Friday, April 29, 2011

Toronto Comic Arts Festival Promo Video.



Video Credits:

Director: Christopher Hutsul
Director of Photography: Vinit Borisson
Producer: Nick Sorbara
Executive Producer: Jacinte Faria
Editorial: Melanie Hider, Bijou Editorial
Score: “Background Noise (Don’t Become)” by Solvent, Courtesy Ghostly International
Sound Design: Vapor Music
Online Artist + Colourist: Hardave Grewal, RedLab
Graphic Novelists: Chester Brown, Michael Comeau, Steve Charles Manale, Vicki Nerino, Michael Cho, Michael DeForge, Seth, Fiona Smyth + Britt Wilson.

A Hard Citizen Production.

Sweetgrass - a beautiful documentary

Sometimes the most universal truths can be found in the smallest slices of life. That’s what makes independent documentaries so powerful, engaging, and entertaining. Not only do they show you little worlds to which you’ve never had access, but they oftentimes also tell the larger story of what it means to be human. Armed with this intellectual conceit, a bag of Funyuns, and a couple of Miller beers, I curl up in front of the TV and delve deep into the bowels of Netflix Documentaries to find out a little bit more about all of us.

Today I found, Sweetgrass by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash, released at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.


Sweetgrass has to be one of the most visually stunning documentaries I have ever seen. It is this beauty that kept me glued to the screen.

To be honest, not a lot happens in Sweetgrass. Ostensibly, the movie is about a small group of “cowboys” as they run a flock of sheep up into the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains of Montana to their summer pasture. There is little drama, less characterization, and even less narrative. The documentary is really an anthropological ethnography, but it is absolutely gorgeous in its presentation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WITCH DOCTOR preview

From what I've seen, Witch Doctor looks fantastic.
You really should be reading this...


Let me know what you think.

Monday, April 25, 2011

DEADHEAVEN -- REVIEW AND INTERVIEW


Author's Note: This article originally ran on FORCES OF GEEK!

One of the best things about being Comics News Editor for Forces of Geek! is that, on occasion, people send me some really cool stuff.  Last week I had one of those occasions.  There in my inbox, shining like a beacon of hope in desperate times, was Deadheaven Book I: The Sanguine Harbingers by Christopher Steininger.

I was immediately taken by the look of this book.  Deadheaven is a 52 page, full color, oversized hardcovered thing of beauty. The artwork is simply gorgeous. Ben Templesmith, artist on 30 Days of Night and Wormwood, has said of Deadheaven, "The book is beautiful.  It makes my brain melt."  I couldn't agree more.

The story, a fantasy adventure full of monsters and warriors, is epic in scale.  This being the first of a proposed ten book series, it lays out a huge world full of political and religious intrigue, family dramas, and classic good vs. evil confrontations. 

After reading Deadheaven, I wanted to know more about it.  I contacted Steininger and asked him some questions about the book, his influences, his process, and what more we can expect from him.

The full interview and more pages from the book after the jump...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Two-Bit Comics -- The Good Guys #1

Two-Bit Comics
Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin

In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for my local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week I randomly grab a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang I can get for my two-bits. These are those tales.

April 20, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
THE GOOD GUYS #1
Published by Defiant Comics
Written by: Jan Childress with Jim Shooter
Art by: Grey



LOOK, THERE ARE LIMITS!

November 1993 is responsible for Look Who’s Talking Now, RoboCop 3, and Ms. Doubtfire. November 1993 is responsible for Fran Drescher and The Nanny. November 1993 is responsible for Duran Duran on MTV’s Unplugged. November 1993 is responsible for the Battle of Pooneryn during the Sri Lankan civil war in which over 400 Sri Lankans are killed. November 1993 is responsible for NAFTA. November 1993 is responsible for The Good Guys #1 from Defiant Comics. I hate you November 1993.

I’ve talked at length about Jim Shooter’s Defiant Comics when I danced through Warriors of Plasm #1, so I will not foist that upon you again today. What I will be foisting upon you today, though, is a journey through The Good Guys #1 – a bad marketing idea swaddled in the soiled diaper of a bad comic.

The Good Guys was, at its heart, a marketing idea. The premise behind the book was that Shooter and his pals at Defiant put out a “Casting Call,” roping all these doe-eyed kids who dreamed in tights and capes into submitting character ideas for a comic book. Kids all over the place wrote into the Defiant offices and unburdened their dreams of escaping their mundane lives and becoming Super Heroes! The crack Defiant staff (or the Defiant staff ON crack – whatever) then cherry picked the eight kids they thought were most marketable, I guess, and thus were born The Good Guys.

From a marketing point of view, the concept sounds initially pretty good. It was a great way to get kids involved in the Defiant Universe and gave them all a sense of hope that their Super Hero dreams could somehow become a “reality” (although the word isn’t really apropos, as this is still a fictional representation). By doing this open Casting Call, Defiant was able to spread the word about their comics, and get kids to buy into the idea that this was a whole new enterprise, attuned to their sensibilities.

What Defiant didn’t do, though, was look at the long tail of this puppy. Once the eight kids were chosen and the comic was printed, the “losers” of the contest exercised their disappointment fueled backlash power and lost interest in the book as fast as internet memes stay in the public discourse. The Good Guys ran for a total of nine issues, from 1993 to 1994, eight more issues than it really should have.

Now about the comic itself. Oh, yes. Let’s look at The Good Guys #1.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dan Pink: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

While this talk focuses on the corporate environment, I do think it has some interesting applications to the world of education, especially in the face of the current failed paradigm.


Monday, April 18, 2011

The Comic Book Guide to the Mission

Author's Note: This Article and Interview originally ran on Forces of Geek!


I've been hearing some good things lately about The Comic Book Guide to the Mission from Skoda Man Press, so I though I would look into a little to see what was going on.  The book is a compilation of 31 short pieces about San Francisco's Mission District, all done by local writers and artists.  The compilation's pieces run the gamut from a pure celebration of the Mission to a critical look at some of the challenges of living there.  There are also a number of pieces about Hipsters.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two-Bit Comics -- Cyberspace 3000 #4

Two-Bit Comics
Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin

In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for my local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week I randomly grab a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang I can get for my two-bits. These are those tales.

April 6, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
CYBERSPACE 3000 #4
Published by Marvel Comics UK
Written by: Gary Russell
Art by: Steve Tappin



I AM YOUR SALVATION. OR YOUR DAMNATION. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO TRY AND KILL ME…

October of 1993 was truly an evil time in the world. China performed a nuclear test, singlehandedly ending a worldwide de facto moratorium. Three members of the UDA killed eight people and wounded thirteen in a bar in Greysteel, Northern Ireland. The South Korean ferry Seohae capsizes and kills 292 people. The Crash Test Dummies vomit up the album God Shuffled His Feet, spawning the eventual pop chart domination of “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.” The movie Cool Runnings is unleashed on theaters. Then Marvel Comics UK pour gasoline on this human fat fire of a month and spews forth Cyberspace 3000 #4 into comic shops.

Sometimes writing about comics is hard. Sometimes it even hurts. This is one of those times.

I have previously admitted to the fact that I pretty much stopped reading all Marvel Comics in the 90’s. This comic is a perfect example of why that was. Put down whatever it is you are eating, maybe pour yourself a drink, and get ready.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

OFF THE CHARTS: THE SONG-POEM STORY - A Documentary about Music from "another planet"

Sometimes the most universal truths can be found in the smallest slices of life. That’s what makes independent documentaries so powerful, engaging, and entertaining. Not only do they show you little worlds to which you’ve never had access, but they oftentimes also tell the larger story of what it means to be human. Armed with this intellectual conceit, a bag of Funyuns, and a couple of Miller beers, I curl up in front of the TV and delve deep into the bowels of Netflix Documentaries to find out a little bit more about all of us.

Today I found Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story released February 11, 2003 and directed by Jamie Meltzer.


“This music has everything in the world going against it. It’s completely artificial, it’s a scam … I could probably list 15 different reasons why it shouldn’t work. But, for some reason, something comes through all this stuff. There’s about 10 to 20 percent of it that is from another planet somehow.” – Ellery Eskelin
This fantastic documentary is an homage to the Song-Poem industry and the people involved. Part history of the industry, part character exploration, the movie focuses on a number of songwriters and some of the individuals who make the music. Like all great documentaries, the film has a hands-off attitude towards its subjects, letting all their idiosyncrasies shine, and lets the audience make its own judgements. The movie is funny, reverential, engaging, and brilliant. It truly documents its subject matter.

Since 1900, aspiring songwriters all over the world have responded to ads in the backs of magazines, comic books, and newspapers that suggest fame, fortune and artistic immortality in the music industry may be right around the corner. All they have to do is send in their poems or lyrics for evaluation, and if the company likes what has been submitted, they will turn it into a song, record it, and send it back to the songwriter for distribution. The company likes every song it receives, though, particularly when its author is the one paying for the recording. Because of this, what you end up with are songs like “I’m a Ginseng Digger,” “Jimmy Carter Says Yes!,” “Richard Nixon,” and “Chicken Insurrection.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dave Meslin: The Antidote To Apathy

Are we really apathetic (selfish, stupid, or lazy), or are there forces in place to keep us from getting involved?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Two-Bit Comics -- The New Warriors #50

Two-Bit Comics
Random Pulls from the Bargain Bin

In these economic times, finding inexpensive entertainment is difficult. Thank goodness for my local comic shop and a slew of comics nobody cares about anymore! Each week I randomly grab a comic from the bargain bin (for 50 cents) to see what kind of bang I can get for my two-bits. These are those tales.

April 6, 2011 – paid 50 cents for:
THE NEW WARRIORS #50
Published by Marvel Comics
Written by: Fabian Nicieza
Art by: Darick Robertson



I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU!!

Do you remember when the first NFL game was broadcast on the upstart Fox Network (an exhibition game between the 49ers and the Broncos)? Do you remember when Tiger Woods won the 94th US Golf Amateur Championship? Do you remember when Tyke the circus elephant crushed her trainer before hundreds of horrified spectators? Do you remember when the Rolling Stones kicked off their Voodoo Lounge World Tour? Do you remember Boyz II Men’s hit “I’ll Make Love To You”? Do you remember the second Woodstock? If you do, then you were paying attention during August 1994. If you do, then you may remember seeing The New Warriors #50 on the stands.

How could you forget The New Warriors #50? I mean, it had a glow in the dark cover!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

WonderCon 2011 - A Father's Tale


Author's Note: This Article originally ran on April 4, 2011 on Forces of Geek.

“We’re off to WonderCon,” my thirteen-year-old son shouted out the window of my car on Friday afternoon as we pulled away from his Middle School. Our excitement had been building all week and here we were, finally, on the road to San Francisco for the 25th annual celebration of comics, WonderCon.

It took us two and a half hours to make the trip into the city. The ride was punctuated by blasting The Clash on the stereo, excited discussions about all the things we hoped to do and see on our adventure, and heated discussions about continuity, team-ups, and whether it is the writer or the artist who makes great comics great. After stuttering through the thick miasma of traffic on the Bay Bridge, San Francisco finally loomed in the windshield and we gibbered and giggled like the excited fanboys we are.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Your New Favorite Comic -- WITCH DOCTOR!

 I just got back from WonderCon where I was lucky enough to be introduced to one of Image/Skybound's newest titles, Witch Doctor.  Introduced at Robert Kirkman's panel on Friday evening, this new title is written by Brandon Seifert and is illustrated by Lukas Ketner.  At WonderCon I was able to purchase a preview copy of the series, "Interview With The Tapeworm", and also grab a few moments to chat to its creators.