If you've ever wanted to take a trip to Springfield, the city where The Simpsons live, you'll have your chance beginning this summer. Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida, is set to open up the new Springfield section in just a few short weeks, giving visitors the chance to check out famous landmarks from The Simpsons, including Moe's Tavern, the Duff Brewery (with Duff beer,) Krusty Burger, Luigi's Pizza, the Kwik-E-Mart, and even The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop. Seriously, book us on the next flight to Orlando, because this is the height of awesomeness.
Read More | Universal Orlando
Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, power outages. It's been a wild couple of climate change-enhanced weeks. Let's play catch-up across the internets:
Cullen Bunn is having a career year and let’s hope it’s the first of many. The creator of The Sixth Gun got his Oni Press series, The Damned, picked up by Showtime for a series. He’s already gotten The Sixth Gun optioned to SyFy for a series. If they both make it to air, Bunn will have two more shows on the air than DC Comics.
Apes: Rich Handley reviews the fourth issue of Darryl Gregory and Carlos Magno’s Planet Of The Apes, from Boom! “BOOM!’s Apes run stands on a pinnacle, one sure to end badly for humanity.” But all good for readers and fans.
Republicans: My pal Doug Molitor from Funny Or Die looks at 12 Republican super-heroes. My favorite? The Human Torturer!
Jack: Man, that’s a lot of nice Jack Davis work that Michael Sporn posted. I really love those western covers, too.
ASIFA-Hollywood announced their nominations for the 38th Annual Annie Awards this past week.
The essential animation blog, Cartoon Brew, has a complete list of the nominations.
If you like controversy, be sure to read the comments, too!
A couple of people with comic book connections popped up on the list of nominees.
Stephen DeStefano, artist on Lucky In Love from Fantagraphics, is up for Character Design in a Television Production for his work on the Cartoon Network series Sym-Bionic Titan.
Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn’s Image Comic Firebreather, the Cartoon Network original movie that aired at the end of November, got itself two nominations. In the category Production Design in a Television Production, Barry Jackson is one of the nominees. In the category Directing in a Television Production, director Peter Chung was nominated as well.
Comic Con International is literally just around the corner and no one’s got time for long-winded intros. Let’s get right to it:
Scott Pilgrim: Adam Sternbergh writes about Michael Cera, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and ties it all in to his fancrush on Alpha Flight. Yes, you read that right. It all takes place in The Walrus, the Canadian magazine of, oh yeah, you read that right, too. Canada has a magazine.
Captain Action: He’s not a “doll,” he’s an “action figure,” and he’s back in action courtesy of Beau Smith and Eduardo Baretto in the upcoming Captain Action Winter Special from Moonstone. Beau talks about the issue with First Comics News.
Dick Tracy: The plainclothes detective’s self-titled comic strip may soon go the way of Little Orphan Annie, but at least there’s a website devoted to his work. And it’s packed with goodies for Tracy fans to enjoy, including some never-before-published material by Max Allan Collins and Joe Staton. Click fast because the site is referred to as a “limited time tribute website.”
The hits just keep on coming as the comics industry starts looking like someone’s old four-color punching bag. On the heels of the cutbacks at Viz Media, now comes word that DC has shuttered their CMX imprint. And now you’re wondering, is this all just manga-specific or is it an early warning system for a greater industry-wide problem that we don’t want to talk about because…hey! Look! The new comics are here!
But that’s a question for people smarter than me to think about. I’m busy looking forward to July 22, where I’ll be at the Marriott bar in San Diego navel-gazing into my second Pale Ale. Now let’s read some fun stuff…
Brian Wood’s DMZ, Matt Bird makes the case that Hollywood should seriously consider adapting it. “We get angry when the occupied become insurgents, but we also can’t help but wonder: ‘What would I do if the war came to my town?’ That big, fat question needs to be vented on screen.”
Lots of cool to click on lately, from horror and comic book author Christopher Golden to comic book and television writer Gerry Conway, with a dash of The Simpsons and a blast from the Direct Market past with the ghost of Steve Milo. Check ‘em out:
Christopher Golden: When I first read Golden’s Of Saints And Shadows, I was struck by two things: (1) he’s really good and (2) this book reads like a horror version of X-Men. Novelist Ed Gorman plays Q&A with Golden over at his website.
Gerry Conway: One of my absolute favorite comic book writers (and now a TV writer in the Dick Wolf empire), Mr. Conway is excited about the new Predator reboot, Predators. He tweets: “Not that it matters: Predators seems to have a similar plot device to a movie Roy Thomas & I pitched years ago. Great minds, etc.” He expands on that in subsequent tweets, “I’m not claiming idea theft, ‘cause Roberto Rodriquez would’ve been 14-years-old when Roy & I made our pitch, and somehow I doubt…” Since he curtailed his blogging, his tweets make for fun reading.
It’s no secret that Scene It? is one of the most popular game series around, and this holiday we are recommending Scene It? The Simpsons Deluxe Edition. It’s been getting rave reviews as one of the best Scene It? titles to be released, and hey, it’s The Simpsons. The show has been around for 20 years, which means parents can play this with kids and have a good time. The game features material from the show’s first 19 seasons on the air, has hundreds of questions, and has four collectable tokens. You can pick up Scene It? The Simpsons Deluxe Edition for $29.99. Best. Scene It. Ever.
Scene It? Twilight Edition: Yeah, we know a lot of the ladies out there are on a vampire kick thanks to Twilight. Guys, you may want to consider this one.
Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen!: Would you rather play scene it on the Xbox 360 rather than using a DVD player? This is the one you’ll want.
Let’s get this out of the way right up front: I have a bias when it comes to Sergio Aragonés. I grew up reading his Marginals in MAD Magazine and later worked for a company that published his work (two graphic albums and The Mighty Magnor mini-series with Mark Evanier). During that time, I not only met him, but he once dropped by the office on a day that coincidentally was my birthday and, in the time it might take me to read an email, he drew in ink (no penciling) a breathtaking 9x12 illustration of multi-character cartoon goodness as a gift. I still have it, framed on my office wall.
So my bias goes well beyond fancrush. I was saddened that MAD Magazine went quarterly because it meant 8 fewer paychecks per year for all those freelancers associated with the magazine, including Sergio. But I knew that anyone who draws as fast and funny as he does would find another outlet for his work, and I was delighted - and surprised - to discover that it would be The Simpsons.
He’s joined Bongo Comics, and they’ve made a big deal out of his debut on Simpsons Comics Presents Bart Simpson #50, subtitled “Mad About Sergio.” Sergio writes, pencils and inks two complete stories. The first is “The Simpson Project,” about what happens when Bart and Milhouse’s homemade rocketship triggers a domino effect of international nuttiness. And the second is “Big Top Flop” where Bart and his friends sneak away from Cirque Du Lune (”the elegant art of mime and the subtle fantasy of Asian contortionists”) and try to sneak into a “real” circus. There are also two shorter gag pieces by Sergio.
Read More | The Beat
Chuck Dixon has been responsible for some of the manliest comic books in the direct market. From his work on Airboy to Punisher and Batman, his characters know how to take a punch and keep punching back (sometimes accessorizing with big guns).
Dixon is now at Bongo Comics where he writes Simpsons Comics. When you’re working on corporate comics, you’re always answerable to the corporate owners about how best to handle their characters. When you’re working a licensed property—whether it’s Farscape, Star Trek, or Terminator—there’s yet another corporate layer added into the “Please me” mix: the corporation that controls the license. Sometimes the actors step in as well. A well-known Star Trek actor had it in his contract that artists couldn’t draw the top of his bald head too pointy. That’s right: he had baldness approval. So it’s never easy working on licensed properties and I admire those who do it and do it well. Like Chuck Dixon.
At first glance, he might seem an odd choice for The Simpsons universe—the Batman writer tackling America’s favorite yellow cartoon people—but he’s a professional writer and that’s what they do: write. In Simpsons Comics #158, Homer is outraged that his newly won hot tub violates the Homeowner’s Association rules so he’s convinced to run for President of the Association in the conveniently upcoming election. Once he wins, it all goes horribly awry in the best Simpsons manner.
Read More | Chuck Dixon's Blog
Larry Doyle is the writer of one of my favorite “novels about high school” in recent years, “I Love You, Beth Cooper.” It’s about to be a big deal of a movie starring everyone’s favorite super-hero cheerleader, Hayden Panettiere, from Heroes. You can catch the trailer at the “I Love You Beth Cooper” website. The movie opens July 10. Chris Columbus, that Harry Potter guy, directed from Doyle’s screenplay and the movie also stars Samm Levine (from Freaks and Geeks), and Alan Ruck (from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Captain John Harriman from Star Trek: Generations), so already it has geek cred with me.
But comic fans might know Doyle because he’s also written for The Simpsons TV show (and all comic book fans must be fans of The Simpsons; I think it’s a law). He also was the writer hired to revive Walt Kelly’s classic comic strip Pogo in the late 1980s with artist Neal Sternecky.
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