Thursday, November 27, 2008

Life Size Mego (or: Why I Loved Thanksgiving)

If there was one thing I loved at Thanksgiving growing up (and there were many things), it was getting to see the Marvel superhero float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This float couldn't stay onscreen long enough, as far as I was concerned, and it was the one element of the parade that was completely above reproach. This was serious.

Looking back at one of these clips just makes me shake my head while smiling... Saying it doesn't hold up too well is almost completely wrong. These scenerios are just flat out insane. Did a six year old weave this narrative together? Maybe that's why it played so well when I was young.

It's strange enough that the entire adventure is set to the Back to the Future theme, but when Robocop (Robocop?) comes in and Power Man (a character with whom most of the viewing audience couldn't have any familiarity) makes an appearance... what? Captain America then tosses Hulk, who is caught by Green Goblin and Doctor Doom? Why would bad guys catch the Hulk? I mean, I know Hulk was never the unproblematic hero that Captain America was, but come on...

But as I said in my previous post about Megos, this was just one step closer to these beings existing in the same world my scrawny self occupied, and I couldn't get enough of it. I'll miss the parade this year, I'm sure, but I'll still be thinking of these epic battles rolling down the New York streets.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reverse Bailout

Fantagraphics clearly doesn't care if you're already broke, because you're going to have to figure out how to buy these two books, Supermen and Boody: The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers ... as well as picking up the always brilliant Lilli Carré's full-color 32-page story in Mome number 14.

Have fun wearing a barrel and carrying a bindle.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Landscapes and Smoke: AN in LA

Anders Nilsen will be having his first solo show at LittleBird Gallery in Los Angeles in December. If you're able to travel or live in the area, be sure to stop by and see his comics, drawings, and paintings. I've had the honor of exhibiting with Anders before and can attest to the fact that his (often quite massive) originals are a sight to behold.

The information for the show is as follows:

Anders Nilsen / Landscapes and Smoke
LittleBird Gallery
3195 Glendale Blvd. L.A., CA 90039
Artist reception: Saturday, December 6th, 7:00-10:00pm
Exhibition continues: December 6 - January 14 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shape-Shifting Cars. Finally.

I'm no automobile enthusiast in general, but this is pretty undeniably cool: BMW has built a shape-shifting car with a skin of cloth. The pictures are great, but the video is pure nerd heroin, especially for those who grew up on a diet of Transformers and the like.

It might not be Turbo Teen, but the winking headlights have me sold.

"Being Drunk is The Worst Feeling of All... Except for All The Other Feelings"

Tony Millionaire always impresses, be it with "Sock Monkey" or "Maakies." His comics hold firm to a strange place between early 1900's cartoons and tomorrow's gross out humor. It's a balance not easily obtained, and only Tony could maintain it as he does.

So I was curious to see how that unlikely balance would play out in the animated version of Tony's comics: The Drinky Crow Show. I wasn't disappointed. Of course, I'm completely biased and still prefer Tony's comics to the show, but the show is pretty brilliantly put together with surprisingly high production values (from what I've heard the budget for such shows can be fairly anemic).

Give the show a watch, then decide if you need to cut off your eyes with a razor blade, blow up the world, or impregnate a pile of dirt.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Digital LIFE

Thanks to BoingBoing for posting this link to Google's hosting of LIFE's photo archives. There are millions of great shots here, including the above photograph of journalists in the City room of the Louisville Courier Journal during the 1937 Louisville Flood.

What Will Become of Our World?

Ever reliable Graph Jam provides us this perfect graph of the disasters prevented by Proposition 8.

And if you missed it, even Snagglepuss weighed in on the subject. What better authority?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Crying About the Dying Cassette"

Ian Rogers, the head of Topspin (the company responsible for the incredibly well-considered release of David Byrne and Brian Eno's new album), posted his recent keynote speech to music industry bigwigs at the GRAMMY Northwest Musictech Summit 2008.

His words are direct, insightful, and paint a picture that should stir hope in independent artists and fear in the inflexible corporations myopic enough to cling to previous (outmoded) models of success in music. He makes the clear point: music is and always has been about the relationship between the artist and the listener, the fan. The only thing failing in the industry is the paradigm of exploitation. As Rogers says, "The 'two hit songs for $17 at Best Buy' business is over."

It's certainly no mystery that David Byrne would work with a company headed by Rogers, given that Rogers' speech directly mirrors Byrne's own (equally direct and insightful) thoughts and observations in his piece for Wired magazine (which I posted about earlier this year).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

12.08. The Mark of The Beast(s!, Volume 2)

The second volume of the Jacob Covey-helmed Beasts! Will be out in December and is available for pre-order now on Fantagraphics' site. I contributed my rendition of one of the strange beings in this cryptozoological encyclopedia, as did Craig Thompson, Dan Zettwoch, David B., Eleanor Davis, Gene Deitch, Jaime Hernandez, Jon Vermilyea, Lilli Carré, Mark Todd, Olivier Schrauwen, Tomer Hanuka and a slew of others.

Jacob (Fantagraphics' master designer who I've mentioned on this blog before) never fails to wow the world with his production, so if you haven't already pumped all your money into the new Kramers Ergot (and having seen the unbound printed pages, I couldn't blame you for skipping a meal or two to get it), send Fantagraphics their due.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Further Into The Extrasolar

Since I failed to link the actual photographs in question in the last post, here's an article featuring those.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Scientists Photograph Eye of Sauron

Okay, okay, so it's not the all-seeing evil eye of Tolkien lore.

This (above) shot is merely of the star Fomalhaut, which UC Berkely scientists recently photographed with an orbiting planet, released at the same time of other photographs of a star (HR8799) with three planets larger than Jupiter orbiting it, some 128 light years away.

Almost as nerd-out inducing, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Omega in the Amazon

I'm a bit behind in this, as I think this was announced over a week ago, but Omega the Unknown was listed as one of's Best Graphic Novels of 2008. I had just received my copies of the book around when this list came out, and it was an odd experience flipping through the collection, not having looked at any of this since we sent things off to press. I'm sure I'll re-read it in the coming months and will hopefully be able to appreciate it as a reader, rather than someone who has his faced glued to a computer screen, making sure I filled in the corner of this mouth, or that shoelace.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

On the Infinite, and Water, and Mutants

This has been drifting in the public sphere for some time, but I only just recently came across the commencement speech of the late David Foster Wallace, given at Kenyon College in 2005. (Thanks to Patton Oswalt for posting it on his blog in the wake of Wallace's suicide.)

The speech should be mandatory reading not simply for graduating students of a liberal arts college, but for a great number of citizens of the modern world. Patton said a day hasn't gone by where he hasn't thought of some aspect of the speech, and while it's too soon after first reading the speech for me to make the same claim, I can only say that Wallace succinctly put into words the sort of thought processes that go into most of my writing... And I certainly don't think I'd have been able to do that otherwise.

So often I'm standing in a grocery, the airport, the flow of foot traffic, wondering at the people swarming around, "What is your day? What is your life?" Thinking of the bridges, conscious and unconscious, between all of those people, realizing that I'm but one dot, with a million points radiating to and from all these other dots. It's simultaneously humbling, inspiring, and freeing. Even writing that, I don't feel that I'm getting it across a tenth as well as Wallace did at that commencement.

Bizarre as it might sound, this (connection, awareness, etc.) is what part of my short story for Marvel, involving Nightcrawler of the X-Men, was about. Really.

Thanks, Mr. Wallace, for these words. I already thought your death a loss (though I agree with Patton's general comments on suicide), but reading this I appreciate that loss all the more deeply.

Four Years of a New First Family

In addition to getting precisely the sort of president I think the country needs right now, as a mighty bonus we get a rather adorable first family with an infectious love for one another. I won't be opposed to seeing pictures like these (above from The Boson Globe's compilation of Obama photographs, and below from David Katz of the Obama campaign, on the night of the election) for the next four years, or eight. It'll certainly help to offset the mountain of post-Bush woes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

From Shit to Social Progress

The events of election day were so massive and moving that you'd be hard pressed to find any way to joke about them. But that's why we have The Onion... who gives us this article.

My favorite line: "Carrying a majority of the popular vote, Obama did especially well among women and young voters, who polls showed were particularly sensitive to the current climate of everything being fucked."

Congratulations to everyone that worked for the campaign and to everyone who finally conceded that, yes, it had all gotten plenty shitty enough. Here's to less shittiness.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If You Needed Another Reminder...

...Please vote today.

And if you missed this video (below) when it aired (as I unfortunately did), give it a watch. One of the towns featured is not far from where I grew up. It's the town where I went to church, played soccer games, had my first serious relationship. Sardinia, Ohio.

Not that I needed this campaign to be any more poignant, but this short film definitely accomplished that. Pass it along to anyone who is still somehow undecided.