MicroCon report

Well, MicroCon was a blast as always. I got to catch up with a bunch of other local comics creators whom I only see a couple of times a year, and that’s a huge benefit of the show. Got to talk to Tyler Page for a bit about his recent Xeric award and what that means for his upcoming print edition of Nothing Better. Sam Hiti and I chatted about his Fist-a-Cuffs blog and how cool it is that everyone’s suddenly paying attention to it. Bought a copy of the new Spider Chronicles anthology off contributor Martin Powell. I know I’m forgetting people, so I apologize for that.

I also met some cool new folks. Joel Vollmer, artist on Dust to Dust, for one. Joel showed me his portfolio and I couldn’t be more excited that he’s the one illustrating our Jesse James/Machine Gun Kelly gunfight. I also got to re-meet Sarah Morean whom I’d briefly met at FallCon last year, but didn’t realize that she was a creator, much less someone whose work I needed to check out. (It’s not surprising, but Shawn Hoke knew that already.)

Grant Gould and Me

The most fun about the local conventions though is hanging out with my usual convention pals: Grant, Jess, Darla, and Alex. Paul Taylor and his wife and baby also hung out with us for a while, and new this year to our neck of the convention was Charles Raymond and his wife Jennifer. I bought some great, oversized Hulk comics from Charles, sketchbooks from Jess and Grant (I already had one of Darla’s), and a copy of Josh Howard Presents: Sasquatch, which Alex and Grant had both contributed to.

Man, that's really blurry. Alex Ness in the Aquaman shirt.As for my own self: I wasn’t really there to sell this year. Tales from the Inner Sanctum has pretty much found its audience in the Twin Cities, but I did okay with Cownt prints. My real goal for the show though was to get folks interested in and excited about Kill All Monsters! Mission accomplished. Everyone who stopped by the table checked out the unlettered pages I had on display and when I’d explain the pitch there was a lot of enthusiasm for the book.

I also had a couple of folks ask me for advice about finding artists or otherwise breaking into the biz, which is happening more and more at shows, but is still flattering and humbling.

Links du Jour: New Pirates pics, Iron Man movie update, and Silly Superheroes


  • I’ve recently come to the surprising realization that I’m the only person amongst my friends who actually likes Elizabeth Swan as a character. Even those who can’t help but acknowledge Keira Knightley’s tear-inducing hotness don’t like poor Elizabeth. I think she’s fascinating; especially after her actions at the end of Dead Man’s Chest, but depending on how you feel about it, you may or may not be interested in the new Pirates promo images that have been released and are pretty Keira-centric.


  • Iron Man movie director Jon Favreau talks a little on his MySpace page about the movie, and especially the still from it that accompanies this story. Short version: we’ll see both the old, clunky-but-cool, gray armor and the modern red-and-gold armor. Both of which are being designed by Stan Winston, which is cool.
  • I don’t care much for superhero parodies because frankly, I think straightforward superhero comics do a great job of parodying themselves and don’t need a “keen” observer to point out how ridiculous they can be. But as I’ve learned in talking with Jamie Baker, there’s a distinction between Superhero Parody and Silly Superheroes. Jamie writes and draws Rocket Rabbit, one of the funniest, silliest superhero books I’ve ever read. The Tick is another great one, obviously. And now Jamie has also introduced me to yet another: The Possum. It’s The Possum that has me posting about this today, but if you don’t know Rocket Rabbit already (and you like the Silly), you definitely need to check that out too.

Hm. Kinda slow day, I guess.

Links du Jour: Own the Time Bandits’ map, Star Wars Chicken, and why is fantasy more popular than scifi?



  • I haven’t given this much thought, so I’m curious to hear what other people think. The Sci Fi Catholic speculates that maybe the reason fantasy is more popular than sci fi these days is that science is moving ahead faster than science fiction writers can keep up. There might be some merit to that, but I’m thinking that it also could have something to do with Peter Jackson and Lord of the Rings. Thoughts?
  • Ever wanted to own a replica of the map from Time Bandits? Got $100?

Science Fiction

  • It was darn near a year ago when they started talking about releasing yet another Director’s Cut of Blade Runner for this year’s 25th anniversary of the film. According to Joanna Cassidy (who played Zhora the snake dancer), they’ve even been reshooting some scenes from it. Shouldn’t be much longer now.
  • My first exposure to Cartoon Network’s Robot Chicken was a Star Wars sketch I saw on YouTube. When I checked out the show, it was funny, but I kept wishing that they’d do more Star Wars. Wish granted.
  • The Sci Fi Channel has announced the premiere dates for some of their summer shows. The third season of Doctor Who starts July 6; their new Flash Gordon series premieres August 10th.

If you don’t mind a Tarzan-related Cute Kid Story…

One of the best pieces of parenting advice I ever got was to let David be whatever he wanted to be and to love him regardless. As a non-conformist, that touched me. Especially since the advice came from another young non-conformist who was speaking to me from the child’s perspective rather than a parent’s.

So, as much as I love comics and Star Wars and all this other geeky stuff, I’ve made an effort not to push any of it on David. He’s an animal geek by preference, so at age five now, he likes Tauntauns, but that’s as far as his Star Wars (or Star Whores, as he pronounces it) fandom goes. He recognizes Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, and the Hulk, but he’s far more excited by Devil Dinosaur than any of those guys. This is one of his favorite comics of all time. He has good taste.

But lately, he’s been getting into Tarzan. He discovered the back-issues of Marvel’s Tarzan on a recent trip to the comic store and now he wants a new one every time we go. (They’re cheap, so I indulge him.) And he’s been watching occasional episodes of The New Adventures of Tarzan with me.

I took him to the comic store last night and he picked out this issue for me to buy him. Then, when we got home, we watched an episode of New Adventures that I’d been telling him about where Tarzan wrestles a lion. It’s one of the better Tarzan-wrestles-a-jungle-cat scenes. No stuffed animal for Herman Brix to roll around with. It actually looks pretty dangerous.

Anyway, David — as he’s wont to do — immediately identified with the lion and started “attacking” me. We wrestled for a bit until David, sweet kid that he is, decided it would be better if we were friends. If only the lion in the movie had been so smart, he might have saved himself a knife to the neck.

For bedtime, David wanted me to read him his new comic which, as fate would have it, featured Jad-bal-ja, Tarzan’s faithful Golden Lion. David was in heaven. Suddenly, his room was a treehouse, I was Tarzan, and he was my pet lion. It was decided that Diane — who was working at the time — would be Jane.

It wouldn’t be half as much fun if I’d pushed it on him, but all on his own he’s discovered a love for both Tarzan and role-playing games. He’s such a geek and I couldn’t be more proud.

Links du Jour: Drive cancelled, Flash Gordon DVD, and Steve Niles joins the Borg

Flash Gordon DVD coverMystery

  • That cool Lost episode about Nikki and Paulo a while back wasn’t the original intention of the writers, according to an Entertainment Weekly article. “Originally, the diamond-swiping crooks were to have anchored a winking arc of stories … But faced with mounting disdain toward the abruptly introduced characters — and ramped-up viewer frustration with the show’s aggressively enigmatic storytelling — the producers decided in December to telescope their ideas into a single kiss-off episode.” The article also quotes producer Damon Lindelof as saying, ”Back when we had more good faith with the audience, we could have gotten away with these shenanigans. Given the backlash against (Nikki and Paulo), we had to clean up the mess.” There’s other good stuff in the link too, like teasers for the final episodes of this season and a reminder that the rerun-free fourth season probably won’t start until January 2008. There’s also an interesting quote from producer Carlton Cuse about how Lost has always been “a cult show at heart” and how this season’s drop in ratings may just be indicative of its finding its real audience again.
  • I’ve had Crime and Punishment on my bookshelf for years, but have never taken the time to read it. Now is probably a good time because I’m a sucker for sequels to literary works. In the case of Mr. Timothy it was because I love the characters, but for The Gentle Axe (thanks to Bookgasm for pointing it out) I think it may be the writer’s hubris in even attempting it that I want to see.
  • Dammit! FOX cancelled Drive.

Science Fiction

  • I’m not ready to watch it yet, but I’ve been a little worried that when I finally get around to wanting to revisit the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, it wouldn’t be available. As of August 7th, I’ll be in the clear. And nice cover art by Alex Ross, by the way.
  • At the end of an interview about 30 Days of Night, Steve Niles reveals that he’s working on a Borg story for IDW’s Star Trek comics. I gotta hug whoever came up with that idea. (He also talks about having “a couple new things brewing with IDW and a certain artist,” which makes me itchy to know what “certain artist” he’s talking about.)


  • One of these days, I’m going to have to get around to thinking about why I like Mary Marvel so much. She’s an appealing character, but why do I like her more than the other Marvel Family members or Supergirl (in any incarnation, not just the current one)? In the meantime, Newsarama has a nice article about the history of the character.
  • Steve Bunche found a frightening still from The Man Who Laughs that’s pretty much inarguable proof that Conrad Veidt’s character was the visual inspiration for the Joker. You have to see it to believe it.

Rooting for the rapist?!

I was going to stick this in with the other Links du Jour, but decided I’ll probably want more room to freak out.

I’m not a defender of Identity Crisis. As a mystery story, it was horribly flawed. And I do get the anger that a lot of folks feel towards the rape scene. My feelings about that scene pretty much echo Kalinara and Loren’s, but they did a lot better job explaining them than I could, so I’ll just send you to their blogs if you’re interested in an in depth exploration of how it was handled. The short version is: although rape shouldn’t be a taboo subject in comics, much like the mystery aspect of Identity Crisis, the rape scene could’ve been handled a lot better.

Butto say that it was the intention of the writer that we root for the freakin’ rapist? Unbelievable.

Yes, writer Brad Meltzer was trying to “explain why Dr. Light was such a moron” in all those ’60s and ’70s comics. Yes, he wanted to darken Light (I’m aware of the irony) and make him more of a threat. I’d argue that Meltzer did both of those things. But, no, he absolutely did not make Light a sympathetic character who deserved vindication. Nor did Geoff Johns, who wrote the Teen Titans issues in which Dr. Light went after the teen heroes who’d belittled him in the past.

What Johns did was take the new, darker, scarier Dr. Light and sic him on a bunch of kids whom he had reason to hate. It was a vile and horrifying story to tell, and it’s okay if that kind of thing isn’t your cup of tea, but it was supposed to be vile and horrifying. It wasn’t supposed to be about hoping those damn kids — you know, the frickin’ stars of the comic you’re reading — finally get what’s coming to them at the hands of a maniacal rapist. When Light talks about it not mattering whether or not he won at the end, as long as the world saw that he was powerful again, we’re not supposed to freakin’ cheer. We’re supposed to think, “What a sick f**k. Thank God they beat him.”

I don’t know if the writer of that post is honestly that unable to interpret a story or is being intentionally disingenuous in order to further trash a story that he or she didn’t like, but either way, it’s sad.

Links du Jour: Harry Potter theme park, Doctor Who season three, and I want to hug Roger Ebert

Marvel Adventures: Avengers #12Fantasy

  • JK Rowling has a great idea for a Harry Potter theme park and there are several groups who want to help her make it, but her idea for the main entrance sounds a bit bottleneck-ish. Hope they can work out the details; I’d love to visit the place she’s imagining.
  • Josh Ortega sent out an email newsletter about the crazy success of the Death Dealer comic he wrote. “I was completely blindsided this month when Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer became the most successful series launch for Image Comics in over a decade, and one of the biggest independent comic debuts in recent history … heck, the book even sold out nationwide in six hours!” And not only that, but, “Frank Frazetta and his family absolutely love the book, and now there are talks of sequels, other Frazetta projects, slipcase hardcover collections, action figures, even a film … looks like the beginning of something big!” Congrats to Josh and artists Nat Jones and Jay Fotos. I definitely want to see a Death Dealer movie.

Science Fiction


  • I’ve been wanting to try out Marvel Adventures: The Avengers for a little while now. Partly because I’m thirsty for a more light-hearted superhero comic than I’m getting from the usual Marvel/DC stuff lately; partly because it’s got Dumb Hulk in it and I love Dumb Hulk. Knowing that every four issues are collected in digest format, I wanted to wait until issue #13 came out to start buying the single issues, but unfortunately for that plan, issue #12 was all about Ego the Living Planet’s macking on the Earth and I got impatient. Especially after reading this scene that didn’t make it into the final version. So, yesterday I broke down and bought issues 1-8 in digest form and 9-12 in single issue form. So weak-willed. I’ll try to do better about easing into Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four.
  • I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like the material reprinted in it, but after reading Dan Kelly’s post about it, I’m definitely getting Showcase Presents: Shazam!.
  • After Marvel’s movie producer Avi Arad made an offhanded comment about how the new movie version of the Hulk would have a “new color” (in addition to new everything else from the first film), fans began posting wildly about whether or not that meant the Hulk would be gray, as he was when he first appeared in comics. Arad later told Empire that folks needed to settle down. “Here’s what it was. There were 30 people around a table, and they said ‘is there going to be a grey Hulk?’ And I was thinking about it and I said, ‘who knows?’ It was one of those moments. I had just got back from Japan and I was trying to talk about Spider-Man and this guy was pushing me on The Hulk so I thought I’ll be coy. I don’t know what colour it is, and all of a sudden it’s headline news.” He went on to explain his original “new color” comment: “It’s a different shade of green, but the colour is not like the old Hulk.” I’m guessing that the “old Hulk” there refers to the one in the Ang Lee film.

Other Comics

  • I mention this mainly because they’re going to be publishing that King Kong comic and I don’t want to lose track of it, but Markosia Publications is merging with its sister company [browse for “25-04-07 – AAM MERGES WITH MARKOSIA” if it’s not at the top of the page anymore] Associate Arts and Media and may get a name change.

Stuff Nobody Cares About But Me

  • One of my biggest influences as a guy who reviews comics is Roger Ebert. His reviews are always entertaining and thoughtful, but most of all I love how he judges movies based on what they’re trying to achieve, not on what he wishes they’d be. Seeing his attitude after having much of his jaw removed due to cancer, he’s gone from Influence to Hero. Get well soon, Mr. Ebert.


Anyone watching Drive on FOX?

It started a week ago with back-to-back episodes on Sunday night before they showed another episode in it’s regular timeslot the next night right before 24. Tonight will be the fourth episode, but you can catch up on the show’s MySpace page. (Apparently. I can’t access MySpace from work, so I’m taking their word for it.)

Anyway, I haven’t been this into a new show since Lost debuted. The Coolest Man in the Universe Nathan Fillion was the initial attraction, but there’s a lot more to love about the show than just him. As far as actors go, there’s also Charles Martin Smith (who played Oscar the accountant in The Untouchables), Dylan Baker (Dr. Conners in the Spider-Man movies), Richard Brooks (Jubal Early from Firefly), and Mircea Monroe (whom I’ve never seen before, but Holy Moley).

Spoilers from here down

The plot is sort of like Cannonball Run and The Amazing Race, but with way more thrills and suspense. Most of the story centers around Fillion’s character, a Nebraska landscaper named Alex Tully whose wife is kidnapped. He gets a phone call telling him to be in Key West by a certain time if he wants to see his wife again. When he shows up, he finds out that he’s been entered into a secret, illegal, cross-country race and the only hope he has of finding his wife is to win it.

At first I thought that all the racers must have been similarly coerced into racing, but it turns out that most of them are playing for a $32 million prize. For some reason, the race’s organizers specifically wanted Tully in the event. And by the third episode the plot thickens when we learn that he’s not just an innocent landscaper.

Although the plot focuses a lot on Tully and his partner in the race (a woman whose parents were killed in a similar race 27 years ago), it’s really an ensemble show with lots of people racing for different reasons. There’s a dying man who’s hoping to really live for the first time; a soldier who — thanks to his dishonest wife — doesn’t realize that he’s been recalled to duty and is now AWOL; a rich kid and the ex-con half-brother he never knew he had, who are both driving to tick off their politician father; and there’s the mom who’s trying to escape her abusive husband and whose baby may or may not have been kidnapped a la Tully’s wife.

Like any reality show, the contestants don’t know all the rules of the race. They’ve all got cell phones provided by the race’s organizers through which they receive clues and instructions. So, we’re trying to learn the race at the same time we’re trying to learn the characters and their secrets. There’s a lot to pay attention to and it makes for an exciting show.

Of course, it’s on FOX, so if it doesn’t become a smash hit by the tenth episode it’ll be cancelled, but I can’t help getting hooked on it. I’m hoping it becomes the next House or 24 rather than the next Justice or Firefly.