March 3rd, 2004

smokin'

Pot Luck Post

Before I get to this clearing house post, a reminder that the previous post will allow folks to ask questions regarding making comics and the comic book industry. This was done in response to a reader's post regarding the age old question, "How do I get a job in comics". Feel free to take advantage of my years of spotty knowledge.

In the old "Excellent" post are a slew of responses from your horror host, that being me.

Onto some new blathering. First off, I've finished inking the Hellboy: Weird Tales story. I have to say, while I'm happy it's over, I don't feel like a great weight has lifted, partly because the job hasn't shipped to DHC yet (Sarah's still finishing up the colors and seps on my last page, as well as some small dialogue revisions), and partly because I can't take a break. I have a charity gig to work up, the Bill and Ted's cover, the Mad one page script, and I've got to juggle this with the Metal Men #3 script. Nice to have work, but I honestly need a real, honest day off, having not had one since January 2nd. Everyone get out your world's smallest violin and start playing in concert.

The HOF extends its best wishes to long-time HOF friend and supporter Vu Ha, whose pet cat passed away at a very young age. Hope you're doing okay, pal. In other cat news, Stripsey, MIA for many months now, has resurfaced as hoped in our back yard. He looks healthy and obviously did not contract what the Little Girl (RIP) had. Of course, now that I know he's alive, I worry about him every day, afraid he'll get hit by one of the insane gypsy cab or car service drivers racing down our block (FYI, gypsy cabs are not cabs driven by Gypsies, although a Gypsy could drive one). We have only seen him once, and after being plied with food, catnip and cat treats (and pets), he's disappeared again. Can't tell you how happy we were to see him. Then again, I just did tell you.

Randomosity #1: for those of you who are Junji Ito fans, the second GYO volume shipped last week from Viz. I didn't notice it and picked it up today after getting the mail. GYO isn't as mysterious or creepy as Tomie or Uzumaki, it's a lot more straightforward horror movie nuts, with walking sea life swarming over Japan. The walking sharks are ludicrous and terrifying all at the same time. Which is the appeal of a lot of Ito's work for me. Horror manga fans should also be on the lookout for a slew of Hideshi Hino volumes being released soon. Ito was influenced by Hino, you may have seen his Hell Baby opus creepus.

#2: I also finally picked up the latest Drawn and Quarterly, which looks terrific. I must say that while I enjoy R. Sikoryak's literary adaptations/pastiches -- last time out he adapted the Scarlet Letter as a Little Lulu comic, this time Wuthering Heights as an EC Horror story, all with dead-on, mimicked art and graphics -- I find that the actual strips don't work for me quite as well as a whole as the concept does. The slavish/studied execution and adaptations are uniformly excellent, but...I dunno, I find that as the strip goes on, and you get the bit, and have seen enough examples of the mimicry and clever melding, the actual strip kind of runs out of steam. It made me think of the average article in The Onion - Sikoryak's fake comic book image acts like an Onion headline, the concept and joke is pretty much wrapped up nicely right there and then, with fewer satirical gems to be found in the body of the article (or in this case, the rest of the story). It's a beautiful formal exercise, and good, smart schtick, and maybe I'm nitpicking, but the strips, for me at least, start with a bang and end with a whimper, leaving me a little unfulfilled when all is said and done. Again, the Onion comparison, or an impressionist's routine, where the audience applauds the second the mimic starts his celebrity spiel, and then sits patiently through the jokes needed to finish out the gag, waiting for the next impression. I'm not saying Sikoryak's pastiches are empty like a godawful Rich Little bit, quite the opposite, but they just...I dunno, peter out, for me, as complete pieces. He draws beautifully, I must say. I'd like to see him do some non-pastiched strips next time around, personally. Just my opinion.

#3: Disney stalwart and bulwark John Hench recently passed away, layout artist, background artist, designer, imagineer, f/x artist, official Mickey Mouse artist, et al, he worked at Disney up until two weeks before his death, at a 95. He spent the last decades involved with the planning and designing of the theme parks. Amazing. Even more amazing, is this quote: "John Hench taught me and so many others about the essence of the Disney legacy". Why is that amazing? Because it was uttered by Michael Eisner, hated heartless CEO, enemy of Roy Disney, dismantler of traditional Disney animation, and righteous Hollywood jagoff. Heigh-ho.

#4: The latest issue (#9) of Scott Saavedra's Comic Book Heaven is out, with 16 more pages of comic book "what-the-hell were they thinking?" moments. Always enjoyable, for fans of older comics, and fans of things that are unintentionally hilarious and confounding. Worth it simply for Clark Kent taking a bath while some Samson-type weirdo plays peeping tom through a window eight inches away (nice super-hearing, Superboy!), thinking to himself, "Ah! He is smearing that foamy matter all over his body! It must be the magic substance which hardens his skin into steel! We'll obtain that rubbing-bar when he leaves the room and try it on our own persons!" This is the sainted DC SIlver AGe legacy people are all nuts over? Holy everything! Another excerpt from a World's Finest issue has a giant spanking Superman, who shouts, I shit you not, "Punish Me, Daddy! I DESERVE it!". Ye gods, fantastic pickings abound. I won't even get into the cover whereSuperboy is walking with Lana Lang, and both he and Ultra Boy are using their x-ray vision to look under the clothes of -- each other!!! Well, I did get into it. You should, too. Find CBH at a decent shop or order it through the fine folks at SLG publishing. yeah, the same yoinks who print my crap.

#5 Speaking of bad comics, anybody out there have a copy of Dell's infamous Neutro comic from the '60's? I just want to read it, photocopies would be fine. I have heard so many good bad things about it and am curious, yellow and otherwise.

#6 - I just had to pull out of a convention appearance for the first time in my career and I felt really bad about it. I just don't have time for the event, which was coming up soon, and I've always been annoyed by people who don't show up for shows they are supposed to be at. Luckily, I'm bailing before any press was done on our appearance, and I think I dropped out before the program books were going to print. Ugh. I don't even think anyone will care, but I felt really weird going back on my word.

#7 - We DVR'd the Oscars and watched the three and a half hour yawnathon in less than an hour while eating. I don't really care who won what, haven't seen anything that was nominated save for a downloaded copy of the okay but over hyped Pirates of the Caribbean. Someone tell me, though, why Blake Edwards merits a lifetime achievement award? Nothing personal against the man, I realize he has much Hollywood history and has made the hot Pink Panther series, and 10 and the Days of Wine and Roses and is very likely loved and respected and thus, the Oscar. But imho, the Panther series dates badly and don't hold up as the laff riots they were in their day, 10 stinks and is mainly remembered for Bo Derek's hair and breasts, and Ravel's Bolero, Victor Victoria ain't Oscar-worthy, Days of WIne and Roses is the kind of well-meaning but dated, once-powerful message/serious kind of flick that has a great rep but no one has actually seen, and I just can't think of a truly great, fully successful Blake Edwards film in all of his Lifetime Achieving. Not only that, but for every okay or good film he made, he knocked out several stinkers, I mean, miserable stuff like Sundown or Sunset whatever that Hollywood/cowboy mess was called, I think he did that Basinger/Willis Blind Date wreck, that John Ritter movie no one knows the name of, those three god-awful, horrible, post-Peter Sellers Pink Panther abortions that any other director would have been lynched over (What?! Peter's dead?! Well, I guess we'll just have to use his outtakes and a double! Then Roberto Benigni (sp)! Then --then -- I know, Ted Wass!). I mean, the montage of his films they put together had to concentrate on so few films from his large output in order to seem somewhat impressive -- pretty much the Pink Panther films (they left out the non-Sellers train wrecks for some reason), 10, Days of Wine and Roses, the Great Race (which I mostly like, but it's fluff), Victor Victoria and that John Ritter movie, I dunno, that hardly seems Oscar-worthy to me, just prolific and largely successful. But we're not talking Buster Keaton here by any means, as hard as they tried to present him as a king of high-minded slapstick. And I don't dislike the man, I just don't think he made great films. Anyway, we all know awards are given out of politics, personal feelings, and sometimes merit. With lifetime honors getting cut down due to the entertainment constraints of the Oscar ceremonies, I think there are others more deserving than Blake Edwards. But he's very likely connected, everyone loves his wife, Julie Andrews, he's close to Old Hollywood, and he's alive and could show up, which means a lot, sarcasm aside, honest. Anyway, beyond that, as stunning as some of the men and women of modern Hollywood are, they can't hold a candle to the icons of Classic Hollywood, imho. We have a lot of pretty people, some of whom can act, but almost no one can dominate the screen like a human magnet like the ghosts flickering across Turner Classic Movies. Again, my opinion. The Katherine Hepburn montage made me want to turn off the Oscars and watch an old movie, and I'm not even the world's biggest fan, although I like her quite a bit. Billy Crystal's no Bob Hope, no one is Carole Lombard or Myrna Loy or Barbara Stanwyck. Hell, Robin Williams isn't even as classy a tiresome audience-junky as Danny Kaye was. We have stars and actors, but where are the legends? Do we need legends? I dunno. I don't have nostalgia for my grandparents day, don't read me like that. I just love older movies, and find I have less interest in modern Hollywood product (meaning, not all modern film) with every passing year. Finally, I had no idea Stan Brakhage dies. I had to sit through some of his films in NYU. God, it was like army training, where they put you in a barrack and pump in gas to see how long you could stand it. I'm a narrative-driven philistine, I know, but shooting light through ashtrays just doesn't send me as art, film, high concept, or anything. The rush for the doors was faster than at a screening of Cannibal Ferox, and I stayed for the whole nine artsy fartsy downtown gallery society NEA yards. And, oh, yeah, the Oscar memorial montage was dull, TCM actually turned in a better piece of work, and the audience was deader than a WWE crowd watching a Rico match. Did the people sitting in those seats even know who Hume Cronyn was? Or Donald O'Conner? Cripes, they barely clapped for Gregory Peck! I bet if Ashton Kushner or Kuchner or whatever his punked-ass name is, I bet if he had died they'd have given his Dude, Where's My Car? footage a standing ovation.

Am I ranting about trivial nonsense? Good. I need the practice for when I get back to my Eltingville comic.

#8 - The Subcultures Show apparently was a success, and may be moving on to L.A. and NYC, which would be cool. I believe Sarah has a link to the post-show pics at her journal.

#9. Speaking of Sarah, coloring away on page ten of our Hellboy strip, my far better half has just been featured in Ellegirl Korea (!). She was interviewed for their "I love..." section in their first anniversary issue, for which she provided several spot illos, including one of the sadly MIA Action Girl. A very odd bit of press, that.

Okay, long and largely pointless, as usual, but apparently just how you like it, mein kids. Type at you later, skaters, I gotta get back to making midbrow slop culture for the niche semi-masses.
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