Saturday, June 10, 2006

 
Great Advice for Good Bloggers -- I'd say the Christopher Butcher model is most reflected in this piece on blog post frequency by Eric Kintz. Butcher may not post every day, but it's almost always compelling and link-worthy.

Participants in the new mini-phenom of co-opted group blogs [Blog@Newsarama, Comics Should Be Good] would do well to read this essay. I've bookmarked both of them and even linked 'em in the sidebar, but honestly the dozens and dozens of posts they've racked up in the past week all run together in a blur when I try to think about them. [via Lost Remote]

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Friday, June 09, 2006

 
Jaxon Dead at 65 -- I was sorry to read at The Engine the news that Jack "Jaxon" Jackson has died. He was a true pioneer of the graphic novel form, and I hope that his passing results in more of his work coming back into print for readers to see just how gifted a storyteller and historian he was.

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Wonder Woman #1 -- As much as the past couple of years' worth of Big Events at Marvel and DC have failed to entertain me, I had hopes cracking this open that a new era would begin for one of comics' most iconic characters, that a writer (Allen Heinberg) who had done such a great job on the initial batch of issues of Young Avengers would once again surprise me and make a comic I thought I wouldn't be interested in much more than I expected.

Unlike Young Avengers, there's nothing here to bring me back for a second issue. In point of fact, it seems the book is aimed squarely and solely at people who've been buying up those infinite Crises and Houses of M; the pandering to the fanboy portion of the audience is about all this issue has going for it.

When George Perez recreated the Wonder Woman mythos a couple of decades ago, he was careful to develop a supporting cast of genuine human beings for Princess Diana of Themyscira to interact with, all the better for readers to relate to this Amazon warrior as the foundations were being laid for her new era.

Here, though, there's barely a real human in the book; the ones that are there are mere background and window-dressing, and the one person you'll think is a genuine human being is, well, not so much. By the end of the story you'll realize there's nothing here but baiting and switching; the Wonder Woman of the cover and first page isn't who new readers will expect, nor will she be anyone that they will ever have heard of. Longtime readers will know who she is and maybe even be thrilled at the prospect of a new Wonder Woman, but in that case, why start over with a new #1?

More to the point, though, is that there's nothing human or compelling that happens in this story. It's strongly tied into the distasteful events of DC's recent history, with the obligatory flashback to Diana's murder of Max Lord, the machinations of a trio of under-motivated and ill-explained villains, and absolutely nothing to compel any but the most already-committed of Wonder Woman readers to come back next month to see where the "story" goes from here.

It feels editor-driven, as if Heinberg's skills are being restrained and impaired by the mandate to include elements A, B, and C of the established Wonder Woman mythology, but element S is a fakeout, and the only charge I got out of the book at all was a bit of amusement from the image on the very last page, which panders to fans even older than I am, and I remind you that I turned 40 last January.

Oh, the art. Well, my disinterest in the story is such that it hardly even matters, but if you enjoy the slick professionalism of Terry and Rachel Dodson, here's a big serving of it. To date, they always seem to draw well, but never anything I can actually say I am interested in.

So no, I'm not the audience for this book, and although I will give my copy to my 12-year-old daughter now that I am through with it, I can't believe she'll be blown away by it either. There's no clever hooks, no compelling drama, just some pretty pictures and a lot of nods to people who would have bought this whether it was Wonder Woman #1, or #473, or #811.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

 
Bluesman Book Three Preview -- Check out the gorgeous artwork of Pablo G. Callejo in a preview of Bluesman Book Three at The Pulse.

And I note with glee that Bluesman writer Rob Vollmar is hinting at a new, remastered and expanded edition of The Castaways over on his blog.

Rob and Pablo make great comics, 'nuff said!

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ADD Blog Hits The Big 0-4 -- It took me a while rooting around on webarchive.org, but this page has my first-ever ADD Blog posting, from four years ago today. The reason that page isn't in the archives in the sidebar over there on the right, as you may or may not know, is that eventually this blog mutated into its own site, addblog.com, before coming back home here to Comic Book Galaxy. Therefoe this is the third or so incarnation of the blog, and the fact that it works at all is a minor miracle given my technical abilities and the whims of the Blogger interface.

I do want to thank Neilalien for all his advice, technical help and suggestions over the years. In addition to being one of the longest-lasting and most entertaining comics bloggers, he is also unmatched in his knowledge and understanding about how the internet and blogging works (or should work). It's very possible I wouldn't still be doing this if not for his friendship and help, so, thank you, Neil.

Thanks also to my friend and fellow-Galaxy co-conspirator Christopher Allen, whose friendship, feedback and occasional wet-noodle lashings have been invaluable in how I approach my writing, my blogging, and my waitresses (hah!). Seriously, Chris and I have been doing this thing together and seperately for a long time now, and getting to bounce ideas off a noggin as sharp and observant as his has been a genuine thrill and a real education. I still want to be Chris Allen when I grow up.

And thanks to all of you for reading this blog, whether you're just visiting for the first time or you actually remember all the way back to June of 2002. Remember how big cell phones were way back then? They were enormous! Ha ha!

Anyways, thanks for stopping by these past four years here at the ADD Blog!

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Five Questions for Jason Marcy --Jay's graphic novels are autobiographical, blunt, occasionally dirty, and funny as hell. He's a keen, often furious observer of human behaviour, but his love for his family and his affection for the work of James Kochalka both speak to a more whimsical and human side that was on spectacular display in his well-received third book in the Jay's Days series, Pasta Shop Lothario. That most recent of his graphic novels delved into both his fascination with his s teenage co-workers and the birth of his son -- see, the guy's a perfect example of the dual nature of man.

Jason Marcy's a buddy of mine, so there's your disclaimer. No, wait, there's even more self-interest at work here, I have a story in his forthcoming book MY DAY IN THE LIFE OF JAY, a mostly-true recounting of the long weekend my family and I spent with Jay and his wife Kris and son Xander last year. Not that I expect to get anything back from my participation in the project except the pride of being a part of a book by one of my favourite cartoonists. I caught up with him this week to get the scoop on his new books, and to tip you off that these are going to be fun, entertaining volumes you'll be glad you picked up.

Cover art to MY DAY IN THE LIFE OF JAY by Jason Marcy and Friends.1. What did you learn about yourself from the stories turned in for MY DAY IN THE LIFE OF JAY?

That people seemingly like me more than they hate me! I was really okay if folks wanted to go open season on me in a bad way, and it didn't turn out like that at all. Not that people didn't get in their licks mind you, but I was touched by the feeling expressed in some of the works. Ron Gravelle's comes to mind, and of course Joe Meyer's. Jeremy Kaposy handed in a top notch dissection of the "Jay experience" in my mind, kind of an eye opening thing really.Even Andrew Foster came through in the end with a bitingly real Jay moment.

As for those who either only know me through my comics or through cons, well, they were great. Chip Zdarsky, Kagan McLeod, Ben
Shannon...hell they were all great pieces. In the end it was an amazing experiment, so much so that I've now turned my attention to a book with my scripts/other folks art, like a Harvey Pekar project.

2. You've recently been working with cartoonist Chip Zdarsky on your book design, what have you learned from Chip?

Chip is very much a perfectionist, and he's been hard on me, y'know? "Why did you do this like that?" and "How come you don't know this stuff, Jay?". He's been great actually. In fact, all the guys from the Royal Academy of Illustration and Design have been awesome in their support of my little efforts. No doubt I've
exasperated Chip a lot, but he's been very patient and helpful. I'm miles ahead with my understanding of Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign because of him, and in a very short period of time.

3. You're going the Print on Demand route for your two new books after working with a number of small-press publishers. Tell me what brought you to POD.

It's really how the other books were done too. I decided on POD because right now it facilitates my immediate needs, which is low print run graphic novels at reasonable prices. I don't need say a minimum of three hundred books for a couple of thousand dollars. If and when I solicit these books, I'll go from the orders and print exactly what I need. A lot of people have been haranguing me on this, but riight now, it makes financial sense to not over order a book, and POD gives me the freedom to order whenever I need product with minimum hassle.

Cover art to JASON MARCY'S BOOK OF HATE by Jason Marcy.4. Your other new book is JASON MARCY'S BOOK OF HATE. Tell me what fills you with hate more than anything else in the world.

Huh. It's hard to say really. I often get filled with petty jealous feelings over others success. I really hate that part of me. In the big wide world, I'd probably say general intolerance, and again I cover my own times when I feel that type of thing too. The book really covers a lot of what HATE can mean to me, I think.

5. I get as excited about a new Jay Marcy comic as I do about one by Harvey Pekar, James Kochalka or Robert Crumb, just to name three creators whose work, I think, has been an influence on yours. And yet, you haven't achieved the readership levels of those perhaps better-known cartoonists, and you've talked about that on your LiveJournal and in your comics. Yet here you are with two new books on the horizon, plugging away. What keeps you making comics after all these years?

What else am I gonna do? If I keep plugging, maybe someone'll take notice and say,"Hey, that bald guy ain't half bad." and come and rescue me with a book deal or something.

Comics are in me to be done, so to speak. Gotta create, gotta use my voice to let the world know I'm here in a way I can. It's this or catching chickens as a side job. Hey, that may pay better.

Visit jasonmarcy.com.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

 
Start Your Own Comics Shop -- Jim Crocker of Modern Myths in Northampton, Massachusetts is one of the smartest comics shop owners I've ever had the pleasure to meet, and runs probably one of the top ten greatest comic shops in the country.

And now he's sharing his business plan with prospective comic shop owners.

Here's a hint...if you can't get through all 18 pages filled with excitement about how great his ideas are, you're probably going to fail as a comics retailer.

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Chris Staros Talks Lost Girls -- In a thoughtful and frank discussion at Newsarama, Top Shelf Publisher Chris Staros talks about Lost Girls, including the legal issues and the risk-taking aspect of publishing such a large, expensive collection. (My own thoughts on the book are here).

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

 
Roger's Talking Equal Marriage Rights -- And I talk back. Click over to Ramblin' with Roger.

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Jay's Hates -- Did you know autobio cartoonist Jason Marcy is actually prepping two new graphic novels? In addition to My Day in the Life of Jay (stories by Jay's pals about Jay, story by me in it, also illos by my daughter, blah, blah, blah -- you ARE gonna buy a copy, right?), Jay is also about to release Jason Marcy's Book of Hate!.

Here's a look at the cover art.

Order early and often, gang, these are gonna be some major fun funnybooks, and great summer reads.

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Warnock on McCloud Lecture -- Brett recounts what Scott McCloud is talking about these days over at Hey, Bartender! The Top Shelf Blog.

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