§ I hadn’t realized that there was a second San Diego Comic Fest, but there is and it’s this weekend. This is a “throwback” con that features guests who used to go to San Diego back when it was just a dinky, friendly old thing in the basement of the hotel San Diego. Guests include GoH Larry Niven, Richard Kyle, John and Bjo Trimble, Floyd Norman, Phil Tippett, David Lloyd, Ted Adams and Jeremy Shada. There’s a nice preview here.
San Diego Comic Fest, now in its second year, promotes itself as “fun, casual, friendly, and on an intimate scale.” Attendance is capped at 1500 and founder Mike Towry says panels will draw hundreds and not thousands. “We learned that it was a lot of fun and that we wanted to do it again,” Towry explained, “It was really nice to be able to experience the way we used to have the Comic-Con when it was smaller, more intimate, and you had a chance to hang out and really converse with the different guests and the authors and artists. People really enjoyed the social aspects of it so we increased that a little bit this year to try and give more opportunities for people to socialize both with the professionals, the artists and writers, and filmmakers that they want to see but also fellow fans and just enjoy one and other’s company.”
In other words, a lot of old timers hanging out and yapping. It sounds lovely and I wish I could go.
§ I really like Rich Barrett’s comics review column for Mental Floss. Every week he manages to pick unusual but noteworthy projects.
§ Barrett’s column reminded me that this week’s The Witching Hour anthology from Vertigo includes the first new story from Brett Lewis in some time, “Mars To Stay” illustrated by Cliff Chiang. Lewis wrote The Wintermen, one of the most textured comics thrillers to come out in the last decade, and then suffered a lengthy recovery from an assault. It’s good to see him back in the funny books. Chiang posted a preview page, above.
§ Premiering on YouTube this week, is The Adventures of Shakespeare and Watson, am internet series about William Shakespeare and Doctor Watson as an unlikely pair of time traveling detectives trapped in the horrific world of modern day Brooklyn, trying to find a way home. The series was created by folks aligned with the various BKNY comics crews, and you may spot some cartoonists in supporting roles. More here.
§ Kevin Huizenga reviewed the new issue of Seth’s Palookaville. It’s an awesome piece.
The metaphor of a “rubber stamp” image in a comics context can be understood as meaning both a thing that does not change, panel to panel, and yet does change, because each panel is different. Each panel is a different moment, a different thought. So we could say: Seth commits to a comic book life where very little changes (he remains in the past, he tries to hold onto the past, in style and in his costume and his mind, via nostalgia, the beauty of “the banquet hall deserted”) yet there is always change, time always moves forward—this is built into the formal system of comics, like into the railroad tracks he walks, but through the use of the rubber stamp (and in his work in general) Seth tries to beat comics/time at its own game.
§ Here’s another excellent piece of analysis, Sarah Horrocks on Brendan McCarthy’s coloring in Freakwave, Rogan Josh, and Paradax
Like the way in Freakwave you can’t really see that dude in the bottom right corner until you are actually staring right at him, because he’s leaching colors from the focal point of that panel, and the purple and black border around the page. If you try to read that page that, and then the middle panel are both hard for your eye to focus on, and see, even if in terms of the layout of the page, it’s logical to move through them. It’s like color wars. Or how there are hidden panels, there are hidden colors. It’s hard to see orange and purple next to each other. Particularly in the shimmery way he’s painted them in. And I love those red strokes which again, takes some time to even see them. It’s really disorienting, but I love it.
SIDEBAR: The new Dark Horse release The Best of Milligan and McCarthy deserves close attention. It’s rare to see two “mainstream” creators create a body of work this distinctive, imaginative and, at least in McCarthy’s case, totally wackadoo wonderful.
§ And yet another piece of fine criticism, Warren Ellis on Breaking Bad.
It’s written on the wall of the old White family home. Nobody wrote “Walter White lived here.” They scrawled HEISENBERG over the plaster. Before he enters Skyler’s new place, Marie tells her that there are reports of him popping up everywhere — but all through the episode, Heisenberg can only be seen when he wishes to be seen.
§ And now to the option list! It seems that the adaptation of Charles Burns all-time-great graphic novel Black Hole directed by David Fincher could be on again at least if a paragraph at the very end of a very long profile of Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company is accurate:
The company now is moving forward with projects including an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ Marilyn Monroe novel Blonde, with Andrew Dominik (Jesse James) to direct; The Last Family of England, with Taika Waititi directing the story centered on a talking dog; and Black Hole, a project that teams Plan B with David Fincher and is adapted from the Charles Burns graphic novel about a virus that infects a group of kids living in the northwest, manifesting itself in strange, supernatural ways (one kid, for instance, develops a second mouth that always speaks the truth).
Fincher on Burns might be ladling on the doom a bit much, but this would still have a top spot in the Imaginary Comic Book Movie Film Festival, along with Darren Aronofsky’s Wolverine and Paul Greengrass’s Watchmen. The way I read it, Plan B has a ton of stuff in a big vat and they’re just stirring it around so…don’t hold your breath.
§ Also, Fox is in love with comic these days, having just just optioned Who Is Jake Ellis? with Harry Potter’s David Yates to direct. Who is Jake Ellis is by Nathan Edmundson and Tonci Zonjic, and published by Image. The comic was a clever, brisk spy thriller and would make a pretty good movie.
This piece also reminded me that there is a Tarzan movie in the works with Alexander Skarsgard in the lead. Consider my ass planted! This Tarzan remake also has Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson attached as a producer due to the Dark Horse Tarzan connection.
§ Speaking of Tarzan, undaunted by the John Carter Affair, Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc is still around and presenting their properties in webcomics form. All the smart kids are doing it!
§ Writer Alex Dueben has been very busy and sent us links to a bunch of interviews he’s done of late:
Jeff Smith on Rasl and his upcoming webcomic.
Ramona Fradon, on Fairy Tale Comics and more
Argentine artist Liniers
§ Finally, for those of you—mostly attendees at the San Diego Comic Fest—who follow such things, Mark Evanier is getting his favorite soup this month.