Monday, January 31, 2005

Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?

I couldn't help but point out this little bit of news from WENN.

Man, first the controversy over that rabbit and the lesbians on that PBS show, now Spongebob is gay? Do people not have anything better to do with their time?



Sunday, January 30, 2005

Good News For Xenomorphs

Just a quick AVP tidbit from Sci-Fi Wire until I can sit down and post something more substantial...

"The franchise-blending action film Alien vs. Predator sold about 1.9 million combined DVD and VHS units on its first day of release Jan. 25, nearly matching its opening-weekend domestic box-office total of $38.3 million, the Reuters news service reported."

A lot of people hate this movie, but I liked it well enough to own it (Hell, I have the Alien Quadrilogy plus both the original Predator release and the Special Edition that came out last year). Still, if I was to be perfectly honest, I'm far more excited about picking up the new Predator 2: Special Edition DVD than grabbing AVP. Those two commentary tracks are just calling to me...


Friday, January 28, 2005

Owen...Clive Owen

Looks like Hugh Jackman may be out of the running as Pierce Brosnan's replacement for the coveted James Bond role since all eyes seem to have turned to Closer star and Oscar nominee, Clive Owen. WENN has the article here.


Working for Peanuts

Not only is there a nice preview of what's coming from Fantagraphics in 2005 at The Pulse, but there's also the requisite mainstream v. indie debate that occurs anytime anyone from Fantagraphics utters a word.

It's also good news to hear that, according to Eric Reynolds, the Peanuts collections, besides being amazing to look at and just great reading, have also put the company in a good position financially which will allow them to continue for some time. Considering some of their recent setbacks, this is good news.

Unless you're one of the folks arguing against Eric on the boards.

Here's a pic of the 3rd Peanuts collection featuring Pigpen on the cover and designed by Seth.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Bustin' Makes Me Feel Good

I pick up my mail today and balancing precariously in my box is a package from 88mph Studios containing issues 3 and 4 of their abso-bloody-lutely fabulous Ghostbusters mini-series for review purposes.

Now, as a follower of the mini since day one (I am a looooooong time fan of the boys with the proton packs), I can say without a doubt that issue 4 will be a knockout, even before I read it (I say #4 because I'd already bought issue 3 from my LCS, but thanks for the extra copy, Sebastien!). I'll still come back on and make an official post/review of the series as a whole once I'm done, but I wanted to make mention of it here now, especially in light of my recent "Marvel and Deceased" post. Maybe I was a little bit crusty that day, maybe I hadn't had enough fibre, maybe I was totally clear in mind and body, but there's one thing that'll cure anyone of the 'no reviews from me, bored of comics blues', and that's getting free comics mailed to you.

I also finshed Louis Riel last night, so when I come back on with the GB comments, I'll probably post my Riel thoughts as well.

And if anyone with any sort of influence in the mailing out of comics for review purposes is reading this, send more comics! If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?


Reviving the Dead...Evil, That Is

"Get the bubblegum out of your ears and listen up!"

I was shocked when I saw this bit on Sci-Fi Wire regarding Rob Tapert's and Sam Raimi's plans of hiring someone in to remake Evil Dead.

"We mean to bring that out to a whole new generation in something that honors all of the people that loved it and yet gives them a new and thrilling ride that they weren't expecting. That's the challenge, and hopefully if we succeed that's kind of the glory."

While I can see how it might work in this climate of "let's take all these old '70s horror movies and 're-imagine' them', I can't say that I'm excited to see it happen. I think Rob and Sam make a good argument for doing it, but ultimately, whatever they decide to do, in the end we will vote with our dollars as we always do.


Picture Imperfect

Has anybody seen my copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray? I can't seem to find it and I've looked everywhere?


In a Family Way


I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this here interview with Seth "Family Guy" MacFarlane on the rebirth of his irreverent animated series, courtesy of The Onion's AV Club.


The Real Comic Gold

Ever wonder how much Marvel actually makes from publishing comics, and how much comes from all the underoos and blockbuster summer movies? Click here to get the scoop from Marvel's vice chairman, Peter Cuneo, courtesy of The Motley Fool.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

U2 Kick off Vertigo Tour

Looks like the boys are going to be out and about again after sorting out their recent scheduling difficulties. Get the skinny here.


Marvel and Deceased

You know, I look at a handful of comic book related blogs and it always makes me feel like I should be contributing to the white noise - posting the reviews, or commenting on the solicitations, or speculating on who the killer in this story is or who the creative team on that book will be. To be perfectly honest, I'd have a lot more posts here if I did, but I've realised something recently that I also find mildly distressing (considering my love for the medium and the fact that I love writing about it), and that is that I don't think I care anymore. Not enough to seek the information out, not enough to gather it up and not enough to comment.

If something comes my way, I'll say a word or two. I'm still reading Louis Riel, which I've mentioned in an earlier post, and I've just picked up Will Eisner's Fagin the Jew, both of which I planned to say a few words on, but for the most part, I couldn't care less what Marvel or DC are doing these days, and I'm not reading as many indie books as I'd like.

It's probably just a phase. I've been here before and come back. I've stared into the abyss that is a comic free world and it's stared it's flimsy, collectable, overpriced eyes right back at me, luring me, once again, into the fold.



Spatial Relations

Pay attention guys, this article on hormones could save you from countless unecessary arguments while driving on vacation, or just joyriding with your partner or spouse.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Zero Notice

So I'm Googling my name the other day (oh, come on - you've all done it) and I run across a match with a website that I'm not only unfamiliar with, but is listed only as an odd collection of words reminiscient of a William S. Burroughs novel. One of the words, however, is, a little online horror mag run by a swell guy named Ed Flynn for whom I did my first paid writing (thanks again for getting he ball rolling, Ed). Anyways, my curiosity got the better of me so I clicked through only to find this:

Now, I remember writing the review, but at no point did I know that it had actually made it to the back of the Trade Paperback (and the embarrasing thing is, I've held the thing in my hands a number of times and never noticed).

Anyway, I know other guys and gals have their names appear like this every day of every month of every year, but this is my first back cover blurb, and I just found out about it and I can post about it if I want to.

Now I'm going to go watch some Season 2 Farscape. Hope your day treats you equally well.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Little Star is the newest offering from one of my favourite comic guys (and I wager, Johnny Bacardi's from how many times he's mentioned Love Fights Vol. 2 over on his blog), Andi Watson. His previous books, Breakfast After Noon, Slow News Day, and Dumped were/are some of the best romance/slice-of-life stories out there and I've been looking forward to Little Star ever since I heard about it in a Comics Journal interview a couple of years back.

The story is about a thoroughly modern "involved" Dad and you get to watch him stagger through the pee, the poo, and the puke in a sleep-deprived haze. Something I can relate to, having three kids of my own.

Originally, I thought this was supposed to be the sequel to Breakfast After Noon from the way Andi has spoken about this project in the past, but I guess it's not. Only in theme, I guess, which is fine, although it would have been nice to see those characters again (like their cameo in Dumped) even in a small role - like how thrilled I was when Nick Hornby added Dick from High Fidelity into the briefest of cameos in How to be Good.

"I can make you a tape if you want."

Comic gold, baby.

Looking back on this post I realised that I could have mentioned this book a long time ago since I've known about it for a few weeks now (and it's not like I couldn't have used the extra posts), but I guess I was kind of waiting on word from Andi himself as to whether or not he was up for the interview I requested with him. No reply yet, but it usually takes a while to get a response from Andi. I'll maybe try again in a couple of days.

I'll keep you posted!


Endless Weekend

Sorry for the lack of posts lately but I've been having a curmudgeony weekend that I'd just rather not recount. I will say, however, that over the course of the three days (I'm counting Friday, here) all I, all I needed to turn my entire weekend around was a hamburger platter from a local joint here in town called Kelsey's, and maybe a movie. I wasn't even too picky on which movie it had to be. Blade: Trinity, maybe, or The Aviator would have done fine. And somehow, that simple list of tasks that would have been the D-Day to my most lousy of lousy 72 hours was impossible to accomplish.


To top it off, my Steelers lost today in a game I didn't get to watch, so they are officially out of the playoffs until next year. Click on the image if you want to check out the word on the official site.

I think I might have a head cold, too, which is just icing on the cake.

Anyway, here's hoping this week looks a bit brighter.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Local Boy Does Good

I just found out that local artist, Tom Grummett has signed exclusively to Marvel. Here's the release...


"Tom Grummett is one of the most underrated artists working in comics today, and a real trooper. Its about time he got his due," said Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada upon signing Tom to an exclusive contract. "Tom's from that great Jack Kirby school; solid figures, explosive action, and one heckuva professional work ethic. That's why we want him here at Marvel...oh, and rubble! He draws great rubble!"

The artist, a mainstay of the industry since the late 80s, is best known for his work on such DC Comics titles as Superboy, Robin, Teen Titans, and more recently, Power Company. He was also a co-founder of Gorilla Comics. At Marvel Comics Grummett's action-packed pencils have been seen on Avengers/Thunderbolts, Generation X, Silver Surfer, X-Men Unlimited, and assorted Spider-Man books. He is presently providing the art for New Thunderbolts.

Grummett anticipates cooking up a storm with the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. "I'm really looking forward to the opportunity of working with these great Marvel's like a whole new toy box to play around in," he said when approached about his exclusive contract. "I'm particularly excited with my current gig on the New Thunderbolts, and proud to be working with such a great team."

Grummmett is joined by Fabian Nicieza on the current Thunderbolts title.

Superstar writer Kurt Busiek, longtime collaborator of Grummett's, was quick with reminisces and high praise for his artistic compatriot. "I've been a huge fan of Tom Grummett's work ever since I first saw his stuff on a Canadian-published small-press book called Privateers. Back then, I was editing Open Space for Marvel, and tracked him down to offer him work - but that bastard Mark Waid had tracked him down like two weeks earlier, and he was already working for DC. I got a couple of stories out of him at least. Since then, I've always been eager to work with him, and jumped at the chance to offer him both Power Company and Thunderbolts. He's a terrific penciller -- great page design, energetic storytelling, terrific draftsmanship -- he just makes it all come to life so well. Plus, you know, he's got that cool signature. Who could ask for more?"

Grummett is not pausing long to look back at his career or rest on his laurels. He's viewing the future with a gleam of inspiration in his eye. "I've enjoyed working on all my past projects for different reasons...why else would I be in this biz? I'll be concentrating on the Thunderbolts for the immediate future, with a few little side dishes that may crop up from time to time."

Not sure if I can count that as a post, but I'm taking it and running with it. Maybe I'll be back later with more from the mind of me.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Steelers Win by 3

Well, it was a tense finish, but the Pittsburgh Steelers managed to beat the New York Jets by 3 points in overtime.

The Steelers have been "my team" since following Terry Bradshaw and the Iron Curtain in the late '70s, but it's been a long time since I've bothered to watch any football. Heck, if it wasn't for a chance encounter watching Ben Roethlisberger and his winning team on the television one Sunday afternoon with my dad, I probably wouldn't be watching it now. But I am, and I'm glad, because I haven't seen football this good in a good long while (of course, I'm sure Jets fans feel completely opposite to this observation, but...).

Anyways, looking forward to Steelers v. Patriots on Jan. 23rd.

And in other news, "Rental reading poses copyright challenge"


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Who You Gonna Call?

I'm not one for getting caught up in the year-end best and worst lists (hence my posting this in the middle of January), but here's one Top Ten List for 2004 that I actually found fun to read.

Today I've also added a link to Denis Kitchen's weblog for Condolences & Memories of Will Eisner and one to The Johnny Bacardi Show, the latter of which I have started to check out on a regular basis.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Somebody Save Me

I'm wondering how Smallville manages to stay on the air week after week. I mean, I haven't been an avid viewer of the show since day one, but when it first started out back in 2001, I remember tuning into what was one of the best pilots I'd seen in years. A well-written super-hero story without tights, nice production values, a great deal of respect for the source material and beautiful direction by David Nutter, one of the best guys making pictures move on TV.

But I'm sitting here watching the 10th episode of the fourth season right now, and I don't know how it could have gone so far, or so very wrong. The characters are insipid, the plotline is...mind-blowingly ridiculous (to say the least) and the writing is terribly overwrought.

Still, the show manages to trundle on and remains one of The WB's big winners.

Can anyone explain this to me?


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Revenge of the Nerds

I am nerdier than 38% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Thanks to Johnny Bacardi and ADD's blogs, I now know...


News on Parade

I ran across some interesting news bits as I was surfing the web that I thought I would share.

Here's an article I ran across from the BBC regarding the death of Gonzalo Gavira, who created the sound effects for films including The Exorcist and Towering Inferno.

I mention this because The Exorcist is one of my favourite movies, and Gavira's work on that film was responsible for giving me one of the more restless sleeps I've had in my life.

I fell asleep in front of the computer while on Warner Bros.' Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen website which has streaming sound from the film in the background. You can imagine I woke up feeling kind of unsettled and not very rested.

Now that's good sound design.

Also, from Reuters, this bit on the work of an Ancient Astronomer's being found on the statue of David sort of speaks for itself.

After my Hilary Duff rant last week, I found this article to be chuckle-worthy.

Here's a curious Tsunami related article from the Arizona Daily Star.

Hmmm...laser beams being shined into the cockpits of planes. Could they be mounted on the backs of sharks? Could be.

And lastly, my favourite bit of the day...Dr. Who being thwarted by little poeple.



Listener Approved

I've recently gone in search of "new music". This is something I often do, either when I'm finding myself tiring of the same old same old or there's something missing from the ol' collection and it needs a little brightening up, if you will. For example, a couple of years ago I got the bug and managed to latch onto bands like Binocular, Steadman, and Supreme Beings of Leisure. A few months ago I grabbed as much Vast material as I could find and discovered the likes of Micah Green, Bleu, Splattercell (a.k.a. David Torn) and Stars.

Feeling that need to fill in some gaps yet again I went in search of new tunes, crawling around on the web, linking back and forth through blogs, directories and what have you to find the vibe I was looking for.

I think I found it this week with the addition of artists like Aqualung and Cary Brothers to the Meanwhile... playlist. I won't get into who they are or where they come from here in this post (click on the links for more info on it) but their individual styles and maudlin pop sensibilities have struck a chord in me.

So, it goes without saying, I think, that I've been listening to the stuff non-stop since locating it. I'm pretty sure my wife is going to move out for a while until I get it all out of my system.

Oh, and an honourable mention should go out to Stereophonics who have a new single coming out called 'Dakota' and it's bloody brilliant. Almost a complete 180 from their last album, You have to Go There to Come Back, or any other album of theirs, to be perfectly honest. Click through to the new website and check it out. Retro Brit prog-rock makes for good listening in these parts.

I should also point out the new link section on the sidebar covering the bands I dig and listen to. I'm going to call it the official soundtrack to Meanwhile..., so...well, whatever that means.

Thanks again for reading. Until next time...


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Comic Aspirations and an Aqualung

I had a Tuesday full of breakthroughs.

The first of which involved that script I'm working on that I told you about, Smitten. I'd been wrestling with the damn thing for weeks trying to figure my way out of some of the corners I'd painted myself into, but in the end (and after much deliberation) I decided that what I had written previous to this was pretty weak (I think the term soulless crap was bandied about when nobody was in earshot). So I've reworked the concept a bit, fleshed out the situations better in my head, come up with some opportunities for some fun storytelling and added characters to round out the cast. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I've completely reworked the concept, just enhanced the ideas I already had.

As it is now, I have to go back to the very beginning of the process now and remap the whole shebang, work out the action and relationship lines and tie them all together in a tidy 3 act screenplay.

Sounds like fun.

While reworking the aforementioned ideas, I realised that this was going to be an actual film, not a short, not a quickie no budget project. If it was to work the way I wanted it to, I needed good actors, several locations (some at night) and a decent crop of extras. Plus equipment costs would be prohibitive for the extended shooting schedule I'm projecting.

Therein lies the second breakthrough I had yesterday.

In order to get what I wanted out of the story, and to be able to have a finsihed product in a reasonable amount of time (before I'm 40, I'm thinking), I entertained the idea of transferring it to another medium - comics. Looking at the work of Andi Watson, Los Bros. Hernandez and a bunch of the guys over at Oni Press, I see how it could be pulled off as a comic book. Not to say I compare myself to ANY of those creators, but they generally do a lot of stories involving interpersonal relationships in real world situations, and Andi's stuff is deliciously sentimental at times. These are things I'm trying to capture in Smitten.

So, now I have something new to think about - and possibly a collaborator (one who can draw) to find. First thing's first, though. I have to write the script.

The last breakthrough for yesterday was my discovery of Aqualung. The guys a british artist who does beautiful, atmospheric pop music (not entirely unlike Canada's Stars, who I mentioned in a previous post). In explaining why he called himself Aqualung, his website bio does a pretty good job of describing the style of music he creates:

The music made him feel like he was either far out in space or deep under water - somewhere you might need some help with breathing, so he called it Aqualung.

He doesn't have international distribution so his stuff is not available in North America yet, so check him out online. You just might like it. He's even got all his albums in streaming audio on his website, so you can try it all for free first.

Do it.


Monday, January 10, 2005

Score One for Comic Books

Just caught this bit of news on the wire. An interesting idea that Moorcock will no longer be publishing Elric novels in books, only graphic novels. He gives good reason for it, and it's not fatigue or lack of ideas.

As a Moorcoak fan, and reader of Elric stories, this makes me happy. It also gives comics a bit of a boost as far as being considered a legitimate literary form goes. Major fantasy authour packs in the big ol' book market and sticks to funny books. :)


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Guff By Duff

Just got back from the Hilary Duff Most Wanted 2005 show with my value-challenged ingrate children. While there is little to say of Hilary's overall performance, it turns out that the merchandise being hocked at the event deserves something of a mention. It appears that Duff's stuff, being sold at each and every one of her shows, are strategically priced to help balance third world debt, or something like that. $45.00 (CAN) for a t-shirt, $20.00 for a leather strap with a metal cross engraved with her Duffness' moniker. Makes the head shake. Violently, and somewhat in despair.

It wouldn't be so bad if the kids actually appreciated any of the stuff we got them. Whatever was handed to them was met with that droopy eyed dog look like, "Awww...I didn't want that one I wanted that one."

Too angry. More chatter next time.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Goon For All Seasons

Sometime near the end of last year (I think it was Hallowe'en-ish) I did an e-mail interview with Eric Powell, writer and artist of the fabulously kooky, The Goon. The interview, for various reasons, never saw the light of day and is probably no longer 'current' enough to find its way onto any proper comic book websites. I was going to run it on Meanwhile... since it's supposed to be the kind of place where I can do that, but I figured I'd publish it here first and give anyone who reads this blog the chance to check it out first.

Now, I should qualify that the interview was done as a sort of 20 questions by e-mail, so it's not terribly conversational. Still, I'm happy with how it turned out, overall, and it was fun swapping e-mails with Eric for a bit.

I hope you like the piece...

MIKE JOZIC: The Goon is now in it’s third incarnation as part of DHC’s loosely affiliated horror line of books. How exactly did Scott Allie lure you to the Dark Side, if you'll pardon the pun?

ERIC POWELL: Money. No. Yes, money. Actually it was to get some of the work off my back so I could just worry about making the comic.

JOZIC: The horror genre seems to have made quite the comeback in the last couple of years - as far as the comic-book industry is concerned, anyways - and I wondered if you might have any thoughts on why that might be?

POWELL: Because there is better material coming out.

JOZIC: Did you have the background for the character and the world of The Goon worked out well before starting, or has it grown quite a bit from the first issue?

POWELL: It's definitely changed as I've gone along. It's evolved with me as I've grown as a writer and artist. It's always been about me being able to do what I want to do so it will probably keep changing.

JOZIC: When Franky and Goon are driving around or mowing down Zombies with their car, I get a real Sam & Max vibe off of the book. Has Steve Purcell been an influence on the tone or humour of the book?

POWELL: Actually, I'm unfamiliar with that book. I'll have to look it up.

JOZIC: I think you’ve made reference to chickens in one form or another at least once per issue since the Avatar run. What’s the obsession with poultry?

POWELL: Mmmm. Chicken. I never noticed that. I guess chickens are funny to me.

JOZIC: You’ve got a little bit of everything in The Goon, but I wondered what your favourite type of monster was?

POWELL: The tragic monsters are the most interesting to me. The misunderstood outcast. It's kind of boring if it's just an evil monster.

JOZIC: What would be your top 5 monster movie picks?

POWELL: Uhm...that's hard. Bride of Frankenstein, The Thing (original and remake), Evil Dead 2, Night of the living Dead, & Creature from the Black Lagoon.

JOZIC: Will Psychic Seal ever get his own one-shot or series?


JOZIC: Do you listen to any music while drawing or writing the book?

POWELL: I listen to a lot of music while I draw. Tom Waits is a good one to draw Goon to.

JOZIC: If it had one, what would the soundtrack for The Goon sound like?

POWELL: It would sound like a mix of 50's monster movie music and Tom Waits.

JOZIC: Your bi-monthly schedule has you landing on both Hallowe’en and Christmas. Did you sit down at the beginning and plan it out that way when you worked out your schedule with DHC?

POWELL: Nope. Just coincidence.

JOZIC: I love Eric Wight’s stuff, but I’m curious why you have him drawing the Atomic Rage story rather than doing it yourself?

POWELL: Because he nails that retro style better than I ever could. It's cool to get to collaborate with people sometimes too.

JOZIC: Will we be seeing more of these shorter strips and fake ads like we did in previous volumes of the series?

POWELL: Probably. I don't make a conscious effort to do those kinds of thing. I just do them as the ideas come.

JOZIC: What do you think of the PVC set and was there anyone you wished you could have included that you didn’t have a chance to?

POWELL: It was awesome. I know a lot of people wanted Dr. Alloy.

JOZIC: In your mind, what would be the ultimate Goon merchandise?

POWELL: Well, I've had a Bowen Statue. That is about the best thing I can think of.

JOZIC: Out of the licensed and 'big company' work that you've done in the past, which projects have been your favourites to do?

POWELL: I did a Giles one shot for DH that was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed doing the Arkham covers too.

JOZIC: You recently featured Hellboy in The Goon, crossing the two characters over for the first time. Considering the different storytelling styles between the two of you, how did you and Mike decide to split up the book story and art-wise?

POWELL: Mike came up with the idea of how they would get together and they just told me to run with it. We really didn't have to worry about splitting anything up. The way it was conceived was that he would do bookend segments. I did the majority of the story and added some HB dialogue.

JOZIC: I thought the issue was a great success, with the mixing and matching of styles. What are the chances we'll see Hellboy again, or any other characters for that matter, in future issues of The Goon? Have you got the cross-over bug yet?

POWELL: No, I don't think I'll be doing crossovers with other books. Plus, I want to keep the Hellboy issue special. Who knows if Hellboy will be back.

JOZIC: As both the writer and artist of your book, I wondered which of the two you actually prefer to do? Is there one activity you turn to when the other becomes too stressful, or are they equal parts of a whole?

POWELL: It's creating the comic. It's all the same thing to me.

JOZIC: I've also read that you prefer your painting to the actual sequential work. What is it about the painting that you find more satisfying?

It's less repetitive and painting just seems more substantial to me.

JOZIC: In other interviews you cited Rockwell and Frazetta as big influences on your own artwork. What about each of those artist's style have filtered into your work?

POWELL: Energy and the textures of Frazetta and the storytelling and expression of Rockwell.

JOZIC: In a lot of the press you've done over the last year or so, you seem either very playful or just a little frustrated with having to answer questions like, "How did you come up with The Goon?" over and over and over again. Does it get a little taxing to do the interviews after a while or is that a part of publishing the book that you enjoy?

POWELL: Yes, it's a pain. Stephen King has said numerous times that people always ask him where his ideas come from and it really annoys him. I can see where he's coming from. It just seems like a silly question. How do you know where an idea comes from? It's a long process of revision. You take the things you like smash them together and eventually something forms.

JOZIC: Obviously The Goon is a dream project for you since you've gone through a lot to get it where it is, but is there any other character or concept rattling around in your head, or even an existing character or title, that you would love to tackle at some point?

POWELL: Yes, I have three other concepts I want to get off the ground at some point. One of them is actually already in the works.

Catch you next time!


Slow News Day

No much to report today so I'll settle for a few interesting links until I can get something more exciting up.

While we're all waiting for that Watchmen movie to materialize, it looks like fans can get their Alan Moore movie fix here. Vendetta was always my favourite of the two, so I'm cautiously awaiting this one's arrival.

I spent most of yesterday nursing an ailing body and mind by lounging around and listening to BBC1 all day where I caught the first mainstream media mention of Stars, one of my new favourite bands. Their local (meaning Canadian), and play an intoxicating mix of bittersweet pop songs and mood tunes. They kind of remind me a little of New Order, and Steve Lamacq on the BBC thought they sounded a bit like a sped up Lush - you decide. If you're curious, you can hear the album at their website, here. Their newest album is called Set Yourself on Fire and is worth checking out.

After the recent scuffle between Tucker Carlson and...well...everybody, I'm not at all surprised to see this bit of news. I'm no great patriot, but his comments on Crossfire regarding my home and native land managed to bug even me. So, no tears shed on my side of the 49th.

That's all for now. I'm sure I'll be back later in the day with something more substantial.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Will Eisner Dies at 87

I'm overcome with sadness after reading my mail this morning. Will Eisner, the godfather of sequential art, the man responsible for much of the modern vocabulary of comics, has died of complications from his recent bypass surgery. The sobering word came from biographer Bob Andelman's Will Eisner: A Spirited Life e-newsletter, and I've reprinted a big chunk of it here for those of you who haven't had a chance to see it yet...

Legendary comics and graphic novel artist and writer Will Eisner died last night, Monday, January 3, 2005, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 87,
following complications from quadruple heart bypass surgery.

Will Eisner didn’t create Superman, Batman, Spider-Man or even Archie and Jughead. Some comic book fans may scratch their heads when asked to describe his work. But every artist and writer in comic books, as well as graphic artists across the entire spectrum of modern illustration, television and film, owes a debt to him.

Eisner, who went to high school with “Batman” creator Bob Kane, provided first jobs in the comics business to everyone from Jack Kirby (co-creator of “Captain America” and the “Fantastic Four”) to Pulitzer-winning writer and artist Jules Feiffer.

If not for Eisner’s influence, Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman might never
have published his graphic novel Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (Eisner is credited with popularizing — if not inventing — the medium of the graphic novel with the 1978 publication of his graphic story collection, A Contract With God) and fellow Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay would have been missing quite a few Eisner-inspired tales.

For comic book professionals, the highest honor in the industry is either an Eisner Award, named for Eisner and given out every summer at Comic-Con International in San Diego, or a Harvey Award, named for Eisner’s late friend Harvey Kurtzman, the creator of Mad magazine and Playboy’s “Little Annie Fanny,” given every April in Pittsburgh. Kurtzman, who discovered talents as diverse as R. Crumb and Gloria Steinem, passed away in 1993, making Eisner the last man standing.


At every Eisner Awards ceremony, each recipient was handed his or her award
by the man himself.

Several years ago, a big red velvet chair was put on stage for Eisner. The Eisner
Awards promoters said, “Come on, Will, you shouldn’t have to stand up all this time; here, have a seat.” Eisner sat on it briefly, got a laugh out of it, but then he stood up again, and stayed on his feet the rest of the night. Eisner demonstrated his strength of character and enduring physical wherewithal by standing on stage throughout the entire presentation, shaking hands and personally congratulating the winners. Because there is a different presenter for each award, no one else stood for as long as Eisner.

That’s why, when Eisner handed the 2002 Eisner Award for Best Serialized Story (Amazing Spider-Man #30-35: “Coming Home”) to writer J. Michael Straczynski and artists John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna, Straczynski thrust the award in the air and remarked, “You know, you get the Emmy, you don’t get it from ‘Emmy.’ You win the Oscar, you don’t get it from ‘Oscar.’ How freakin’ cool is this?”

Published in November 2004, DC Comics’ The Will Eisner Companion is the first comprehensive, critical overview of the work of this legendary writer/artist. Divided into two sections — his Spirit work and his graphic novels — this authorized companion features all-new critical and historical essays by noted comics historians N.C. Christopher Couch and Stephen Weiner, as well as alphabetical indexes relating to all aspects and characters in his oeuvre. Also includes a chronology, a bibliography and suggested reading lists, as well as an introduction by Dennis O'Neil.

And Eisner’s final — and likely most controversial — graphic novel, The Plot, finished last summer, will be published this spring by W.W. Norton.

Will Eisner was the wizard behind the curtain, except in his case, the magic was

There will be no funeral service, per Will’s wishes. “Will and I hated funerals,”
his wife, Ann, said the morning after his death. “We made plans long ago to avoid having them ourselves.” He will be buried next to his late daughter, Alice, who died in 1969. Surviving Will are his wife, Ann, and his son, John.

Cards may be sent to:
Will Eisner Studios
8333 W. McNab Road
Tamarac, FL 33321

Unofficially, in lieu of flowers, you might consider a donation in Will’s name to
the American Cancer Society — his daughter died of cancer — or the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which Will was known to have supported.

In the days to come, if you’d like to share a story or a thought about Will and need an outlet, I’ll make this newsletter available to anyone who’d care to contribute. Just reply to and I’ll share your words with an international audience of Eisner fans and media.

Today is a very sad day for the the world of arts and letters.

I only had the chance to interview Will once, but it was a really great experience. I remember the afternoon quite vividly, sitting at my kitchen table and asking him tons of questions over the phone. I think the whole thing lasted about 3 hours, and Will was always patient and willing to answer anything I threw at him.

That first interview always left me with the lingering feeling of wanting to connect with him again sometime in the future. He was just a really enjoyable person to talk to - so lucid and conversational for a guy well into his 80s (never mind still working!!!). I once even entertained the idea of doing a biography of Will, but Bob Andelman beat me to the punch in a big way, and more power to him. He probably did the job 1000 times better than I ever could. Still, I'll always regret never having the chance to talk to or interact with Will one more time.

That same year I had the opportunity to meet him at the San Diego ComiCon in 2000 where I literally bumped into him while he was standing at the DC booth. I was wandering around, looking for something to do when I saw him. "Holy crap," I thought. "That's Will Eisner." So I introduced myself, shook his hand and asked him to sign my Spirit Archive Vol. 1, which he did without a second thought. I was going to try and start a conversation up with him, but in the time it took for that small exchange to happen, a line had started behind me out of nowhere and I had to clear out in a hurry or be mauled by other signature hunters.

Anyway, I just wanted to give a shout out to Will and write a few words about him. He managed to touch many lives with his work, and I include myself as one of them.

Wherever you are, Will, thanks for the wonderful body of work and the well of inspiration you provided for so many of us.

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Buckaroo Banzai Across the 4-Colour Dimension

This news is too good not to mention. If you haven't heard about the new Buckaroo Banzai comic book series written by Earl Mac Rauch click through to Comic Book Resources and get an eyeful of press release joy!


Money...That's What I Want!

Sorry about the title. This post was going to be job related, and that was all I could think of.

Anyways, you may have seen the letter from my editor a few posts back informing me (and the other freelance writers of Life in the City) that our services would no longer be needed. Well, I recently swung by their website to check a movie listing in town and the site was officially gone. Gateway Timeout, no DNS found.


I never really thought the paper would, initially, last more than a year, so I'm not all that terribly surprised by it's official demise. Still, it was kind of a wake-up call telling me that if I want to keep the freelance writing gig alive, I need to find a/some new publishers to run my stuff. Always a fun job.

I've had to start compiling a list of folks to submit to and, we'll see what pans out in the days and weeks ahead. I'm sure I'll post about it on the ol' blog when there are new developments to report.


Monday, January 03, 2005

Fever Pitch

So I'm digging through a bargain bin of DVD's at my local HMV when I spot the spine of one lying at the bottom of the bin. It caught my eye because the title of the movie was Fever Pitch which was familiar to me. "That's funny," I think to myself, "Nick Hornby has a novel by the same name." Of course it hit me about a full minute later that, considering the guy's had two major motion pictures released in North America based on his novels (High Fidelity and About a Boy) that the two were probably one and the same. I quickly pulled it out to take a closer look and satisfy my curiosity.

Now, in case you haven't checked my Blogger profile (and really, why would you?) you probably don't know that Hornby is one of my favourite writers. Just before Christmas I finally got around to picking up and reading High Fidelity which I had been wanting to get into immediately after seeing the film for the first time way back when.

Anyway, back to Fever Pitch.

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Turns out it was based on the Hornby book, and ol' Nick even wrote the screenplay to boot. The whole thing was a Channel Four Production in the UK and was only shown on a handful of theatres in the US. As far as I know, it never hit the big screen in Canada.


I've only previewed the movie but it looks like it's going to be fun. I'll probably sit down tonight and give it the once over. The only drawback is that the damn thing is a fullscreen transfer and not the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio as I would prefer, but it cost $6.99 (CAN) and I can always buy it again if I find it in a better format.

As a sidebar, I've also heard that the Farrelly Brothers have made (or are making) their version of it starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. All I can say about that is...*sigh*!

'Til next time...


New Buffy Update

Hey everyone...

In my first post I said that I would notify you folks of any updates to my web page so here I am to do just that. A few days ago I posted a new interview with Jane Espenson and Eric Wight regarding the Buffy: Animated series that currently exist in the limbo that is "shopping it around". The interview is part of my Buffy Post Mortem, celebrating the show and it's other incarnations through interviews with the folks who worked on the show, the comics and Eric, who designed the animated version of everyone's favourite slayer. The aforementioned Jeff Parker will also have an interview going up soon, so watch for that announcement here as well.

There's also an interview with Dave Gibbons that I conducted back in 1998, just before his New Adventures of The Spirit story came out. Like the Mark Waid and James D. Hudnall interviews before it, it's part of the archiving project that I've started to get all of my older interviews on the web (and when there's more webspace available, I would love to get the audio up as well!). It was one of the first interviews I ever did and it shows, but it's not as bad as I remember it being. It's kind of fun to look back and read it now and, hey, it is Dave Gibbons. The guys a great artist and a pretty snappy writer to boot.



Sunday, January 02, 2005

Missed a Spot

There's this new thing we're doing in my house called 'how long can we keep the computer left off'. It's great for getting rid of that droning whir that computers make - guaranteeing that every other media device in the house is turned up louder than it really should be - but the unbfortunate side effect of this is that I've sort of missed the last couple of days of posting. Unless there's a really good reason to fire the old thing up and dive into cyberspace for a spell, I generally ignore it, occupying my time with other, more terrestrial matters.

And this after I promised Jeff that I wouldn't poop out on the entries.

For those of you who probably don't know who I'm talking about, Jeff is referring to the very talented and groovy comic book guy, Jeff Parker, who also shares blog space here on blogger. His base of operations is called the Mystifying Oracle to which you may have seen the link on the sidebar if you ever bother to look at the left of the page. If you haven't clicked through, do so now. Jeff's a cool cat and he often has some fun stuff on his mind.

Anyways, I check Jeff's blog pretty regularly now and a couple of evenings ago I hit his site only to see my name as the first line of his most recent post. Here I thought nobody was reading my ramblings, but Jeff found me out (I should have realized I'm not the only person who checks their referrers). It was a nice little nod from Jeff on his site and I thank him for any traffic that may have come my way as a result.

I leave you with this link to MSNBC and an article about one of my fave comic companies, Dark Horse Comics (who, coincidentally, Jeff has worked for). They're still doing the manga thing and have been since before it was mainstream cool, plus there's some chatter about Star Wars and Hellboy.