while you were at Drawn and Quarterly?
The very earliest incarnation goes back to the late 1990s, when a draft of chapter one was published in pamphlet form. Another chapter was published at some point in the early 2000s. But by the time I started on the final chapter I was very unhappy with all of the material I had completed up to that point. So I went back to square one, editing parts of it and ultimately redrawing the whole thing. It was always a challenge to find any time to work on this, since most of my waking hours were divided between Drawn & Quarterly and family life, raising three sons at home. Somehow I managed to carve out a small chunk of time each day, from about 5:30 am to 7:00 am, which was just enough to allow me to reach the finish line on this book, at long last.
§ Zainab Akhtar guest interviews Michael DeForge for Inkstuds,
§ I think I linked to this before but if I didn’t a translation of Naoki Urasawa and Hisashi Eguchi rapping about Otomo and other 80s manga stars.
§ This is very tl;dr so I have no idea how problematic it gets, but Sunday Comics looks at the legacy of Canadian comics, including a take down of Brian K Vaughan and Steven Skroce’s comic about a war between the US and Canada; according to the author, it would have been much more authentice had a Canadian been involved!
For the most part, Canadians are regularly ignored, and perk up whenever Americans stand up and notice any of our contributions we’ve done that normally fall under their scandal-watching radar. Part of the problem is that Americans know very little about Canada, which is especially troubling since according to a multiple-choice survey, 1/3 of American 8th Graders thought Canadians were a Dictatorship, along with Australia and France. This wasn’t borne from a deep internal reflection of our last political party, but from massive guesswork of limited choices. They thought that given their current standard of living, any other place would be considerably worse off, since who Wouldn’t want to be an American??? The unwelcome answer is: not everyone. People take a kind of jingoist pride in their own countries the same way Americans do in theirs – they just express it differently.
Funnily enough, Scroce is actually Canadian. But I guess his influence wasn’t enough. Anyway this is a loooong piece, so get a hot beverage.
§ FiveThirtyEight wanted to get the low down on what David Bowie meant to the world, so they interviewed Kieron Gillen:
Literally a couple days before Bowie died, I was reading the back matter for the fancy edition of “Watchmen,” where they have the script and the pictures, and [Alan Moore, the author, is] Dr. Manhattan, from “Watchmen” DC COMICS talking about how the major influence for Dr. Manhattan was “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” Bowie acting in that. Specifically how, in “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” you don’t really realize it’s happening over decades to begin with, because people are aging around him, and it’s that out-of-time moment. You take away Bowie, and you take a major part out of “Watchmen.”
§ Kyle Stark’s graphic novel Sexcastle got a lot of love for being a very funny tale on the espionage novel. And now it’s being developed as a film with Workaholics’s Kyle Newacheck is set to direct and the Russo Brothers producing. Blake Anderson, the guy with the hair from Workaholics, will play the title character. The book is about a superspy who tries to retire but is drawn back to the world with a hilarious nod to 80s trope, as the AV Club wrote:
These may sound like serious questions, but there’s a definite element of absurdity to Starks’ story, which embraces and amplifies ’80s action movie tropes. He doesn’t shy away from the humor in his script, punctuating action sequences with hilarious one-liners and the occasional bit of slapstick physical comedy, and those moments of levity create a refreshing contrast with the grisly black-and-white violence and Sexcastle’s intense internal conflict. Starks’ sense of humor also shines through in his sound effects: A kick to groin is paired with “Fucked!” and a knee to the face with “Ong-Bak’d!” He’s constantly aware of the value of comedy in a high-stakes narrative, and rather than drawing attention away from the dramatic material, the humor enlightens it.
§ The Lucifer tv show is coming in a few short days! here’s a review from Forbes:
Having only the pilot to go off, it’s really hard to lock down just what kind of show Lucifer is. However, what can be said is it isn’t the train wreck the initial trailers made it appear. In its first episode, Lucifer is entirely devoted to making the show a character piece exploring the very entertaining portrayal of the dark one by Tom Ellis. There is a “case of the week” in the sense that Lucifer has something to do that wraps-up by episode’s end, but it’s hardly a story that’s done in a procedural sense… and this is where the show diverts in a strange way.
§ People STILL love the Karl Urban Judge Dredd movie. Plans for a sequel stalled because, well, the first movie didn’t do gangbusters. But now there’s a fan driven petition imploring Netflix or Amazon or someone to pick it up as a TV show. I think dear, dear Karl Urban said he didn’t want to do any more TV shows after that one about his balls went off the air, but who knows.
§ Here’s a brief film that cartoonist Liana Finck made about her appearance in “Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists”, the documentary about New Yorker cartoonists that’s now streaming on HBO.
§ Here’s a look at how this year’s best picture nominees fare with the Bechdel Test. Brooklyn, which is about a girl and her family, passes with flying colors, as does Mad Max: Fury Road, becuase Mad Max: Fury Road is the greatest movie ever made last year. Also streaming on HBO now. The other films flunk totally:
Blink and you might miss them. The first and only living woman to speak in “The Revenant” appears an hour and a half in. The one scene shared only between women in “Spotlight” comes after the climax, zipping by in two lines. “The Big Short” and “Bridge of Spies” skip female dialogue almost entirely. With a few notable exceptions among the top eight films of the year, women don’t linger in the picture.
§ So not comics but this piece also atFiveThirtyEight on The Most-Edited Wikipedia Pages Over The Last 15 Years provides a chilling and acute look at how our collective psyche has adapted over the last 15 years.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.