May 17th, 2004

smokin'

This and That

Haven't had a chance to update the Journal due to juggling house chores and work deadlines. I'm behind on both, of course. After many months I finally cleared the side of the house of the remains of the tree section that collapsed in the yard a ways back. Took about 30 bags to haul it off, we still have to bind up the larger chunks. It's killing my limp noodle pale fleshy jew cartoonist arms something fierce. Then I inked for a bunch of hours and that did my hand and back in. I have a healthy left ear, from what I gather that's all I have that functions decently, the rest is all weak, badly wired crap.

I'm trying to get these damned Bill and Ted pieces done, I'm pushing things on the second trade solicit and we're running out of time. The cover design was pretty labor-intensive, even though not all of it'll appear in rpint, it's a "floating heads" style design with about 60 characters hovering around B&T. I think the finished cover will allow only about 20 heads to appear, but I am hoping to run the piece in full inside the trade. I just got carried away because it should be the last time that I'll draw the cast. And some of the characters are a lot of fun to draw.

The FCBD material is all finished up, Sarah colored and sent the cover, cleaned up the two "unseen" M&C pages and sent them in (the two pages are older piecesw I haven't run, one is the intro to the proposed next issue, the other a commission piece I did as a strip). The comic will also run a four page segment from the first B&T trade, most likely a sequence from #2, where Death quits to go on holiday (visiting the Hindenburg explosion, Vesuvias erupting, etc), and zombies migrate to Bill and Ted's house while they chase him through time. That's the sort of Evelyn Waugh-style writing you can expect from the likes of the B&T books.

A small round up of new films I've been meaning to mention: Two comics-related films we read about in Variety recently -- Immortal Ad Vitam is a French/U.K./Italian co-production directed by cartoonist extraordinaire Enki Bilal. Loosely adapted from his own graphic novels, The Carnival of the Immortals and The Woman Trap. Bilal co-wrote the script as well. NYC in 2095, Variety seems to like it enough, feels visuals are stronger than plot, likens it to things such as Blade Runner and the Fifth Element, nodding towards other films such as Metropolis, Matrix, Tron, Dark City and Final Fantasy. A lot of visually-based weak films there, so who knows if this will be Heavy Metal-like eyecandy with a dead plot and sexy costumes on cipher characters. I'm curous because most cartoonists don't get to direct their stuff, at best, they usually get to do design work and a contractual first screenplay that gets tossed out so Hollywood types can rewrite everything according to formula.

The other comics-related film is Tintin and I -- a documentary about, duh, Herge and his intrepid reporter with the funny haircut. Variety liked the documentary quite a bit. It includes a 30 year old interview w/Herge which serves as the film's core, and which Variety describes as "frank". Apparently the interviews were used for a book, which herge censored quite a bit. Herge's own voice is heard, copious archive material is said to be shown, and their are stylized animations utilized. Discussed at lenght is his near-nervous breakdown that inspired Tintin in Tibet. One nice thing, at least according to the reviewer, is that the film never comes off as fawning or afraid to cover less-flattering aspects of Herge's life.

Gosh only knows if these will get art house releases here, but it seems everything shows up somewhere these days. I really would like to see the Herge biopic.

A new non-comics biographical film is The Nomi Song, yes, a German documentary on teutonic sci-fi new wave warbler Klaus Nomi. Sounds pretty interesting, esp to anyone old enough to have been fascinated/terrified by Nomi's enigmatic appearances in Urgh:a Musical War and esp. Sat Nite Live.

And finally, there's Lipstick and Dynamite, Piss and Vigar: The First Ladies of Wrestling. I think you folks can figure out what this one's about. The focis is on the old timers and pioneers in the squared circle, Moolah and Mae Young (who live together, it turns out), Ella Waldek, et al. Archive material, interviews, historical overview, need I say more? Some cool bands contributed to the soundtrack, including Neko Case and Los Straitjackets.

Speaking of movies, I haven't watched many lately, but I was doing house chores in front of Tsui Hark's Black Mask 2 the other night, and I have to ask -- what the hell happened to Hark? Did he suffer brain damage from a Triad beatdown? Once he was touted as HK's action flick genius, and now he's directing or executive producing some of the worst HK drek to ever limp across a screen. The orig. Black Mask was a fun (if gorey), superhero/pulp pastiche with Jet Li in a Kato outfit kicking the crap out of a cadre of juiced supermen. The sequel is one of the worst action flicks I've ever seen, a WB animation script gone even more horribly wrong, concerning some hoo-ha about a professional wrestling stable (a stable of 6 wrestlers, including Traci Lords (I liked her earlier, funnier work), the guy who played Sabretooth in X-Men, and Rob-ugh-Van-coff-Dam) that turns into animals because of some stupid mad doctor's serum. It contains some of the sloppiest CGI ever seen, laughable performances, and absolutetly terrible action sequences. It was like a Brian Yuzna film as far as mass stupidity goes, clear direct to cable prod values, what a clunker. Makes Michelle Yeoh's hopelessly dopey and dull recent superhero/martial arts flick Silverhawk look like Black mask 1. Tsui Hark has become the Wes Craven of HK, throwing his name on garbage and making his own when the mood hits him. Both are red alerts -- along with the phrase "John Carpeneter's..." -- avoid like the plague.

Okay, enough of that. NBext post I'll maybe discuss comics stuff, picked up some books cheap lately, including my recent grail, 40 Years With Mister Oswald. Or maybe we'll talk about some other dumb crap.