Showing posts from August, 2008

John Totleben, an artist spotlight

One of my favorite comic book artists is John Totleben and anyone who has seen his work can understand why. John Totleben is mostly known for working with artist Steve Bissette and with writer Alan Moore on Swamp Thing and for penciling and inking the third book of Alan Moore's Miracleman. All of book three of Miracleman (titled Olympus) was amazing in every respect, but it wouldn't be anywhere as legendary as it is without the contributions of John Totleben's art. Unfortunately Miracleman is almost impossible (and expensive) to read as it's not in print because of all the legal complications surrounding the ownership of the character (enter "Miracleman" in Wikipedia and you'll see how convoluted the rights situation is).

This first page of art (above, click on image to see it larger in all its glory) is from Swamp Thing #29, titled Love and Death, which is one of the creepiest issues of any comic ever. John Totleben mostly worked with artist Steve Bissit…

So I saw The Spirit tonight...

...and I thought it was horrible! No spoilers following:

Tonight over at the Rave movie theater here in Las Vegas, the first advance screening of The Spirit, written and directed by Frank Miller, was held and Rob (a friend who's my new helper in processing the week's new books), had gotten two passes Saturday when he and his wife went to a movie there. I was pretty exited because The Spirit isn't set to open nationwide until December and I thought from seeing two trailers that it would be a fun movie ala Sin City or fun to goof on like that show Mystery Science Theatre did to bad movies.

After seeing the trailer I thought that Frank Miller's Spirit wouldn't have much to do with Will Eisner's creation which I thought was kind of odd as I know that Miller respects Eisner. I'm going to guess that Miller thought what he was doing was updating the character for today's audiences. I don't have a problem with movies based on comic books differing from the …

Beijing Olympics - my overview

I didn't get to watch anywhere close to what I'd hoped to watch of the 2008 Olympics even though I watched some of them every day. The most exciting athlete of this years games for me was Usain Bolt from Jamaica (he's in the center in this photo). Bolt won the 100m and 200m in record times and also won gold in a relay. He made it look almost effortless and looked like he was having a great time.
On the flip side, the saddest moment of the games for me was seeing Lolo Jones (second from the left) hit the second to last hurdle in her run to go from what looked like a sure win by her, to end up in seventh place. One night last week I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep and that's when I saw her event amd what ultimately happened.

Overall I enjoyed the Beijing Olympics, even though it seemed like the only events I saw were swimming, diving, track and field, and beach volleyball. I wished I'd seen some tabletop tennis and badminton, but …

I Love...

...Little Baby Ducks This song, by Tom T. Hall from the 1970's was playing in my head while I was thinking of the following entry (Tom T. Hall also wrote another great "simple" song called I Like Beer, but I think these songs speak volumes and are great happy songs).

So I'm doing my monthly order here at the store and someone dares to interrupt me by buying some great comics (Planetary, Me and the Devil Blues, House of Mystery, Walking Dead). Actually, of course I love interruptions like that because I love when good comics find good homes. I can't say the following enough, but I love my job selling comics, what's not to love!? While I lament that readership of almost all print media is down as there is so many other forms of entertainment that vie for people's attentions and attention spans are diminishing with the flood of information and stimulus that exists today, I love that there are people who still love t…

Millar & Harris Drink & Draw!

From right to left: Mark Millar (writer of War Heroes, Wanted, Kick Ass, Fantastic Four, Wolverine Old Man Logan, Ultimates, Superman Red Son, Authority and lots of other titles that make readers and comic store registers happy), Derrick of Comic Oasis here in Las Vegas, me, and Tony Harris (artist on War Heroes, Ex Machina, and Starman). After this photo was taken, Mark, Derrick, and Tony beat the crap out of me for not hamming it up in front of the camera like they did!
Todd, a friend of mine, with Mark and a little product placement. Kate and I call Todd, Happy Todd, because he's always happy when we see him (and it's a way to differentiate him from the other Todds we know).
On the left is a cool little illo that Mark did for Kate and myself (Kate had something else going on last night so she wasn't present). Then Tony did the great drawing on the right for us while he was telling a funny story of how a local paper where he lives (Macon, Georgia) was doing a local intere…

Las Vegas Wetlands

Yesterday I went to Las Vegas' best kept secret, the Las vegas Wetlands, with my friends Camila, Evan, and Frankie. The Vegas Wetlands aren't completely done (I think they started in 2000), but they have the first phase open (free) from dawn until dusk (vistor center open from 10am-4pm) and it's located at the far east side of Tropicana, just past Boulder Highway.
This was only the second time that I'd been to the Vegas Wetlands and both times, without even trying, I saw wildlife that you don't see anywhere else within the city limits, like this desert cottontail rabbit in this photo (click photo to make larger and see the rabbit better). Leave the guns at home please!
When the whole Wetlands project is finished it'll encompass six miles, but seriously there's already a good amount of land with good trails where you can see environments that you wouldn't think would (or could) exist out here in the desert.

For more info about the Vegas wash project and the…

Mark Millar interview and...

War Heroes is a new Mark Millar production (Authority, Ultimates, Wanted, Superman Red Son, Chosen, Kick Ass, 1985, and too many more to list) with artist Tony Harris (Ex Machina, Starman) published by Image. The scenario behind War Heroes is that the goverment is giving people who sign up for the military superpowers and we the readers get to watch the wackiness that ensues from there. The image accompanying this entry is by local artist Thomas Thomey who won the contest for an upcoming cover for War Heroes!

Mark Millar and Tony Harris will be at Comic Oasis this Thursday (details at the end of this post). Rumour is that Millar and Harris will be at a Drink & Draw event later that night at On The Rocks so call Comic Oasis for more info. Reprinted here with permission is an interview that Jarret Keene did with the crazy (but fun) Scottish writer, Mark Millar (this interview is in this week's CityLife coming out Wednesday evening):

Comics scribe Mark Millar envisions enhanced rec…

Me and the Devil Blues

Me and the Devil Jones (subtitled The Unreal Life of Robert Johnson) is an incredible new manga (well newly published and translated here in the U.S.) by Akira Hiramoto and published by Del Rey. This huge first volume (525 pages) is just the first of from what I gather from the liner notes at the end of Me and the Devil Blues is still ongoing in Japan.

When I first saw Me and the Devil Blues listed in my distributer catalog it sounded interesting as I thought it was a bio piece on blues musician Robert Johnson and even though I only like the blues in really small doses as a musical subsection, I like comic biographies on almost anyone. So when Me and the Devil Blues arrived a couple of weeks ago I was initially disappointed to find that the life of Robert Johnson was only the springboard for this series as Hiromoto goes off on some really fantastically strange tangents. I overcame my initial disappointment in short term as the art in Me and the Devil Blues is fantastic, kinetic, very e…

Beijing's opening ceremonies - WOW!

I hope everyone watched last night's Beijing's 2008 Olympics opening ceremonies, because they were awe-inspiring! Right from the top, I want to mention that I think the amount of money spent is obscene (like the money Hollywood throws around on movies and the amount it takes to run for political office in the U.S.), but at the same time I'd say that maybe if everyone watched Beijing's opening ceremonies, maybe world peace would be attainable (sorry if I sound like some kind of naive idealist - more of my thoughts on this further on in this entry). Anyway, just on a visual level, Beijing's opening ceremonies were worthy of any superlatives one can think of for being excellent and breath-taking. Early on in the ceremony as we first see the drummers (a total of 2008 of them! - some of them in this top photo) the viewer knows that they're watching one of the most amazing productions ever staged.
The sheer scope of everything that was done (including the new uses of…

Julieta Venegas live!

Last night I saw Julieta Venegas with my new friend, Theresa (my Sunday store guy, Paul's girlfriend) at the Joint (not my favorite venue, but it was fine last night) and she was fantastic. I first started listening to Julieta Venegas a couple of years ago when I bought Limon Y Sal at Zia's just because I was looking for something different to listen to (and because I was attracted to the cd cover image of her - I'm shallow that way!). I liked it and got a couple of her other cds, not realizing that she was huge in Latin parts of the world. At first it looked like maybe this large fan base she has wouldn't show up at the Joint, but after the opening artist, Ceci Bastida (who was also good), left the stage, the place filled up in a hurry. As with most live shows which are largely general admission, it would have been nice to have had some more space between people, but once Julieta Venegas started singing, the place just came alive and it looked like a good time was had…

is this wrong?

So I was wandering around the interweb this afternoon and somehow came across comic artist Nikki Cook's blog (or live journal) and she had this photo / image as one of her entries (and I don't know how she first "discovered" this).

Isn't the world a crazy place!?

American Widow - forthcoming

A few months ago, someone from the Random House Publishing Group posted over on the CBIA (a comic retailer's forum) that they would be sending out a few advance copies of American Widow and asked for any interested retailers to email them to be put on the list for one of those advance copies. As it had been a few months since I put in my request, I just assumed that I wasn't going to get one of the advance copies. Well yesterday my mail carrier delivered a package with a Random House address and I knew that within was my advance copy of American Widow.

Written by Alissa Torres, American Widow is her true story of how her husband, Eddie Torres, had died on September 11, 2001 in the attack on the World Trade Center. Eddie Torres, an immigrant from Colombia, had only just started working for Cantor Fitzgerald the day before and Alissa was seven and a half months pregnant. American Widow is a 224 page $22.00 hardcover graphic novel, published by Villard, and distributed by Random H…

Joker's cat

Now this cat would probably be a real pain in the ass. Someone showed this to me last week and I had it on my desktop so I wanted to share it with those who haven't already seen this somewhere online (in case PETA is reading this, I'm sure that this cat has been photoshopped!).

new kitties!

A friend of ours, Joseph (who rents our condo), just became a truck driver and as he was only going to be in town three or four days a month he was going to send his cats to a shelter. While we weren't going to get another cat (or cats) for a while yet, at the same time I knew if they ended up at the shelter that their chance of being adopted probably wasn't too great, so I told him we'd take them in.

Last Wednesday I made the kitty transport and both of the new cats are still wigged out by their new surroundings. The grey cat is especially shy / scared and tries to find the tiniest corners or hiding places and even when we've blocked them off, she's mangaged to find new ways to hide herself or get past our barriers. We put both of them in one of our small rooms so that they wouldn't be overwhelmed by the whole house (and so the grey cat wouldn't have countless hiding places). After a couple of days we brought out the mostly white cat and she hung out in our…

Starbucks week 13

Continuing the saga of the development of the new Starbucks that's going to be my neighbor:

So last week the orange phase of the building happened (insulation). They've also got a lot (if not all) of the wiring and pipe work done inside the building.
Concrete has also been poured and the sidewalks and driving areas are starting to take shape. From what I've heard they could be done as early as late September, but if they don't finish until November they won't open until January. And I got confirmation that the Stabucks a block away by Einstein's Bagels will be closing when this one opens and the employees there will move over.

San Diego pt 4

Pictured here is Jerry Robinson, who created the Joker and drew Batman for many years starting from his first appearance. Jerry Robinson was one of the panelists on the Thursday Golden Age and Silver Age cartoonists panel that they have every year at the San Diego convention. One of the highlights of that panel this year was when Robinson recounted his involvement in getting some long overdue monetary compensation for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (the creators of Superman) and a credit byline for them in the Superman titles. Robinson had wanted them to get a bigger annual pension, but as Siegel and Shuster's health wasn't that great at the time, getting a settlement agreed upon while they were still alive was the priority. I'd love to read an autobiogaphy or biography on Jerry Robinson and am surprised there isn't one yet.
One of my favorite people these past few years at the San Diego convention is San Francisco small press artist and painter, Lark Pien. I get at least…

San Diego 2008 pt. 3

One of my other very favorite things about going to the San Diego comic con is to go to the beach which I've been doing with friends every Saturday for the past few years. Sure you miss things going on at the convention, but you also save maoney by not being on the convention floor and hey, it's the beach.

This is me and Harry Fagel, the beach party host with the most (I would say the most alcohol, but you're not supposed to have alcohol on the beach so I'll just say thanks for the fruit punch!)!
This is my tattoo of Big Barda paying her first visit to the beach. I did make it to the Jack Kirby tribute panel on Sunday and his grandson, Jeremy, was there so I gave him a couple of photos of my tat to share with his family.
Me and my good friend Kim, whom I've known for a really long time - this was her second time at the beach with me and we had a blast.

The beach gang after eating dinner after the beach part of the day. On both sides of me are members of the Fagel famil…

San Diego 2008 pt. 2

One of my favorite things to do at conventions is take pictures of people in costumes. From my vantage pont at this year's convention, I didn't think that there were as many people in costumes as previous years, but that's probably because I just wasn't in the right places.

This costume is my favorite that I saw, I don't know what it has to do with comics or anything or what she's doing with her hand (maybe trying to make it like a frogs? - whatever it looks cool!). I like to imagine that all of her clothes have animal themes!
I saw this lovely Death and Aquaman couple at the Watchmen panel. Sure Aquaman shouldn't have sneakers on, but as long as the guy wearing the costume is having fun, who cares and I like to think one of the rules of the San Diego comic con is that costume wise, anything goes.
Kate dressed up as Mazikeen from Vertigo's Lucifer. She had people coming up to her thinking she was Typhoid Mary (from Daredevil). When she went over to Peter G…

Lynda Barry San Diego 2008

My absolute favorite 2008 San Diego convention moment was getting my copy of What It Is signed by Lynda Barry.

Lynda's panel (which was in a big room and had a big crowd, I'm happy to report) was on Friday and it was one of the best panels I've ever been to. For anyone who was at that panel who was unfamiliar with her comic work (or her novels), I know they were still highly entertained by Lynda Barry's stage presence and one would easily think she's moonlighted as a stand up comic. She started by introducing herself by singing some lines from Coal Miner's Daughter, albeit with some altered lines to reflect her life growing up and she closed by singing a song without opening her mouth (I hope that these two bits somehow end up on youtube)!
On Sunday I made sure that I'd get my book signed by Lynda Barry and tell her how much I loved her work so I went over to the Drawn & Quarterly booth (the publisher of What It Is) and stood in line. She was very graci…