November 17th, 2002

smokin'

Whole Lotta Nothin (but I'll post it anyway)

Several days ago I wrote a post-con report on the NYC National show that turned into a lengthy rant about conventions, the habit of promoting sad former celebrities and down on their luck wrestlers over cartoonists who invariably end up with longer autograph lines, the flea-market mentality of these dingy affairs, how much I despise pushy, blowhard comic and art dealers, how much I hate people who wear giant backpacks in crowded rooms, etc. I also wrote about some pleasant things, sketching for readers, signing some copies of our work, sitting with friends Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner on Saturday and Andy Lis and Christine Norrie on Sunday, getting to (briefly) see Sergio Aragones again, having a very interesting chat with Al Feldstein about EC, getting to see what Sal Buscema looks like (having only seen his face in a Marvel calendar as a kid in the 70's), and meeting Arnold Drake, whose goofy Doom Patrol was recently released in an expensive DC Archive edition.

Anyway, because I'm an internet dolt I wrote the entire post on-line and when I tried to upload it I lost it. It was a pretty great old-school angry-Evan rant, too, so I was very unhappy I screwed that up. Anyway, conventions are fun, conventions suck and depress the hell out of me, ditto comics. 'Nuff said.

Speaking of con reports, check out SLG publisher Bob Simpkins' SPX diary, complete with pictures of myself, Sarah and our apparently acerbic and angry Staten Island friends Paul and Brian (the latter responisble for Marvel's recent B- Sides limited series). You get Sarah bartending for our room party while we skip the Ignatz Awards, SLG Joe drunk, SLG Bob drunk, Joe drunk again, Joe drunk on the floor, Joe passed out, and some droll commentary from Mr Bob himself at http://www.slavelabor.com if the link works and I typed it correctly.

Onto new garbage, and there's plenty of it to sift through. First, you can read a new interview with me at the Pulse news site at Comicon (http://www.comicon.com/pulse). The e-mail chat covers some old ground and then focuses on the Marvel limited series I'm writing and Dean Haspiel is drawing (The Thing: Night Falls on Yancy Street). They ran a ton of Dean's art for the first issue (and none of my own art for my own projects, making me feel a little left out at my own party, snif), so check it out.

Sarah's just put up a new feature on her Jinjur website, namely the Jinjur Gift Shop, which is a cafe press webstore offering items designed by both of us from Jinjur.com and the House of Fun. So far we have a selection of t-shirts (baby t's, long-sleeved, baby-sized), baby bibs, boxers, clocks, mugs, tile coasters...featuring Sarah's WPA designs, Jinjur the Cat, and Mr Bunny and Mr Chimpy, HOF mascots you may have seen around. Feel free to browse around at http://www.jinjur.com

Some of you might recall the HOF zippo lighters we did with Smoke King several years back. Well, Smoke King changed its name to Flame Rite, and they recently announced that they are letting all the old artist series designs go out of stock. They still have the two Milk and Cheese designs available, but the Devil Puppet and Georgina lighters are gone. So, if you wanted one of those M&C designs, now's the time. Flame Rite is also releasing an artsy-fartsy coffee- table catalogue/art book called Scorched Art: The Incendiary Aesthetic of Flame Rite Zippos (set for release from Feral House Publishing in Feb 2003). The book will feature all the FR/SK designs, by better-regarded artists than myself such as Crumb, Bagge, Shag, Coop, Clowes, Los Bros, Tony Millionaire, Kaz, Charles Burns and many others. Many of the artists are contributing new art for the book, and I've done a new Milk and Cheese strip (which had to be slightly censored, but that's a long story). Check it all out at http://www.flamerite.com

Hey, Bill Kelly's playing a new Rocket From the Crypt song on WFMU as I type. I hope that's a sign of a good day ahead of me.

Say, let's plug some recent comic and comic-related purchases: Will Eisner's Shop Talk is a collection of interviews Eisner conducted in the early 80's with cartoonists such as Milton Caniff, Harvey Kurtzman, CC Beck, Jack Kirby and others. It's from Dark Horse and should be fairly easy to find. Fantagraphics has released the new issue of the long- hibernating Squa-tront EC fanzine, worth it for the Jack Davis color gag panel and the EC artist photos from San Diego, 2000 alone. I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with Bill Elder at that show after the Eisner Awards, ten minutes in fan heaven that made that show worth it. Apparently The Comics Journal is prepping an Elder issue in the near future. Elder is one of my favorite cartoonists and I am really, really looking forward to this issue. Anyway, I'm veering off- topic once again.

We also picked up Comics One's first collection of Crayon Shin-chan manga. Many moons ago a reader sent us tapes of the tv show years ago and we became infatuated with the antics of this moronic, sex-obsessed little child (who resembles an addled Emeril LaGasse, weirdly enough). Later on we ran across a magazine featuring the strips in a Japanese bookstore and were appalled (well, not really) to find that the source material was, shall we say, "bluer" than the cartoons. The strip we saw pictured Crayon Shinchan dreaming of licking an ice cream cone and awakening to find himself fellating a man on the train next to him. HUH?!?!? This is kid's material in Japan?! That sort of stuff got Gary Glitter and Jeffrey Jones in the clink! Anyway, these collections present the kid in all his dirty, twisted sit-com glory (such as when he paints his privates with his mom's lipstick to make his equipment resemble an elephant). You might want to broswe through this at the shop, but don't be fooled -- Crayon Shin-chan is not for kids, despite appearances (In a possibly interesting sidenote, Sarah and I were involved in trying to get the Cartoon Network to pick up the Shin- chan animated series, but things fell through bewteen the Network and the guy who had just snapped up the US rights).

Speaking of manga, Sarah just found out that Kodansha has continued to put out bilingual editions of comics, which we had lost track of after Diamond Previews stopped carrying the titles in their international section. Included in the line- up are two real finds -- Tezuka's Princess Knight series (six volumes thus far) and three volumes of GeGeGe No Kitaro, a horror/comedy/adventure series by Shigeru Mizuki. We first encountered Kitaro years ago when local Japanese leased-time programming ran the subtitled Kitaro cartoon. I've been wanting to read these comics ever since, and it was a real pleasant surprise that it was one of the titles Kodansha gave the bilingual treatment to. You may have seen Kitaro toys if not the shows, he's a pudgy kid on sandals with hair swept over one eye -- that being his missing eye which his eyeball dad lives in. He also hangs out with many demons and goblins from folklore (and from the author's imagination), including a flying cloth, a walking wall, a cat girl and a conniving rat man. Huh? Well, at least no one fellates a commuter here. If you like the recent spate of Junji Ito translations (Uzumaki, Flesh Colored Horror) from Viz and Comics One, and you're downloading asian horror flicks (you know who you are you bootleggers, you!), you might want to check these nifty little comics out. I found them at Asahiya in Manhattan, and Kodansha's site is http://www.kodansha-intl.co.jp

Love and Rockets fans, scoot over to http://www.tcj.com to hear and/or download an interview with the great Gilbert Hernandez from 1989 or so. The Comics Journal site uploads interviews with comic book greats every few weeks, the last one being EC and Mad publisher William Gaines (And, hey -- if anyone has archived the Jack Kirby interview, please, please talk to us about making a copy of it for we here at the HOF!)

Anyway, on the relaxation end of things, last Friday night's Kung Fu Theater at the Lawgiver's lair featured two excellent martial arts extravaganzea, Yuen Biao in Dreadnought and Samo Hung in Magnificent Butcher. Next week is Drunken Master 2 and Prodigal Son. But tonight -- bootlegged Godzilla from last year, verily, a blow to our ethical and intellectual well-being. Huzzah!

Hokay, there's a really long post designed to hold you HOF faithful over for a few days in case I'm unable to post again anytime soon. Or I screw up and lose another post. Or die.

Latersville!