Friday, November 18, 2011

Danger Mouse - RIP Mark Hall

I've been a huge fan of Danger Mouse ever since I was a kid. I remember waiting for Inspector Gadget to end so my favorite cartoon Brit could come on. (Robin Hood came a close second.) DM was witty, serious about his profession, and a bit of a buffoon. This made him endearing and very entertaining to watch. And of course there's Penfold. It was only years later, with the help of Google, that I found out he was a hamster. I thought he was a mole. Nonetheless, the character was a clumsy, timid yet loyal sidekick.

The cartoon series had some pretty unique villians like Stilletto, the Italian crow and Count Duckula, the nerdy vampire with a speech impediment (who got his own spinoff series). Then there's the big boss, Baron Silas Greenback. His raspy voice and evil "toadiness" made him a low key but intimidating bad guy. I always pictured him as the type of character who had a brass knuckle collection and damn proud of it, too. And just like Bond's Blowfeld, he had a white furry pet.

I've collected DM memorabilia throughout the years. To this day, I still use this cigarette case as a wallet. Everyone always comments on it, "Wow, I totally remember Danger Mouse on Nickelodeon."

I even have a sketchbook full of DM drawings by some well known artists. I always take it with me to cons. For them, the nostalgia and originality really make the commission stand out in their mind (they get sick of Batman sketches people!)

Tony Fleecs

Chris Giarrusso

Rob Guillory

Arthur Suydam

Katie Cook

AV Club did an excellent article on the beloved cartoon as well as other Cosgrove Hall shows.

Unboxing Bound Volumes!

Just received a package with a few new bound volumes courtesy of Single Bound Studios and thought I'd do a little unboxing showcase.  It's always fun receiving new books and after actively binding for a couple years now, it's practically tradition every 2-3 months.  In this order, I had done a two volume set of the '70s Ms. Marvel series and my own personal omnibus of Jack Kirby perfection (a la The Eternals)!  Now I just need to make some room on the shelves.

The shipment has arrived!

The contents are extremely well packed.

Three volumes for this order.

Front of the Eternals volume

Close up of the cover die stamp on the Eternals volume.

Eternals two page splash.

Ms. Marvel has arrived!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

L.A. Zine Fest 2012

It's official! We'll be setting up at our very first show, the brand new L.A. Zine Fest, on February 19 at the Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles. We'll have "By the Slice," "Clown Fight!," and more. Come check it out, have fun, and plan on partying like.... literary minded individuals.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Clown Fight Preview

A quick update, I'm finishing up a short about two clowns who clash in an over the top cartoon style fight to the..... death?! It's a silent story (sans dialogue) with art by the awesome Ger Curti. Oddly enough it's titled "Clown Fight!" Here's a small preview:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Long Beach Comic/Horror Con 2011: Part 2

The third Annual Long Beach Comic (and Horror) Con has come to a close. It was another fun show with better attendance and wider variety of panels than last year. Surprisingly, there where even panels aimed at self-publishing and marketing indie comics. Very cool!

What I enjoyed most about the con is the good mix of established and up-and-coming creators. I get my mainstream fix without the massive crowds of San Diego and also get to meet other local indie writers and artists. It's also a great con for my binding hobby. Since we drive to Long Beach it isn't a chore to bring my binds, when I'm at the con it's easy to get a signature and then drop the book off at the hotel, and there's a decent amount of fifty cent and one dollar bins. All in all, a fun show. We've gone all three years and I looking forward to a fourth!

 Darwyn Cooke sketching

Darwyn Cooke sketch in my bound volume of "Solo"

Amanda Conner sketching

Amanda Conner sketch in a "Power Girl & Terra" bound volume

Marv Wolfman signing "John Carter" and "Machine Man"

Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Ninja Turtles

Some of the bound books I got signed 

My haul!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Long Beach Comic/Horror Con 2011: Part 1

Every year Long Beach Con gets bigger and bigger. Once again it's on Halloween weekend and kids weren't the only ones dressing up.

Strike a pose Aquaman and Black Canary!

The panel I was most looking forward to was Shane Black. What a guy! So down to earth and honest about the film industry and writing in general. He loves reading comics too! He talked about Iron Man and how he got the job to direct the third installment of the franchise. It's such a relief that he knows so much about Tony Stark and his story. He even consulted on the first two Iron Man films.

After the panel I asked him, "If you had to retire, which would you give up first, writing or directing?"  His answer: "Directing. Cause you're never too old to reach for a pen and paper."

Right on!

Comikaze 2011

We stopped by the first Comikaze Expo in downtown Los Angeles a couple weekends ago.  The show was promoted as being a mix of all things pop culture; offering up everything from comicbook professionals to movie/television stars to gamers to tattoo artists.  Well it definitely lived up to the promise of an eclectic mix.  To be honest, as someone who's used to the more traditional layout of shows like San Diego and Wonder Con, the seemingly disorganization of this show was very off putting.  There would be a comic publisher next to an indie artist, next to a tattoo artist, next to manga vendor, next to Tippi Hedren.  Very random and very confusing.  That aside, the turn out for the show was great.  The lines were long, the aisles were packed, and cosplayers were aplenty.  I don't know how sales were for vendors, but as a self publisher I can't deny the fact the show had amazing attendance.  We'll definitely be looking into tabling for next year!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ape 2011 - Afterthought

I forgot to mention that I met Craig Thompson at APE and surprised him with a copy of By The Slice. I was thrilled when he recognized Cecilia Latella's name, the artist. He asked how we met and what the comic was about. He was gracious enough to take a picture with me. You know, just for evidence. Thanks Craig!

DC Relaunch

So, I finally read all of the first issues from DC's relaunch, all friggin' 52 issues. Let me start off by saying that I love superhero comics, always have, always will. Like most people my love of the genre goes back to when I was a kid, to the first time I picked up a comic (it was actually a three pack of Batman comics my mom bought me from K-mart in Billerica, MA). I found the characters in those books to be mysterious, confident, awe inspiring, a little wacky....but mostly I just thought they were cool.

While my interest in superheroes has waned over the years, I can still get just as much enjoyment out of a well-written capes and tights book as with anything else I read. Nostalgia can be a powerful thing. I was getting pretty excited in the weeks leading up to the relaunch. For the first time in my adult comic-reading life everything was going to be brand new and unsoiled in the DCU; we're starting fresh, fools!

After reading the books, my overall impression is that they were very.... 'meh. Some were great and others not so much, but they probably fell into the same ratio of "keepers" versus "no thank you's" that I had pre-relaunch. The top picks for me were: Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Action Comics, Wonder Woman, Batman, O.M.A.C, All-Star Western, Frankenstein. The ones I thought were good: Batwing, Static Shock, Batwoman, Demon Knights,  Suicide Squad, Superboy, Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Catwoman, Aquaman, Flash, Justice League Dark. And all the rest I would put solidly in the 'meh pile.

One of the problems I had was the level of violence in the books. I don't need comics to be sterile and completely kid friendly, but if DC is targeting new readers the books should be "all ages." And that doesn't mean "for kids" nor does it mean "not for adults." All ages is for everyone. Some of the violent scenes I read in the relaunch were just unnecessary. Showing less and implying more is something that if written well it can be extremely effective. Unfortunately a lot of the relaunch writers decided to make the new DCU as gritty and adult oriented as possible and in the process it lost a lot of the joy and wonder the fictional land once contained for me.

Another concern of mine is that the stories still appear to be written for trades. Long arcs make it very hard for new readers to jump in. Most writers have it in mind that the issues will be collected and have a longer shelf life in that format, but then what is the point of single issues! The story, like what appears to be happening in Justice League, is too drawn out and slow to hold the interest of the average non-comic reader. If floppies are going to continue to be released, a shorter story arc is the best way for hooking new readers. Faster, tighter stories in 2 to 3 issue arcs will keep people reading rather than making them wait six months for a story that essentially equates to one television episode.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I just love the superhero genre and wish The Big Two would find a better way to bring the joy and sense of wonder I find in comics to the young readers today. Oh well, only time will tell if the DC relaunch was successful or if it was just a last ditch effort to sell print copies (before the Digital-zilla destroyed the city). But I really do hope their experiment works because that would be, well....... cool. Go comics, ooh-rah!