A peek at Witchlands

Witchlands is a long-brewing ongoing series by Kurt Busiek and artist Conner Willumsen, which has been delayed by this and that and then was planned to come out from WildStorm but is now coming out from…parts unknown. Whoever is publishing it, it’s going to look great, as Busiek has just posted a few preview pages. Willumsen has long been a Beat Future Star pick, and the cover by Zachary Baldus is equally fabulous.

NYCC 10: Marvel signing schedule

Only available as an image, but all things Marvel at NYCC can be found here.

NYCC: Team up with Maphook and The Beat to win prizes — UPDATED

While we haven’t been too wild about software that delivers an ongoing RSS feed of your movements, when we were approached to look at the new location based social networking platform Maphook, we were more intrigued. Instead of just telling the world where you are and what you are doing, users collaborate to create a “story” about an event using “hooks” — tweets, photos, posts, scores, Wikipedia entries, factoids and so on. It’s sort of localized social networking combined with journaling, which is why we like it. Instead of having to go all over the place and search for info, it’s archived in one spot.

31 days of Halloween: Bobby Timony

Bobby Timony of Zuda’s Night Owls provides a nod to an imagined Laurel & Hardy’s horror comedy, LAUREL & HARDY: VAMPIRE HUNTERS. Click for a larger version.

These dicey days: Up, up and…gone

For everyone wondering if mainstream comics are so tired that “the general zeitgeist seems to be that mainstream comics are spent right now” maybe this is part of the reason why.

The Drawn & Quarterly sale

Drawn & Quarterly is also having a warehouse sale, with nearly all titles in stock 30-40% off. Lots of great stuff from Chester Brown to Lynda Barry to Kevin Huizenga.

Dance, Marvel Minimates, dance!

It happened at Dragon*Con. Need we say more?

Someone please add music, pronto, so this can become the greatest video of all times for today.

Is the Betty White comic book the solution to everything?

We declared a moratorium on Bluewater Comics news a while ago due to their awful back-end work for hire contract (and were taken off their PR list as a result) but whatever we think of their business model, we do have to give credit where it is due: they are absolute monsters at PR, and the recently announced Betty White Female Force comic is no exception. It’s popped up on our news feed from EW, the LA TImes, the New York Times and everywhere else; a Google search for “Betty White Bluewater” yields 74,000 results. Even the Today Show blog picked up the Reuters story about the comic.

Motions toward the jerk-free life

With the slow news cycle, we’ve been doing some much needed maintenance around Stately Beat Manor — trimming unread email lists, pruning RSS feeds, and so on. We’ve also been pondering our commenting system. We’ve recently put a few posters on “time out” because they were basically rude, insulting brigands, and we don’t like their kind. Biting wit and a droll put-down is fine. Name calling and invective is not.

Frankly, we’re always amazed when we go out and meet all the smart, talented people who read the Beat daily — we’d love to get some of those folks to comment more but it might require a complete overhaul of the commenting system. Also, it’s always been our observation that the better the modding, the better the commenting, and we don’t have the time it probably requires.

The Alcott Analysis: The Dark Knight

Two summers later, I am still quite taken with The Dark Knight. I have not encountered an American movie — much less an American movie, designed to be a gigantic blockbuster and based on a hugely popular comic book — that is structured as ingeniously and compellingly as this one. I’ve simply never seen anything like it, and after several viewings it still continues to flabbergast.

I’ve worked on a handful of these types of movies as a screenwriter, and let me tell you: they’re hard. They’re really hard. There are so many issues for the writer to address: the protagonist must be active, the villain’s plot must make sense, there must be a romantic interest, there must be due attention paid to the history of the character and the rules of the genre, they must be both fantastic and grounded at the same time. All these balls must be kept in the air and these concerns must mesh in a straightforward, compelling, swift, action-packed cinematic narrative, consistent in tone and true to its source material. I haven’t seen one — not one — that has managed to get everything in and do everything right. None of the Superman movies do it, none of the previous WB Batman movies do it, none of the Spider-Man movies do it, neither of the Fantastic Four movies do it, and, even after 22 tries, none of the Bond movies do it either. (The Iron Man movies come close — really close.) But The Dark Knight not only does a better job than any other movie based on its source material — and by that I mean “superhero comics” — it does it with a radically ambitious screenplay that challenges any number of conventions and brings a new, added weight to its subject.

Alan Moore still cranky and entertaining

With the release of UNEARTHING, a spoken word/music/photograph multimedia project, Northampton legend Alan Moore has done a few interviews which are just as entertaining as the man’s work. At the Irish Times, he waxes lyrical about many things, and reaffirms his distaste for the current comics scene:


Top Cow has a big presence for their big event this year, ARTIFACTS, and appearances by Marc Silvestri, Ron Marz (Artifacts), Phil Hester (The Darkness), Michael Broussard (Artifacts), Kenneth Rocafort (Velocity), Jeremy Haun (Berserker), Eric Basaldua (Witchblade Annual), William Harms (Impaler), Rob Levin (Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box), Bryan Edward Hill (Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box), Nelson Blake II (Magdalena), Marc Bernardin (Genius), Adam Freeman (Genius), Jeff Wamester (The Darkness: Four Horsemen), David Hine (The Darkness: Four Horsemen), Jason Rubin (The Iron Saint), Joshua Ortega (Necromancer), Rick Loverd (Berserker), Sheldon Mitchell (The Darkness), Rahsan Ekedal (The Crazies, Echoes), Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Crazies, Echoes), Randy Queen (The Darkness/Darkchylde: Kingdom Pain), Sarah Queen (The Darkness/Darkchylde: Kingdom Pain), Jonathan Lincoln (Tracker), Rick Basaldua (The Darkness) and more.

Core list of graphic novels covers the basics

Graphic Novel Reporter, the resource site for book industry professionals, has released a list of “core” graphic novels that librarians and store owners should consider basics to carry. The list starts with a basic ten book list: