Submitted by Joey Manley on June 24, 2006 - 13:13
I've just updated Graphic Novel Review with a look at Mark Rickett and Micah Farritor's Night Trippers. Here's an excerpt of the review:
Detail from Night Trippers © 2006 Mark Ricketts and Micah Farritor
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s novelty packed into the edges and margins and interstices of this book, cute ideas and miniature high concepts that sound cool when described, but which donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really serve any purpose within the larger (fairly predictable) story, except, well, to sound cool when described. For example, vampiric Beatles, mumbling Ã¢â‚¬Å“All you need is blood. Blood is all you need.Ã¢â‚¬Â Or a bumbling octogenarian pair of vampire-hunters, who stumble out of the nursing home, and onto the scene, long enough for one of them to get killed, performing no real work in the story that couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have been handled more efficiently without them. Even the most interesting character, the quasi-superhero, a vampire-killing Ã¢â‚¬Å“teddy boyÃ¢â‚¬Â who idolizes Elvis and talks in a sort of Lenny Bruce Ã¢â‚¬Å“beatnik hipÃ¢â‚¬Â patois, when heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not just shouting rockabilly lyrics verbatim, is, like the two old guys, only interesting because of surface characteristics Ã¢â‚¬â€ specifically, the surface characteristics IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve just listed. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty much all there is to him. The protagonist (or, at least, the character with whom we spend the most time throughout the course of the story Ã¢â‚¬â€ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure if she can be called a protagonist, because sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s entirely too passive and unreadable to do any agon-ning, pro- or otherwise), a working-class girl who finds herself promoted into a Twiggy-like pop star by an ancient, wealthy vampire, for reasons that are never entirely clear (he says he wants to create a legion of undead superstars for the kids to emulate, so theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll beg to be made vampires; but then he never bothers to make our heroine a vampire Ã¢â‚¬â€ he deliberately avoids doing so, as a matter of fact), fails to engage. Until the very end, sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothing more than a MacGuffin for the other characters to fight over. Inexplicably, in the last couple of pages, she becomes a vampire hunter herself, complete with an unusual weapon, and an outfit that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really qualify as a superhero costume Ã¢â‚¬â€ but only just barely doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t qualify ... read more ...
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on June 21, 2006 - 13:15
Nevertheless I'm very excited - and wanted to post that Paul Taylor has a book out collecting several years of Wapsi Square. (With a foreward for the book from fellow BLC'er Dave Kellett).
Submitted by The William G on June 19, 2006 - 17:10
Oni Press, publisher of Scott Pilgrim, Local, and other fine comics, has announced this year's talent search contest . They're also taking pitches from writers this year.
The details are on their site. It sounds like an interesting challenge to writer and artist alike. And if you feel you're ready to ditch...er, expand outside the webcomics world, there's nothing stopping you but you.
EDIT:Dark Horse is also running something similar in the form of their New Recruits.
Submitted by Joey Manley on June 19, 2006 - 00:52
Jessica Abel's La Perdida takes the "novel" part of "graphic novel" more seriously than most. It feels hefty, meaningful, novelistic, and not just because of its actual pagecount. As a high-stakes coming-of-age story set among young, politically idealistic but ethically challenged expatriates, it reminds me of Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories (albeit with more cocaine and less cabaret). Granted, Isherwood's Communist (and fellow-travelling) characters lived closer to the bone: their wished-for, gabbed-about, imaginary revolution felt more real -- because it was actually starting to happen in other nearby countries, maybe, and because Germany, the setting for Isherwood's book, was in the process of turning itself into Hitler's Third Reich at that very historical moment, in part due to middle-class panic induced by the rise of chattering, well-off expatriate intellectuals purporting to be the vangard of a Soviet-style revolution while gobbling canapes and guzzling fancy cocktails. As in Isherwood's turn-of-the-century Germany, the politics in La Perdida's turn-of-the-millennium Mexico come across as dangerous, deceiving poses. For example, Abel's self-professed Communist agitator, a balding lounge lizard named Memo, uses his presumed moral superiority as a weapon against (primarily) women: self-righteous political outrage as pick-up line. When he does act upon his "convictions," it is in a deeply nasty, pathetically opportunistic way. That he is able to justify a simple grab for money with high-sounding rhetoric is entirely believable, and handled very well, and very subtly, by Abel, making him more interesting than he might have been in any other graphic novel, but, all the same, we feel nothing but contempt for him. He is abhorrent. We never understand what the other characters see in him -- and we never understand what he sees in the other characters, either, by the way. There's not a winner in the bunch ... read more
Submitted by djcoffman on June 10, 2006 - 15:57
It's On!!! Yirmumah Issue the FIF! Featuring a Jesus vs Superman cover is now available for preorder. All orders by next friday (6/16) will receive an all new exclusive numbered Jesus vs Superman comic with their order, which will be seen nowhere else.
Submitted by Joey Manley on June 9, 2006 - 23:53
I've updated GNR with a review of Renee French's bizarre, quiet masterpiece, The Ticking. Here's an excerpt:
Some of the most interesting sequential work in the book, on a panel-by-panel basis, explains and intensifies EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gaze as he narrows in on an object he wants to draw. Here is Edison, staring. Here is the scar on his dadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face. Here is EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face, in profile, and his dadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face, in profile, to show you the spatial relationship between EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gaze and the scar itself. Here is a fuller drawing of EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face, so that you can see more clearly and precisely where the scar resides, and its spatial relationship to nose, eyes, mouth. And here is the drawing Edison made of the scar (complete with a diagram, over in the margins, of the scarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s placement in the world, the other objects and things that live around it). And so on. Edison watching water drip off of his own fingers. That sort of thing. EdisonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s infatuation with the small and the ugly Ã¢â‚¬â€ which is the defining element of his personality, and the only thing that makes life bearable for him, maybe, given his deformed facial features Ã¢â‚¬â€ is what puts him at odds with the rest of the world, represented by his dad, who is similarly deformed, but who has dedicated himself to hiding and/or Ã¢â‚¬Å“fixingÃ¢â‚¬Â the aesthetic imperfections that Edison chooses to investigate and celebrate. That conflict plays out almost like a regular story (but, yeah, not, um, quite). But, as mentioned before, the story doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter all that much, really.
The Ticking is about drawing itself, the act of drawing Ã¢â‚¬â€ Renee FrenchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s drawing, Edison SteelheadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s drawing Ã¢â‚¬â€ as an act of performance, as a way of engaging the world, inventing the world, defining the world, understanding the world, putting the world in its place. The drawings are all that matter; they are all that there is to this book (on the most literal level, of course, as well as the metaphorical, thematic level) ... read more ...
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on June 7, 2006 - 21:31
Blank Label Comics is having a contest -- the winner will receive a signed book from every BLC member that currently has a book out. The drawing will be open until 11:59 PM on Thursday, June 8 and the winner will be announced this Friday. To enter, just send an e-mail with your name and mailing address to email@example.com.
A nice post from Debbie Ridpath Oni on writing journals - she includes a lot of links to good resources on writing.
Submitted by Joey Manley on June 6, 2006 - 14:01
I've updated GNR with a very brief review of Manu Larcenet's outstanding, Eisner-nominated book Ordinary Victories (it also won the grand prize at that famous French convention that I don't know how to spell the name of). I've also bought a scanner, so I can show samples of the artwork for the comics I review. Yay!
Excerpt from this week's review:
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on June 2, 2006 - 13:02
Two notable bits of book news this week:
John Allison reports that his fourth print collection of Scary Go Round is headed off to the printers. He'll also be crossing the pond for New York's MoCCA this June.
Howard Tayler reports that he's started working on the NEXT Schlock Mercenary collection. This one will collect episodes published online from August 2003 to March 2004. Fleen has a review of the current SM collection - "Under New Management" which I'm still waiting to get in my shiny maibox!
Some convention appearances to note:
Blank Label dude Brad Guigar is at his hometown convention, Wizard World
Cheesesteak Philapdelphia. I don't have the details here on the WizWorldCon but I hear it's in Philly!
Plus several reviews and blurbs for webcomics:
The Webcomicker has a review of Banished and in it argues that the web has been key to the success of a number of science fiction comedy titles. I don't know if I agree with the assertion, but regardless, Gilead links to many of the best sci-fi ha-ha webcomics I'm aware of.
T Campbell drops that he's bringing back Search Engine Funnies on September 1st. No word on the new artist(s) though.
Here's a business bit of news:
Gary Tyrrell has an interview with Chris Baldwin who recently signed a "web syndication" deal with United Media for his other comic Little Dee.
Some other interesting webcomic-related stories include:
The Penny Arcade duo taught a class on comics to grade schoolers. They've done this before and it's good to see them at it again. Gabe mused aloud about creating some resources for school teachers to download - he should do that. (He might also talk to Brad Guigar who did a similar project with comics in schools a few years ago.)
The blog Filth Hole (which is sometimes NSFW) got linked to by Warren Ellis for a funny sketch (which is probably NSFW).
The Writer Response Theory blog has a post on the history of fiction on the Internet which of course includes webcomics. A project along these lines would probably be able to use T Campbell's book as a jumping off point for a chapter on webcomics - I'm not sure what has been written about other fiction forms on the Internet. More interestingly would be to take a look at any interplay between different forms (and their associated communties of creators and readers) in their development on the internets.
Webcomics In Print blog is having a competition - send in a picture of yourself wearing a webcomic t-shirt before June 10th. Winners will win fabulous prizes no doubt!
We're also happy to report:
Zoinks reports that it's latest issue is going to press and will be available later this month.
And in Not-Webcomics news:
Lore links to this video of "superhero war re-enactors" which is both a spoof of civil war re-enactors and a total geek-out on Marvel's Secret Wars comic books.
Combining our last two month issues (Superheroes and Movies) in one long post, Phil Kahn geeks out on X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Geeks out in a good way of course!
Submitted by Xaviar Xerexes on May 31, 2006 - 15:14
This LA Times article is a good snapshot of the issues associated with comic books getting scanned and shared online. I assume it is tough for traditional comic book publishers - from DC and Marvel down to the smaller indy shops - to sort out how to deal with this. On the one hand if online comic book file sharing is following the same trajectory as music (and now video) file sharing, it's conceivable that the audience will grow tremendously - far outstripping the current market for comic books.
The downside, of course is that all of those readers online aren't paying the $3 + for the paper comic book. Although publishers may fight this or ignore this, some smart publisher is going to figure out a way to leverage this at some point and convert a significant enough number of file sharing fans into paying fans to create a new business model for comic books. It may not wind up being all that different from evolving efforts by webcomic creators but I don't doubt that it's coming.