Showing posts from April, 2008

Drink & Draw pt. 2!

This Thursday, May 1st at Mickie Finnz (425 Fremont St. on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd.), will be the second Las Vegas gathering of the Drink and Draw Social Club. The fun starts at 7pm until the booze and or drawing paper runs out! If things play out as they did at the first Drink & Draw that was such a smashing great time last month, there'll be prize "drawings" held every half hour or so throughout the night. The contests aren't based on who draws the best as Drink & Draw is just about having fun. They'll probably have a theme or two to kick start what people draw, but you could of course draw anything. Even if you're not a drinker or "drawer", Drink & Draw is a fun way to hang out with others because the creative energy just charges the whole place (and they've got a good menu if you get the hungries)!

A little movie called Iron Man, that a few people are eager to see, is opening the same night (with some theaters having an 8pm s…

Life Sucks-graphic novel

On the flight back from St. Louis Sunday night I read the preview copy I'd gotten of Life Sucks by writers Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria, artist Warren Pleece, and colorist Hilary Sycamore, published by First Second. I'd gotten this preview copy of a Life Sucks a couple of months ago and was really looking forward to reading it as I've enjoyed works by Jessica Abel (writer and artist of La Perdida, Artbabe and Soundtrack) and Warren Pleece (True Faith; Garth Ennis' first comic work, Vertigo's Deadenders, and the excellent, overlooked, short-lived, left of center boy develops super powers DC comic Kinetic). So when I got the preview copy I was eager to dive into it and did so, but after almost twenty pages I was kind of disappointed and just put it on the back burner of things to read.

Well I don't know what kind of bad day I was having or what bad drugs I was on when I first tried to read Life Sucks a couple of months ago because when I started reading Life Sucks …

photos from an airplane

Since I didn't get a chance to take many pictures in St. Louis, I was happy that I'd gotten a window seat on my return flight Sunday night. In St. Louis, most of Sunday was rainy so it was cool to be up in the air at about 7pm that night just before sundown.
Obviously I'm sitting right betrween one of the plane's wings and engines. The clouds were really beautiful and just being up amongst them put me in a really happy mellow mood.

I just wanted to dive into these clouds!

A break in the clouds as the sun begins to fade. This is somewhere between St. Louis and Chicago.

training in St. Louis

This past weekend I'd gone to St. Louis for an intensive two day training session on this new POS (point of sale) system I'm going to have at the store to further streamline operations at the store. The POS system will allow me to have better management of my ordering, sales, customer info, and really just a plethora of data at my fingertips. I'll have my hardware, inventory, and customer data entered in the next couple of weeks so I expect that by the second week in May I'll have my new POS system raring to go.

My distributor is creating a POS system presently that was supposed to debut this past October, but now they're hoping to roll it out this summer. I went with this system called MOBY designed by Ben of Star Clipper Comics in St. Louis along with his friend Mark. MOBY has been used by some distinguished comics stores for five years now, it works on both PCs and Macs (I use a Mac), and plays well with other distributors. I went to St. Louis so that I could get…

The Other Side

The Other Side is an aptly titled graphic novel because it tells two parallel stories about the Vietnam War, one from the point of view of a U.S. marine soldier and the other view being that of a native Vietnam soldier. The Other Side, which came out in 2006, is the comics writing debut of Jason Aaron, who's the cousin of Corporal Gustav Hasford USMC, who was a Vietnam Veteran and wrote The Short-Timers, which was adapted by director Stanley Kuberick in his excellent Vietnam War movie Full Metal Jacket. Actually, I think The Other Side works as well as it does because it is essentially an ode to Full Metal Jacket.

The other half of The Other Side creative team is artist Cameron Stewart (he of Vertigo's Seaguy fame, of which there will be another installment later this year with Grant Morrison), who puts so much humanity into his art that it would be hard for any book he's drawing to not be at least good - so here on The Other Side, coupled with a strong story, Stewart'…

Thor Ages of Thunder

Next week Thor Ages of Thunder, a done in one Thor special arrives by writer Matt Fraction, and artists Patrick Zircher and Khari Evans. Actually to be specific Thor Ages of Thunder is one story told in two parts with a follow up to the story continuing in Thor: Reign of Blood. Having said that, I'd still call Thor Ages of Thunder a really good self contained issue (I've read the preview copy sent to retailers and just wanted to give a heads up for those who don't normally read Thor, but like a good story, especially a good story in the fantasy genre).

Patrick Zircher draws the first half of Thor Ages of Thunder and certainly the pages and cover shown here will attest to his artistic prowess (part two of the story drawn by Khari Evans is nice and perfectly suited to his part of the story, but it can't help but fall short after following Zircher).

Thor Ages of Thunder, in a nutshell, is a two part story about two eras of Ragnaork (the Norse end of the Gods) which also inv…

JH Williams III art

JH Williams III (Promethea, Seven Soldiers, and sometime Batman artist) will be doing an upcoming issue of Jonah Hex (a consistantly good book with great self contained stories just about every issue).

These three images show the evolution of his cover for Jonah Hex.

Why isn't JH Williams III a millionaire!?

The Arrival

Brace yourselves, because I'm going to turn up the hyperbole to twelve (yup, I'm even going past eleven)! The Arrival, by Shaun Tan, is one of the most beautifully illustrated graphic narratives you'll ever lay your eyes upon. Everything about The Arrival is a thing of beauty. This is a book that definitely demands the hardcover format it's in and on whichever rack, bookshelf, or table upon which it rests, a person will not be able to resist being compelled to look at it.

The Arrival is an immigrant story told entirely through lush sepia photo realistic illustrations (it's worldless, but the art speaks volumes). Actually, Art Spiegelman (Maus) describes The Arrival better than I ever could via a quote on the back of the book "Tan's lovingly laid out and masterfully rendered tale about the immigrant experience is a documentary magically told by way of Surrealism."

Just about the only way that The Arrival will not win this year's Eisner (it came out …

The Drifting Classroom

This week the last volume of The Drifting Classroom (#11), the horror manga by Kazuo Umezu, came out and I'm happy to report that the ending was a worthy one. The Drifting Classroom is about a grade school that ends up vanishing from the city and ends up existing in a world in which some catastrophe has occurred making said world a barren, harsh, alien place to live. The Drifting Classroom volumes are shrinkwrapped, but really the horror isn't as explicit as the Berserk manga. The horror in The Drifting Classroom is three-fold: firstly the cast of characters are just kids with very few adults around other than the teachers and staff at the school, secondly they don't know if and how their school and they themselves will ever return to the world as they knew it, and thirdly they are living in a hostile environment that makes just surviving difficult.
The Drifting Classroom was done by Kazuo Umezu something like thirty years ago, but if I didn't know this from reading not…

Morrison & Quitely

Pairing writer Grant Morrison with artist Frank Quitely is one of those peanut butter and jelly or strawberry and banana combinations in that alone each of the units is great, but together they're all kinds of wonderfulness.

WE3 was a three issue Vertigo series that Morrison and Quitely did in 2005 (now collected in a nice trade paperback) about the military designing animals with machines to be used in combat situations. The story mostly focuses on a dog, cat, and rabbit that try to escape this secnario and it is one of the most brutally sad stories about animal experimentation that I've read.

Frank Quitely draws fantastic animals, fantastic machinery, and has fantastic storytelling prowess. I'd say that WE3 is Quitely's finest work to date because he's really gone all out in terms of panel stucture giving the story the brutal intensity that Morrison's script demands. For a while now there's been talk of a movie adaptation of WE3, but I really don't see …

Epstein illos

This wonderful color piece was done by the amazing Lark Pien

( last year for me and is titled: "Alternate Reality it all began." I didn't even ask her to do this - she just handed this to me at last year's Wondercon!

This is one of my favorite artist interpretations of Epstein (that's my store mascot's name with the original drawing by Keir Eastveld) by artist Joe Matt (Peepshow). For a couple of years I had a sketchbook that I'd take around with me to the San Diego convention and would ask artists to draw their versions of Epstein. I stopped doing this though because I felt guilty about these artists doing this for free being that the character design is so busy and I've got quite a few drawings in my book so no need for me to continue being greedy! Maybe at a future Las Vegas Drink and Draw I'll have the people that show up take a crack at doing their version of Epstein (I forgot to mention that the theme…

Kinky Boots

This morning I watched one of the best "feel good" movies that I've seen in some time. Said movie is Kinky Boots (thanks for the recommendation Todd Huish!) from 2005. The cover of the Kinky Boots dvd states: "If you liked The Full Monty and Calender Girls, you'll love Kinky Boots", well I've seen The Full Monty and I can say that Kinky Boots is similar in some ways without being dervivative.

Kinky Boots is inspired by a true story and takes place in Northhampton, England (the very same haunting grounds of uber comic scribe Alan Moore (I wonder if he's seen this film - I think he'd like it). It can be said that Kinky Boots goes down some predictable paths, but really the story and characters are so enjoyable that you'll just go where the story takes you and be happy for having done so by the time it's over. If you watch this, I'd recommend not reading the back of the dvd case because it gives too much away - I'm just going to say…

Library book fair

This past Saturday, the Clark County library on Flamingo had a book fair which featured local novelists and had about eight local book stores as venders (including my store and Comic Oasis). This is my second year participating and while I think it's a good time and like supporting events like this, I do lament that the turnout isn't greater than it is. Last year it was on a Sunday and I thought the low traffic flow was because of that day so I thought that this year's being on a Saturday would have result in a bigger turnout. There was people coming to the library and the event all day, but I'd think that even if the promotion for this event was just done via fliers in the valley's entire library system that more people would come out.
Mostly I was getting the word out to people that were there about the upcoming annual Free Comic Book Day, which is happening Saturday, May 3rd. I also passed out extra free comics to people that I had left over from previous years …

Drink & Draw

Last Thursday was the first Las Vegas Drink & Draw that was initiated by Justin Newberry (writer of the upcoming graphic novel Super coming out from Aberrant Press later this year - I've seen several pages of this and it looks great - check out Drink & Draw started as a monthly artist get together in Los Angeles by comic artists Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian, and Jeff Johnson (they put out a gorgeous art book from those monthly meetings through Image last year naturally called Drink & Draw and they hope to do a Vegas version in the future).

In this photo from left to right are the three sponsors of the first Vegas Drink & Draw, Jay from Maximum Comics, Derrick from Comic Oasis, and Ralph from Alternate Reality Comics. Jay and Derrick are great guys and they have great stores so I'm not going to tell you where they are in fear of people deserting my store for their four color offerings (grin)! This is us inside Mickie Finnz the bar where Veg…

Alucard in a box

As those of you who have cats know, most cats just love to get into boxes or bags. This never becomes not funny or cute to us cat people. Alucard just about always does something to amuse Kate and myself (fortunately he doesn't walk across our upstairs stair beams anymore though because that always looked like an accident waiting to happen). Call me a simpleton if you must, but one of my daily joys in life is when Alucard curls or stretches along side me on the couch and sleeps (or when he digs himself into our unmade bed in the mornings or lies upon a pile of towels).

This concludes my cat interlude, I'll now be returning to more comic centric entries...