§ Prolific animator and writer Gordon Kent, who worked on everything from Fangface to Bob’s Burgers, has passed after a battle with cancer. Kent was the original colorist on Groo and a much loved figure on the LA scene. Mark Evanier remembers his friend:
Oh, how I hate that I have to write an obit here for my friend, Gordon Kent. I hate that I can no longer pick up the phone and call my friend and swap stories and jokes and that we can’t plan to get together because we always had a great time. I hate that cancer has taken him away, not just from me but from his family members and friends.
I do not believe Gordon had any enemies. I can’t think of one reason why anyone should not have liked the guy. He was one of those people who, if you met him and didn’t love him, there was something seriously wrong with you.
§ STAPLE in Austin is this weekend’s indie comic and Kate Tanski has a wee preview:
STAPLE! is Austin’s Independent Media Expo, and this year (its 11th) they are focusing on celebrating women and their work, as well as exploring what it means to be a woman in the male-dominated world of media, both of which are pretty gosh darn awesome, especially considering that the first day of the event falls on International Women’s Day. Their lineup of panels and guests is also pretty stellar, and after perusing it, I picked out the five panels I’m most sad to be missing, and wrote the five questions I would ask if I was going to be there.
§ Shaenon K. Garrity is back with a look at Apocalypse Meowthe manga about the Viet Name war that starred bunnies.
The most disappointing title change from manga to English translation happened last year, when the American movie version of All You Need Is Kill was released as Edge of Tomorrow. (Okay, okay, All You Need Is Kill was a light novel before it was a manga, but bear with me, I’m riffing.) The new title was so bland and unappealing, not to mention ineffective at filling theater seats, that by the time of the DVD release some marketing campaigns were pushing the movie’s tagline, “Live. Die. Repeat,” as the title. Live Die Repeat is a much better title, but still nothing compared to All You Need Is Kill, one of the greatest titles since Kazuo Umezu boiled all horror fiction down to its core by calling a story “Scared of Mama.” Similarly, Apocalypse Meow is a pretty good title for a manga about the Vietnam War in which all the characters are drawn as cute animals. But the original Japanese title? Cat Shit One. There’s no beating that. Once again, America only punishes itself with its prudish reluctance to put swears on book covers.
I still have some copies of the Spanish edition of this, which was called the peerless Cat Shit One.
§ Michael Aushenker interviews cartoonist Keshni Kashyap, author of Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary:
Kashyap didn’t read comics growing up, but picked up “Persepolis” during the tail end of graduate school. The landmark two-book graphic novel that depicts Persian cartoonist Marjane Satrapi’s coming of age during the chaos of the Iranian Revolution found a huge American audience, even inspiring a 2007 animated feature.
Unlike Satrapi, however, “I don’t draw at all,” Kashyap said. “I’m not a comic book artist, but I had a very specific take.”
Once Kashyap decided to create a comic, she needed an illustrator. So she drove over to Art Center College of Design campus in Pasadena and headed to the student cafeteria. A student suggested Kashyap get in touch with his friend, a woman from Osaka named Mari Araki who had time off from school.
§ An excerpt from the new Tom Schilling book about Barks discusses perhaps his greatest story, “lost in the Andes.”
Lost in the Andes (1949) is widely regarded as Carl Barks’ finest story, was his personal favorite, and the one he felt was his most technically perfect. Visually, it is an astonishing piece, taking us from cramped ship’s quarters to the open sky above the mountains, through fog and bright sunlight, each panel masterfully rendered for maximum effect. As a story it is equally remarkable, personifying what critic Michael Barrier said of the auteur: “Barks was a writer first and an artist second, and his drawings have life because they are in the service of characters and ideas.
§ Laura Hudson and Leigh Alexander are launchingOffworld, a gaming site that aims to be for everyone:
Offworld is a place for curious and playful grown-ups, where we can enjoy the endless possibilities of the 21st century’s greatest art form. We’re here to express our love of exploring new worlds, to talk to their creators, to share our discoveries, and imagine new frontiers to play in together. This will be an unequivocal home for women and minorities, whose voices will make up most of the work published here. We’re central to the growth and development of this warm, brilliant, expressive medium.
The site kicks off on Monday, 3/9.
§ An email in my inbox mentioned a WETA statue of Bifur, which made me wonder if there is one of my favorite dwarf Bofur. And of course there is.
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.