I once met Alan Moore, had dinner with him in fact. A dinner that included Stephen Bissette and John Totleben.
I must stress that they did not have dinner with me at my invitation - I was at the table as a guest of Gary Groth and Kim Thompson from Fantagraphics. Also in attendance was Dave Olbrich. The creative trio - currently on DC’s Swamp Thing - was on their way to NY and had stopped in at the Fantagraphics offices to meet with Gary and Kim and head for Chinese food. And I got to tag along.
I spent a couple of hours listening to Moore and his companions regale the group with story after story. At no point did I ever think of Alan Moore as crazy. In fact, I thought he was one of the smartest guys I’d ever met. He was also not like anyone I’d met either before or since. He was different, alright. But crazy? No. Weird? Hardly.
Which brings me to this:
I was saddened by the recent death of Elisabeth Sladen who played Sarah Jane in Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Of all the reminiscences online, the one I thought the most touching was by her co-star, Tom Baker.
Dinosaurs: Topless Robot looks at the “10 Most Badass Dinosaurs In Comics.” Something I created made the list, so naturally, I’m linking to it! Thanks to author Jesse Thompson for the shout out.
Royalty: Evan Lewis at Davy Crockett’s Almanack likes Prince Valiant Vol. 2: 1939-1940 from Fantgraphics. “Amazing as the artwork in Volume 1 was, it just keeps getting better.”
I have an idea for a great drinking game. Surf the internet and every time you come across a link to Bleeding Cool’s expose of Rob Granito, take a drink. You’ll be Lohan’ed before Monday. In the meantime, I await the Bluewater biography of Mr. Swipey McSwipe-swipe.
Let’s see what else is out there:
Batman: The writer Lance Mannion tries to teach his sons about Batman.
Liberty: Writer Martin Powell gets interviewed at Broken Frontier. Subject: his children’s books and The Halloween Legion and Liberty Unlimited, both of which I’m really looking forward to.
Blood: Mark Wheatley, Marc Hempel and Ricky Shanklin’s graphic novel Blood Of The Innocent is marching toward the big screen. Breck Eisner (The Crazies) is attached to direct and Bill Marsilii (Deja Vu) is writing the screenplay. According to Scoop: “The original comic book series set Dracula against Jack the Ripper and was published by Warp in 1985.”
So, so sorry to hear that Dwayne McDuffie passed away earlier this week. I hate it when a good guy and a terrific writer goes too soon - from his work at Milestone Media, to his animation writing on Ben 10 and other series, it felt like he had a lot more to say that I wanted to read and see.
Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool had a nice reminiscence of his interactions with Dwayne.
And Heidi MacDonald at Comics Beat also weighed in with some very nice thoughts.
Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter has a round-up of various links to posts about Dwayne. Condolences to his family and his many, many friends on their loss.
Also sad to hear that comics historian Bill Crouch has passed away.
CG: Animation historian Michael Barrier does not like computer animation a technique “creating mechanical, manipulative series of films that don't capture the magic of the yesteryear.”
Doesn’t everyone who’s not there wish they were at the New York Comic Con this weekend? Or is it just me?
Big announcements all across the board. Marvel and DC are cutting prices which won’t boost sales enough for the Big Two to make the same amount of money. But it’s good news for non-Big Two publishers who can try to tap into the money customers are saving and steer it their way. I’m looking at you Boom!, Dynamite, Moonstone and IDW.
DC’s also cutting the story count down to 20 pages. Since there aren’t that many paid ads anymore, anyone want to wager on when the $2.99 printed comics go from 32 pages down to 24 to further reduce costs?
And in the wake of his supervisor stepping down, Bob Wayne‘s been given a promotion and stays in New York. Well played.
At Project Child Murdering Robot, Ricky Sprague has some thoughts about the new Wonder Woman TV series in development by David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal; Boston Legal). His advice: “Please don’t shy away from her glorious bondage past.”
Toasting Toth: Who doesn’t love Alex Toth? John Kricfalusi posts panels from a really nice story and breaks down his love for it.
Toth II: Daniel Best at 20th Century Danny Boy has some great information of Alex Toth and the artist’s time in Australia. Bonus: lots of Toth artwork.
Welcome to the Labor Day edition of Weekend Reading, with a few extra links to help you cope with the extended weekend. Let’s get it started; I’ve got to make the rounds of quite a few barbecues.
Comic Books For Kids: You know who everyone should thank for the influx of great graphic novels for kids? Jeff Smith, creator of Bone. Robin Brenner at Early Word explains, and also points out that while a number of librarians are nuts about graphic novels from NY’s publishing icons, they are somewhat ignorant of the kid-friendly graphic novels actually produced by traditional comic book publishers.
Vince Colletta: I don’t think there’s an inker around who polarizes people as much as the late Mr. C. Scoop reviews The Thin Black Line, a new biography of the inker who “saved the bacon of many an editor.”
Gene Roddenberry: Frederik Pohl remembers his time with the “great bird of the galaxy.”
Superman: Randy Johnson, the writer not the retired baseball pitcher and mustache-worshipper, reviews Jeff Mariotte’s 2007 DC Universe novel Trail of Time. “The real fun for me were the chapters labeled May, 1872. They detailed the gradual coming together of four DC western characters, Jonah Hex, Bat Lash, El Diablo, and the Scalphunter, along with an able assist from Johnny Thunder.” Needless to say, he liked the book, and who among us wouldn’t? I’ve already ordered my copy.
Happy holiday weekend for those of us in the US who love a long weekend, some grilled meat and a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. And since there’s no football game, you can spend that extra time surfing the internet. Here are some links to fill the game-less void:
Vertical: Given the significant changes at manga publishers Viz (massive layoffs) and CMX (DC shuttered the division), it’s interesting to read about someone with a little different take on events. Rod Lott at Bookgasm has a chat with Ed Chavez at Vertical (publishers of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack, among other things). “While I will always say there is plenty of grade-A material to license from Japan available, access to those properties has become quite limited over the last three to four years. I find it curious that this lack of competition has occurred during the recent decline of the U.S. manga market.”
Steve Perry: The death of the Thundercats and Timespirits writer is just about the saddest way for a comic book creator to go. Johnny Bacardi exchanged correspondence with him recently, but I don’t want to spoil his story, except to say that it’s one you’ll want to read.
Lots of great stuff this week on the internets. Here’s a few things to occupy you ‘til Monday.
THE GREEN LAMA: The Green Lama was created as a Shadow imitator in a story for a 1940 pulp magazine called Double Detective. It was written by Kendell Foster Crossen. The character made the leap to comics later that year in Prize Comics #7, then jumped to his own title in 1944, still written by Crossen. One of my favorite blogs, Killer Covers Of The Week, has a terrific overview of Crossen’s work and his pseudonyms, and his career as a detective novelist who also wrote for the TV series’ 77 Sunset Strip and Perry Mason. Now that GL is in the public domain, he’s currently appearing in Project Superpowers, from Dynamite Entertainment, courtesy of Jim Krueger and Alex Ross.
MAD MAGAZINE: Senior Editor of MAD, Joe Raiola, recently made a stop at the Everett Public Library (Washington) to talk about “The Joy Of Censorship.” HeraldNet – the online news service for Snohomish County has the details.
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