sabato 3 aprile 2010

Live from the Isotope

Jonah Hex drink menu

WC10: IDW Publishing Panel

IDW Publishing announced and discussed several upcoming projects at its WonderCon panel, including “True Blood,” “Jurassic Park,” “Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer: Artist Edition,” “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and more.

A little after con reading

A few con goers catching up on some reading before the big Cooke/ Connor/ Palmiotti party at Isotope.

Sent from my iPhone

WC10: Image Comics

Erik Larsen, Steven T. Seagle, Joe Casey, Richard Starkings, Frank Cho and Jonathan Ross met with fans at WonderCon to discuss the next batch of projects from Image Comics, and CBR was there.

WC10: BOOM! Studios Panel

BOOM! Studios’ co-founder and CEO Ross Richie hosted a panel Saturday at WonderCon discussing the comic publishers past and future, joined by editors Aaron Sparrow and Ian Brill.

WC10: Comic Writers Unite!

Top DC Comics writers Geoff Johns, Jimmy Palmiotti, Gail Simone, and more share details of their creative writing process during a Saturday panel at WonderCon, also revealing their remedies for writers’ block.

WC10: The Sergio & Mark Show

Groo creators Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier met with fans at WonderCon in San Francisco to talk about their careers, "Mad Magazine," a memorable encounter with Johnny Carson, and what might happen when Groo meets Conan.

WC10: "Happy Town"

CBR News was in San Francisco for the WonderCon debut of ABC's killer new show "Happy Town," described by its creators as a cross between Stephen King and "Twin Peaks."

Oni press panel: Polly, Rasputin, etc.

Oni provided a list of the projects and news discussed at their panel this evening at WonderCon:

Ted Naifeh is working on Polly & the Pirates Vol. 2 due early 2011  Ted is writing vol. 2 and has asked artist Robbi Rodriguez (Maintenance, Tek Jansen) to illustrate the book for him. This is only the second [...]


It's Day 2 of WONDERCON 2010 and we're a LIVE! with a report from the DC BRIGHTEST DAY Panel

Nelson Blake 2 sketching

Upcoming Magdalena artist Nelson Blake II working on a sketch for a standing room only crowd.
Filip Sablik Pardon my brevity this email was sent from my iPhone

A Look at "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions"

Activision and Marvel team-up in September for “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” a new video game that mixes four distinct versions of the wall-crawler. CBR News took a sneak-peek at the project.

ComiXology Brings the Largest Comic Book Store to Apple's iPad

WC10: Dark Horse's "Predators" Writers

CBR spoke with writers Marc Andreyko, David Lapham, and Paul Tobin about their tie-ins to Robert Rodriguez's "Predators." Dark Horse has a prelude, film adaptation and sequel miniseries lined up, and we have the details.

VIDEO: "Iron Man 2" Film Clip

Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment have released a new clip from "Iron Man 2" featuring Tony Stark making a dramatic aerial entrance at Stark Expo in the Iron Man armor, much to the delight of the gathered crowd.

Beanbots UPDATE 04/3/2010

Kevin Kobasic updated Beanbots.

how much better can you get than Stephen Colbert teaming up with Shepard Fairey?

• Top Shelfer Rob Venditti has a terrific post on his blog about his granddad's First Moon Flights club membership. How do i join?!

• I got wind of this rad show coming up from Rob Goodin.

March 6, 8-10 pm

Secret Headquarters

Los Angeles, Ca

Artists from North America and Europe re-imagine old comic covers in their own style. Based on the Covered Blog and curated by blog editor, Robert Goodin.

Artists included are: Andrew Brandou, Jeffrey Brown, Albert Calleros, Coop, Ludovic Debeurme, Michael Deforge, Valerie Fletcher, Yoko Furusho, Robert Goodin, Lisa Hanawalt, Dustin Harbin, Sammy Harkham, Sam Henderson, Josh Holinaty, Patrick Kochakji, Joy Kolitsky, Joe Lambert, Bob London, Tom Neely, Ben Newman, Laura Park, Brian Ralph, Aaron Renier, M. Jason Robards, Johnny Ryan, Richard Sala, Genevieve Simms, Jeremy Tinder, Jon Vermilyea, Anthony Vukojevich, and Steven Weissman.

There will be drinks.

• And now for something TOTALLY NEW — something i've been wanting to do for a long long time. Introducing a fresh new voice on our blog in the form of guest-blogger Trevor Dodge. Trevor teaches literature and comics here in Portland at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Hopefully we'll see more colorful commentary from him soon. Take it away, Trev!


PictureBook Pedagogy #1: Defining the Term(s)

My tenure on The Internet predates the World Wide Web (the fact I call the web the “World Wide Web,” and do so using capital “W”s should leave little doubt); hence, I’ve long known ye olde interweb-a-ma-bob prides itself on perfecting The Confession. It’s undoubtedly the oldest rhetorical trick in the book out here, but nonetheless a potent one. After all, how else can we really explain the fact that filmmaker and as-interested-as-he-wanna-be comics writer Kevin Smith not only is going on 20 years of gainful Hollywood employment in the post-Clerks multiverse, but commands large enough audiences on Twitter and Facebook to both develop and charge 99 cents for an official iPhone/iTouch app? Dude has been enjoying some pretty successful runs with The Batman as of late, too, in case you haven’t noticed.

So without further ado---and in the immortal words of Sir Austin Powers---please allow myself to introduce myself. And to probably do this effectively, there are simply some things you need to know.

Confession #1: I Never Appreciated Sandman Back In The Day(TM),
b/w #1a: The First Time I Read Watchmen Was For Some Eggheady Class In Grad School

I worked in a comic book store in Moscow, ID in the early 1990s. The store, Safari Pearl, was then located in the attic of a now-defunct secondhand bookstore called Twice Sold Tales; my roommate and I begged and pleaded its owner for summer jobs, and we were grudgingly allowed to watch the counter on weekends for trade credit. In grade school, I grew up on Frank Miller’s runs with Spidey and Daredevil, but had already left comics before DC’s The Dark Knight Returns miniseries; in essence, I got out of superhero books just as shit was getting really interesting in them, and I hadn’t yet discovered Crumb (I was only 9, after all, and I did grow up in southern Idaho. I had however, perfected Smilin’ Stan’s smooth stylin’ “Nuff said!”, if that counts for anything).

So when I returned to comics again, Neil Gaiman’s run on Sandman was already underway, and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how the DC universe I knew as a kid could have possibly arrived at the place in time it had. When I first started working at her comics store, I started asking its owner and patrons what I should be reading. The near-unanimous answer, of course, was “Sandman!! Are you fucking kidding me?!” And because I’ve always been quite sucked in by peer pressure and marketing hype (I was, after all, an only child spending my first full summer away from the dopey little town of barely 20,000 people I grew up in...), I began pulling monthly copies starting with issue 14. But I never made real attempts to read the series because, frankly, I just didn’t get it. Meaning: I couldn’t figure out how Sandman existed on Planet Spandex, and Dave McKean’s gorgeous mixed media work for the covers didn’t help matters at all.

And there certainly wasn’t any help waiting for me in academia when I returned to school later that fall. The only whisper I’d ever heard about comics in my undergraduate education involved Art Spiegelman’s Maus (which had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize only a year or so before I started taking classes and working at the comics shop), and was usually found on the supplemental/recommended reading lists for some of the history courses I was taking to round out my minor and elective credits. At the time, Maus was considered important because of its content; its medium was left largely undiscussed, if it was addressed at all. Literary scholars I studied with could (and occasionally did) discuss Spiegelman’s work within conventions of identity politics, confessional traditions (did you catch that by the way? The nod to the confession within an actual confession? Pretty clever, right? Most definitely you should be able to nail the exact date/time/picosecond I secured my undergraduate degree), and post-Lacanian psychoanalysis), but they would most likely ignore the medium in which Maus worked its magic.

When I finally did buckle in and read Watchmen, it was because my faculty advisor made me, when I took his graduate-level literature seminar titled “Postmodern Theory and Fiction.” The 12-part miniseries (quick snark here: I don’t care how it’s formatted, tracked and analyzed now by DC, The New York Times or bourgeois culture as a “graphic novel.” Watchmen was conceived, executed and published as a comics miniseries. Big difference.) was not merely the only work in comics we read for the course, but juxtaposed with prose novels written by the likes of Thomas Pynchon, Vladimir Nabokov, Ishmael Reed and Kathy Acker and social-historical theory by the likes of bell hooks, Frederic Jameson and Stephen Greenblatt. Needless to say, my introduction to Watchmen was at least a full step removed from the comics world that produced it; even though I’ve now taught the miniseries at least half a dozen times (including a full-blown literary analysis course which tackles Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ masterwork much the same way I might Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy), Watchmen still feels foreign to me, as if I’m playing from behind somehow or trying to fit the octagonal block into the square hole. And there’s more than a little bit of guilt buried in there, since I had ample opportunity to read the damn thing long before I had a head full of semiotic soup.

This leads me to:

Confession #2: I Am, More Or Less, A Bloodthirsty Colonizer

Quick tangent here: Espen Aarseth is a new media theorist who specializes in games studies. These days, academics can use terms like “games studies” and largely get away with it, and maybe even have people catch the gist of what they mean, but a fair amount of readers of even this nimble website could consider bringing pop cultural artifacts inside academia problematic at best. Aarseth argues that games and games culture are currently going through a stage of intense academic colonialism. This most often occurs when something historically ignored by The Ivory Tower(TM) is suddenly “discovered” by a bunch of competing disciplines within the humanities (social science, philosophy and literature departments are usually the ones on the bottom of the dogpile fighting over the bone, it seems).

Aarseth justifiably has a big problem with people like me (specifically, writers and scholars largely trained to see the world and all contained therein as little more than one big box of narrative tissue paper) discussing things called Games (that’s not just me capitalizing the word, by the way; I am talking about academia here, after all) within a larger thing called Games Studies (except he doesn’t call it that, he calls it Ludology, because going Greek on top of the capital letter thing definitely simplifies things, yeah?). And I don’t begrudge Aarseth a bit for this because his underlying concern isn’t as much about marking territory as it is asserting that an entire medium cannot and should not be boiled down to a single user function. In other words, a medium’s value isn’t exclusively found in its ability to buoy a narrative, even/especially when the narrative is actually compelling. Let’s face it, folks: novelist Gilbert Sorrentino was definitely on to something when he boldly declared “plots are absurd.” Because most of them are. Maybe you haven’t played its underwhelming videogame adaption just yet, but you’ve probably seen Avatar. Nuff said(?).

In his introductory essay to the McSweeney’s 13 anthology, Chris Ware declares, “without the critical language of fine art to surround it, comics are...perceived more clearly than any other art form.” What he means by this is that people like me tend to be ruinous polluters, for once we establish our base camps on the gentle slopes of a given medium’s mountain, it’s usually only a hop, skip and a jump from curious exploration to full-blown gentrification and gated communities. And who loves to throw around the phrase “gentrification” more than the academented?

That’s right. Nobody.

Confession #3: I’m 98.6% Convinced Warren Ellis Was Right

If you’ve read this far, I’d take 4:1 odds that you’ve also read Warren Ellis‘ “Old Bastard’s Manifesto,” a missive from those cheery days post-Y2K and pre-9/11, in which he lambastes the comics industry for stagnating on superheroes and refusing to grow up. In the event that I hit snake eyes on that bet, though, here’s the nitty of the gritty: “Comics are not habitual entertainment that need to remain static and require broadcasting regularly until death do us part,” Ellis declares. “Comics, like their related media of novels and cinema, must be allowed to tell complete stories...Those who support us will be rewarded...and given the gift of the Future.”

The “gift” Ellis refers to is not only that comics would tell “complete stories,” but (more importantly) that intelligent, invested, and--yes--mature readers could begin having more complete conversations about both the stories and the medium which buoys them than “Wolverine is really really cool” or “Maus is really really sad.” This isn’t difficult for us to imagine ourselves doing, by the way, at least not in theory anyway. But here in the United States, our capacity to talk about most things is modulated by our internal Like/Dislike barometers, which of course are plugged into the larger cultural-consumer matrix of Want And Desire that effectively stops conversation at the point of purchase. As a writer, reviewer and literature professor, I’ve found those barometers particularly tough to crack; it often feels to me that the anti-intellectual climate surrounding both the production and discussion of art here in the United States has effectively stopped with Roger Ebert. Gods help us if the man ever loses control over those golden thumbs.

Let me try saying this another way, and then we’ll get out of here for the day: we are routinely asked what we prefer, but rarely asked what we think. A preference can be indicated incredibly efficiently (a show of hands for who likes pancakes? Great! Now how about waffles? Awesome! Thanks!), but real-to-goodness thought takes time and often involves risk.

So what, then, about comics? To me, they might well be the purest artistic expression of time through risk. And I mean this with full cosmic bravado, too: capital-T time, capital-R risk. Anyone who has ever tried executing a simple page of sequential stickpeople (you remember Paul Giamatti playing Harvey Pekar in American Splendor, right? Snapping the lead off his #2 pencil, erasing furiously, pushing way too hard into the paper?) can attest to the staggering amount of time often involved laying one panel next to another, hoping the chemicals firing in her brain somehow spill onto the page in a coherent, orderly pattern that somehow resembles the synaptic original deep inside the skull. To attempt the translation process into not only words or not only images but both is a highwire act at best, sado-masochism at worst, and this is probably why the gulf between The Can and Cannot is appreciably wider in comics than in any other medium.

Nearly a decade ago, The Old Bastard, Mr. Ellis, wrote, “We might not be a grown-up medium yet, but if we dress like it, we might just bring it on.” Tell me what you really think, now: we currently occupy the Future he was hinting at back then, so what are we going to make of it? Not the Future, of course. The Present. ‘Cuz there simply aint no time like it.

One last question then. What’s another word for “Present”?

That’s right. “Gift.”

Bring it on, indeed.

James Kochalka needs your help!!

Acclaimed indy video game designers Pixeljam and award-winning cartoonist James Kochalka are making a video game together called Glorkian Warrior. They are trying to raise the necessary funds to complete the project through, and they've put together a really amazing set of awards for people who pledge money. Learn more about this exciting project.

Top Shelf 2.0 contributor Caryn A. Tate talks Red Plains on the Seattle Geekly podcast.

And if you haven't read them already, she's done some great interviews with Robot 6, Comics Bulletin, and Talking with Tim.

• Chris and myself received an email from the incredibly talented artist and manga-ka Akino Kondoh, who is currently living in New York. There's a chance we might meet her while we're there for MoCCA... oh wow. She did the cover for our first volume of collected manga, the AX Anthology, as well as some work inside the mammoth book as well.

Check out this interview with her, and make sure to stay to the end to see some of her exquisite animation.

Uploaded by gabriel-soucheyre. - Arts and animation videos.

• Here are a couple swanky cover designs for forthcoming books of ours, coming in 2011.

Here's a rough for Eric Skillman and Jhomar Soriano's crime noir thriller Liar's Kiss.

And a cover design for Eric Orchard's Maddy Kettle.

• Finally, i'm leaving the country on Tuesday. Off to Oaxaca with my son, my sister, and my niece... my first non-comics related trip in i don't know how long. Adios amigos!!

the mixologist is back from Oaxaca

and getting stoked for the Swedish Invasion.

• James Kochalka is all over the place right now!!

Here he talks with Tim about SuperF*ckers at Talking with Tim / Robot 6, gets interviewed at Question Riot, then SuperF*ckers gets reviewed at Under the Radar mag.

Snazzy Sean Collins interviews James at Marvel dot com. Cool stuff, including details of James' Hulk Squad for the new Strange Tales collection.

And now, James Kochalka Superstar, Bacharach Galactica.

• Renee French's sublime The Ticking gets some best-of-the-century love at Seul le Cinema.

• The forthcoming AX manga anthology gets a good grade in the special-guest host episode of Inkstuds by Deb Aoki.

• Good gods this is awesome. (Thanks to Cartoon Brew for the heads-up.)

• If i was in Brussels this week, i'd totally attend Museum Night Fever.

• Check out this sweet illustration by Lukas Ketner, for a Willamette Week article called "Battle Cry."

• And now, let's give some props to former Top Shelf intern Jen Vaughn:

Cartoonist Jen Vaughn is thrilled to announce her first SXSW InteractiviZINE! From March 12th to March 16th, she will attend the SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive Festival in Austin, TX and will "cover" the event multimedia-style in her Interactivitizine! SXSW is chock full of panels, events, and of course parties, related to social media, convergence, video games, start-ups and anything Internet. Upon the conclusion of her visit, Jen will post her drawings, notes, photos and other ephemera from the festival on her website for everyone to share the wealth of information gleaned.

Jen is accepting donations of $5 and up towards her SXSW InteractiviZINE experience via her website. Anyone who donates will receive a LIMITED EDITION (PRINT) SXSW InteractiviZINE full of panel notes, comics and other special goodies made especially by Jen Vaughn.

Jen creates a weekly webcomic called Mermaid Hostel. Her previous works include Menstruation Station: Menarche Aboard!, and Don't Hate, Menstruate. She is also an enthusiastic member of the Rare Bits Comics Collective.

The Hulkster calls out Sinestro (Blog@Newsarama)

In brightest day, in blackest night Let no Iron Sheik escape his sight Let those who worship Ric Flair’s might Beware his pythons! Hulk Hogan’s Might ….BROTHER! Hat tip to Lew Smith of Sketch-a-rama for pointing this in my direction. I have no idea what just transpired, but I think this is what it sounds like when worlds collide. So the [...]

WC10: Flynn Lives!

WonderCon came to a wild start for "Tron" fans on Friday, when 42 Entertainment launched "Flynn Lives", a viral marketing project in support of the hotly anticipated "Tron Legacy." CBR was there.

Wondercon Michael Broussard & Ryan Winn signing

Filip Sablik Pardon my brevity this email was sent from my iPhone

tattooed superfan!

Witchblade 25 cover by the late, great Michael Turner!
Filip Sablik

Writer Casey Cops to Image’s OFFICER DOWNE

Writer Joe Casey takes to the streets with a tale of an irreverent and over-the-top policeman who walks the eternal beat … and delivers the eternal beatdown!

WC10: Casey Has An "Officer Downe"

Announced at WonderCon, "Nixon's Pals" collaborators Joe Casey and Chris Burnham are reuniting for "Officer Downe," a new one-shot from Image Comics. CBR spoke with Casey to learn more about the project.

WonderCon '10: Image Brings Vertigo's CRUSADES to HC

Steven Seagle continues his return to comics with a new kid-oriented take on a classic monster and a Crusades collection

WONDERCON 2010: Marvel X-MEN Panel LIVE!

It's Day 2 of WONDERCON 2010 and we're a LIVE! with a report from the Marvel X-MEN Panel

Image Panel announcements: Emperor Dragon, Officer Downe, The Crusades

Image provided a list of their new projects announced at this afternoon’s WonderCon panel:

Erik Larsen discussed the upcoming story arc for SAVAGE DRAGON, entitled EMPEROR DRAGON. Following the events of the DRAGON WAR, Savage Dragon remains his evil self, Emperor Kurr. Without the opposition to stop him, the ex-cop, ex-superhero makes a play to [...]

WC10: Kevin Smith

Potty-mouthed filmmaker and comics writer Kevin Smith returned to WonderCon Friday after several years' absence with a cache of raunchy tales of sex, drugs and comic books.

Flippin' through Previews - April 2010

There is one book in Previews, issue 259, that you must order. YOU MUST!!!! But, pray tell, which one might it be? Can you guess????

Dark Horse:
I still haven't seen a trailer for the new Predator movie, but DH is coming out with a four-issue weekly mini-series that sets it up (pages 26-27). [...]

Joshua Hale Fialkov & Rahsan Ekedal signing

The Crazies at the Top Cow booth (407).
Filip Sablik Pardon my brevity this email was sent from my iPhone

Doctor Who ? The New Titles, Theme And Thoughts

The new titles to Doctor Who. There you go. Now. Tonight’s show.

There’s a certain image of Doctor Who that fans have. It manages to ignore the bits that don’t work. The padding, the plodding, the ...

VIDEO: IDW Launches Apple iPad Apps, Fails To Rename Company iDW

IDW have announced that the Apple iPad will launch with four IDW comics-reading apps, the standard IDW Comics App but also branded versions for Star Trek, GI Joe and Transformers licenses.

You know, if we’re really ...

WC10: Spotlight on Greg Rucka

Greg Rucka opens up about his career in comics in a fun, laidback panel at Wondercon 2010, sharing the good and the bad, his novel writing process, and what it takes for a male writer to write a female character.

WONDERCON 2010: DC UNIVERSE Editorial Presentation LIVE!

It's Day 2 of WONDERCON 2010 and we're a LIVE! with a report from the DC UNIVERSE EDITORIAL PRESENTATION Panel

dc universe panel

Geoff Johns: "Eddie Berganza always asks, 'Teen Lantern?' No."

WonderCon news round-up: Rucka, Blood, Tron

In the day's big shocker, Writer Greg Rucka announced he had finished all his DC work for the forseeable future including Batwoman at his spotlight panel. He said it was a hard decision, and he didn't know if a planned origin story would ever appear:


From the Writers Unite panel: Rucka says crossovers are like a big slave ship and all the slaves need to row the same way. Johns prefers to think of them as a dance hall, and you have to be careful that some dancers aren't drunk. All said with smiles, of course.

Greg Rucka Departs DC Comics

As you might have heard, Greg Rucka is not going to be working at DC Comics for the foreseeable future.
This, of course, means that Rucka is no longer going to be able to continue the fantastic work he's been doing on Batwoman and the Question. Heck, this puts Batwoman's future at DC totally into [...]

iPad Launch Day!

Yes, I am one of the hundreds of people picking up my iPad this morning. So far an hour in line… C’mon Apple, I got a comic convention to get to!
Filip Sablik

WonderCon Day 1 Update

It’s amazing to me how busy I get at a comic convention. When Jonah asked me to Live Blog from WonderCon, I thought, “No problem.” I have my rockstar Marketing Assistant Christine with me and she can hold down the fort while I peck away on my iPhone. No such luck. From the moment we [...]

WC10: Ethan Van Sciver Spotlight

At WonderCon Friday, artist Ethan Van Sciver candidly discussed his career first as an independent creator working on "Cyber Frog" all the way to "Green Lantern" at DC Comics, as well as upcoming work with Gail Simone.

UK Web & Minicomix Thing

The UK Web & Mini Comix Thing happened this past Saturday, and despite a lack of “big” names (and the nearest tube station being closed until the early afternoon) leading to a smaller attendance than previous years, those attending found it to be a generally positive experience.

One of the reasons for this was the Dino-Saw-Us [...]

WC10: Dark Horse Panel

Dark Horse's Randy Stradley and Jeremy Atkins discussed the publisher's upcoming projects Friday at WonderCon, including multiple doses of "Serenity," "Predators," and "Star Wars," as well as the Buffy Season 8" finale and more.

Marvel?s Next Big Thing ? Shadowland

One of Marvel’s upcoming events to follow Siege will be Shadowland. The main series, written by Andy Diggle and drawn by Billy Tan and edited by Stephen Wacker, will tie in with what are known ...

Comics Are Awesome #31

Clearly, Smilin' Jack is a fan of natural male enhancement.

And After All, You?re My WonderCon

WonderCon, San Diego’s little sister in San Francisco is having a whale of a time this weekend.

And there’s lots of questions to be asked. Will anyone from Marvel announce Shadowland properly? Will DC announce David ...