Saturday, June 30, 2007

Promethea tattoo lovin'

When I decided to get a tattoo, of course my first one was going to give a shout out to one of Alan Moore's great creations. Also since one of my favorite artists is J.H. Williams III, there was no doubt that my first tattoo would be Promethea. Promethea basically was Alan Moore's exhamination of magic as a way of looking at the world and the character herself is a kind of personification of the imagination. Artist J.H. Williams III always challenged himself and readers of this great book with his beautiful art and imaginative layouts.

I got my Promethea tattoo June 4, 2006 at Pussykat Tattoo Parlor here in Las Vegas, by fantastic artist Dirk Vermin, who also has fronted a long time Vegas punk band, the Vermins. The tattoo took three and a half hours and hurt a lot as any tattoo does in which there's not a lot of skin covering the bone underneath. Dirk (the artist), told me that depending on how well I sat would determine whether he did the tattoo in one or two sessions so I told myself I'd sit really well as I wanted the instant gratification of seeing the completed tattoo and I didn't want to go back for another session (until I get my next tattoo !) Kate went along with me and I closed my eyes almost the entire time telling myself that the pain shall pass and "no pain, no gain"! I couldn't be happier with my Promethea tat.

The first photo here is of course a close up of the tat. The second photo was taken at the 2006 San Diego convention and the guy that doesn't have the orange hair is Promethea artist J.H. (actually calling him Jim is also fine) Williams III. The third photo was taken at a San Diego beach and the big guy on the left is my friend Harry (who introduced me to Dirk, my tattoo artist) and the guy on the right is another friend, Scott - good people all around!

Anyone reading this have a comic related tattoo? Or if you were to get one what would it be of?

Ich Liebe Watchmen

My favorite writer is Alan Moore and any chance I get I'll try to bend someone's ear as to why I think he's such a great writer. Anyone who has read any of his great works such as V For Vendetta, Watchmen, The Killing Joke, Lost Girls, From Hell, Promethea, and on and on knows his greatness already.

In this week's Wizard there's a great roundtable discussion of Watchmen by David Goyer, Brian Vaughan, Ed Brubaker, and Damon Lindelof. Usually Wizard isn't the greatest source for insights into great works of the comic medium, but they do often rightfully give props to Alan Moore's comic work and they'll occasionally have in-depth articles like this one.

Brubaker, Vaughan, Goyer, and Lindelof go on at length as to why Watchmen is such a benchmark of not just great comics, but great writing and how Watchmen was so influential to their writing. They talk about the way Watchmen was structured and how every word and panel is inter-connected. Really every time I re-read Watchmen I pick up something I hadn't noticed before and I just am blown away by Alan Moore's writing wizardry. A particularly interesting story that Brubaker recounted that he remembered when Watchmen was coming out in comic book installments was how Howard Chaykin had, at the time, in his DC contract that he would get advanced Xeroxed copies of anything Alan Moore was working on!

My favorite chapters (issues) of Watchmen are: Chapter six, The Abyss Gazes Also, in which we find out Rorschach's back-story and how this affects his psychoanalyst (very chilling and of course powerful) and chapter four, Watchmaker, in which we get Dr. Manhattan's back-story and ends with a great quote by Albert Einstein (actually all of the chapter have great end quotes).

After every chapter / issue of Watchmen there are prose pieces that pertain to the characters / world of Watchmen. They really enhance the whole reading experience of Watchmen with my favorite being the first one, "Under The Hood". "Under The Hood" (especially the first chapter) can be read as a single self contained great example of the power and skill of Alan Moore's writing.

As much as I love Watchmen, my favorite Moore work is V For Vendetta. I actually really liked the V For Vendetta movie and thought it did a good job of retaining the essence and spirit of the book with Natalie Portman being especially good as Evey. I still would bet that a movie of Watchmen will never happen and probably shouldn't because really how can all of the many layers present in Watchmen translate to the screen? I think Watchmen would be best as an anime series animated by the people that did Millenium Actress or Steamboy (which has a really slow story, but has great visuals). Anyway I like when a movie happens for great comic works like V For Vendetta or Watchmen because even if they end up being bad, they do end up turning on a great many people to the source work. Of course it can be argued that if a movie from a comic is really bad like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that people who haven't read the comic will think the original is bad, but it's still true that for the populace at large movies do bring attention to the comics (more so adapted works like V For Vendetta, Road To Perdition, and Ghost World than the superhero movies).

What's your favorite Alan Moore graphic novel / comic?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Origin of Ich Liebe Comics

I've been wanting to enter the blogsphere for some time to have a dialogue with people who visit my store and or this blog. I also hope to turn people on to wonderful comics / graphic novels and maybe some of my posts will cause people to think about things in a different light. So even though most of my posts will pertain to the comic book medium I'll also have posts that are non comic-centric.

Originally the title of this blog was going to be Better Living Through Comics (a title I still like, but if anyone wants to use that go for it). Well a couple of months ago a friend of mine, Nicole Tucker, made a wonderful mix cd featuring mostly comic themed songs for me with an equally wonderful drawing she did as the cover that she titled Ich Liebe Comics! And since I was born in Germany and both of my biological parents were German and I love comics (the German translation of course), naturally this blog should be called Ich Liebe Comics!

Speaking of Germany, my wife, Kate and myself went there for a long overdue visit there this past May and had a fantastic time visiting my friends Rick, Zena, Nicole, and Lorrainne amongst the Rhinelands. The top photo here is from an amazing comic book store in Freiburg (a small town surrounded by canals in the heart of the Black Forest at the very bottom of the southwest part of Germany). We didn't even know that Freiburg had a comic book store and only discovered it by accident as we were headed back to our train so we only had half an hour to explore X fur U Comics, but I'm glad I found it at all! The second photo is an interior shot of X fur U Comics (the store has been there for 22 years!) with the owner being on the left, sadly we were so pressed for time and I was so in awe of his store that I didn't get his name!

Any comments on this post or any of my upcoming posts are of course welcome!