Thursday, March 04, 2004

Notable Links for 04/05

OK, first I'd like to take a moment to thank Brett Warnock of Top Shelf Publishing for really doing me a solid. As you may have noticed, I've been putting out an open call for a stray copy of The Comics Journal #255 - I had a few months there where I wasn't able to get any comics and this magazine just disappeared before I could get anywhere near it. Fantagraphics sold out almost immediately, and I had it on no less an authority than former editor Mr. Milo George (who didn't even have a copy himself) that in the entire Fantagraphics building there was only one copy extant. So, of course, every store within about a forty-mile radius of me seemed to be out as well, and my pal Mike who runs the Comic Empire in Tulsa, OK didn't have one either (and if he doesn't have it, it usually can't be got!). So, Mr. Warnock, who I would like to point out I have never met before in my life, saw that I needed the issue and went out of his way to pick it up for me. That's just cool anyway you slice it, and it proves what I've always suspected: Top Shelf is good people. If you haven't spent any money on Top Shelf products in a while, why don't you take this moment to do so? I'd especially reccomend this, this and this, if you don't already have them yourselves.

So what have we learned today? If you're planning on having a big-shot controversial syndicated cartoonist cover featured on your magazine, it might help to overprint just a tad.

Now that that's out of the way, on with the show!

* " said it canceled the use of Ted Rall's editorial cartoons effective March 1 because they didn't fit 'the tone' of the popular Web site." Editor & Publisher has the story here. Rall's own response can be found here, and the Washington Times chimes in here (scroll down a few stories).

While I am of course careful to avoid misusing the "C" word, it seems pretty obvious that the content of Rall's strips were the only reason he was dropped. Again, while obviously the Times, in whatever incarnation, has the right to print what they wish, its pretty craven of them to caveso overtly to right-wing pressure when its not even in their best commercial interests to do so.

I'd encourage anyone reading this to contact the offending parties and let them know that this is just not cool. They have every right to stop printing Rall, but we also have every right to complain and to even boycott the New York Times in retaliation for their transparent cowardace in the face of conservative pressure.

Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of New York Times Digital, can be contacted at New York Times Letters to the Editor can be directed to Ombudsman Daniel Okrent can be reached at Regardless of whether or not you agree with Rall's politics, I urge you to consider this matter seriously.

* "Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: MVL) announced today the appointment of John Turitzin, age 48, as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Mr. Turitzin has served as outside counsel to Marvel Enterprises and its predecessor, Toy Biz, Inc., since its formation in 1993. He assumes the role from CEO Allen Lipson." Read more here, courtesy of Business Wire.

* No-one should be surprised when Aint-It-Cool-News publishes something of questionable veracity. They're infamously easy to fool. They posted this article yesterday claiming that Alan Moore was not only unhappy with the upcoming "Constantine" movie, he had apperantly washed his hands of the entire process and asked his royalties be withheld and split fairly among the character's co-creators instead.

Makes a little bit of sense, but only a little bit. For one, even though Moore is notoriously surly on the subject of his movie adaptions, he also has little or no interest at all in the procceses, so it seemed odd he would have had any reason whatsoever to even have seen the script. The truth came out on Neil Gaiman's blog, here... where we see that while Moore has indeed decided to stop cashing the checks for movies made from his material, it has nothing to do with the "Constantine" movie, it has to do with this. (IGN's Filmforce has a semi-retraction of the story here.)

Now, from what I know, it seems like a lawsuit like that would make me want to scream and gnash my teeth in frustration. I can definitely understand Moore's desire to distance himself from Hollywood in whatever way he possibly could after that shit. The fact is that one of the reasons why the "League" worked so well is becuase it was one of those ideas that you saw and thought "why the hell didn't I think of that?" It doesn't surprise me at all that someone else had the idea around the same time... but this lawsuit is almost comically stupid. Sounds like they're setting themselves up to prove that the movie studio and Moore were in collusion from the beginning, which is a fool's errand if ever there was one. Everyone knows Alan Moore hates Hollywood - but I suppose that's just a front to cover up their wicked scheme to steal this idea.

Anyway, all I know is that the "Constantine" movie is going to suck but I'm going to see it anyway - not because I have any great desire to do so but because it's got Keanu in it, and the wife likes Keanu. We all have our crosses to bear, I suppose.

* Speaking of Moore, Mr. Alan David Doane has a long talk with the magical mystery fellow here.

* TV Barn is reprinting a memo from the producers of "Nightline" regarding their coverage of the recent corporate upheavals at the Disney company. Disney, you may recall, owns ABC television, which runs Nightline.

* Taiwan is taking steps to stimulate their domestic arts through a system of subsidies and awards - surprisingly, comic books are being targeted for attention as well. Read more here, courtesy of the Taiwanese Government (I think).

* "A federal jury has ordered a $15 million judgment on behalf of a St. Louis company, agreeing with its claim of patent infringement by the nation's leading provider of on-demand book printing." Read about what could be a momentous decision for the future of print-on-demand here, courtesy of the Kansas City Star. Those further itnerested can read the actual verdict here.

* Archie Comics, the sleeping giant of the American comics industry, is finally making a move into the Manga world. They're going to be publishing a manga-lite version of the popular "Sabrina" property, by American artist Tania del Rio. Read the initial announcement here, as well as an interview with del Rio, both courtesy of Newsarama.

* "'Sylvia' cartoonist Nicole Hollander will give a public talk titled, 'Oh No, It’s Monday, and I’ve Run Out of Ideas: A Cartoonist’s Crisis,' at the Library of Congress on Monday, March 15, 2004 in the James Madison Building, Washington, D.C." Read more here, courtesy of Managing Information.

* "Comedian and writer Arie Kaplan will explain 'How Jews Created the Comic Book' when he speaks at the Connecticut Historical Society Museum March 11, 7 p.m. Kaplan's talk, which promises to be lively, funny, and of course informative, relates to CHS's current exhibition, Heroes, Heartthrobs and Horrors: Celebrating Connecticuts Invention of the American Comic Book. Guests may be surprised to learn of the pivotal role that our state played in the evolution of the comic book, and of the absolutely essential role played by a handful of Jewish artists in the invention of many a legendary superhero." Read more here, courtesy of the Hartford Advocate.

* Gamespot talks with Marvel's Ames Kirshen about the companies decision to found a new division, Marvel Games Group, to deal explicitly with the world of electronic gaming here. It's actually a pretty interesting, if cursory look, at some of the money decisions being made at Marvel.

* Comic-related movie news has been coming fast and furious the last couple weeks, and I have steadfastly resisted linking to any of it. However, the Motley Fool's commentary (here) on how Marvel's movie slate is impacting their bottom line is definitely worth reading.

* "Disney veteran animators Tom Bancroft and Rob Corley announce the formation of their new animation development company, Funnypages Productions, LLC. This company will join their already existing subsidiary comic book publishing company, Funnypages Press. Funnypages Productions will offer a full range of animation production as well as illustration, character design and artistic development." Read more here, courtesy of the Hollywood Industry.

* Greece Now has a profile of Grecian childrens-book author and, apperantly, sometime-cartoonist Eugenios Trivizas here.

* Planning on being in the Uk on March 20th? Then stop by the 2004 UK Web & Mini-Comix Thing, which organizer Patrick Findlay claims to be "the first dedicated web and mini comix event ever held in the UK, possibly even the world." I am not so sure about that but it looks like a ton of fun. (Link courtesy of The Pulse).

* In one of the more interesting things I've seen in a while, a group of students at Northwestern University in Illinois are putting on a student-written show called "Spider-Man vs. Batman". The playwright, Mr. Andrew Paul Perez, is apperantly using the tropes of superhero comics to tell a story about "will and fear, the necessity for love and the limitations of time while we exist." I wish I could see it, it sounds very interesting, and certainly of interest to anyone who paid attention to the recent superhero debates that raged through this here blogosphere. Read more about it here, courtesy of the Daily Northwestern (link courtesy of Robert J. Karol).

* Hasbro is bringing Japanese card-gaming sensation "Duel Masters" to the United States - and planning on making quite a bit of money. Apperantly the slow roll out began last year with the appearance of the successful comic series. I find it hard to believe that the comic was actually successful enough to impact on the marketing decisions of multi-billion dollar corporations, but hey, what do I know? Read more here, courtesy of Forbes.

* The Oregonian's Chelsea Cain takes a look at Portland area retailer Excalibur Books & Comics, and likes what she sees.

* Kaleon Rahan of the Malaysian Star covers some recent mainstream releases here.

* "Think your kids watch too many cartoons with no educational value? Have them check out 'The Queen of Persia,' a feature-length animated video about the story of Purim, and a graphic novel of the same title based on the video’s screenplay. The novel reads something like a Purim version of the "Asterix" comics — a guilty pleasure with a lot of humor and color on every page." Man, is it me or are there quite a few Jewish-niche titles being published lately? Read more here, (scroll down the page) courtesy of the Jewish Journal.

* Yay! The Cleveland Plain Dealer is actually utilizing hometown-hero Harvey Pekar's talents for an upcoming "Best of the City" feature. Sounds cool. Read more here, courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

* Jennifer Contino at The Pulse talks with cartoonist Derek Hunter about his new SLG series "Pirate Clube" here.

* "Arlo and Janis" cartoonist Jimmy Johnson is making an appearance in his home town of Pass Christian, Mississippi, at a gallery showing of his work. More info here, courtesy of the Sun-Herald.

* "Cartoonists Gary Oliver of Marfa and Tom Curry of Alpine will have a joint retrospective of their cartoons at the Art Alliance Center at Clear Lake near Houston, Texas during the month of April, kicked off with an April 2 reception." Read more here, courtesy of the Desert-Mountain Times.

And that's all for today, folks. See you Monday. Maybe they'll be other content up between now and then - who knows?

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