Hey Librarians! Pack up your decimals of Dewey and head out to Washington DC, where all the cool graphic novels are going to be talked about. It’s the American Library Association’s annual conference, and it’s set for June 24-June 29. Early Word has the word on all the graphic novel programming just waiting for you.
Dave Simons: It’s been one year since the death of the acclaimed artist Dave Simons and his friend Daniel Best and 20th Century Danny Boy remembers him with stories and quotes, like this one: “Here is my recipe for a winning comic book cover: Flame. Gorilla. Skull. Hot chick. Other elements of interest: Nazis, dinosaurs.” I would totally buy Flaming Gorilla Skull Chick Vs. Nazi Dinosaur #1 from any publisher. Even at $3.99. I’ll even write it. And I wish Dave was still alive to draw it.
Superman Serials: The Bijou Blog takes a look at those Superman movies that most comic book fans don’t care about: the old serials like Superman and Atom Man Vs. Superman, starring Kirk Alyn. “His Superman seems stern at times, then happy-go-lucky, but also happens to take a sadistic glee in cracking two crooks’ heads together. The cape appears to give him some trouble. Alyn is seen to push it out of his way several times and he never runs while in costume, doing more of a ballet leap to keep from tripping.”
To create the Ultraverse, Chris Ulm convinced seven comic book creators to meet him and Malibu’s editorial staff in Scottsdale, Arizona back in September 1992. Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse flew into print in June 1993, led by those seven: Mike W. Barr, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, James Hudnall, Gerard Jones, James Robinson and Len Strazewski.
Comic book jobs are tough to get, even when the economy is running along smoothly. Now that we’re still in the middle of a deep recession with a large number of folks unemployed for quite some time, it’s even harder. Still, there are a few places for resume senders to send a resume.
Reed Exhibitions, the nemesis of Gareb Shamus, is looking for a Sales Executive for their ReedPop group. No, that isn’t some kind of mid-Western cola, it’s their Comic and Anime division that caters to “fans of comics, anime, movies/tv, video games, action sports, mixed martial arts, food and toys.”
Happy holiday weekend for those of us in the US who love a long weekend, some grilled meat and a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. And since there’s no football game, you can spend that extra time surfing the internet. Here are some links to fill the game-less void:
Vertical: Given the significant changes at manga publishers Viz (massive layoffs) and CMX (DC shuttered the division), it’s interesting to read about someone with a little different take on events. Rod Lott at Bookgasm has a chat with Ed Chavez at Vertical (publishers of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack, among other things). “While I will always say there is plenty of grade-A material to license from Japan available, access to those properties has become quite limited over the last three to four years. I find it curious that this lack of competition has occurred during the recent decline of the U.S. manga market.”
Steve Perry: The death of the Thundercats and Timespirits writer is just about the saddest way for a comic book creator to go. Johnny Bacardi exchanged correspondence with him recently, but I don’t want to spoil his story, except to say that it’s one you’ll want to read.
“I put the [costume] on and said ‘It’s not very comfortable, but it looks amazing, so it’s all good.’”
- Actor Chris Hemsworth on donning the superhero duds for Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Thor.
(Make sure to check out other notable quotes.)
Read More | Splash Page
You know it’s going to be a bad week when one of the most beloved fantasy artists passes away. He was absolutely one of my favorite artists and one of the first artists who, like Jack Kirby, could get me to buy pretty much anything with his name on it.
Tom Spurgeon has an excellent overview of the late artist’s career. “Frazetta’s art on the Warren Magazines Creepy, Eerie and eventually Vampirella combined some of the pulp tendencies for which he was soon to become very well known with a sense of classic horror. They remain some of the company’s most iconic pieces of art.”
Viz Media: I often post job listings here for Viz Media, the longtime manga publisher in San Francisco – longtime as in they’ve been doing it since it wasn’t quite so cool to do it. So I was saddened to hear that they let go more than 50 of their staffers. That’s, I think, the largest layoff of comics professionals that I can remember and certainly the largest in recent years. I hate to see that kind of thing happen, and I wish everyone the best as they figure out what to do next. Heidi MacDonald at Comics Beat recently posted this link from Dan Blank’s website; I’ve practically memorized it.
Read More | Comics Beat
“Hey Cullen! Isabella! Get in the house this instant!”
Did you know that in 2009, according to the folks at Social Security, the most popular names for kids were from vampire fiction? And it’s not Dracula, or Vlad, or Alucard or Vampira. That’s old school thinking. The new popular names are from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, the book-and-movie franchise.
Cullen jumped up 300 spots on the list from the previous year, Jacob is #1 for boys, Isabella (the formalized version of Bella) is #1 for girls and Bella is #58. I think it’s great that the Twilight series of books and movies has spawned an entire generation of children named after the characters. I hope it means that naming your kids Peaches, Apple, Brooklyn and Pilot Inspektor in lockstep with nutty celebrities is on the outs, and the Twilight franchise as name-generator is in.
I fought the law and the law won. Because I am not the law. And I didn’t really fight them because I was wrong. Recently I was editing a script for an episode of an animated TV show that featured a singing frog. Well, to be more precise, the frog doesn’t sing at all, but his croaks are treated as if they come right out of Pink’s mouth.
For a long time, the frog character didn’t have a name, but when it came time to give him one, I thought it would be funny – and a nod to my old pal Steve Gerber – to have this non-singing amphibian called (you guessed it), Garko. Published by Marvel Comics, the Howard the Duck story that pits the cigar-chomping mallard against Garko The Man-Frog is one of my favorite Gerber (and Howard) stories of all time.
So did you see Iron Man 2 yet? Did you, huh, did you? Two things amaze me about the Iron Man franchise. One is that Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play Tony Stark. There’s none of the brooding self-importance that comes with other super-hero movies - Iron Man is serious but it’s also fun. The other is that in the right hands - and there are hundreds of right hands on any movie - even a second or third tier super-hero property can be turned into a good movie. If Downey, Jr. was playing Hank Pym in the Ant-Man movie, I’d be there in a minute.
Now while you’re saving your money for the Iron Man 2 DVD, here are a few fun things to occupy your eyes and mouse.
Brian Hibbs: I know why people, myself included, like to talk to artists and writers because it’s all so cool, but I think more interviews could be conducted with retailers since they are the comic book business. Retailer Brian Hibbs is a very smart guy - I may not always agree with him but he carries a good argument with him and he knows his business. Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter gets to the heart of the matter with a lengthy but hugely worthwhile interview.
Olivia Munn could only enjoy her role in Iron Man 2 when Robert Downey Jr. complimented her.
The 29-year-old actress - who plays the socialite-turned-superhero Janet Van Dyne in the action movie - couldn’t get excited about the part until she met her famous co-star who helped her to relax.
“I should take a deep breath and go, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ But I’m afraid to take any of it for granted. When I was with Robert Downey Jr. on set he was just so complimentary. I let myself be happy then.”
The brunette beauty - who is best known for being the face of the US cable network G4 - also confessed she is so scared of failure in Hollywood she tries not to get too carried away by any successes she has. Speaking of her reaction to getting the part in Iron Man 2, she told FHM, “Jon Favreau, the director, had talked to me a bit about it. He said he’d love me to be in the movie. I get excited about things, but I don’t freak out because I get afraid. I feel like if I put my head up I’ll get hit by a bucket and it will be all gone, so I get to the point where when something good happens, I take it and I keep moving because it could all go in a minute.”
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