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Issue #204

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
Issue #204



  • Sorry, but as I mentioned last week, I’m semi-forcibly on vacation this week.

    I don’t read a lot of blogs, and lord knows there are so many it’s hard to sort them out these days. But here are some to check out while I’m gone.

    Chris Allen Online: Chris Allen’s my favorite comics critic these days – direct, no nonsense, with a wide breadth of tolerance yet little patience for fools. And he wants everyone to know what he’s thinking at all times. But entertainingly.

    I received an interesting email the other day from Christopher Allen. No, not beloved/respected/uncircumcised comics critic Christopher Allen, but the Christopher Allen who comes up as #1 and #2 if you Google the name. He has a blog about privacy issues. But now he’s in MY kitchen, or at least has his elbows on the counter/bar thing that connects the kitchen with the family room, since he’s publishing the online comic Lovecraft Country: Return to Arkham. As I’m writing comics now myself for publication next year, I was a little wary of this, but apparently he’s just publishing/producing it. The comic is written by Shannon Appelcline and illustrated by “Saffronrage Solutions”, and I was thinking we’d found someone absolutely ready for the big time. But it turns out it’s really a team of artists and designers, some of whom have already worked for Marvel and elsewhere. As distasteful as I find assembly line art to be 99% of the time, I do have to say that it’s very hard to see the seams here, and in fact it’s really nice, lush, detailed artwork perfectly appropriate for the setting.:

    Dvorak Uncensored: How can you not love a guy named after a keyboard? John Dvorak has long been the voice of reason and anti-hype in the computer industry, an expert at asking the logical but unpleasant question. Turns out he’s just as good when it comes to culture and politics.

    “George Bush says we’ll deal just fine with skyrocketing fuel prices by developing hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars – by 2020. Thanks, George. Meanwhile, we get to pay $3 – $5 – $10 a gallon. Make tons of profits for your Oil Patch buddies. Maybe even keep General Motors from going out of business altogether.”

    The Great Curve: A collective blog that hits more high spots than low, with interesting interaction and occasionally some unexpected insight.

    “We all know that comics can manipulate a reader’s perception of time. The space between panels can be a split-second, a pregnant pause, or a jump of years. However, the spaces between issues can also affect the reader. Storylines are collected so frequently these days, it’s hard sometimes to imagine waiting a month or more between installments, or the opportunities those waits provide. “

    John August: a screenwriter’s view of the world.

    “Now undeniably in my mid-30’s, I’ve come to accept that there are certain trends that I’m just not going to bother giving a shit about. Just as my Mom will never really understand the internet, there are now cultural innovations that are completely lost on me. Call it Generational Giving-Up… For example, custom ringtones. Thanks to technology, my cell phone can now chirp out 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop.” But why would I ever want it to do that? If I really liked that song, why not just buy the real thing on iTunes? Do I hate my fellow humans enough that I feel they should be forced to listen to my musical obsession du jour every time a random friend calls?… (And don’t tell me that Top-40 ringtones help you tell that your phone is ringing, rather than someone else’s. It’s called vibrate, people. I never wonder if someone else’s phone is shaking in my pocket.)”

    Signal2Noise: Hannibal Tabu (who handles the media news here at CBR) is a strange blend of innocence and cynicism, a friendly sheep in angry wolf’s clothing, with a wide range of interests. And he hosts karaoke. Never a dull moment, anyway, except that he’s getting a little slow on updating.

    “Masauko Chipembere is playing at the World Stage on Wednesday, and I have to go see him. Partially because he’s an amazing performer, partially because he’s a great guy, partially because it may have been more than a year since I’ve seen him, partially because I’m featured the next week and would like to show my face and have people be like, “oh, that guy,” and so on. Admittedly, there’s a 20% chance of running into somebody I won’t wanna see, but life is what it is, you know? “

    Cognitive Dissonance: by now, you might have gotten the idea that I like bloggers who don’t pussyfoot around their own minds. (Way too many do.) Johanna Draper Carlson openly admits she loves comics – and isn’t shy about telling what she doesn’t love about them either. One of the better reviewers of mainstream comics.

    “I read SPIDER-GIRL #89, a throwback to those old message comics, in which May Parker tries to help a victim of date abuse. It’s an interesting story, especially since she never puts on her costume and barely uses her powers. “

    News From ME: for a comics professional’s perspective, you won’t find much better than Mark Evanier’s. (Besides here, I mean.) There may not be a celebrity in any entertainment media Mark doesn’t know some anecdote about, and somehow he stays well ahead of the curve on pretty much any news there is. If you’re not reading his blog regularly, you’re missing out on one of the great joys of the Internet.

    “Tom Wolper informs me that the “Rue Brittania” storyline won’t be on the third volume of Rocky & Bullwinkle DVDs since it’s already on the second. So ignore what I said about that. In fact, while you’re at it, ignore what I say about everything. “

    Size Matters: One of the better places to keep up with what’s what in mini-comics.

    “Flytrap Episode One: Juggling Act is a stand alone tale in sixteen pages and it reads like a sudden summer storm. The story comes at you from out of nowhere and it immediately grabs your attention. Main character Maddy is a public relations specialist with a personal life that’s threatening to overwhelm her. In fact, it only takes sixteen pages for her life to turn upside down. What’s interesting here is how much you learn about Maddy as events unfold around her; this is character development on the sly. Sara Ryan has a firm hand on the story and Maddy’s character, and we learn just enough about her to want to know more. “

    Ed Cunard & John Jakala’s Low Road: Short and pithy observations on comics and other subjects, for those who hate to waste time.

    “Two new Seven Soldiers series start, The Bulleteer and Frankenstein. And the cover to The Bulleteer #1 proves that even Grant Morrison comics aren’t immune to the growing T&A trend at DC these days.”

    Highway 62: Matt Maxwell has been a fairly interesting comics reviewer, and he’s getting more interesting as he slowly makes the transition to pro comics writer and his blog slowly becomes more of a professional diary.

    [Desert Island Comics]“1) DOOM PATROL. The Grant Morrison run, naturally. This stuff was both compelling and baffling when I came across it as it was being published, and I never got the whole picture. Since I’ve been able to put the whole storyline together (and hopefully everyone will, if DC keeps up with the trades), it’s become one of my favorite comics and perhaps my favorite Morrison project. Especially since I’m counting the essential FLEX MENTALLO miniseries as part of the story (and that alone deserves a spot on the list). This is superhero comics colliding with esoteric mad science fiction/fantasy, but underneath it all was the question of what is and is not sane, each character ultimately being driven by that issue. And there’s some fine art to boot (particularly around the second Brotherhood of the Dada storyline, featuring Phil Bond and Jamie Hewlett, among a host of others.)”

    Boom! Studios: The hype- and myrth-heavy blog of the coolest and hottest new comics company out there today.

    “Put WHAT WERE THEY THINKING to bed yesterday with Diamond. Release date: August 25th.

    Will be getting cover proofs for HERO SQUARED #2 this weekend. Putting it to Diamond on Wednesday. Release date: August 31st.”

    I’d love to run more but I’m out of time. Those ought to keep you busy for a few PERMANENT DAMAGE less minutes, anyway…

  • Last week’s Cover Challenge was one of the more entertaining, at least from my perspective. Many readers got it right, and many came up with some very inventive themes. I mentioned the tribute to the new creative regime at Wildstorm was a major clue, if you don’t get it backwards, and pretty much everyone took that to mean Grant Morrison, who’s now creative advisor over there. The more fanciful theme suggestions missed the “backwards” tipoff, though: in DC’s SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, Morrison writes ZATANNA, one of my favorite comics characters in my youth, right from her first appearance in HAWKMAN #4, which was one of the covers. In fact, all the comics represented in the Cover Challenge feature Zatanna, and that’s the answer. Yratnemele, ym raed Nostaw. (And if you ever happen to write a Zatanna story, remember: words backwards, sentences forward.)

    The winner of the challenge is Mike Everleth, who’s pushing the official website for his wife’s film, PLASTER CASTER. If you’ve never heard of the Plaster Casters, check it out. They were a phenomenon. (My guess is if you’ve heard of the Plaster Casters, you don’t need any prodding to check it out.) Thanks, Mike.

    No Cover Challenge this week, but I hope you’ll find our little visual blast from the past amusing.

    Of course, my e-books IMPOLITIC (on politics) and TOTALLY OBVIOUS (on comics, culture, creativity and the freelance life) are both still available at Paper Movies, so pop on over there and pick up hours and hours of mmm-mmm! good reading. I’ll be setting it up soon so lots of other books will be available through the store as well.

    And we’ll see you next week for the real deal. Or something like it.

    Those wishing to comment should leave messages on the Permanent Damage Message Board. You can also e-mail me but the chances of a reply are next to nil these days, given my workload, though I do read all my e-mail as long as it’s not trying to sell me something. IMPORTANT: Because a lot of people apparently list it in their e-address books, this account has gotten a slew of virus-laden messages lately. They’re no real threat but dealing with them eats up time I don’t really have, to the extent I can no longer accept unsolicited e-mail with attachments. If you want to send something via attachment (say, art samples) ask me first. If I say okay, then send. Unsolicited e-mail with attachments will be wiped from the server without being read. You can also leave messages for me and have discussions on other topics at my Delphi forum, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE. Please don’t ask me how to break into the business, or who to submit work to. The answers to those questions are too mercurial for even me to keep up with.

    Those wanting to subscribe to the WHISPER e-mail newsletter should click here.

    I’m reviewing comics sent to me – I may not like them but certainly I’ll mention them – at Steven Grant c/o Permanent Damage, 2657 Windmill Pkwy #194, Henderson NV 89074, so send ’em if you want ’em mentioned, since I can’t review them unless I see them. Some people have been sending press releases and cover proofs and things like that, which I enjoy getting, but I really can’t do anything with them, sorry. Full comics only, though they can be photocopies rather than the published version. Make sure you include contact information for readers who want to order your book.

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