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Weekend Reading: Disney, Star Wars, James Bond and MAD

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Movies, Reviews,

Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Ghost PrisonWhoa.

To everyone in the Eastern US affected by Frankenstorm Sandy, my heart goes out to you. Stay safe and I hope normalcy returns as soon as possible. (And don’t forget to vote!)

Show business knew how to take away the game ball from Sandy coverage with the announcement that George Lucas was selling Lucasfilm to Disney for $4 billion (with a ‘b’). That’s just mind-boggling.

And with that news came the news that new Star Wars films will be forthcoming with Lucas not involved in their production. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Lucas announced his charitable intentions with the $4 billion. What a week. Marvel and DC will have to stage a double-secret-reboot just to get a little press.

Let’s see what else is going on:

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Zach Weiner Speaks

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Conventions,

SMBCAre you familiar with the TED Conference where all the world’s smarties get together and speechify about the future?

If I were going to a TED event this year, I know which one I’d attend. And so should you.

Zach Weiner, the creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, one of the best and most successful webcomics, is going to be a featured speaker at TEDx, at Carnegie Mellon University on March 4.

What’s TEDx? It’s “a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

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Comic Con International 2011: My Con Report

MarinemanSo I'm back from the latest Comic Con extravaganza in San Diego. Unlike other folks that gather up news and special announcements, I gather up a few odds and ends.

Here's my Comic Con report for 2011 (Spoiler Alert: names will be dropped):

Planet of the Apes – When Boom!'s marketing director Chip Mosher asks, I answer! I was on the Boom! Planet of the Apes panel as a guest and had a great time with the engaged crowd. Editor Ian Brill, writer Daryl Gregory and myself talked about the movies, the comics, the creators and time travel. Life is rarely that good.

Aaron Lopresti – Dinner with the artist on the upcoming Justice League International series from DC. We spent it art-spotting with licensed merchandise. Pal Dave Olbrich bought along a 1970s-era Master of Kung Fu drinking glass and it was decided that it was a Gil Kane figure with a face reworked by Romita, Sr.

Marineman – I had a great chat with Ian Churchill, creator of Marineman, the Image Comics title that's also an Eisner-winner. I plopped down $15 for the collected 6 issues. I'm halfway through and it's money well-spent.

Portfolio Review – Dropped in on Space Goat's Dave Olbrich (him again) as he flipped through portfolios offering advance and gentle criticism. Lots of talented folks this year.

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Weekend Reading: Bill Finger, Mighty Samson, The Shadow & Valerian

Mighty SamsonThank you internets, you’ve been great this week. So let’s share that bounty with others:

Mighty Samson: Writer J.C. Vaughn has a preview of Mighty Samson #1 at his blog. Shooter’s involved, Patrick Olliffe is the artist. Dark Horse is the publisher. I’m in!

Here’s a little more about the series at Comic Attack.

Shadow: Novelist James Reasoner has a Forgotten Book that’s a must have for fans of Maxwell Grant’s The Shadow: Gangland's Doom: The Shadow of the Pulps, by Frank Eisgruber Jr.

British Comics: Matthew Murray at Comics Beat goes all out for the new Dandy and breaks down its contents.

Peanuts: Zach Weiner finally lets Charlie Brown kick that football.

Peppers: Mark Evanier lives the sitcom life.

3-D: Ricky Sprague at Project Child Murdering Robot tells how Marvel Comics (in 3-D!) turned him into an atheist. Bonus: 3-D artwork on the internets!

Click to continue reading Weekend Reading: Bill Finger, Mighty Samson, The Shadow & Valerian

Comic Con International 2010: Snowflakes By Zach Weiner & Chris Jones

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Conventions, Editorials, Reviews, Independent,

SnowflakesI was talking to Zach Weiner (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal) at this year’s San Diego Comic Con and he mentioned that he and artist Chris Jones (the guys behind Captain Excelsior) had a webcomic called Snowflakes that they do with James Ashby. Weiner scripts, Jones arts and Ashby plots.

Zach said the problem with doing a kid-friendly webcomic is that parents tend not to seek them out for their kids - they go right to the “safe” sites like Disney or Nickelodeon and that’s it. And that’s too bad, because they’re missing out on a real treat. Snowflakes began in 2009 and it updates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Because it’s the internet, all of the previous episodes are posted so you can always start back at the beginning and catch up.

Here are the basics, cribbed from the site: “On a mountain top somewhere in the Andes mountains, a small group of very, very, very old nuns maintains a cozy orphanage. The kids have lost their families, and it may never stop snowing, but there’s always a fire in the fireplace and a never-ending supply of snowballs just outside the front door.

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Read More | Snowflakes Website

Weekend Reading: Breyfogle, Ellis, Craven, and Spider-Man Sings!

Scott Pilgrim 2I can’t believe the Spider-Man musical will hit Broadway on December 21. Are there really enough little old ladies who want to take the bus in from Long Island on a Wednesday afternoon to see an all-singing, all-dancing super-hero? That’s quite a bit different from Starlight Express and Cats, right? My prediction: It’ll close before the Tonys are announced, but then a touring version will criss-cross America for years with Jake Lloyd, Mischa Barton, Gabe Kaplan and Angela Lansbury in key roles.

Now let’s see what else is going on:

Scott Pilgrim I: Over at John Scalzi’s Whatever, guest blogger John Anderson bows down before the triumph that is Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

Scott Pilgrim II: The Early Word takes a look at how a comic book movie adaptation might help sales of said comic and then delivers a slap to the way DC Comics handles itself. “However, those intrigued by the Green Lantern movie are unlikely to be engaged by the continuity-heavy, you-must-buy-every-single-collection tale like Blackest Night. The folks buying Blackest Night? They are already Green Lantern comics fans.”

Click to continue reading Weekend Reading: Breyfogle, Ellis, Craven, and Spider-Man Sings!

Comic Con International 2010: Zach Weiner And Chris Jones

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Conventions, Reviews, IDW Publishing,

Captain ExcelsiorCaptain Excelsior is a webcomic that I discovered late. I met Zach Weiner at the 2008 San Diego Con and he gave me an ashcan of his webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal he was handing out. That led me to his website which had a link to Excelsior. See how this whole “internet thing” works?

Captain Excelsior was almost completed by then so I went back to page 1 and read through the previous installments all in one sitting. Created by Weiner and illustrated by Chris Jones (artist on Grumps), the series is about Captain Excelsior, a super-hero who’s having some issues.

One of his sons has no super powers, another might be gay, his high-strung daughter can’t find a date for the prom and she kills people when she gets angry, his ex-wife is getting remarried and he’s having trouble navigating the dating world because, well, he’s a doofus. He’s a better super-hero than he is a father, but he’d have to be: he’s a terrible father.

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Read More | Captain Excelsior

Comic Con International 2010: The Webcomics Section

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Reviews, Independent,

Copper BookBravo to a bunch of webcomics guys for pooling their resources and creating a newspaper supplement reminiscent of the Sunday funnies to promote strips that are on the internet. The Webcomics Section debuted at the San Diego con in 2009 and its return in 2010 was a welcome sight. I grabbed one the second I saw it and picked up a couple more to pass out to friends.

Contributing creators included Kazu Kibuishi (Copper), Bill Barnes and Paul Southworth (Not Invented Here), Bobby Crosby and Sarah Ellerton (Dreamless), Jonathan Rosenberg (Scenes From A Multiverse), Jorge Cham (Piled Higher And Deeper), Barnes and Gene Ambaum (Unshelved), Zach Weiner (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal), Katie Shanahan (Shrub Monkeys), Benny Powell and Twinkle Planet Studios (Wayward Sons), Spike (Templar, Arizona), Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary), Christopher Baldwin (Spacetrawler), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics), David Malki (Wondermark) and David Willis (Shortpacked!).

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Comic Con International 2010: I Was There

Walking Dead GN So it’s over and it’s been over for a while and everyone and his overweight uncle with the tattered, too-small t-shirt has written about it to death.

And now it’s my turn.

Loved it. Had a great time. Saw a lot of old friends. Made a few new ones. Found a place that makes great nachos.

Yes, the emphasis on back issues has diminished and there’s a decreased emphasis on the newer stuff and Bud Plant’s booth is smaller, but none of that diminished my overall positive experience.

I picked up a couple of hard numbers while shopping. I finally snagged a softcover copy of the first collection at the Image booth and it turned out to be the last one in stock for the con. I asked the guy at the booth about it and he said that they’d sold over 300 hardcovers of the first collection and sold out of all 700 copies of the softcover version since Preview Night. This was by Friday afternoon, with 2 1/2 more days to go. That’s what happens when good comic meets impending TV show.

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WEBCOMICS WEDNESDAY: PvP, Achewood, Registered Weapon, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal,

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials,

Finding comics on the web? Easy. Finding a really good one to read on a regular basis? Not so much. Here are some of my favorites. 

PvP: The newspaper and magazine businesses are collapsing and taking their cartoonists down with them, but there’s at least one guy who was way ahead of the curve: Scott Kurtz. He took his talent to the internets and grew his comic strip into a personal empire - including book collections - that other cartoonists can only dream about. While Hi and Lois are rapidly walking towards the light, Kurtz is busy skewering pop culture, nerd culture, gamers and all we hold dear. In this recent strip alone, you get an argument about the new G.I. Joe movie with a reference to Thundercats. Extraordinarily well-drawn and very funny, Kurtz posts on a regular schedule. There’s lots to enjoy on his site, and lots of goodies to purchase too. Read a few strips to get into the rhythm – he has ongoing storylines and a nice archive feature can bring you up to speed quickly. And if you’re a cartoonist having a web dream, you should study his site like the Rosetta Stone, and check out his book.

REGISTERED WEAPON: This one could be called CSI: Ka-Ching! Felix is the “most advanced piece of forensic technology.” He’s also a robot. Who used to be a cash register in a previous life. He fights crime, and can still change a five.

Click to continue reading WEBCOMICS WEDNESDAY: PvP, Achewood, Registered Weapon, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal,