§ The real official Comic-Con International: San Diego blog has staretd running daily tips, like how to get in line for panels and that kind of thing. IN a few days it’s going to be SDCC 2013 all day every day here so brace yourself.
§ The UNofficial SDCC blog has tons of useful info and all the news on the non comics stuff every day. I have just discovered that they also have a PODCAST, available at the above link, with interview with folks like David Glanzer, IGN’s Eric Goldman, and Slashfilm’s Germaine Lussier. How do I know this? Because last night I recorded an episode, along with Rob Salkowitz, the guy who wrote the book on the con. I’ll alert you to when it goes up.
We had somewhat similar roots, growing up in Europe and especially with French comics. We compared notes frequently on those, Gil Jourdan a good example. Like him, I was breathlessly reading that series as a kid, emulating it in early comics writing I would do, making sure to meet author Maurice Tillieux at every occasion, my signed ‘albums’ remaining a proud piece of my collection. Like him, I was a huge fan of Spirou and developed an early almost encyclopedic knowledge of its history. I told him he was crazy to even try to publish those here. I mean, they’re just so French, really. For a few years, we shared booths in Frankfurt and we would hang out. One could see quickly he was an unusually intelligent and grounded person. He may not have necessarily been the most warm and approachable but, as for Gary Groth, you could not but respect the breadth of his knowledge, the good sense he applied in co-running Fantagraphics.
If I can pick one thing that stands out about Kim, it would be the dedication he had in regard to ushering into existence in all of his numerous projects. In just the past five years or so, he has seemingly worked on dozens of translation projects, undeterred by market expectations or if the author was known or unknown. From what I can tell, if Kim strongly believed in the merit of a cartoonist’s work that would be the only criteria in regards to whether or not a book was published. Kim’s single-minded determination and enthusiasm was admirable and is the reason why we are all here today. And it’s why we get to read so many volumes of great cartoonists like Jason, Tardi, Joost Swarte, and Thomas Ott.
§ I am so amiss in not linking to this profile of Taiyo Matsumoto by Anne Ishii. I was not aware that Sunny, his beautiful meditation on childhood loneliness, is partly based on his own life. Whoa.
Matsumoto works at what’s considered a steady clip, and says he always starts with the artwork before the story. His settings and many of his establishment shots in “Sunny” appear to be single thoughts, and stories often build into the background through secondary dialogue. He works for the most part without assistants, though his wife, the artist and manga illustrator Saho Tono, helps in prepping and coloring while occasionally giving editorial guidance. “She helps me a lot — with my erasing, coloring,” he explains. “She reads first drafts and tells me if something is boring.” Tono’s choice of abstract tones complement Matsumoto’s graphic illustration, but when asked if he assists her work, too, he jokingly dismisses the idea: “Absolutely not. I wouldn’t dare.” At this, Michael Arias joins in the conversation with “Yeah, but her work is so much more far out, too.”
§ The Middle East is going to war—over who gets to build an Angry Birds theme park. In peaceful countries like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, theme parks are the bread and circuses of the day:
Angry Birds Land is just one of several ambitious projects proposed in the region. Other cities are starting to come up with theme park concepts that are either branded, big, or bizarre. In addition to courting Angry Birds, Abu Dhabi has expressed interest in a Michael Jackson-themed resort. According to Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, Jermaine Jackson has been in talks to build it on Yas Island, adjacent to Ferrari World.
¶ Joe Hill’s stylish LOCKE & KEY got turned down for a TV showbut it’s alive again at Universal as a movie:
Universal has optioned Locke & Key, the acclaimed supernatural comic book series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, to develop as a feature film. Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Bobby Cohen will produce via their Universal-based K/O Paper Products banner. Ted Adams, the CEO and publisher of IDW Publishing, the company behind the comic, will also produce. Locke & Key tells of three siblings who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Massachusetts. They soon discover the house has magical keys that give the bearers a vast array of powers and abilities. However, a devious creature is also after the keys, forcing the family to make a stand against evil.
¶ Speaking of Superman—which no one does these days—screenwriter Todd Alcott is analyzing Superman The Movie—maybe I can persuade him to let me reprint it here? What do you think?
The thing to remember about Superman: The Movie is that it was the first of its kind. Made in 1978 by middle-aged men, it was poised between nostalgia and hipness, gravity and camp, cutting-edge verisimilitude and old-fashioned Hollywood spectacle. It wants to take its subject matter seriously, but can’t quite commit to it fully. I was 17 when it came out, and theoretically its target audience. The advertising, John Williams score and space-bound title sequence made it clear that it was going after the Star Wars audience, which included children who didn’t know about Buck Rogers serials and nostalgic grownups who did. Having never read the comics, my concept of Superman in 1978 was limited to the syndicated reruns of the George Reeves show from the 1950s (which had borrowed heavily from the radio shows of the 1940s). The stunning Fleischer Superman shorts were a long-gone artifact at that point, not yet available at the counters of every drugstore in America. Only one, “Superman and the Mechanical Monsters,” had been shown to American audiences in recent decades, in the 1977 Fantastic Animation Festival, which was, in and of itself, a cultural touchstone in the pre-cable days of American geekdom.
§ A very nice interview with colorist Matt Hollingsworth that has some solid coloring process stuff.
I usually do limited palettes, even when I’m not working with David. I don’t like when comics have a million palettes all over the place. It’s like a bubblegum machine and my eye doesn’t know where to look. I like to reduce it down so it’s easily digestible to your eye. Like on that page, you can take a red car and notice it. If you put a blue sky behind it and make the car red and have everything be a bright color, you’d still notice it, but the more colors you use, the harder it is to lead the eye. Is that a more modern way of coloring? I don’t think so. A lot of the people who influenced me were more than 20 years ago. Lynn Varley on Frank Miller’s books. Richmond Lewis painted “Batman: Year One.” Sherilyn van Valkenburgh. I can’t remember something off the top of my head, but I loved her colors. A lot of Europeans also used limited color palettes. I’ve been doing this job for 22 years, and even back then, there were Europeans who were doing this.
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.