DAY THREE RECAP: DARK HORSE PANEL, STUMPTOWN SIGNING, GEEKS AND GOOD WORKS PANEL AND TONY HARRIS SKETCH
We woke up fairly early on Sunday to grab breakfast and doughnuts before Smalls had to board her train back to PDX. After discovering only crazy
expensive breakfast places within walking distance, hampered by my jacked up knees slowing down any further searching, we decided on breakfast sandwiches and coffee at Starbucks which is totes appropriate cause we were in Seattle. Grabbing the sandwiches also left us plenty of time to hit up the real treat of the morning – Top Pot Doughnuts.
HELLO PEOPLE OF SEATTLE – THESE DOUGHNUTS ARE FRAKKIN’ DELICIOUS!!! Why there wasn’t a line out the door and snaking down the sidewalk is beyond me. The only one I could stuff in my already fairly-stuffed maw was the Raspberry. RASPBERRY DOUGHNUT. With no nasty creme or berry filling. So heavenly I’m imagining how long it will be before my next trip to Seattle and thinking…not that long. 😀
Everyone snacked on and enjoyed at least one doughnut (my ma purchased a dozen) before we moseyed on back to the hotel, packed, loaded up the car, checked out and hit the Con floor.
Just in time for…
THE DARK HORSE PANEL
Since we’d missed the BPRD Panel the previous day where they announced Guy Davis leaving, we thought it would be appropriate to drop in and see if one of our favorite local publishers had anything exceptionally interesting to say about their books, aside from the news that exceptionally interesting people are leaving.
Turns out – the lovely Ms. Felicia Day was sitting in on the opening of THIS panel as well to chat about The Guild comic book series. Looks like each character will be getting their own one-shot origin via Dark Horse -Vork’s was released on December 22nd, 2010. According to Felicia Day – Bladezz will be released next (within two months or so) and then one can only assume that Tinkerballa’s will be out after that, given the signed prints that were being offered up at their booth this weekend.
Zaboo’s book will be co-written by nerd hunk and scribe Sandeep Parikh and drawn by the lovely Becky Cloonan, whom I follow on the Twitter because I like her drawerings and because she’s funny. She also did the art for DEMO.
Felicia also mentioned she has decided NOT to pilot for anything this season that is not Science Fiction related. Or I suppose she could have meant “SyFy” – either way she hasn’t piloted YET so one can either assume that there is a small market for scifi this year or that SyFy isn’t producing any new shows.
My vote would be for her to appear on BSG: Blood and Chrome (which sounds eerily similar to Spartacus: Blood and Sand). People of Syfy, make it happen! Though she is so funny and sweetly charming I’m not sure how well she could fair on the intense drama of the BSG Verse. Balls.
ANYWHO – back to comics world. We then sat through about 20 minutes (or 2 hours) of Axe Cop panel which boasted a 6 year old making crazy bird screeching noises, eating candy and offering it to everyone in sight. It was cute bordering on annoying but I really love the concept of the book and the collaboration between the brothers, as I imagine it would be difficult to find something to bond over when your sibling is 25 years younger than you are. The book is probably a bit too ridiculous and comedic for me…but the folks involved seem successful and happy with the work they are doing so props to them. If you like the random imagination of five year olds, you should check it out.
Scott Allie revealed he WILL continue to edit the work of Joss Whedon who signed on to write Buffy The Vampire Slayer through Season 10. Whoot to BTVS fans everywhere!! I dropped out in about the middle of Season 8. Hopefully a collection will be published soon so I can catch up before the next season hits the shelves.
Allie clarified there will now only be 25 books per season (maybe he meant 24?) to keep them at two years versus four. Everyone involved recognized that was far too long a “season” for even the most die hard fans.
Apparently there’s some other big news in store for Buffy that Allie is waiting to reveal at Wondercon, so keep your ear to the ground if this book is your cup of tea. Change is a-comin’.
Imagine my deflation when I purchased a ticket to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and was informed by the asshole at the box office (his comment: Michael Cera sucks) that there were only 8 other people in the theatre. At 9:50pm on a sweltering Friday evening in Portland, Oregon, when escaping from your probably non-Air Conditioned house seems like the best of all possible solutions. It was such a depressing end to what had been a three-week obsession (including purchasing and reading the first book) and several near misses of seeing it for free.
It’s a good thing we didn’t. It’s a good thing we decided to show up with our wallets intact to make a statement about how excited we were for this movie to be released.
Because it looks like everyone else missed the bus. I’m not going to soap-box or diatribe about The Expendables. I really have little to no interest in seeing the film. I would much rather re-watch an awesome 80s movie (and do, at fairly regular intervals). You could easily argue that Eat, Pray, Love also dealt a large blow to the wounded and flailing comic book movie adaptation because it was, like Expendables, marketed heavily to a particular demographic.
Scott Pilgrim fell very much in the middle. It’s a retro adaptation of an independent comic book published by Portland based Oni Press and written by Canadian Bryan Lee O’Malley. It’s a strange beast – all kinds of nichey – so much so that I’m not sure who the intended demographic really is. Sure, it features lots of video game and rock references, but it certainly doesn’t feel like “my” movie.
WHOSE MOVIE IS THIS?
It felt like a movie that I might have connected with more in my early 20s, than a film that resonates with me at 28 – married with a mortgage and career.
The lazy and misbegotten foibles of youth are not so much my standard movie fare these days. Is it wrong that I rewatch Reality Bites and wish that Winona had given Ben Stiller another shot? What’s so magical and mysterious and cool about the loser guy who leeches off his friends and makes a career out of being selfish and aloof?
After reading the first book, I’m not sure Scott Pilgrim is a character that I really actually LIKE. Michael Cera is also a questionable actor. He seems a bit lost in his own personality, and his waif-thin-sinnewy arms strumming on the guitar were distracting and disconcerting. I think Scott Pilgrim could have achieved more success without Cera. His glory days of bringing frat boys to the party are quite over, I’m afraid. He’ll need to adopt a new schtick to win over the masses.
In fact – who isn’t tired of loser-esque comedy dudes at the moment? It’s hard to make that seem sexy in a climate of depression/recession.
In the grand scheme of characters – I like Knives Chau. She was the only character who really had an emotional vulnerability or likable qualities. Ramona was so distant and ethereal…I guess the rather unlikable characters of Scott and Ramona probably deserve each other, but there is a certain Knives wish-fulfillment I was aching for. She seems the most-fucked-with of the whole group, but probably the most emotionally stable and best able to bounce back and carry on with her life.
Sorry ya’ll – no Bechdel test entry today.
COMIC CON DOCUMENTARY: AN UPDATE
We spent last night filming our audition tape for the San Diego Comic Con Documentary. It’s not quite up to snuff, but in the interim you can watch some of the extended scenes which didn’t make the cut.
Sorry if some it is boring and rambly…this is unedited material we decided to throw in there as a bonus. BONUS!
SHE HAS NO HEAD! AND JEZEBEL
Remember that post I did about She Has No Head! yesterday? Kelly Thompson’s interview with Hope Larson was featured in Jezebel, along with a write-up about the comic book Frenemy of the State co-written by Rashida Jones and published by Oni Press. It’s sort of a Paris-Hilton-meets-James-Bond satire piece. Or something.
Whatever the case may be – lots of great commentary happening by the Jezebel readers regarding many of the issues addressed in the Hope Larson survey and interview.
It’s a shame that while the debate still rages on the article – it seems like no matter what women are saying is their experience a few of the guys are doing everything they can to deny women their opinions. “It’s not as bad as you’re making it out to be” seems to be the general consensus of a few stubbornly clueless fellas in the discussion.
No one’s saying it’s an atrocious crime against humanity – we’re just saying it’s offensive and we’re not buying it (literally). I don’t see what’s so hard to understand about that. We’re also saying what we would like to see change about it.
If you’re up for some deep-soul-searching and epic frustration – I still suggest checking it out. Ben Cohen, Dean and Rene continue to give me hope that some men can resist making sexism a personal attack and see the validity of a woman’s experience. Kudos to these dudes!
TOO MANY DICKS
As a woman who finds myself cycling through some great RPG games at least once or twice a year (as well as first person shooters like Left 4 Dead) – this really hits home. Who says feminists don’t have a sense of humor?
AVENGERS MOVIE UPDATE
That’s it – I’m sure most of you already know that Jeremy Renner is in “serious” talks to play Hawkeye in the Avengers flick? Well, now you know. Two thumbs + this news = way up.
I’m really liking how this film is pulling together. If they could just throw one more chick in there – someone to play Spider-Woman (perhaps *gasp* even a female of color?) this movie would bump up several notches in my excite-o-meter. What about Rashida Jones in the role? She likes comic books.
At least Scarlet’s still on the roster. Big ups to tokenism! 😉
If all goes according to plan, I should be able to delve into the stack of TV shows and books I’ve been neglecting this week for all these various and asundry activities. And then, one day – a Bechdel post!!
The story of Spell Checkers cynically answers the question, what would teen girls do if they had magical powers? Apparently, they would cheat on every homework assignment, smoke like chimneys and become tyrant lords over their whole school. They would be cruel to their parents, teachers and each-other. It’s like every nerd’s worst nightmare back in High School, where the three most popular girls really do have the power to enslave the masses.
The story revolves around three High School aged witches, Jesse, Kimmie, and Cynthia who suddenly find themselves under attack by magical graffiti slander. The book opens on the present, with Joelle Jones inking the past and Nicolas Hitori De providing the art for the current timeline.
Some of the elements Jamie S. Rich weaves into these characters might be spot-on for teen girls in High School. But for me to be personally engaged with a character, I’m going to need a lot more than the snotty witches from this first story to compel me to pick up another book. I’m going to need one or two of them to be relatable.
Actually, that was what I hoped this plot-line was aiming for. With a common enemy they must unite against, the plot seemed rife to help expose the girls weaknesses and give them a little humility to soften their rough edges. Or even, perhaps – give them some kind of character arch. Not so much.
There was arch to the story, and a quick paced plot, so the point isn’t to skewer the writing here. The snarky exchanges between the girls are amusing most of the time, but then sometimes devolve into vengeful bitchiness for no apparent reason.
If your characters don’t like one-another, why should the audience or reader like them? Yes, they make with the funny…but I can get funny and identifiable or interesting somewhere else. Pure funny, especially if it’s mean, isn’t enough to keep me gripping and turning the pages.
It’s also not to say I can’t stand a character with loose morals and a bad attitude. But they must possess at least some interesting quality which makes watching them equivalent to enjoying a guilty pleasure. They’re bad for you, but they taste so good. No one character (or the trio combined) stand out as nasty treat I want to indulge in.
In fact, I found myself rooting for their common enemy by the end.
It’s fun to write snarky, and every author should get the opportunity to purge it from their system, but that doesn’t mean it’s always fun to read, especially in such high dosage. Snark works best when taken in moderation and coupled with a sign that mean girls actually do care about something besides their own scheming ends. We’ll call that – The Cordelia Chase factor. We could stomach Cordelia’s bitch-tasticalness because inevitably she would do the right thing. Or mostly the right thing.
It’s about ten times easier to write a review of a new comic book series when you’ve read Issue #1. Who knew?
To make a long story short: picked up what I thought was issue #1 of Stumptown published by Oni Press, written by Greg Rucka and inked by Matthew Southworth, only to realize it was actually #2. Having the entire story skewed can really effect your perspective, so I’ve had to re-adjust my opinions of the book based on all the new information about the main character and story. It was a good adjustment, by the way.
Dexedrine Callisto Parios – better known as “Dex” is a private investigator on the mean streets of Portland, Oregon. Which elicits a bit of a chuckle from me – I get that Portland has a criminal element, but it contrasts a bit with our image as the cleanest, greenest city in America. Whatever the prevailing ideas about the city are – Dex is a woman who knows how to find trouble wherever she goes, or at least encourages trouble to come find her.
It’s a classic hard-boiled detective, crime environment – not usually my style but my affinity for Rucka, Portland and resilient comic book heroines make this book a shoe-in, right? Sort of – I wasn’t really in love with this book by the end of Issue #2.
What I took for false machismo in the second issue really fleshed itself out in the first, and my initial trepidations about embracing her started to fall away. There was more background in Issue #1 – a closer examination of her faults, a better definition of her relationship with her mentally handicapped brother, and further defining of her sexuality.
Why do tough chicks always have to be gay? Or viewed by other characters as being gay? Is it impossible for a woman to have typically masculine qualities (strength, intelligence, strong opinions) and not be labeled as homosexual? I was disappointed when Rucka went that route with Whiteout, and was feeling doubly irritated when I opened up my first issue (Issue #2) and Dex is loving up on men and women. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with representing homosexuality or bi-sexuality in comic books, but making a tough female character a lesbian is a straight cop-out, indicating that women cannot be strong, independent and heterosexual. *sigh*
Rucka’s ability to write women has evolved since Whiteout, and after only a few issues, Dex already seems like a person who is defined more by her choices, behaviors and attitudes than by her sexuality or gender. She’s got less intensity than Carrie Stetko – Rucka peppers Dex’s conversations with humor and gives her tough persona a nice balance with her devotion to her brother.
Don’t get me wrong, she is still defined by her sexual preference (we all are), but I’m hoping the need to assert it so prominently will drop into the background as the series progress and lets the stories, personalities and relationships take center stage.
Cynicism and disgruntled feminism aside – I’ve got to give props to Rucka for writing strong women characters and putting them in books with a low sleaze factor.
And more props to Matthew Southworth for working diligently to capture the true Portland feel. While the rough, scratchy inks are not my preferred comic style – it pairs very well with the cloudy Portland atmosphere and the detective-noir feel of the book. The darker earth toned coloring by Lee Loughride works nicely with the art and it’s compelling to flip through the book and see the individual scenes mapped out with a different color scheme. It’s like a new lens applied to each part of the story – quite effective.
And who wouldn’t love seeing their city displayed on a comic book page with such attention to detail? Seriously – from the Craftsman style homes – you know Dex lives somewhere in North Portland. The sequences with the St. Johns bridge featured prominently are particularly stunning.
It’s especially exciting to read the commentary by Southworth on the back pages, as he describes his process of cataloging the unique visual elements of Portland and translating them to the pages of Stumptown.
The plot itself – the case Dex is working to solve over the first few issues features many Oregon elements as well. Dex gets the case from a Native American casino owner and those involved with it ending up taking her all the way to the beloved Oregon Coast. She survives a beating on what looks like the SE Portland streets, and then takes two gun shots down at the base of the aforementioned St. John’s bridge.
She’s a hard woman to kill. My hope is that this series survives long enough to fully develop her, and it’s story into something that surpasses merely a genre piece. And becomes a great piece of fiction. It has promise.
Skipping yoga last night was totally worth going to this event. I was doing some research for an entirely different story (on Brian Michael Bendis teaching at PSU) and happened upon an internet flyer promoting a ‘gallery display’ of original sketches by Joelle Jones at a comic book store downtown. This is in conjunction with the PDX First Thursday that happens in the Pearl District every month.
The news piece on the Floating World Comics website didn’t necessarily say that Joelle herself would be there – it only stated Matt Wagner (Grendel scribe) would be there signing copies of the Madame Xanadu issues which Joelle inked. It seemed like a cool opportunity to check out some of Joelle’s sketches AND pick up a few books that came out on Wednesday. Two birds, one stone.
Imagine my surprise when we finally arrive and not only is Joelle there, but so is Jaime S. Rich, writer of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and You Have Killed Me fame. Joelle was seated at the signing table, but Jaime was loitering around talking to other Oni Press staff and folks who’d come to the signing. Crazy!
Still feeling gawky about approaching them, I held the book and started browsing again. Insanely enough – Jaime S. Rich approached me and started up some conversation – and he was totally cool. I let him know that I was a big fan of his work, and had just checked out the 22 page preview of Spell Checkers which is being released in April.
Inside scoop: He told me they are planning to unveil it at the spring Chicago Comic Con the week of April 16th, and that it should be available in stores on the following Wednesday. Right now they are doing the final edits and he spoke a bit about that process.
The Oni Press website says it will be available on 4/14/2010 – but I suppose that date might change according to when the book actually gets to press.
After that I was able to get both Joelle and Jaime to sign the book and snap a pic with them. So, one of my goals of the San Diego Comic Con is accomplished before I even get there!
Other cool news – they WILL be at the Stumptown Comics Fest which I’ve signed up to volunteer at, and that’s where I can pick up Spell Checkers and have them sign another book. Woot!
Another super awesome comic book fan showed up to the event as well. Our friend Hisham, who writes a comic book review blog here stopped by and we got the opportunity to chat about all things nerdy. He happened to have a copy of Kick-Ass in his car (fresh from his review/early screening) and let me borrow it, so I didn’t have to drop another $20.
On the docket for review is:
2. Stumptown #1
Not to mention a stack came through from the library – and hopefully I’ll be getting books 6-8 of Ex Machina this weekend and writing up my thoughts on that.
But the true success of last night is now plastered on the inside cover of my brand new book.
Totally worth skipping yoga for. 😉
One of my major projects of the last week has been searching through the entire Multnomah County Library database of comic books and graphic novels to cull which books I would like to put on hold for future reviews. Our library boasts about 9500 comics. I’ve currently only about 2,000 left to sift through. The process has been made much easier by the fact that at least 60% of them are Manga series, which I have virtually no interest in reading. Sad story, but true.
The great news is that half of my holds were processed over the weekend and arrived today (which means I get to start queueing up even more this afternoon). And the first book of the stack which piqued my interest was You Have Killed Me by Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones, a duo you might remember from this earlier post. It’s another Oni Press publication.
The cover was enough to warrant a coo of complacency from me. I’m very much attracted to Jones’ artistic style, and the splashes of color were thrilling. While she works wonders with black and white, it’s unfortunate that she doesn’t seem to get the chance to work with color in most of her art, because her lines translate well. Do yourself a favor and visit her flickr collection. It was there I discovered she’d inked the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog comic book of which I knew absolutely nothing about until today. Because I’m lame and have been out of touch. Obviously that’s going on the to-read list. 🙂 But as you can see – she is greatly expressive with faces, rendering an especially well done Neil Patrick Harris.
Her artwork does not fail in this book either – the women are sumptious and curvy, evoking a Jessica Rabbit feel which is appropriate for a detective story. The men are hard lines and rigid brows. The scenery is dark, the shadows are deep and ominous. The vibe is perfectly pitched and there are no real complaints from me – save a few scenes where the character’s expressions didn’t really seem to match with the dialogue. Overall, artistically speaking, the book was pretty flawless.
The writing fit the noir mood excellently – though there were a few times when the metaphors of Jazz and Almonds seemed strained and out-of-place. Clearly, Rich did his homework and richly peppered the dialogue with vocabulary of the day (twist has always been my favorite noir word for women), and with it’s minimal use – it didn’t stand out as being affected or cheesy.
The story itself was pretty standard noir detective fair with plot twists and turns that I didn’t always catch. I did find myself intrigued with the detective character – Anthony Mercer – and wanted to know a bit more about his past, as well as Julie Roman, the woman he is hired to locate. We could have spent a bit more time with them during their summers, and I wanted to know why Mercer had decided to give up the good life and become a detective – as it was indicated he was from high society.
While I won’t divulge the ending here for those who are interested in reading it – it was equally surprising and a bit of a let down. While I love the angst of noir, I can never quite get over it’s treatment of women, so it’s conclusions rarely sit well with me.
Overall – it was a delightful and entertaining second entry into the collaborative works of Rich and Jones. I’m definitely a fan, and therefore looking forward to future works penned and inked by these folks. While we wait, here is an interview of Jones, along with information about her upcoming independent projects. And one of Rich.
Excited to hear about their series Spell Checkers being debuted this Spring, and perhaps getting to meet and greet with them at the San Diego Comic Con.
Dan and I hit the road around noon yesterday, on our way up to the Seattle Comic Con – otherwise known as Emerald City Comic Con. We had tentatively planned this trip a few months ago, dependent upon funds and time and the aligning of the fates.
Well, at some point last week, on the verge of deciding not to go, I checked their site to see what exciting guests might peak my interest and swing the vote. Turns out – a few, including:
Pretty kick ass line up. Then I spotted in the artist/writer’s tables Mike Mignola and Greg Rucka, and was sold even further. So – Dan and I debated up until Friday evening about whether or not we would attend. Saturday morning, we decided yes.
We didn’t arrive in Seattle until around 2:30pm, and felt discouraged about attending the Con with only a few short hours on the docket. Also we were fairly sure we’d missed an opportunity to take pics with Tahmoh (my goal for the event). Instead, we secured some wireless internet – located lodging close by (a stunning Motel 6 in SeaTac) and tucked in for the night.
After a fitful night of sleep, we checked out of our motel, hit up a Denny’s and arrived at the con a mere 1.5 hours later than we had intended. Oh – not to mention that whole day we missed too. 🙂 More madness behind the link…
Reviewed here: American Born Chinese, Faker and Off Road
My latest trip to the library not only yielded me around $20 in overdue fines (damn the man!) but also a stack of about 20 tpb/graphic novels to consume. I’m going to forego lengthy blogs about each for a review snack pack of three books in particular.
So – sounds pretty tasty right? Sounds like something meaty I could sink my teeth into, what with seeing it on many folks Top 10 Lists popping up all over the net.
This book was engaging, but never resonated with me on a strong emotional level. On a literary level, I appreciated the artistry and craft that went into intertwining the three different stories together. The art, with the muted color palette and clean, thick lines works well with the theme, and is especially pronounced during the Chinese mythology sequences.
Again – this didn’t catch me in any emotional core – and that could simply be my inexperience with how young-adult Asian Americans might experience America. I could get on board with the concept of being an outsider, teased and tortured by classmates, and those lovely awkward first moments trying to woo the opposite sex. There were definite laugh-out-loud moments…but there were also sections that I feel alienated from.
I would suggest this for it’s intended audience – which is young adults, and not just the Asian American ones – but I can’t say it’s going to make any of my Top 10 lists.
Faker. Written by (yet another British dude) current X-Men scribe Mike Carey and illustrated by (yet another British dude) Jock (aka Mark Simpson). It’s published by the fun and edgy DC Vertigo label.
Here is what I’ve been thinking lately: I love Marvel’s line of popular superheroes. And I love DC/Vertigo’s naughty and subversive “adult” content.
The cover art is actually what initially spurred me to pick this book up – and the name Carey splattered in the white space held a special kind of promise, as he is right in the midst of gutting my beloved mutants, I thought I’d see what kind of extracurricular shenanigans he’s been getting himself into.
For a British dude – he’s writing expertise sure can cater to my assumptions of what Minnesota college students are like. He gets that compliment right off the bat. But seriously – this is a thoroughly engaging story, and I found myself nearly consuming it in one setting. Mostly because I was stood up for an orientation, and had an hour to kill waiting around in Starbucks to see if the person really would show.
They didn’t. But I clipped cleanly through the pages and emerged on the other end.
It’s a Saturday two-fer.
In the Small by writer/artist Michael Hague is gorgeously conceived with delicious color and picturesque panels. The concept and plot are amazing too – a sudden and bizarre “flash” changes the entire world population into pint-sized versions of themselves. This seemingly eradicates a good chunk of humanity – those who are trapped in crashing planes, cars, etc.
It’s an intriguing concept – and one that seems to be popular not only in comic books but society in general. The Apocalypse makes for great entertainment.
The two main characters are a brother and sister – Mouse and Beat. It’s fine that they have nicknames (they are really Hieronymus and Beatrice) but as the plot progresses…everyone starts having weird names. Mountain, Crazy Girl, Plant Man (I made a few of those up). That didn’t really work for me. Just because people shrink – it doesn’t mean they lose their names.
The dialogue was also somewhat stilted, but I’m guessing that has something to do with this being touted as “a children’s graphic novel.” There was no profanity, nudity, etc. Quite the change of pace from the content I’ve been reading lately.
I’m also not a HUGE fan of fantasy (though I’ve been known to dip into the fantasy barrel from time to time), and I suppose I didn’t realize what I was getting into from the onset. It’s important to mention my bias against the genre though – because I became increasingly less interested the more it slipped into the fantasy realm.
Despite the younger/fantasy audience the book was geared towards – I think “Mouse’s” visionary status came on too fast. I wouldn’t have had a problem with a flashback, or even a bit of foreshadowing. But we were pretty much crammed into everything within the first few pages. It all made sense and came off – but not without feeling awkward.