In an interview that would be notable enough just for talking about his new Frank graphic novel CONGRESS OF THE ANIMALS, Jim Woodring drops even more bombshells, revealing that the giant steel nib pen — which the world watched created with bated breath — is not very easy to ink with.
TCAF just got even more international with the announcement that renowned manga-ka Natsume Ono will be a guest. Ono, creator of not simple, House of Five Leaves, Gente, and Ristorante Paradiso, fits squarely in the “independent spirit” mold of most of the fest’s guests and provides a reminder of the artistic diversity that manga offers. However she’s also a very successful artist whose Ristorante Paradiso andHouse of Five Leaves have been adapted into anime, viewable in the US on Hulu.com, Funimation.com, and Crunchyroll.com, in North America.
An astonishing icepunk adventure by the great French cartoonist Jacques Tardi is coming in March from Fantagraphics. It looks incredible.
The first new Wagon Christ album in 7 years (!) is due March 14th: Toomorrow. Wagon Christ is also known as Luke Vibert, aka Rephlex, Amen Adnrews, Kerrier District and many other things. If there is one artist that is a constant soundtrack for work at Stately Beat Manor, it’s Vibert — his music is melodic, cheerful, unobtrusive and always giddy. If Raymond Scott, Henry Mancini or Esquivel had been acid disco/IDM DJs they would probably have been Vibert.
After months of speculation, we now know that Christopher Nolan isn’t giving up the Batman franchise without going into the sexy feminine side of the myth: Anne Hathaway will play Catwoman in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES — and yes, that sounds pretty dirty. And the previously announced Tom Hardy will play back-breaker Bane, an escaped criminal who gets super strength after getting jacked on drugs. (Bane was responsible for breaking Batman’s spine in a ’90s comics storyline.)
[Little more than a week ago, Marvel announced a big change at the top, with VP, Executive Editor Axel Alonso being promoted to the role of Editor-in-Chief. A ten-year Marvel veteran, Alonso originally forged his name as one of the best regarded editors of the modern era during a stint at DC's Vertigo imprint where he developed 100 Bullets and won a reputation as an editor of thought-provoking action who got career-defining work from writers like Garth Ennis and Brian Azzarello. As one of the main players at the Jemas/Quesada Nü-Marvel, he continued to make waves, introducing a gay Rawhide Kid, editing the acclaimed Peter Milligan/Mike Allred X-Statix and revitalizing such characters as Luke Cage and the Hulk. In recent years he's continued to bring in new talent, including a bevy of crime fiction writers like Victor Gischler and Duane Swierczynski. It's a strong creative portfolio for someone coming to the position and seeing how Alonso makes his mark on perhaps the most fabled job in comics will be one of the most important stories of the next few years. Despite his busy busy schedule, Alonso very graciously made time this week to answer some of the main questions facing any comics industry executive in these interesting times.]
Just as a reminder, James Jean has an art blog. Above, a painting of musician Devendra Banhart.
Day Two of Preview month features is the Xeric Grant-winning Lone Pine by Jed McGowan, which looks like your typical duo-tone indie comic but turns into a mystery set in the deep, dark woods.
Witchlands is a long-brewing ongoing series by Kurt Busiek and artist Conner Willumsen, which has been delayed by this and that and then was planned to come out from WildStorm but is now coming out from…parts unknown. Whoever is publishing it, it’s going to look great, as Busiek has just posted a few preview pages. Willumsen has long been a Beat Future Star pick, and the cover by Zachary Baldus is equally fabulous.