Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

Blue Boo Boo

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

BluewaterBooBoo

 

It’s been a while since we’ve reported on a Bluewater Productions comic. Since then, the company has severed its ties with Diamond Distributors and gone almost entirely digital, meaning it’s a lot harder to find that random Justin Bieber comic on the shelf at Walmart. And yet Bluewater soldiers on, making one-shot comics out of famous and semi-famous individuals alike. So yes, I am here to share the news on the aptly named, 15 Minutes: Honey Boo Boo,” which hit digital shelves across a variety of platforms on January 9th.

 

BooBooMyDigitalcomicsWhat’s actually somewhat interesting and unique about this release is the way they’re structuring it: each digital distributor (i.e. iTunes, Kindle, My Digital Comics and Wowio) gets a unique variant cover. Up until now, variant covers wee strictly a practice reserved for print books, with variants usually thrown into the digital packaging as an art gallery if the pieces were good enough (or is the publisher felt like throwing readers a bone). Will this actually usher in a new age of exclusivity for digital variants? Maybe if the numbers are good enough. Although as a fan of comics as much as I am the business, I’m hoping this doesn’t usher in an age of $8 digital variants; that would just be weird. The Good E-Reader blog approached Bluewater to comment on the practice, and it looks like they’re mainly trying this out to have some fun and to please the Boo Boo.

We heard from Honey Boo Boo that she wanted to be animated and loved the comic book we did on her (on the flip side, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Walters, Carrie Fisher, and Ellen DeGeneres did, too). Boo Boo wanted to be an animated superhero and how can you not give the kid her dream! So we did the homage ones in honor of her with Michael Troy and Jonathan Woodward. Then we thought to give them to our partners such as iTunes, Kindle, My Digital Comics and Wowio. We are digital with a lot more, but I did not want to flood the market.

So if you’re one of the people out there who bought the book and wondered why your cover was different than your pal Johnny over there with the Kindle, now you know why. I’m just glad the variants make her look less like a short Phyllis Diller than the regular cover does.

Survival stories

Monday, December 3rd, 2012


Graphic journalism continues to make headway into the field of “serious” comics, and this time it’s available on the format/medium of our times, the iPad. Symbolia is a bi-monthly digital magazine featuring long-form journalism in the form of sequential art, for the (relatively) low price of $11.99 for six issues, or $2.99 for individual issues. The iPad app features audio, animation, and interactive graphics. Don’t have an iPad? Well, for desktop users (and Android, a platform they seem to have forgotten exists) they also sell Symbolia in a PDF edition, same price.

What do you get for your dollars? You can check out the free preview on their site, which features stories by Susie Cagle, Sarah Glidden, Chris A. Smith and Damien Scogin, Kat Fajardo and Audrey Quinn, and Andy Warner and Lauren Sommer. We’ve previously covered Glidden here in the blog, and her piece comes from her trip with the Common Language Project, which will be expanded upon in her upcoming book Stumbling Toward Damascus. “The Rollerbladers of Sulaymaniyah” is up to her usual standards and is pretty interesting, but perhaps my favorite piece in the preview was “Sea Change”, about the environmental troubles facing the Salton Sea in California.

Occupy Kickstarter

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Say what you will about the Occupy movement, but its reach seems to grow every single day. Whether it be through Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or professional blogs like Huffington Post, every other post is about the Occupy movement or reaction to the Occupy movement. Well, now comic books are getting into the game. For once, Bluewater Productions are not the guys behind this effort. Instead, some of the industry’s most prolific talents are gathering to put out Occupy Comics.

The collaboration is looking to embrace the artistic nature of Occupy in order to get its message out there in a cohesive and straightforward manner. Tim Seeley, J.M. DeMatteis, B. Clay Moore, Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles, Molly Crabapple, and Marc Andreyko are just a few of the artists and writers involved. Heck, even Douglas Rushkoff is listed as a contributor. Each and every cent donated via Kickstarter will go towards paying the talent involved and to produce the book. The creators will then be able to donate whatever they receive straight to the movement so that it can continue on. As of typing this, $2,116 out of the $10,000 needed has been pledged.

The Kickstarter campaign will be available until December 9th with multiple rewards available for different tiers of donation, including a paper copy of Occupy Comics for $20, a copy of the Occupy Comics Documentary by Patrick Meaney, director of Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods and Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts for a $25 donation, and a signed and numbered anthology for $50. Or, if you’d like, $1 gets you a thanks on their website. Hopefully this will get a unified Occupy message out there to those still looking to hear one.

(via Bleeding Cool)

New York Comic Con 2011 at a Glance

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

The sixth annual New York Comic Con is upon us! With it comes a fourth day of panels, screenings, back-issue browsing and celebrity sightseeing. I will once again be set up in Podcast Arena with all of my recording gear for my podcast, Comic Timing. Be sure to stop on by booth D14 in the Artist Alley to say hello, talk comics and maybe even buy some of the comics I’m getting rid of.

Before Thursday hits and we all get lost and overwhelmed, here are a few choice panels that should not be overlooked if you are looking to learn more about the nonfiction side of this here industry. I’m also including a few panels that might not be strictly nonfiction but could very well have some elements of nonfiction to them.

THURSDAY

RWP 2.0 – The Future of Comics in the Classroom
Date: Thursday, October 13
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Location: 1A02

Speakers: Charlie LaGreca, Dr. Michael Bitz, Jessica Abel, Josh Elder, Matt Madden

Description:
Find out how YOU can help get comics into schools and get schools into comics in this informational seminar hosted by some of the biggest names in the world of comics and education. Join Josh Elder of Reading With Pictures, Dr. Michael Bitz of the Comic Book Project, Charlie LaGreca of Comic Book Classroom and Jessica Abel and Matt Madden of Drawing Words and Writing Pictures as they unveil their plans for 2012 and beyond.

I’m including this one for any comic book professionals or teachers out there that might be interested. This is only available to those with Professional badges; Thursday general hours begin at 4pm.

(more…)

A Sign For More Wine

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

You call it a photo-essay, I’ll call it a comic. This week’s New York Times Sunday Review, written by Ben Schott, discusses the impact the long shuttered New York City nightclub, The Stork Club, had on the way waiters and restaurant staff communicate with one another. They were the first to utilize a series of gestures reminiscent to those of a football referee or a third-base coach to get news from staff member to staff member faster than speaking. Today, Eleven Madison Park keeps the New York tradition alive with their own form of sign language.

Everything from the water preference of a table to whether or not crumbs need to be cleared can all be said through signals. When it is time to clear a plate, a gesture towards the chair of a guest will do it. Each and every member of the staff at Eleven Madison Park must be proficient at the unspoken language or else mishaps are bound to occur. They even have a set direction to walk the room (clockwise) and a specific side of a guest they should veer towards at all times (the right). Considering the place is one of the most successful and expensive restaurants in the city, I would expect the best possible service with my meal. Maybe other establishments could learn a thing or two from this method in order to improve the efficiency of their dinner hour?

You can view the full list of signs, signals and directions here. And if you do decide to check out Eleven Madison Park, come on an empty stomach; they only do four-course meals or tasting menus.

Post-Its and Subways

Monday, September 26th, 2011

There’s a new book coming out in October called Post-It Note Diaries. In it, stories are compiled from various artists and writers, including the likes of Andrew Bird, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Simmermon, and Beth Lisick. Basically, each contributor tells a short story about their life and the story is then illustrated and edited by the man who put the project together in the first place, Arthur Jones. On the book’s website, Jones describes how the concept was created.

I found 3 inch yellow pads of Post-its to be perfect little sketchbooks and I could swipe hundreds of them at a time from the supply closet without anyone noticing. Eventually I started reading these work stories in public — at bars, bookstores and art galleries. To accompany my performances I projected a slideshow of my Post-it Note drawings behind me. It was a little like narrating a comic one panel at a time or presenting a hand drawn lecture.

To promote the project’s upcoming release, the chapter written by The Daily Show’s John Hodgman has been put online in its entirety. It weaves a tale about the New York City subway system’s price increase from $2 to $2.25. Like all Hodgman pieces, it goes in a direction no one would expect it to go. Be sure to read it all the way to the end to truly understand why this tale needed to be told.

In addition, for those living in the New York area, there will be a book release party and reading this Tuesday, September 27th at Little Field in Brooklyn. Entry is free and doors open at 7pm. Hodgman will not be in attendance but a bunch of the other authors will be, so it is probably worth a look for anyone interested in the book.

Being an Attractive Superheroine Isn’t Easy

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Last week, NBC held its upfronts, presentations where the network debuts their fall slate of programming to advertisers, and the rest of the world peeks in to find out what new delights/horrors television has in store for them come the new season. Completely surprising no one was the fact that David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman, starring Adrianne Palicki, was not on the schedule, mostly because reports of its demise had been flying fast and furious the week before that.

NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said that they felt Wonder Woman wasn’t the right “fit” for their lineup, which is an interesting choice of words when you consider all the online hubbub surrounding her costume, which downplayed her patriotic (American) side and was ridiculously shiny and uncoordinated. The costume was later tweaked, but that didn’t stop people from tittering at unflattering photos of Adrienne Palicki in action.

Wonder Woman may not be saving the day now, but Empowered still came to her rescue after those photos were released, following up her comments on the script with new commentary about the trials and travails of being an attractive costumed heroine, as well as which female cast member of Friday Night Lights was hotter: Adrienne Palicki or Minka Kelly?

(via Bleeding Cool)

A War with No Name

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Notes for a War Story by Gipi isn’t a work of nonfiction, but it was certainly inspired by real events—the author lives in northern Italy, right near the western border with Slovenia. If not for the fact that he lived in Italy, the fighting in the former Yugoslavia could have been his war, and his life. And the book is a reflection of that, the story of three teenagers lingering on the outskirts of war, never seeing it, but feeling its effects nonetheless.

Stefano/Little Killer, Christian, and Giuliano (the narrator) are three kids wandering through the countryside in an unnamed country, stealing stuff to sell and just looking to survive and maybe some day make it big. Giuliano is a bit of an outsider to the other two, because he was raised by two parents with good jobs, and really only left that life behind so he could fit in with his friends. He is filled with doubt about the things they do, but it is unclear to him—and even to us, the readers—if this is because these things are wrong, or because he “just doesn’t understand.”

We follow the trio as they become acquainted with a man named Felix, who pulls them into the business of organized crime and later into the war itself, in a reflection of the real-life connections between organized crime and factions in a civil war. The book doesn’t analyze or explain these connections—this is just the way it is, and when Giuliano actually has the intelligence and temerity to question that state of being, it separates him further from his friends.

The story itself can be a little hard to get into, but it quickly picks up and becomes a rather easy, though emotionally-detached read. The characters are designed with sketchy, awkward lines that succeed in illustrating the scene while generating feelings of unease. I appreciated how the protagonists looked like teenagers, even when their mood shifted from scared to sinister and points inbetween.

Notes for a War Story has had a share of accolades piled upon it, including the 2005 Goscinny Prize for Best Script and the honor of Best Book at Angoulême 2006. It’s a shame that we don’t see as much impact stateside, because this book has a lot to offer in terms of craft and subject.

Notes for a War Story
by Gipi
translated by Spectrum
published by First Second (New York, 2007)
ISBN 978-1-59643-261-1

Single Female Superhero

Monday, March 28th, 2011

David E. Kelley of The Practice and Boston Legal fame has been working on a new Wonder Woman television series for Fall 2011, and by now you’ve probably gawked at pictures of actress Adrienne Palicki in the new Wonder Woman costume, which multiple comic sites pointed out as resembling the latest costume in the comics, and Entertainment Weekly noted that it “de-emphasizes the patriotism and seems to play up the comic’s Greek mythology.”

In addition to those costume photos many sites have gotten their hands on an early draft script and have offered up their thoughts on it. All of them seem to have mixed feelings about it, though the things that stick out vary by writer. Comic creator Adam Warren also had a few things to say about the script, but rather than simply blog about it, he decided to have his character Empowered have a go at it:

(Part 1, part 2, and part 3)

She’s got kind of a point; how many “insecurity-plagued” superheroines do we need? Didn’t we already get an insecurity-plagued lawyer on Ally McBeal? And shouldn’t Wonder Woman be above that, being a literal goddess and all?

In this case, we’ll just have to wait until Fall and make our own judgments when the show premieres on NBC.

(via Bleeding Cool)

Drops of the Gods Fall on US Shores

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Well, that certainly took long enough. Drops of the Gods, the wine manga that’s spurred wine culture in the Far East and been spotlighted in various major news outlets like the Japan Times, the Daily Mail, the New York Times and this very blog, is finally coming to the United States.


Vertical announced the news this morning on the ANNcast (part of Anime News Network). They also announced that they’ve acquired the rights to Osamu Tezuka’s Princess Knight, one of the very first shōjo manga in history. This too is a big deal, though not as relevant to nonfiction comics.

Each English Vertical volume of Drops of the Gods will carry the equivalent of two Japanese volumes, for a total of about 400 pages, selling for $14.95 each.

(via Robot 6 and Anime News Network)