Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Psychedelia Robots, Get Well Steve

Now that this seems to be in the public sphere (not being one to keep up on catalogs or promotional materials for the series, I never know what images are "out there" or not), I have to share this cover, from "Omega the Unknown" issue seven. When I was coloring this (a bit nerve-racking, coloring art from Gary Panter, inarguably one of the best artists working in comics), I assumed that the result would cause Marvel to have a collective heart attack. But to my surprise they sent it through unscathed, and the result is one of the more bizarre covers Marvel's produced in recent memory. Just wait until you see Gary's pages. Fletcher Hanks, you've got a challenger.

On a more somber note, my best wishes to Steve Gerber, the creator of "Omega" (and the more universally known "Howard the Duck") who is in the middle of some very serious health problems. Despite the somewhat ominous prognosis, we all wish Steve, one of the more original voices mainstream comics has seen in the past couple decades, the best.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Demons in Spring, in August

This isn't coming out until August, but I wanted to be sure to give advance warning that people should be on the lookout for Joe Meno's upcoming book, Demons in the Spring , for which I provided a couple illustrations (two permutations of one those illustrations are above). Those illustrations will join the (undoubtedly superior) work of Charles Burns, Archer Prewitt, Ivan Brunetti, Jay Ryan, Anders Nilsen, and kozyndan, among others.

With that cast of talent and weighing in at three hundred hardbound pages, it's sure to be an impressive book. But all that aside, the book benefits 826 Chicago, a non-profit writing and tutoring center, so come August, buy five copies... even if you hate everyone in the book. And then go get some anger management therapy, because you hate some of the nicer people on the planet. It's really time to take a look in the mirror, isn't it? Yes. Yes, it is.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Advances in the Dark Arts

Scientists have built the "blackest material known to science," with massive potential for applications in solar energy. This sort of advance coupled with recent findings on the energy efficiency of switch grass ethanol make me almost think that we don't have to completely murder this planet after all.

Thanks, science. But seriously, maybe you should stop working on that super mouse. I'm sure it could make for great television, but it seems a little scary.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Well, Anyway, It's Good To See You Again

Keeping in the cinematic vein of the previous post, I feel compelled to give a double recommendation for the movies released lately by two (well, really three) of America's best modern filmmakers: Paul Thomas Anderson and the Coen Brothers.

I hesitate to call the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men and Anderson's There Will Be Blood "comebacks," since I was never of the opinion that they'd really waned (I often feel people are too harsh on the Coen Brothers' latest films, and Anderson's Punch Drunk Love was an under-celebrated masterpiece of squirming acting, color, and sound). But to say that these two latest are two of their respective best I don't think is putting things too generously.

Above all, Anderson and the Coen Brothers are master storytellers who had me leaving the theatre inspired. It's good to see them back commanding the screen. Now back to cursing under my breath at previews until the next ones come out.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Philip Seymour Hoffman: The Happy Savage

While I'm a fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman's acting, I also recently noticed that he's one of the few people (probably the only person) to have the distinction of being drawn for a film poster by both Chris Ware and Dan Clowes.

I'm waiting for Charles Burns' and Jim Woodring's versions. Maybe for the "Capote" collector's edition.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Our Lives As Doppelgängers

I, along with probably everyone else, have been approached many times over with: "You know who you look like?" or "You know who you remind me of?" This is followed by anything ranging from the observer's cousin to some actor whose name escapes them. In most cases, I have no idea how to respond this, as I'm sure we all don't. Typically we don't know the person to whom we're being compared so we obviously don't have the liberty of joining in the appraisal. But I seem to always have the honor of "looking just like" people with whom I see no resemblance. Recent example: my friend Brad insists I'm a dead ringer for John Edwards. I think I look more like Hilary, frankly.

But the omniscient promotional guru of Fantagraphics, Mr. Eric Reynolds, mailed me today with one that I had to concede. The subject line of his message: "You look like AC Newman." Alright, I give. This one's sort of weirdly accurate. Look for me on stage at the next New Pornographers show.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Punk's (And The Rest of Music's) Not Dead

I missed this with my previous post about David Byrne interviewing Thom Yorke for Wired Magazine (and thanks to my brother-in-law Dan for catching it): David Bryne also wrote an insightful and inspiring article about the current state of music (essentially what it's always been: a psychological and social compulsion toward and celebration of sound, rhythm, etc.) and the music industry (changing radically in the face of modern technology and putting commercial fear into major record executives going from being mega super rich to merely super rich). Again, if time allows, be sure to listen to the mp3 interviews Byrne conducted with Brian Eno, Mac McCaughan, Aimee Mann's manager Michael Hausman, and Radiohead's manger Bryce Edge.

This seems mandatory reading and listening for any musician or independent label head. Those soon-to-be merely super rich major label CEO's may want to give it a read too. Feel free to pass the link on to "their people" We'll do lunch.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Barack in Iowa

I don't typically get on any sort of political soapbox in public (though those who have the poor judgment to know me are forced to hear me rant about these sorts of things all too often). But I have to say how happy I was hearing that Barack Obama won Iowa last night. To say it was historically significant was putting it mildly, and I hope it's only the first in a long string of wins leading to the White House. Barack, from my perspective, is precisely the sort of person our nation needs at this point in our history (a point at which, to a large degree, I wish we had never arrived, given the avoidable/predictable nature of some of the crises we face).

Thanks, Iowa, for starting things off.


This went up while I was in Berlin and on a bit of hiatus from posting anything, but my applause goes out to whatever editor sat down two of my favorite musicians to talk: David Byrne and Thom Yorke. While the transcript is interesting on its own, give the mp3s to the side a listen, as they're far more revealing as to how these two work, consider, and react, from sentence to sentence and album to album.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

While I'm Hugging the Union Jack

Speaking of Anglophile tendencies, here are two more agents exacerbating the condition:

Above, an installment of the ingenious Look Around You (thanks to Ann for alerting me to this). It's a different sort of moth to one you might enjoy in a sandwich (watch the Germs episode for that pearl).

And below, an almost hour-long video from Radiohead, featuring live performances of all the songs from their latest album "In Rainbows." (You can also download a handful of the songs' videos, along with a cover of Bjork's "Unravel" individually as free podcasts from iTunes.)

His Majesty's digital dominions, on which the sun never sets!

Best of a Dead Year

While I think this falls safely (distastefully?) under the "Tooting One's Horn" category, I did want to extend a thanks to New York Magazine and Entertainment Weekly for choosing "The Three Paradoxes" for their "Best of 2007" lists.

And a cross-continental handshake goes to Toby Litt and Nathan Burton, with whom I shared a very flattering illustration award in early December from the Victoria and Albert Museum in England, for the cover to Mr. Litt's book, "Hospital." I thank you, as does my Anglophile mother. A doff of the bowler, mum.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Proper Beginnings

Let us begin the New Year well.
Let us begin with a snug.