§ When we were rounding up the CAFs the other day we forgot about ELCAF the London Comic Arts Festival. I dunno what this stunning piece by Takayo Akiyama has to do with it, but I’m sold. I had a bit of a twitter discussion t’other day about how we’re developing a two-pronged events culture: the traditional Cons, and the newer CAFs. One is a lollapalooza, the other a hootenanny and both are fun.

§ After my screed against red headed elves yesterday, Tolkien scholar Colleen Doran reminded me that the Nerdanel, wife of Fëanor has red hair. Okay, so there are red haired elves after all! Does this mean Tauriel is related to Celebrimbor, the great smith of the Noldor who forged the Rings of Power?

PS: in my list of Tolkien heroines, I neglected to mention Luthien, who had plenty of adventures, including cutting a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth himself.

§ Is there a more vital matter to the world today than Rocket Raccoon? I doubt it. Animal-loving Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn posed with a real raccoon on the set the other day, and the parade of adorable began.

§ Kickass V3 #1 sold well, according to Mark Millar.

§ Hm, we’ve been saying for a while now how important Man of Steel is, and now here’s a one-week out speculation about the opening box office, so evidently we are not alone in our anxiety. This is kind of interesting, because this kind of public forecasting is usually a game of chicken between a nervous studio managing expectation and concern trolling rival studios trying to float bigger numbers so anything less looks like a flop. And so:

Trying to manage expectations, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are suggesting a domestic debut of $75 million-plus — at least publicly. Internally, a number in the $85 million to $90 million range is being thrown about as the studio looks to resurrect the marquee superhero franchise. Produced by Christopher Nolan, the $225 million tentpole headlines British actor Henry Cavill as the caped crusader.

Several of Warner’s rivals believe Man of Steel has a strong shot at opening to $100 million or more over the June 14-16 weekend, considering it is pacing ahead of Fast & Furious 6, which earned $97.4 million in its first three days. And on Wednesday, June 6, online ticketing service Fandango reported that Man of Steel was outpacing all previous 2013 summer films in terms of advance ticket sales.

Translation: no one at Warner Bros. has any fingernails left.

§ The Comics Reporter catches up with Ben Towle and Craig Fischer on their mega panels, a HeroesCon tradition:

FISCHER: Ben and I started our Mega-Panels six years ago, in 2008, when we realized that (a.) Al Feldstein was tabling at the con, and (b.) no one had yet asked him to be part of the programming. Ben and I quickly cobbled together a two-hour EC-themed panel. The first hour was about Harvey Kurtzman: Ben did an overview of Kurtzman’s career, I did a close reading of the Kurtzman/Wood story “3-Dimensions!” (Mad #12), and Fantagraphics helped us prepare a preview of the yet-to-be-published Humbug collection. In the second hour we interviewed Feldstein. (Joining us for the interview were Roger Langridge and Richard Thompson.) Since then, we’ve organized our Mega-Panels around various topics. In 2009, our topic was Ditko, in 2010, we took a screwy look at superheroes titled “Defective Comics: A Celebration of Superhero Oddness,” and in 2011, our subject was Moebius. Last year, to commemorate Heroes’ 30th anniversary, our topic was “Echoes of ’82,” a survey of events in comics culture from three decades ago that continue to reverberate today. “Echoes of ’82” was maybe a little too Mega of a panel. Near the end, while I was interviewing Louise Simonson about the demise of Warren Publishing, her cell phone rang. It was husband Walt on the line, asking where she was, and worried that she’d been gone too long.

§ An introduction to Homestuck, the shockingly popular webcomic which has a huge fanatical following that has made creator Andrew Hussie a pop idol:

It is difficult to give even a bare outline of the plot. Coming in at over 6000 pages, and almost 100,000 words longer than War and Peace, this certainly isn’t a quick read. It is also one of the densest and most convoluted stories that I have ever read. There are dozens of primary characters, the story is heavily reliant on time travel and the action takes place in at least four different alternate universes. That’s not to mention the numerous fourth wall breaks and moments of author insertion. While in other works I might be tempted to call all of this gimmicky and excessive, in Homestuck it all comes together to work incredibly well. PBS has compared Homestuck to James Joyce’s Ulyssees, in how, while at times seemingly impenetrable, it is still deeply rewarding. Hussie is a highly skilled writer and manages to use this complexity to create a story that is not deep, engrossing, funny and filled with engaging characters but also one that is unlike anything that you have ever seen before.

§ The LA times catches up with unrelated Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon and their new books:

Kevin Cannon’s “Crater XV” is a rollicking tale, featuring pirates and astronauts and a two-fisted hero named Army Shanks. (It’s the sequel to his Shanks-starring alternate-Canadian-history comic “Far Arden.”) Zander Cannon’s “Heck” is moodier but no less exciting, following a kind of paranormal private detective who uses his access to Hell to help the living settle the legal affairs of their deceased loved ones. Both artists favor brisk action and simplified character design, but otherwise their styles are quite different. Kevin Cannon’s work is looser and more cartoony, packed with wry comedy, exemplified by his tongue-in-cheek sound effects. (There’s a moment in “Crater XV,” for example, where instead of “pow” or “zoom,” the action-text reads “look around in a touristy way.”)

§ The Believer had a big interview with Alan Moore this week.

BLVR: Is magic’s most authentic expression through the creative imagination? AM: Actually, art and magic are pretty much synonymous. I would imagine that this all goes back to the phenomenon of representation, when, in our primordial past, some genius or other actually flirted upon the winning formula of “This means that.” Whether “this” was a voice or “that” was a mark upon a dry wall or “that” was a guttural sound, it was that moment of representation. That actually transformed us from what we were into what we would be. It gave us the possibility, all of a sudden, of language. And when you have language, you can describe pictorially or verbally the strange and mystifying world that you see around you, and it’s probably not long before you also realize that, hey, you can just make stuff up. The central art of enchantment is weaving a web of words around somebody. And we would’ve noticed very early on that the words we are listening to alter our consciousness, and using the way they can transform it, take it to places we’ve never dreamed of, places that don’t exist.


§ This could be even more important than Rocket Raccoon: we live in a world where the ruins of Tatooine lie crumbling in the desert. Why is this not a shrine?


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